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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fake it 'Til We Make it

Not a Cancer Post™

(Warning: Links to my favorite wikiwalk website. You may never emerge if you head down that path)

Because while Cancer Posts™ may be cathartic to write, they're also emotionally exhausting. So I need to take a break now and then from the gloom and write about something completely unrelated. Maybe even good or fun or funny.

For instance, Pokemon Go.

As though the two were mutually exclusive.
If you have been living under a rock for the past week, you may not have heard of this. At its most basic it is geocaching for kids and geeks and anime fans. Some of my friends (mostly geeks after all) have actually blasted their own fitbit goals out of the water in the process of playing, for instance.

Hypocrisy much?
There are concerns about privacy, as anything which uses your location services on your phone can cause, and concerns about people getting fired for playing on the clock. There are idiots creeping around the back doors of police stations in the dead of night (because that's never suspicious) and stupid people walking into traffic (or driving!) while attempting to capture an Eevee.

There are also stories of people getting out and hiking for the first time in years, and of children with autism interacting with people and even making eye contact during chats about where to find the best Clefairy nest nearby. I've made more people's cell data work in the last week, just so they can get out on the sunshine and fresh air, and that's pretty darn cool.

There are memes on facebook on both sides of the question.

But in the main, for me at least, the benefits outweigh the concerns.

In other, non-pokenews, Laston's book is selling really really well. And we realized that today he has meaning-of-life-the-universe-and-everything in positive reviews (all four and five stars, thank you). That is a Good Thing.

We're in the Grinding Chapter of Final Fantasy XIII. This is a lot more open-ended than other parts of the game, and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I have noticed a tendency to button-mash, even though this game doesn't require it, rather like punching the elevator button again in the hope that the lift will move faster.

I just noticed that both that game and most of the Ever After High show Lizzy is watching as I write have a main theme in common: It's Screw destiny; I'm doing what's right! Of course, many of the FF games have this as a trope; it's a Squeenix staple.

So, how'd I do on a lighter, softer blog post rather than the defensive, depressed, and angry ones I've done here lately?

Maybe it'll help.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Moving Target Sucks

Yes, this is a Cancer Post™.

With more than one F Bomb.

So Laston, as you all know, spent a few days in the hospital a week ago.

This was not fun.

But it's not so much the time in the hospital, or the crappy way he feels, or even the looming spectre of cancer that's pissing me off tonight.

It's the fact that it fucks with everything in life.

That I didn't even mention here in this blog that Abby got As and Bs (and one just-barely C+) on her report card, or that Lizzy got terrific grades too. I never even mentioned these things, because the Fucking Cancer distracted me from celebrating them properly.

It's that I don't have the luxury of working a few of those overtime hours offered, because I need to be home, and that Laston's entire income is at the whim of someone else (the SSA, who, although faster than expected, have still not managed to send us the paper check for three months back "child support" for Abby and Lizzy).

That every time we get a fucking treatment that works, Laston's body tells it to fuck off after a few months and we have to start over. The one that landed him in the hospital last week reoccurred (to a much lesser extent, thank Google) yesterday. It's been determined that he has developed what amounts to an allergy to a chemo drug called alaxoplatinum (I think).

I miss predictable schedules (oh, and that's changing at work too, though that has nothing to do with the cancer). I miss being able to take Abby up to her dad's at the same time on all his weekends with her. I miss the ability to plan meals ahead, rather than feeding Laston whatever he can choke down.

It's not all bad, of course.

I can still play video games while Laston watches and does strategy research for me (Final Fantasy XIII now). I can still watch our evening TV with Abby after Lizzy goes to bed (we're halfway through Stargate Atlantis and 4/5ths of the way through Stargate SG-1). I can still read Lizzy her nighttime books (we're on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and oh boy is Lizzy pissed off at Dolores Umbridge!). We can even have Family Movie night.

But I can't predict when any of this will go by the wayside because of a medical emergency.

And that drives me batshit crazy.

