Rant

I do my absolute best keeping things positive and seeing the lighter side of my current situation. I might ask why me every now and then and usually answer myself that I’d rather it be me than my sisters, my mother, or any of my friends.

Today though, I’m pissed. I’m sick and tired of cancer.

On Monday I will leave my boys AGAIN and head back to the USA. I will fly to Winnipeg then drive home (should arrive about midnight). Tuesday I will procrastinate as long as possible until I finally get off my butt and take off to drive the 384 miles to Rochester, alone; again.

I have done every one of these trips solo. Yes I’ve had offers of people to come with me, I just choose to do it alone. It’s easier in a lot of ways to do it alone. Then I can process my emotions without a filter. I don’t have to worry about how anybody else is doing or that they feel like they have to take care of me.

The other reason is that I would hate for my reality to become real for other people. I am broke; actually beyond broke. People often realize what broke really looks like. Here is what broke really means:

  • Stopping for gas and ONLY gas. No snacks, no coffee, no drinks, no anything.
  • Checking in to my room and staying there (unless I go for a walk).
  • Not running to the corner store for a few comforts or a candy bar or bag of chips.
  • Looking longingly at that Sudoku book in the check out at the grocery store thumbing through it, and putting it back because that $4.95 is so far out of your budget that it makes you cringe.
  • You would rather drive late in the day when you have an early morning appointment so that instead of spending the night in a hotel, you drive until you need sleep and find a public rest area to grab a couple hours of sleep in the back seat.
  • Staying home when my friends invite me out because eating is where we usually gather and ordering water while everybody else orders drinks and apps brings on the pity looks.
  • Except for church, there are no social outings.
  • Not having cable TV (which means no television at all where we live)
  • Cutting the internet while the boys are gone because it’s $40 you just don’t have
  • Leaving the AC off even though it is currently 90*F in your apartment because you electricity bill is already three months behind.

Welcome to the side of cancer that is hell. It sucks. I can’t work, I can’t do anything. It hit me the other day that once the boys start school I can’t even take them for my visitation as it will be impossible for me to drive them back and forth to school and their father will not give a shit, only see it as an advantage to himself. He won’t care that the boys need the emotional connection to me as they get no emotional support from him regarding this journey.

It means that B2 will likely not play hockey this year, and I won’t be coaching, because I can’t afford it and the ex refuses to help pay for it OR provide transportation. Even while undergoing chemo last winter I had to drive 90 miles for him to attend a 45 minute practice because according the his father, hockey practice didn’t fit in to HIS schedule. It didn’t matter that all the kid talked about from October through April was hockey. It didn’t matter that there was a significant drop in behavioral issues throughout the hockey season, that the grades improved…all that mattered was that HE doesn’t want to be involved with hockey therefore, he will make it as difficult as possible for B2 to be involved.

Did I mention that at the beginning of the year, B2 could hardly stand on skates and was placed in Level one (as all first year kids are) and he along with only ONE other kid of the 28 child roster moved all the way to level THREE in one season? Ya, he done good. The kids usually spend one year at each level, B2 spent a total of two practices at level two before they shipped him to level three.

I’m ranting…and sick and tired of the bullshit that is cancer.

If it weren’t for cancer I would be back in court asking for full custody after social services has been to his house FOUR times in t last year to educate him that the boys are too young to be left home alone…FOUR TIMES.

I’ve been out of work since January. Hockey registration is in October. If I am LUCKY I can look for work starting near the end of September. There is no way I will be able to have bills caught up and enough money to pay for registration and the means to provide transportation back and forth for school and hockey…fuck cancer.

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Reality Isn’t Always Nice

A couple weeks ago I over an hour with the oncologist. Lots of information and I almost felt sorry for the resident he had with him today as the kid looked more lost than I did! lol

Today was a big talk about numbers and recurrence and the like. With no further treatment, my five year disease free survival rate is 50%. That means if I stopped everything right now, I have a 50% chance that over the next five years, the cancer would return. To decrease the chances of it coming back we have options. Best case scenario, with every current, relevant, available treatment brings me close to a 20% chance that over the next 5 years the cancer will return. This doesn’t mean that if it doesn’t come back in the next five years that I am considered safe or free; just a little better off.

Thankfully with breast cancer research being so aggressive, who knows what will be available in the next five years to increase my odds even more. When people ask me I honestly tell them that my prayer is to make it through Carson’s graduation. Honestly I am beyond blessed to make it through each day; the boys’ gradutaion would just be icing on the cake.

