The weather has been incredible the last few days - low humidity, 60's at night and high's in the upper 70's/low 80's. Makes me ready for fall!
Rory is so funny. She likes nothing more than to do chores around the house. Especially when Camden/Brian are gone, she wants to stay busy working around the house. Who am I to argue with a kid who wants to clean bathrooms for fun? Peel carrots? Sure! Make all the beds? Knock yourself out!
My sleeping woes are well-documented, but I've recently had a new scenario repeat itself. I'm so tired that I go to bed and can't remember it the next morning. Like literally have no memory of going to bed. And the reason I'm so tired? Because I am regularly waking up at 1:00 on the dot and staying awake until 3:30ish. Awesome.
I bought Heather Bailey fabric nearly 8 months ago with plans to make pillows or a throw for our living room. I gave up that idea long ago (because, really, who was I kidding?), but thanks to my mom, my couch is sporting some new pillows. I LOVE the bright colors, and there's more on the way. Now if I could only get our family canvas hung up on the wall.
Over the last 7-10 days, I've heard in a myriad of different ways the following concept. There's nothing you can do that will make God love you less. Nothing. And the overwhelming enormity of that fact is what motivates us to *do* for God.
Because Brian and Camden were out camping last night, I let Rory sleep with me. Sleeping in our bed is never something we've done regularly so it's a big deal. Watching Sesame Street in bed almost made up for feeling left although I have to say Elmo is just as annoying as he used to be. And isn't almost 7 a little old for Sesame Street?
I did 3 weeks worth of Project Life yesterday, which is a good step towards being caught up. I also discovered that I never did my June Favs page, which isn't good because it's time for July Favs already!
This morning marks the beginning of our last week of summer, and it is blissfully uneventful. After the whirlwind of trips and doctor's appointments recently, I am looking forward to a slow week. Brian is taking Camden camping for his annual birthday trip and the whole family is making a fast 1-day trip to Missouri to visit both sets of my grandparents (as well as my parents who happen to be visiting), but today's agenda includes only 3 things: baking chocolate chip cookies (Camden's request for campfire food), cleaning 2 bathrooms, and Project Life.
Saturday I drove to Nashville to meet my friend and fellow chemo buddy (from my original diagnosis and chemo). It was both difficult and cathartic to relive those long, hard days and exchange war stories. We both have quite a few, unfortunately. (Hello, Barbara and Audri!)
Saturday night our church was involved in a community movie at the park. We handed out raffle tickets as well as church cards. Sunday a new family to our city attended church as a result. It was a great thing for our kids to experience since they handed out the majority of the church cards. Camden, which is typical for him, was very reticent to approach people, but he and Rory quickly turned it into a competition. Also typical.
And a pedicure for Rory Sunday afternoon.
She giggled through the entire thing. Those missing teeth kill me.
After a 14 hours in the church van, we arrived home last night about 8:30. It felt so good to wake up in my own bed and then have a quiet hour with my coffee before the kids got up this morning.
Our trip was kind of a whirlwind, and despite being a tad anxious about it all, we had a great time. It was good to see old friends, as well as connect with some newer friends. Our main reason for being at the conference in Tampa was to be commissioned by our denomination as church planters, and while being on stage in front of thousands (literally) of people was a bit daunting, it was also moving. I thought many times how blessed we are.
By 11:00 this morning, we had everything unpacked and put away; laundry going; grocery list made. Rory is outside playing school while Camden is thoroughly entrenched in the lego land that is his room. I'm working on laundry (and blogging) while Brian runs a few errands. We're taking it easy today because tomorrow and Sunday will be busy. The last 3 weeks have been kind of insane, but I'm looking forward to this next week - the last for Brian and the kids before school starts.
I did not take a ton of pictures because we were on the go so much, but here are a few.
My kids made the convention program inside cover. ;)
She went so hard during the day that as soon as we got seated for church every night, she was out.
The drive home yesterday - lots of sleeping. Also lots of laughing and good conversation.
Quite possibly the worst quality family picture ever.
One of the highlights was spending some time with Kellie and her kiddos. Including one afternoon of pool time in very heavy rain. There was no thunder so it was safe. The mamas got cool points for letting them stay in the pool.
I had every intention of taking beautiful beach pictures, but honestly it was SO bright I couldn't see a thing on my camera monitor and the wind/sand freaked me out a bit (worried that my camera was going to get sand inside) so I settled for just enjoying the moment.
Ready for the wave.
It's possible I wasn't quite as careful with sunscreen as I should have been.
Camden said the beach was even better than he expected. It was the kids first time, although I'm already making plans with the family to have a group trip next year. Three hours was just not enough.
Kids loved having Uncle Michael along. He was good for a whole lot of playing in the waves.
And one of the few big-girl camera pictures. Excuse the stranger in a bikini behind the kids. Maybe I'll photoshop her out later.
And for my own memory-keeping purposes, top things about the trip.
I've somehow just now discovered you can blog from an iPhone. How did I not know this?
Our first 24 hours in Florida have been a bit anticlimactic. What I thought was a little car sickness on our 13 hour drive turned out to be a stomach bug (hopefully the 24 kind) so I have yet to leave the hotel room. Seriously.
Good thing there's a great view.
I am starting to feel human again so hopefully tomorrow will be better. We have a trip to the beach planned (this is our one free day from the conference we're attending) so I'm hoping the rain holds off.
