Thursday, August 30, 2007

crazy techs and lemon juice

I had a sialogram this morning. Never had one? They're awesome. First you need 3 bouts with parotitis(mumps) collapsed salivary glands and a deflated duct. Sounds good already doesn't it? Add a scraped fender (my fault) in the parking lot, an hour and a half wait in 3, count 'em 3 different waiting rooms, and a tech that chats you up by telling you how much he hates A. Women (we're all hormonal and crazy, that's why the psych ward is full) B. Religious people (especially Christians 'cause they're so damn preachy and steal old people's money) and 3. Immigrants (learn the language). We have a winner! It's all the makings for a craptastic kind of day. All that's missing is a surprise visit from my MIL then I could die with my life complete. The procedure itself is a hoot. You lie on your back and slide until your head is hanging off the exam table. Then they insert a tiny metal rod into your salivary duct. For someone like me, that's tricky 'cause it's collapsed. So you get syringes of Real Lemon concentrate squirted into the duct. Then they probe and probe until, get this, they mimic the pain of the parotitis! "Does that hurt enough? Does that feel like it? Am I in a good spot?" If nothing else, it's given me greater compassion for my friends battling infertility. Huh? What? Well, I don't know a lot about IVF, although I'm quite confident no one is squirting lemon juice in their hoohas. They do however, spend insane amounts of time in crappy waiting rooms with magazines from the Reagan era, lab techs who treat them as another patient instaed of a person, and have other, non-citrus unmentionable fluids squirted in and around them. >: ) I'm inspired to pray more faithfully when they have even a routine check. And now, I'm going to go watch crappy daytime with Sophie - somehow that's very theraputic today.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

active or passive

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

This has been a weird year. I have been in a funk for awhile. Not really depressed, not really lonely, just a little lost. In fact, I feel like I haven't actively participated in my own life. I am just now realizing how pervasively cancer took over my life. Maybe because I (literally) could not think clearly when I was in the middle of treatment, there are so many things that happened in my life that I was there for, but don't really remember. There's a great story about me lost in a fog at Safeway over choosing flowers for my friend Jill. Or like re-financing my house. I remember sitting in Shawn's office, but God as my witness, I didn't know what my mortgage was until a few months ago when I checked back in and asked. What an unpleasant surprise that was.

It feels like a cop out to blame it all on the cancer. Spend 15 minutes on the 9th floor at Fairfax Hospital, and you'll see why I can say without false humility or trying to portray myself as a martyr that I have NOTHING to complain about. I didn't have chemo so I didn't lose my hair, I wasn't constantly nauseous, and my radiation was far less invasive than most. I had complete freedom at work as far as sick leave, and was never once made to feel like I was taking advantage if I left work early when I felt bad. Those of you who know me understand and believe when I say my husband was amazing throughout it all. He's the person everyone wants around when there's a crisis. He's human Prozac. Nothing fazes him, nothing offends. My girls were patient and understanding and made me endless cups of tea. So why am I complaining? I guess I'm just now processing the whole ordeal. It's bizarre. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I live an ordinary life and something as out of the ordinary as cancer has no place in it. Not because I "don't deserve it". I've never once felt "Why me God?" Honestly, why not me? If we all got what we deserved, we'd all be in trouble now wouldn't we? It's just too big a deal to fit into my suburban, PTA mom world.

All that to say I need to get my house back in order - literally and figuratively. I neglect my housework somewhat during the summer b/c it's too nice out to be inside cleaning. It's nothing a rainy Saturday (or houseguests coming) wouldn't fix. I'm back on points, (hello Weight Watchers), back on my elliptical, started attending (ok I've only gone 1 week, but it's at the butt crack of dawn so I want credit) an early morning small group Bible study to get my spiritual house back in order. We put ourselves on a budget that will get us out of debt (except our house - welcome to northern VA) in 5 years. I think getting structure back into my life will help me feel connected again. This is going to be a good year.

Friday, August 24, 2007

brain ache

I decided I hate money. There's a lot to be said for those communists/socialists and the whole communal property thing - if you can get past the breadlines and godless society elements. Seriously, finances stress me out. All our bills are paid, everything is current, & I'm not in any danger of that changing but I'm obsessing about money right now. Maybe it's because I've got 4 years before my oldest heads off to college, maybe it's because I have a sister 2 inches from losing her house, maybe it's four friends who've had to declare bankruptcy in the past few years - only one of whom can blame irresponsibility and foolish choices - not really sure. It's ridiculous - this is far more stressful to me than cancer was. That's not right. I have friends who have endured divorce, buried a child, lost jobs, have special needs children, or live with chronic pain. I've had solid, practical advice for my sister who has been seperated from her husband since Christmas, & had to really count every cent she spent. Now, I'm looking at having to apply that advice to my own life and I don't like it. How shallow is that? I know we'll be fine, I just need to change my mindset. I chose to have a good attitude & trust God when I found out I had cancer, now I need to have that same attitude again. It's just a lot harder this time. I guess I'm more shallow than I thought.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

vacation - argh

So we're headed off to Disney World this weekend. I'm not looking forward to it. I know - what the heck is wrong with me? It's the happiest place on earth, right? We haven't taken a family vacation the past 2 years because my health was an issue, so I thought this would be great. The kids have wanted to go since they were fetuses. I booked the trip for heaven's sake - it was my idea to go this summer. What was I thinking? It's just too much. Lines, park hoppers, fast passes, "insider tips" like always choose the line on the left because it's usually shorter... it's insane! I feel like I just joined a cult and don't know all the lingo yet. Vacation is supposed to be relaxing. The Normandy Invasion didn't take this much forethought and advance planning. Oh well. It's my own fault. I'm a control freak and I married the most easy going man since the invention of the Y chromosome. "It's fine Tracey", "Why are you so stressed?", "By the way Trace, I can't find our flight reservation and confirmation... any ideas where I might have put that?" AAGGGHHH!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

cancer schmancer revised - sort of

So in an amazing turn of events, it turns out I am cancer free. The "hot spot" in my neck turned out to be nothing more than a renegade lymph node. It was "irritated" - which, in its' defense, if someone tried to burn the crap out of me with radioactive pills I'd be ticked too - by the radiation. I tend to think attempting to boil my own ear on Mother's Day - accidentally or not - also played a part. Either way, it resulted in a false positive.

And more importantly, let's not under estimate the element of the massive amount of prayer that's been offered on my behalf. If anyone has been healed by the power of prayer, I'm definately a candidate. Not the "slap on the head", "BE HEALED IN THE NAME OF JE-SUS!" kind of way, but in the quiet prayerful supplication of my friends and family. I had a friend tell me tonight she has prayed for me every morning on her walk since I've been sick. That is incredibly humbling.

So, to all of you who prayed, even once, I thank you. My humble, and deepest thanks.