Monday, January 14, 2013

Apple Power Returns

I passed two huge milestones last week. I started back to work and also starting running again.

Last Wednesday was my first day back in the office. My kind, and thoughtful, work group had decorated my desk with signs and orange streamers and balloons. The decorations were orange which is the official leukemia color (like pink is breast cancer every cancer has a different color - who knew...). They also gave me a standing ovation as I walked onto the floor. With each step I took my face got progressively redder until I was a nice bright crimson.

Those of you that have known me for awhile know that I have a long history of blushing. In fifth grade, my class had assigned seats at lunch where we were alternated boy-girl-boy-girl. At lunch, the boys that sat next to me liked to see how fast they could make me blush and they called it "apple power". Many years later, after my first assignment on Pringles at P&G, one of my going away gifts was a can of original Pringles (which comes in a red can) with Mr. Pringles face colored in red. My ability to blush had not gone unnoticed!

I realized enough people have commented on my red face over the last week as people have said nice things that my blood levels over the last year plus must have seriously curtailed my blushing, but it is back!!

My other milestone activity from the last week has also been turning my face red since I am both old and out of shape. Each run I have done has felt a little better. My "longest" run has been 3 miles. I am hoping to get back up to 4-5 miles a run soon and then can work on getting my speed back. (Mom, I promise not to push myself too much or go too fast.)

In addition to my return to work and running adding color to my face, these new activities have been making me tired. Luckily the girls and Chad have been very good about letting me get sleep.  Today felt easier than any day last week so hopefully every week I will feel a bit better.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Car Talk

This will be nothing like NPR’s Car Talk Show. When my sisters and I turned 16, before we got the “license to the car” after we got our driver’s license, one of our parents took us down to the other end of our street and made us change the tire on the car. Thanks to being female, and a firm believer in the benefits of a AAA membership, that is the only time I have ever changed a tire. So I am not even qualified to call into the esteemed Car Talk Radio Show.

This post should probably be called car conversations. Growing up my mother always knew she had a captive audience in the car and that is when we got all the talks. Our children, being as precocious as they are, have figured out the benefits of having a captive audience in the car already. Lately it has been taking the form of telling us riddles.

In case you have gatherings coming up where you are looking for something to say, or to lighten the mood, I will share a few. Warning: use at your own risk. They are most effective with an elementary age audience (or with the young at heart).
Riddles (answers below)
1) What has a room that you cannot go in?
2) What does "t_rn" mean? (read as "t-blank-r-n")
3) How do you make seven even?
4) What room can ghosts not go into?
5) What has fingers but no bones?

So had a big round of doctor's appointments today. I am feeling like a bit of a riddle. My hemoglobin was up, my platelets were flat but my white blood cells and neturophils were down a lot. Despite that my doctor cleared me to go back to work. Early February I will have a lot more tests then in March/April the bone marrow biopsy will be redone to see if the cancer is in total, or partial, remission. Until then am going to work on resuming life as normal. I have been bad over the holidays on blogging and expect it to get worse and move to something more like once, or twice, a month!

Hope 2013 is off to a good start for everyone.
1) A mushroom
2) No u-turn
3) Drop the "s"
4) The living room
5) A glove

Snow Sledding, Skiing, and Shoveling

We just missed having a white Christmas by a day. As Margaret said though, it has been a white Kwanzaa.  This is the first snow the girls remember seeing coming down. We went to Harbin, China, a few years ago to see the famed ice sculptures and we got in some ice sledding, a trip to the ice bar for hot chocolates, and a few (yes, a few) trips to the Tiger Park. There was lots of ice but no snow coming down.

They have been so excited to wake up and see what it looks like each morning. The girls have been catching snowflakes on their tongues. They have been doing experiments to see if dirty or clean snow melt faster. They have tried sledding in the front yard, the back yard, and at the park up the street, Mt. Storm. We drove up to Mt. Storm the other day and there was a “Road Closed” sign halfway across the road. We decided to forge on and were glad to see the parking lot was packed. Our neighborhood clearly decided it needed to be open because the sledding hills there totally rock (yes, I stole the girls sleds and did a few runs and proved the more you weigh the faster you go).
We went to meet up with my sister, Robin’s family, and parents at Wisp Resort. The cousins are great skiers and sold Katherine and Margaret on trying it. Chad skied for the first time in 10 years. I sat this round out and just got the girls situated in ski school. I am working to get strong enough to ski when we head to see Chad’s dad, and very nice stepmother, in Breckenridge.
I spent a fair amount of time in the lodge listening and watching to the others at the resort. What I have seen is that the happiest adults are those "sans" children. Those with kids the ages of mine are snappish and frustrated. There kids are sullen and snappish. Really makes me feel so much better. Katherine and Margaret were excited about trying skiing. At the time of drop off at Ski School Margaret was still excited but Katherine was overwhelmed by the crowd and commotion, and was very decidedly not excited. After clinging, tears, and my direction to her that she would have to pay us back for the day if she did not try it she drug her feet in reluctantly. After 30 minutes I got the call she would not talk to anyone. I came in, we talked, and then I helped her get boots and skis and the event was reset. She was also helped by getting outside and no longer roasting to death in her gear in the ski school room.  It was a painful morning.

In contrast to ski morning, Katherine got her ears pierced last Sunday as her 10th birthday present from Chad and me. You could tell she was nervous but she knew she wanted to get them pierced. We went to Claire’s. She quickly chose her earrings, hopped up in the chair and she barely flinched when they pierced her ears. Chad and I on the other hand were choking back the tears that our baby had earrings and looks so much older (at least to us). She has totally taken care of them and been so responsible and mature. I guess the difference she has been wanting to do this and while she has been excited about skiing when we have talked about it, we are the ones that wanted her to try it (but still really hope she likes it sine the rest of us like it!).

We have had some growing pains at the Withers but aside from that are mostly feeling good. I am feeling stronger and doing a bit more each day. I have something funky going on with my right arm and is hard for me to pick up things and have shooting pains if I try to grasp things like an iron, or juicing a lemon, or anything like that. I am definitely feeling more and more like myself and less and less like someone with cancer. All and all a good Christmas present and a great way to start the new year.