I know I probably sound like a broken record, but changing oncologists, a trip to WV, a CT scan, another appointment with oncologist and packing for a week in FL is a lot. I am feeling slightly (or not-so-slightly) overwhelmed and like I'm running on empty. Sleep has been quite evasive over the last couple of weeks.
We saw Dr. C this morning for my follow-up appointment, and basically the scan results are the same as the past 2 years. Since remission seems to be out of the question, stable is the best result possible. Dr. C is much more blunt and free with information than Dr. W ever was, and I admit to missing Dr. W's warm fuzzies quite a bit today. She (Dr. C is a woman if I haven't mentioned that before) even went so far as to tell me that it's not "if" but "when" I resume treatment and that I should maximize the chemo-free time I have been given. It's not as if I didn't already know that, but your not-warm-and-fuzzy oncologist telling you that is not easy to hear.
We were also able to see my CT results for ourselves (for the first time ever) and confirmed that the "widespread" little pieces are also on my liver and bladder, which means that when this cancer decides to activate again, it's not going to be pretty.
My logical head tells me we have chosen my new oncologist/hospital wisely, but my heart misses the familiar small office that I'm used to visiting. I am trading a reassuring doctor and small office for a large, well-oiled machine that gives me top-notch medical care and quick bloodwork/scan results. The trade-off is that it's a HUGE well-oiled machine and my office visits have taken 3 hours each time. Instead of a quick visit to have my port flushed, I have to make appointments and go through several check-ins complete with a pager. Instead of writing a prescription for ongoing pain, I have to have a separate appointment for their official pain and symptom management center.
And she doesn't believe in Xanax for scan anxiety. I. am. in. trouble.
The other news is that she considers me a very high risk for breast cancer (because I need another cancer to worry about?) and is referring me to their breast center to step up the screening and monitoring that I have already been doing. She said that my genetic results "boggle" her mind because with our family history, it is inconceivable that my cancer is not genetically linked to Becky's and the rest of our family. But double genetic tests say they're not related.
So really all this means is that everything is just as it has been for the last 2 years. I'll see her every 8 weeks for bloodwork and an exam with a CT scan every 16 weeks. And let's pray that this cycle can continue for longer than Dr. C thinks it will.
And because this post feels depressing, how about some cute kid pictures? In preparation for FL, I finally got these pictures from my camera to computer, but immediately decided to ignore them because 600 pictures felt overwhelming. I pulled these 3 and left the rest. For when I have buckets of time.
You do not even want to know what it took to get this picture. Nine kids.
These 3 could not be cuter. (and look at Rory's snaggle tooth - she lost it a few minutes later)
We arrived home from our family trip to West Virginia last night, and while we had a fabulous time, it was good to walk into my own house, sleep in my own bed, and drink a quiet cup of coffee this morning. Our days home are jam packed . . . you know, the whole 3 days we're home before we head out on our next adventure Saturday morning at 6:00. ;)
Today's events include a church youth event at a bounce house for Brian and the kids, 6 loads of laundry for me, and revival tonight. Before revival, we're driving the 1 hour to Nashville for my CT scan. I think I love Vanderbilt. Not only are they super accessible via phone and online, but Dr. C gave me a prescription for my contrast early so I don't have to arrive an hour prior to the scan. And I don't even have to fast 6 hours like I've had to at every other hospital. Score!
Tomorrow's events include a hair appointment, pedicure (my first since last summer - woohoo!), and a girl's night out. Brian and Camden are going to be headed to Brian's classroom to get started setting it up and Rory is having a much-anticipated playdate with a cute friend from school.
Friday we will head to Nashville first thing to see Dr. C for scan results and treatment decisions. Pretty sure we'll spend the rest of the day packing for our week out of town.
West Virginia was a whirlwind of family, food, sitting on the back porch, and lots and lots of cousin time. On one hand, it's hard to believe that it's been a full 3 years since we've seen our family, but everyone picked up as if it had only been 3 days. That's what happens when you're family. The biggest events were meeting our 2 new nephews, adopted in December by Brian's oldest brother Tim. Precious. We were also able to meet Brian's cousin's husband and baby. Alot happens when you don't see people in 3 years!
I do not have even close to the time I need to upload and edit the pictures I took on my big girl camera so I'm just going to share my phone photos and worry about the others when we return from Florida. So here goes in no particular order.
Uncle Jessica's handiwork on Rory's hair.
The youngest new nephew sleeping. This is when he's quietest. ;)
You already know these two.
Camden got up early and helped Aunt Linda cook breakfast. He was so cute helping and Aunt Linda is a saint for letting him help the whole time.
Vacation is hard on a girl.
Miley seriously latched onto Uncle Brian after the first 24 hours.
Aubri took a little longer to warm up, but Brian won her over.
Our little ginger cousin, Kinsley.
Where we spent most of our time.
We'd already celebrated Camden's birthday a little early, but celebrated with donuts on his actual birthday.
Cameron is one tough little dude, but we got a few snuggles out of him.
Splitting a sprite 3 ways.
Aunt Melissa and Levi. I totally bribed him with pictures on my phone to get him on my lap.
Thank you, Uncle Tim, for traveling money on the way home.
Aunt Jessica and my kiddos.
Yes, my Lewis sister *does* look better in the morning than I do. Love her. Might have shed a few tears when I hugged her hello and goodbye.
The three amigos. Amigas? The three girls.
Ashton led us in a devotion Sunday morning. Impressive, no?
She lost not one . . .
. . . but 2 teeth in one day.
Uncle Tim's life mission is to make it to the blog. He can now die a happy man.
Uncle Tim again . . . with his eyes open this time.