I spoke with the funeral director back home when I was there last week. He shares my same twisted sense of humor so it was nice to have a sit down chat with him. We discussed a few things (like the fact that if I am laid in a casket my feet MUST be crossed!). We talked about transporting my body across the border and he agreed it would be cheaper to cremate me here and ship me home in the mail.

Anyway, back to reality and what it means for my immediate future.

  1. I am cleared to restart the drug Herceptin which I will take for a total of 52 weeks. I have completed 12 weeks so far. This will be an injection (through my port) every three weeks until the 52 weeks are complete.
  2. I will be meeting with radiation oncology to start radiation. Likely five or six weeks of daily radiation. Right now they are booked out until July 27 for the diagnostic/referal of radiation oncology. My medical oncologist is working to get me slipped in sooner.
  3. I will begin another drug which will help to prevent recurrance. I will take this drug every day for five or ten years.
  4. I will also begin an ovary supressing drug that will be an injection every month. This is decrease the amount of estrogen available for my cancer to feed off of.

I was hoping I would hear the words ‘remission’ but of course those words did not (nor will they ever) come. I will never be in remission from this beast. I am officially in a life long battle for my life. I almost felt sorry for the doctor explaining this reality to me…he looked heartbroken. I told him it was ok, I expected that and that I just needed to hear the words.

I will forever have cancer, I will be considered cancer free when I move from this life to eternity. It’s really tough to be sad when thinking about eternity. I will be healed, I will have no more treatments, I will no longer be at war, I will  see my four babies who have passed before me, I will see my grandfathers again. A lady who recently passed due to cancer put it wonderfully. She wasn’t afraid to die, she just didn’t want to. She felt like a little girl at a party and Dad was there to pick her up and she was crying because she didn’t want to leave.

When the Lord calls me home, that’s how it will be; like my Father is picking me up from the hockey rink and I know he’s taking me to A & W which will be amazing and fun, but I’m no where near ready to get off the ice. My kids are on the ice…

So we will continue to be thankful for everyday. I will continue to shout from the rooftops how amazing God is and how great this life he has given me. I am not afraid to fight. I am not afraid to die. I am confident that His plan is best. That my children will be held through the loving embrace of those who love them.

Psalm 23A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3     He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever.

Kinda tough to be upset when that’s my courage, my strength, my peace.

…Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me…

I am genuinely am getting though this battle with such a positive outlook because I do feel Him beside me. I am in the valley of the shadow of death and I’m not afraid.

CaringBridge

Started a CaringBridge page to journal just my cancer journey. If you visit, please sign the guest book.

I am already so tired of cancer. I drove over 1000 miles last week for appointments and will drive AT LEAST that many more to get a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I am only 40, my future deserves a second look. My kids deserve me to have the best care available.

The current health system I have been doctoring has left me with a few uneasy feelings so the travel is worth the peace of mind.

I am scared…I cannot screw this up. I NEED this done right the first time so I don’t have to watch my family and friends go through this again. Yes, that is harder for me than dealing with the issue on its’ own; watching my family and friends hurting for me.

My cancer has a name: Dorothy. When I had my thyroid nodules, The Photographer named it Percy (for perspective). While on my way to my first appointment in Fargo I texted her and said, “This thing needs a name.” Within a few hours she responded with Dorothy…I frequently refer to my life as the storm I am living in…storm…tornado…Dorothy. I loved it. Then she texted me again to share with me that the meaning of the name is God’s gift. Who am I to turn down a gift from God?

I have been including Dorothy in hashtags on my Facebook status updates that range from #dorothymustdie to #dorothybegone to a simple #cancersucks. I am blessed with an awesome circle of family and friends. We are enjoying the humorous aspect of this whole ordeal.

I was standing in the elevator with my mom and niece and I kept hitting the #3 button (we were on the third floor and trying to get to the lobby). She asked if there was a reason I was hitting the wrong button and I guffawed saying well I DO have cancer…both of them rolled their eyes and said my excuse was already getting pretty old. She reminded me that it was in my boob, NOT my brain. I told her when I am dead they will be so sad when they remember making fun of me in the elevator. Neither one of them seemed to think they would…all compassion I tell ya! LOL

I can already picture my funeral (don’t worry, I don’t think this is even going to come close to killing me)…people are going to be interrupting the pastor, giggling, talking, listening to music, updating their Facebook, and taking selfies with my body.