Possibly I'm a control freak. Although, when I was in marriage counseling with my first husband, the counselor told me I didn't need to have control; I just needed to know someone was in control.

And between our lives and the craptastic world of stupid bathroom laws and shootings of all kinds and rapists getting away with it, I'm just too damn tired to deal.

So if I'm snappish or unkind, or I seem obtuse or uninterested in what you're trying to show me, please don't take it personally.

I have more than enough on my plate.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Okay? Yes. Fine? Well...

This is a Cancer Post™. Also a rare-ish Post With Bad Language™.

You have been warned.

The thing about long term medical emergencies is that life goes on around them. A few examples from this week:

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Laston is - as usual - annoyed with television commercials. Possibly even more than usual, as he was stuck in a hospital room and hates working with his phone or tablet for computer-y things. So he watched a lot of TV, and let's just say, he never again wants to buy Bush's Beans, half a dozen different drugs, or any number of potential products and services for which the ads were practically infomercials.

Not that he ever really did, but he's even more adamant than usual.

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Abby had a key lime pie to make as a belated birthday gift for her dad. She started it when I was at Weight Watchers on Friday, and - being Abby - she faithfully texted me to ask permission to turn on the oven when I wasn't home. Then she called me on the way home to ask me to get eggs, as she needs more yolks for her pie. No problem. Got eggs. Watched her mix ingredients. Watched her heat the oven (she waited for me after all; such a conscientious child). Watched her put it in. All is well.

Timer dings. I hear rummaging noises and then, "Oh, NO!"

Oh yes.

I rush into the kitchen and there is Abby, pie filling in her hair, a slightly red scorch mark on her forehead (and filling on the oven mitt that matched the above), and an aluminum pie tin folded in half, where it collapsed when she picked it up.

She got in the shower, and I got more condensed milk and pie crust.

And then she put the second pie on a cookie sheet.

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Lizzy is an interesting mix of eight-year-old inattention and scientific curiosity. She is simultaneously grossed out by the mere thought of the (nine! nine liters!) of fluid the doctors eventually got out of Laston's gut, and fascinated that it could all fit in there. 

We received her report card in the mail yesterday, and there she is, my little brainiac babygeek. All threes (at grade level) and fours (exceeding grade level) in academics, and the still-working-on-it scores in  those things like self-starter and consistent-at-turning-in-homework-on-time. She got props from her teacher for showing the beginnings of leadership skills and for sheer determination for the things she cares about. 

It's the boring stuff like that homework that she's having trouble with: the hallmark of the bright kid. 

I'm just glad she knows how to be nice to people. The origami heart she gave one of the nurses (Daddy taught her to make it) with "take care of dad" printed in it is evidence of that.

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Not everything is normal. 

The kids don't normally get piles of candy when it's not a holiday, for instance, but Uncle Steve took all three of them to QFC (the hospital gift shop was closed) and let them loose in the candy aisle. 

Thanks a bunch, Uncle Steve. 

Abby's dad took her for the weekend as usual, but he's transporting both ways this time. Usually I take Abby to him (because traffic sucks) and then he brings her back on Sunday. Thanks (and this time I mean it, unlike with Uncle Steve).

My sister took Miz Liz Friday through Saturday afternoon. This is also not usual; generally when Lizzy and her cousin have a sleepover it's at Grandma's house. Thanks, Sis.

A friend offered to make a Costco run for me. It isn't necessary at this time, but about the nicest thing I can think of just now.

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Laston, it turns out, is suffering from malnutrition. This is a combination of not having any appetite, and that his liver has thrown up its metaphorical hands and said fuckitall, so he's not absorbing what he does get. To that end, the hospital dietitian has him on an Ensure (or equivalent; I got him the Kroger brand with extra protein) three times a day, plus whatever he can choke down by way of food. 

Popcorn chicken seems to be okay in small amounts. He also didn't mind some beans (not Bush's), some yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit, and what Abby is calling Deconstructed Key Lime Pie.

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And me? I can laugh now, but today marks the first time in about twenty years that a customer has made me cry.

