The holiday season is upon us and I find that as much as I loved Christmas when the kids were little, I love it even more with them as young adults. They have a different appreciation for what the season means and their expectations are more in line with reality. We can still have magic without the mystery of Santa and their fantasies are more directed at time with family and friends than with what special gift is waiting under the tree. And they sleep later which is a real bonus!!
The cold weather is here, the wood burning stove is keeping us warm and I am busy knitting and sewing, two occupations that make me very happy. After the news of lung mets, we struggled through November. We were lucky enough to have had Mom, Mary and Kaki visiting in late October to get us past the first hump of depression. And then two of my dearest, oldest friends came to visit in November. Terry and Dede are two people that have always been in my life. I don't have any memories of life with out one or both of them in it! Our time together was more than wonderful and they both gave me far more than they realized with their visits and all the giggling and laughter that occurred while they were here. We ended the month with a visit to St Louis for a Murphy Thanksgiving. It’s our favorite holiday with the Murphys and never fails to lift my spirits.
M and C are busy finishing up the semester, final exams and projects coming due these next two weeks. Richie is hoping to take some time off of work during the Christmas break and I am working my way through the second round of topotecan and avastin.
So far, so good on the cancer front. My CA125 dropped last visit and that is a good indication that something is working in my favor. At this point, I feel so jaded that I am not too excited, don’t want to get too hopeful because I don’t want to be disappointed anymore. The side effects are relatively easy to handle. I have 24-36 hours of nausea after each topotecan infusion and as it affects my bone marrow, I feel the familiar exhaustion that comes with chemo. I have few responsibilities outside of the house so this is very manageable. I take my first treatment at the cancer club at KUMed and then days 8 and 15 are here in Lawrence. We have an incredible regional oncology center at the hospital here in Lawrence. My doctor is just amazing, a real fighter and a fantastic patient advocate. I love each member of the nursing and office staff. They are so sweet to me and are quickly becoming like a second family. If I have to do this, I am so glad to be there.
M is busy applying to college. She has applied to about 15 different schools, and received good news from all of them. Now we enter the financial aid phase and hope for the best. She has been awarded some scholarships so far, but will have more information after the financial aid paperwork is submitted. Charlie will be participating in the Kansas Cyclocross (bicycling) Championship this weekend and has been working hard training for these kinds of races. It’s awfully satisfying watching these two as they become passionate about their interests.
Madeline and I are working on starting a support group for teens who have a family member with cancer. We have great ideas and I hope we can find some other kids that will be willing to join the group. Madeline tells me that we just need to offer snacks and teenagers will show up. They are always hungry! My hope is to give my own children a safe place to share those fragile emotions. While I know they both have great and supportive friends, there is something about having a shared experience that makes these kinds of support groups so very important.
One final bit of news, I received the best Christmas present EVER yesterday! For those of you who know Mary and Kaki, you know they are the BEST Cardinal baseball fans and go to spring training every year. And this year, I am going also!! I have wanted to go and be with them for years now, but it has always been out of reach. This year, Richie and I decided that I just had to go and of course, Mary and Kaki and Mom were supportive of that. So my apologies to real baseball fans who think they should be going in my place, but I will cheer hard and have a great time with my sisters (except for my sister Chris - sob!) and mommy!!
There isn’t much more news to share. Thank God. No major sickness or setbacks. Richie and the kids are healthy and everyone seems to be managing the stress of cancer, and of life in general, pretty well. I sure do like these kind of updates!! I hope that the holiday season brings joy and love to all of you. Thank you again for helping us to get through another year. Next July, I will have made it through five years of cancer and I am so very thankful to have had all of you by my side during this adventure. Lots of hugs, love and kisses!!!!!