What I Did

After reading the comment from the previous entry, I decided that it wasn’t that big of a deal, it wasn’t that important. Unfortunately he called wanting to know my decision and I, being put on the spot, asked what was in it for me to give up a night with my boys. He asked what I wanted…then had the nerve to say he had been extremely generous on the other Monday’s by LETTING my keep them, what was in THAT for him he asked. Well, not having to pay almost half of your day’s wages in daycare would be one of the benefits. Well, he didn’t care about that…whatever. A short pissing match ensued and I said he could pick them up Monday morning at 8am.

I knew this was only me being spiteful and not the mom I wanted my kids to ever know. I sent him a text on Sunday afternoon and said that he was welcome to pick them up that night. He picked them up after supper that night.

B1 had a tough week. Saturday morning he had a minor melt down and another on Sunday (after several others during the week). Much of it has been put on the new puppy…his new scapegoat. “I just miss Scooby” is the answer I am usually thrown when he is crying. While I’m sure he does miss his dog, I am also quite confident that missing a pup is not a reason for my child to begin to tell me he wished he’d never been born…but maybe it is.

My first thought was that he wants to go back to dad’s so much because of the dog but cannot bring himself to tell me that as it might hurt my feelings; he’s that kind of kid. His father has adequately fostered that responsibility on his tiny shoulders. B2, on the other hand, doesn’t care where he is right now…as long as the world revolves around him.

So if B2 is caused enough turmoil that he now wishes he’d never been born…was the puppy worth it? Do I allow him to go home days/ hours early? I hate that I am making decisions not necessarily in the best interests of the child, but based on how the ex will twist it for the judge…my poor babies.

Maybe (and I’m just thinking out loud here so please bare with me) I need to allow him to stay at dad’s and then explain to the courts that this new addition is a blatant attempt to back me in to a corner as far as spending time with the kids or making them miserable…and I don’t like the idea of my boys being miserable. I’ll talk with the school counselor and their shrink and see what they think. I think I just answered my own question…but that doesn’t make it any less difficult.

If I could, I would allow them to bring the puppy, but my apartment does not allow pets…not even reptiles.

My heart hurts for these poor kids.

What Would YOU Do?

It’s one of those days where I feel like I cannot take anymore…I know that’s a lie and that I can take much more…but today I just want to sit down and cry. I’m tired.

The scheduling conference on January 24 produced ZERO results. There is another scheduling conference now for February 25…PLEASE LORD, set a trial date and let’s get this over with. I just want my kids in ONE HOME…this is bull. They didn’t ask for this, I didn’t ask for this…why are we the ones paying the price??

Yesterday for Valentine’s Day the boys and I dressed up and went to the one ‘fancy’ restaurant in town for supper. They were both in three piece suits and I was in a skirt. They behaved so perfectly that I could not wipe the smile off my face for anything!! Both boys decided to order off the children’s menu (their first time at a ‘real’ restaurant, I was not surprised). I ordered a top sirloin, medium rare…mmmm.

B1 asked for a bite of my steak and I cut him a small piece. He was in instant heaven and asked me to switch meals with him. Yep…I ate chicken strips for my Valentine’s meal!! (yuck) He let me eat my baked potato though as well as a few bites of the steak! LOL We even opted for dessert. B2 was not interested in anything so B1 and I both ordered cheesecake (his was with raspberry topping, mine with caramel). It was amazing.

During supper we talked about when we could return, it was a huge budget stretch for me to do this, and I said that we could return for special occasions and my birthday would be a great time (this gives me until April to come up with enough money to do it again). B1 has already decided he’s going for the steak next time. At least I won’t have to share mine!!

So back to what has me on edge today. On the weeks that the boys are in my care, their father has not once come to watch them bowl on Saturday mornings. He says that he is scheduled to work every Saturday that he does not have them. I was upset in December when he didn’t take the day off to bowl in the parent/child bowling day, and asked the battle buddy to stand in for B1. This led to their dad being a complete dick to me because ‘some stranger’ was bowling with HIS son. I said he needed an adult, Battle Buddy was available, no big deal. Yesterday (Friday) the boys wanted to stop at dad’s work before we left town to say goodbye. I try to not do this often, but I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers yesterday before our date. As they are talking, he mentions that he is going to Minneapolis today for what he refers to as, “His business.” He is part of a pyramid scheme, which has yet to yield so much as a penny but has cost him plenty so far. So, he can take off a half day from work (they are only open until noon on Saturday) to spend even more money on a making other people rich, but he cannot take a half day to spend some quality time with his kids?? REALLY?

