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Sunday, May 22, 2016

All About Me

This is Not a Cancer Post™.

It is, in fact, all about me™.

I'm depressed.

To anyone who knows me, this is not surprising. I'm a fretter under the best of circumstances (which these clearly are not), and I'm prone to seasonal depression if I don't use the sun lamp and take enough Vitamin D (although this is not the season in question).

And Google knows I have cause for situational depression at the moment.

Which is why this post is all about me™. Laston is the one who is sick, it's true. But I'm holding down a full time job, caring for a family, and caring for a sick spouse (none of these are physically taxing, but I don't have a lot of emotional energy to spare). And I'm just tired. I'm also trying to lose weight, fretting about money, and just generally having a rough time.

These things make me a little emotional.

This was brought home to me today, here at work, when my very first customer of the day burst into tears after I helped him fix his phone so he could call out. I found it upsetting, and usually I'm not quite as, well, hair-triggered on being affected by such things as I have been lately.

I'm sure it's understandable given the circumstances. Laston is ill, three kids in school, a horrific attack on a teacher where our 15yo goes to school, end-of-year shenanigans, joblessness (on Laston's part) and the list goes on.

Nobody blames me for my blue mood, not even me.

But I don't really like it about myself much.

I'm a cheerful person in general, grumpyjenn email notwithstanding (at the time I first got it, I was umpteen months pregnant with Abby, now 13). So I'm not a real fan of being an easily-upset grumpapotamus.


But I guess that's what breaks between calls are for; they're here to give me a chance to vent all over my blog page. And that makes me feel better in general.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Some Days... doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Yeah, it's a Cancer Post™

I knew this, today, and so I took a half-day off, took a Benadryl (hello, cottonwood!) and went back to bed.

The plan was to get a couple more hours of sleep, then go into work, and that's exactly what I did.

But I should have stayed in bed.

Work was fine, if a bit busier than is comfortable. I came home, changed into sloppy clothes, threw in a load of laundry, and began to play a video game with Laston.

So far, so good.

Then we had coffee (his regular, mine decaf)... and then he was feeling very ill. No fever, nothing like that, just abdominal pain and not-quite-vomiting.

Now, this could be anything from an allergic response to the injection he had today (to improve white blood cell count) to a full-blown ulcer. We just don't know. So we behave like good little oncology patients, and call the after-hours line. Doc agrees; most likely acid reflux of some sort, but that's a symptom, not a disease in itself. He will take a closer look tomorrow during infusion time; in the meantime we should Prilosec and Zantac and Tums and BRAT.

We don't have any of the first two, are low on the third, and have one lone banana for the last. So off I go to Walgreens (after putting on my Laundry Day Bra, which is very uncomfortable), where I pick up everything but the bananas, and then I grab those at a convenience store.

And then, on my way back, I run into a little snag. Radio stops talking and I glance over. No lights on it. There's a little hesitation in the shifting and in an effort to turn on my blinker and turn, I accidentally hit the windshield wipers.






I begin to pull over to the (thankfully large) shoulder.

Then the power steering went out, and I was also reminded what it means to pump one's brakes.

Alternator, I think, since the lights and power windows and stuff still worked.

But I got home safely (thanks, Mom!), and my car got to Goodyear safely (thanks AT&T Roadside Assist and Ballinger Towing!), and Laston got his meds (and bananas).

All is well, if a bit stressed. Honestly, it's a wonder I don't have an ulcer.

Still though, really? Just add it to the pile of crap we have to deal with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Beer and Coffee

This is a Cancer Post™ (but in a good way).

And the beer in question is not actually Blue Ribbon (which I think we have discussed before). It is, rather, Budweiser, as that is what my father-in-law historically has drunk.

They are coming to visit.

He's not drinking much anymore though, so I'm glad I only picked him up a six-pack, instead of the 24-bottle case I contemplated. It is, after all, only a few days.

They are, however, drinking coffee, and as they are living in Washington-but-not-Seattle-ish, they are not the coffee snobs we are here in the Puget Sound region; they drink Folgers. Which is nice, because it is relatively inexpensive. Certainly (as a rule) less expensive (and probably more ecologically sound) than our little Keurig coffee pods.

Anyway, back to the cancer post. I know that about a hundred of you on Facebook are already aware of this, but you will still be glad to know that the newer chemo cocktail is doing its job.

And doing it well, in spite of the Side Effects of Doom.