I won't give you any identifiers, because that would be unethical, but let's just say that my supervisor, Erinn, plucked the headset right off my head and took over the call. Now, Erinn generally shows equanimity in the face of just about everything, and even she was hard put to talk to this customer (I won't call her a lady; that term is inaccurate) without her hands shaking.

So yes, I'm almost certainly oversensitive, but this person managed to flap the most unflappable customer service person I know.

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We're doing okay, all of us.

So when you ask, and I say I'm fine? I'm not fine. 

But I am okay.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chemotherapy Sucks

This is a Cancer Post™.

Or more specifically, a Chemotherapy Post™.

Laston's liver is not fond of the chemo - as those of you reading my Facebook and/or Google Plus posts are well aware - and yesterday was the second time in two weeks that it basically said, "Screw this; I'm done with trying to filter. Someone else do it for a change."

So now Laston is in the hospital, and he's had a ton (well, five liters) of random fluid drained from his abdomen, and they will probably drain more (they don't want to do it all at once if it's more than four or five liters because that can cause blood pressure to plummet through the floor).

He's feeling pretty good at the moment, and his mom, aunt, and a couple cousins are in town to visit him. We spent a few hours at the hospital with him this morning, then went to lunch, and then came home to visit (and to receive Grandma Dianna Goodies™, which come whenever she does; this time we got some patio furniture and a couple of end tables).


The inlaws are going to go get Leanna so she can visit her dad in the hospital too, and then after that hossy visit, Leanna and the inlaws are going to retire to their hotel, while Abby & Lizzy & I come back here.

Thank Google for family, United Health Care, the Family Medical Leave Act, and my immediate supervisor, who sent me this, because he knows my new mantra.

So we'll keep swimming...

Saturday, June 18, 2016

"Just Keep Swimming"

It's my new catchphrase.

I have adopted it. Now it's mine (with apologies to Pixar, Disney, and Ellen).

Because if you think about it, this is a really good way to approach life, whether you have "short term remembery loss" or not.

Just.

Keep.

Swimming.

Oh, there were some other great lines (no spoilers), like, "Holy Carp!!"

But Just Keep Swimming is something I can remind myself to do.

So Ellen? Pixar? Disney?

Thanks.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Image

Life is all about it, in many ways. The way we look, the way we speak, our personal brands (this is not officially a political statement, but I honestly don't care at this point if it comes across that way. I'm talking about other things today). This is not a Cancer Post™.

Today at my Weight Watchers meeting we discussed (body) image, and I realized a few things afresh.
I gained weight this week, and I was full of personal recrimination at first. But then I thought about it. I had a rough week, as you know if you've been paying attention (and lots of people have had harder ones, I know. But this is apparently Self Care Blog Week for me. Live with it). Laston in the ER last week, horrific things in the news all week, asthma/anxiety attacks therefrom on my part, still being functionally female.

You know, life, but rather more than usual. This is not to absolve myself of responsibility for my poor food choices or for ignoring WW tracking most days after lunch this week. I did those things and I own them. But they are mitigating circumstances, you know? No sense in beating myself up for them; then I just eat more out of - I dunno - guilt?

Time to get back up on that horse, back on the diet wagon, "tomorrow is another day," (apologies to Miss O'Hara) and etc.

Or to put it another way, in the words of my WW fellow traveler Joni, "Be positive about what your body can do."

Our meeting leader had us write down one thing we each like about our bodies (I have nice calves; they're strong and shapely) and what they can do or have done that is impressive.

I grew two human beings in mine, and if they can avoid these body image issues (so far so good, for the most part), then I have not only grown them in my body, I have helped to shape them into decent humans who honestly don't worry overmuch about what they - or other people - look like.

Because look at these two, on the first and last days of school. No body image problems here. And I like to think they extend that to others, as regards everything from body shape on down the line of "differences."

There's a reason my eight-year-old tells me I'm not fat, just "soft." Fat doesn't enter into her list of adjectives, and to her, my cuddliness is far more important.

I think that's a good image to have. My personal brand as the "cuddly mom."