B1 had begun to throw a little fit before we left dad’s work yesterday and so today I asked him if he was upset about his dad going to Minneapolis without him. “No Mom, this makes him money.” WTF??? Are you kidding me?? I told him that dad has not made any money off of what he calls a business. B1 begins to argue that dad’s business is how they went to Wisconsin Dells last fall. The trip package (two nights of hotel) was bought through the company at supposed a great discount…They drove ALL DAY (TEN HOURS) to get there, spent one day enjoying a water-park, and then the entire third day driving home…if he would have saved the $800/year he pays as a membership fee to this ‘company’ they could have spent a few more days and really enjoyed themselves.

So B1 has this hero complex with dad and I am just the bitch who makes them do homework and chores. He even bought them a dog two weeks ago…yep, a damn dog. For years I wanted a dog but was told that there was no way he would ever own a dog in town (even though we live in an extremely small town and our yard is nearly a full acre). So what does he do the minute the boys start showing a preference for Mom’s house??? Gets them a puppy. B1 had been asking him to bring him to town on his weekends so they could attend church where we go. Two weeks later…BAM…new puppy, that will shut him up for a bit. Hmmm, what else can I get him to ask his dad for?? lol

It won’t be long until that loses it’s fun when they are stepping in poop and cleaning up the yard. I don’t give the dog a year and it will ‘go missing’ like our two cats did back in 2008. And they were good cats…he just decided that he didn’t want them, anymore and took them out on a weekend when it was -40F and left them in the middle of nowhere.

~~

According to the current court papers, if there is no school on a Monday, the parent who is to begin their parenting time is to pick them up at 8am at the other parent’s home. Every Monday that the boys have off this since this started has been his week to pick them up. Until now I have always kept them for that Monday and just taken them to school on Tuesday morning. On President’s Day they do not have school and I had already decided that I was making him come and get them. He asked my Friday if I was just keeping them Monday and I said I couldn’t. So them he asks if he can pick them up on Sunday so that he is not late for work Monday morning. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? I can’t get a job because I have to transport them to and from school (90 miles of driving on the days that I transport) and you can’t be 30 minutes late for work? YOU wanted this divorce, YOU wanted to fight through every step of the way…YOU give an inch already. I’m not giving up a night of MY parenting time to help his ass. He can take time off or be late for work for a million other reasons, but not this one?? UGH.

So…then I wonder if I’m just being spiteful. If I am, is that okay? Should I be expected to just suck it up YET AGAIN so as to not inconvenience him? I don’t see a harm/benefit factor as far as the kids are concerned on this one (how I usually make my decisions).

I hate than my brain is lost in this decision today. I know the Bible says “…worry about nothing and pray about everything…” Philippians 4:6 I just don’t hear a response.

Lord, help me hear your answer to this. Amen

After Midnight

Night two of tossing and turning. I’ve tried breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, hot bath, warm milk…and still I can’t sleep.

Part of it is wanting this divorce finished, part of it is still not having a job, part of it is being over tired, and part of it is an ongoing spiritual battle I’m in the middle of.

I’ve reached out to a couple of groups at church and in both groups I am finding it difficult to express myself clearly to those who are not as strong in thier faith. A simple “give it to God” does more harm than good if they are not secure in His promises for them.

I also struggle listening to those who spout the ‘I’ve been good enough why do bad things happen to me’ party line. There are people who seem to be ‘doing the right thing’ only in hopes of bettering themselves. Are you kidding me?? You think deserve to be rewarded in this life (or the next) when your heart is not pure in its intentions?

Please don’t play the victim if things don’t go your way when your motives are less than thinly veiled in the first place. 

I know it’s not going to happen over night and some people may never have the relationship with God that I feel. I’m sorry for those people. They will never learn true love, true devotion, and peace of mind.

My struggle now is not regarding my relationship with the Lord, but about finding like-minded people to surround myself with.

I’m going back to bed, and will say a prayer for the hearts of the hurting that they will learn of the grace and promises  given to all of us.