Laston's cancer markers are down about 400 points (that's around 40%, I think). The liver lesions are visibly and markedly shrinking. The only unhappy bits at the moment are gastrointestinal side effects and a certain fluid retention in the abdomen (it makes him look a bit like a malnourished child, with thin limbs and a round belly. It's neither uncommon nor immediately dangerous, but it is uncomfortable. They'll drain it if they have to.)

So he's relatively healthy, just in time for a visit from his folks, who live about an eight-hour drive away. I have a couple of days off for this (in addition to my usual weekend) so I can see my in-laws and help ride herd on excited kids.

Should be a good time.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

And the Winner Is... dad.

Along with five other people, actually.

I mean, I knew he was on the boards of many an engineering and/or performing arts organization here in the Seattle area. I just didn't realize he was that big a deal. He's... well, he's Dad, you know?

Laston, Dad, and Me
But last night was the 31st Alumni Awards for Seattle University (home of the Redhawks!): it's a private Jesuit university, and my father was instrumental in implementing a connection between the school and major corporations (like Boeing, where he worked for a gazillion years) back in the late 1990s. He also took their executive program himself, graduating in 2000, when he was in his mid-sixties.

And given that, and all the things he does around the community (with the Museum of Flight, the Young Eagles, and a vast assortment of other organizations; he says he flunked retirement and I believe it), he was honored with an award last night, in a very touching ceremony complete with videos, along with those five other people, all for various accomplishments in and around the community, the city, and the world.

They're an impressive bunch, and the program was amazing.

And food (Salmon=yum!). And the venue (Four Seasons Hotel).

And hey, Laston managed the entire evening, although he's tired out today. I count that was a win, too.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Yer a Wizard

We finished reading the first book last week, and now Lizzy and Abby and I (and Laston, sort of) are watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Yes, the American versions, with Sorcerer in place of Philosopher, but I do try to do the voices, which Lizzy appreciates.

I have discussed previously that Abby is a Hufflepuff. They're the House of all the sort of socially sweet things, like kindness and diligence. She's the child who always got rewards for Empathy and Service in elementary school. If Hufflepuff has a drama department, she'd be in it. Or maybe she'd grow up to take over for one of the Weird Sisters.

Lizzy, on the other hand, is almost certainly a Ravenclaw. She would make an excellent Ravenclaw Chaser, and would likely be very good at Potions (if Snape didn't intimidate her overmuch) because Potions is the closest Hogwarts comes to a science class. She would also likely be the one losing House points for letting pixies loose in History of Magic class.

By Merlin's beard, but the actors were cute when they were just babies.

Abby and I are having lots of fun playing "Name that Who Actor" as we watch.

We're doing this early in the evening, because the imagery might be a bit much for Little Miz Liz to tolerate too close to bedtime; she shows up meek in odd places.

And after she goes to bed, Abby and I will watch more Stargate SG-1. We're really enjoying watching it together, not least because it allows us (as does Uncle Vernon's behavior toward Harry's Hogwarts Letter) to discuss such topics as Trying to Destroy That Which One Does Not Understand Because of Fear.

This leads to more interesting discussions along the same lines, with more up-to-date topics, such as terrorism and anti-LGBT legislation.

People fear what does not fit their worldview.

And fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

That, my friends, is the path to the Dark Side.

And if I choose to impart these lessons through fantasy fiction, be it books, movies, or TV shows, well...

My kids grok it.

And it may make more accepting human beings of them.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Little Things

I don't post as often as I used to, partly because I just don't open my computer as much.

And writing a blog on a phone - even one with the same set of Googly Bits as this blog - is a pain in the neck, sometimes literally.

But I can do everything else on my phone(s).

You see, I have my personal device, which is a Windows Phone. Many people don't care for the Windows OS on a touchscreen device, but honestly, that's where I prefer it; I like it on the phone (and my mom's Surface) far, far better than on a laptop. Windows 10, I mean; my laptop is still on Windows 7, and I like it that way.

The main failing of the Windows Phone is the dearth of apps for it.

However, because I have both Android and Apple devices as sort of loaner phones from work, this is OK. I can use anything on them, as long as I don't go over x GB of data a month, and I don't do anything NSFW at work or illegal on them at any time.

I love this perk of my job.

So yeah, little things are doing fine. Even the Big Thing That Looms™ is doing okay, although the side effects still suck. But at least the man can write again; even if he gets the occasional inexplicable low-grade fever and mild dizziness when standing (along with the upset stomach and the rash), he is at least considerably more coherent than he was on FOLFORI.

This is a Good Thing.

And not so little after all.