Before the End

Part of moving on after a failed relationship is doing a thorough evaluation of the facts; a relationship autopsy if you will. I had done this already to a certain extent. I have decided to go over my previous postmortem which was likely done while still angry and in denial.

I think I am ready too move on, I feel better equipped at this point to ask myself the hard questions.

One of the first questions I asked myself is whether or not I would have married the ex if I could go back and start over.

Even if I didn’t know how this would end, I wouldn’t. It was claret to me early on that there were issues that may be insurmountable.

I even wondered aloud to the pastor we saw for premarital counseling if we were only getting married because we were too afraid of being alone. I felt like he blew those fears off.

We were first supposed to get married in Sept 1999. The invitations had been ordered and were sitting in a box in my living room.

In May, my daughter and I were visiting him for her birthday. It was then that he told me he didn’t want anymore children.

We had long before had this discussion because I knew that was a deal breaker for me. I wanted more children and if he didn’t then he was not my soul mate. For him to spring this on me four months before our wedding date was difficult. We called off the wedding and ended the relationship.

As he and my daughter had a close bond, and he was the only dad she knew, I allowed him to stay in contact with her. They talked a couple times a week through the summer and she even went to stay with him for a couple weeks, she was four.

That August, I received notice from a college I had applied to that I was being offered a seat in a class I had originally been told had a two year waiting list. The catch? I had to be moved, 500 miles and find housing, daycare, etc within 13 days.

On our first night in the new apartment, he drove up to see us. Looking back now, I know the only reason I allowed him in the door that night was because I was alone, in a big city, and nervous as heck. That Christmas we announced to my family that we were, once again planning on getting married.

He vowed that yes, he did want more children, and if that was the only thing keeping us from happily ever after it was a non-issue. we decided to wait a couple years and get our feet under us as a married couple and a blended family.

Fast forward to just after our second anniversary and I was ready to start trying to have our first baby. It was at this time he decided to tell me that he had changed his mind and that no, he would NOT be having anymore children. Not with me, or anybody. He scheduled an appointment for a vasectomy consult and invited me to attend it with him. The doctor asked me if I wanted to hear the risk/benefits over female sterilization and I calmly, with tears in my eyes, told him no, I didn’t care for either option. The doc looked at him and asked if he was prepared for a divorce. He said, “Well, that’s where I see this going anyway.” The doctor told him to come back when it was final, and walked out of the room.

It was at this time that I knew divorce was inevitable. I wish I had gone through with it then, but I had a few more lessons to learn, apparently. I planned to have all our bills paid off so we could both walk away with a clean slate and knew it would take about a year.

I no longer was in love with my husband. I was no longer married in my eyes. I couldn’t stand to hardly look at him when he was home and thankfully he worked away from home most of that winter. I rarely answered his phone calls and went to work getting things paid off. When he would come home, I was cold, uncaring, and made it clear that this was HIS decision.

I had made it more than clear that I wanted more children, I was not giving that up for anybody. I had already moved 600 miles from my family, friends, and lifestyle to marry him, at least he could give me this one gift.

Then I became pregnant with Sam. Although he tried to be diligent about birth control methods, there were times he was not.

His first question to me when I told him I was pregnant was, “Is it even mine?” Now, I have two sisters and four brothers, played all kinds of sports growing up, drank and got rowdy in my ‘younger’ years…I don’t think I have ever slapped anybody as hard as I slapped him, right there in the parking lot of our workplace. Looking back, it’s the one time I wish I would have punched him…and probably would have knocked him out, and it would have been well worth it. I can’t deny I had a pretty violent streak in my younger days. I didn’t get in a lot of fights, and never anything that led to serious harm…but I did have a great swing…

I should have taken him at his word the first time he told me he didn’t want kids. I think he changed his mind only because he didn’t want to be single. I think he figured that once we were together, I would never just ‘fall in line. Apparently he didn’t understand the word deal breaker…

Well, now here I was pregnant and we now had no option but to make this thing work. We raced in to marriage counseling, had a plan in place, and were ready to tackle our issues head on. We got rid of the kids for the weekend and spent the entire time working through and discussing our issues. We came out of that weekend with a renewed commitment, a new start, a fresh love.

On Tuesday morning Sam died.

We saw this as a sign that we really were in love and that the pregnancy and subsequent loss was just a note from God telling us to get our shit together. I wonder now if losing Sam was God’s way of telling me it was not too late to get out; that he was not the right man for me…