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Friday, October 11, 2019

Five on Friday (October 11, 2019)

It's October 11 and Tennessee has finally, finally, finally cooled off a bit (last week we were still in the 90's). It's the hottest September on record in TN. All 4 of the Lewis family members listed cooler weather on our list of things we were thankful for this week.

1. Brian's 98 year old grandfather passed away mid-September so we made a quick trip to east TN. This is our fourth funeral of 2019 and while they are all sad, the time with family has been a blessing.

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2. Three days after returning from east TN, I left the house at 3:45 a.m. to catch a flight to Orlando with my co-workers for the annual D6 conference. Brian joined me the next morning (and he left the house even earlier!).

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3. Three days after returning from Orlando, I spent the day at Vanderbilt for my third round of my current chemo drug. Thankfully, this round has been significantly easier than the previous two (although I woke up vomiting two mornings in a row so not necessarily a walk in the park). After the next round my oncologist will check on how effective this drug is with blood work and a scan.

4. We celebrated Rory's 13th birthday before my trip to Orlando, but we were gone on her actual big day. Aunt Liz saved the day by taking her out for macaroons which has been on her wishlist for a quite a while.

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5. I've read several good books recently, mostly quick, light reads. Here's a quick rundown.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati (not quick or light, but good)
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

After a rough week for Brian (and just a plain long one for me), we're celebrating my dad's birthday tonight, spending tomorrow running errands, and tomorrow night at a church event. Fall break is next week, and we are all so ready! Happy weekend, friends!


Friday, September 13, 2019

Five on Friday (September 13, 2019)

Round two of chemo was last Tuesday and it took a solid week before I felt myself again. Thankfully, I have a bit of extra time before the next one because of a work trip.

I have no actual pictures from the past 10 days, but I did find a couple of not-Instagram worthy photos that are sentimental to me.

Camden and I watching TV together; he's a giant these days.
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1. We're setting heat records even though it's mid-September. I burned a fall candle, bought a cardigan, even jumped on the pumpkin spice cold brew wagon and it did nothing to usher in cooler temps. We're all ready for summer to say goodbye.

2. Speaking of chemo, I'm not supposed to completely lose my hair this time, but my eyelashes are definitely falling out and my hair just feels strange. While I don't noticeably see it falling out, there are definitely thinner spots and it looks dull. I'm trying to be glad it's not gone altogether.

3. And while we're still on chemo, I had the crazy idea of trying to count up how many chemo treatments I've had over the past 8 years. Maybe it wasn't a good idea because it's a little depressing? Maybe reassurance that there's a reason I feel sick all the time? Since May 2011, I have had a grand total of 86 chemo treatments using 10 drugs in addition to about 14 months of Tamoxifen which is an oral drug. Sheesh. Did I mention the ER doctor visibly gulped in disbelief when I mentioned 8 years of ovarian cancer to him?

4. Camden drove the family for the first time this week. Rory nervously giggled hysterically from the back seat the entire time which did not please him at all. I don't blame her. It's just weird. And doesn't feel safe.

(Sidenote: he drove us to a watch party for the current season of AGT. Our friend Jason is part of Voices of Services who made it into the finals. So fun!)

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5. Book club was this week, and we've had more serious books with heavier topics to tackle the last couple of months so I wanted something lighter. I chose A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, which is a YA retelling of beauty and the beast. I finished it in 2 days because it's a total page-turner. The only downside is that it's a trilogy (which I did not realize) and now I have to wait for the next installment. I do love a good series!

The kids have physicals today (I skipped them last year) so we're making a trip to Nashville this morning. Brian has an early release day so when he finishes up, we're going back to Nashville to visit a friend in the hospital and finally eating hot chicken with Camden. Have a great weekend, friends.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Five on Friday (August 23, 2019)

Rory says "good morning!"

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1. Event #1 in the Lewis household this week was a very unexpected 36-hour trip to the ER. I was very, very sick and signs were pointing to a quite serious complication related to cancer. After many tests, the very last one cleared me. My oncologist says she can't quite explain what happened, but I'm on several new medications and we have the knowledge that a tumor is pushing against my liver and compressing the bowel. But it is not blocked! Dr. C says maybe chemo last week made the tumor angry, maybe it blasted it dead, or maybe not. Only time will tell. I'm feeling much better but tired and weak. I am a professional public vomiter, which is not a title I want to keep. I managed some coffee this morning which means my caffeine headache is gone.

2. Any longtime blog readers remember the early days of my cancer diagnosis and all the hospital stories? (My favorite involves when a man's pair of underwear showed up in my hospital bed after surgery. Yikes!) Well, 36 hours in the Vanderbilt ER gave me new stories. That place is a noisy, filthy war zone (although I was incredibly impressed with how calm the doctors and nurses remained). For instance, there was a prisoner in an orange jumpsuit with his own armed guard in the room next to me. And the time they performed a medical procedure on a patient who needed no less than 5 nurses holding him down. Scalpel, blood, screaming, and all. We saw police officers running down the hallway multiple times. The very narrow hallways were lined with patients in beds and wheelchairs. I am so thankful that I had a room at least!

3. Rory likes to make up her own phrases. Instead of saying "Oh, shoot" she'll say "snap crackle" or "fiddlesticks." This week that phrase has been, "Oh, sugar nuts."

4. We've been pulling out old movies to watch with the kids and last night was Robinhood: Prince of Thieves. Definitely darker than I remembered, but I don't think they had nightmares so we're all clear. Last week was School of Rock. Next week is going to be Anna and the King.

5. I've read several good books lately. Here's a short list:

The Tubman Command by Elizabeth Cobbs - historical fiction about Harriet Tubman
Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith - a cute teen love story that wasn't too sappy
Girl in Translation by Jean Wok - would have been a 5-star read for me if the ending wasn't so abrupt
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead - I didn't like this one as much as the author's previous but still enjoyed
Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl - my first food memoir and after a slow start, it really did read like fiction

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Our weekend should be uneventful. Let's hope so anyway! Rory is meeting friends at the mall this afternoon (a first for her and I don't quite know how I feel about it) and that's the extent of our social life.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday (August 16, 2019)

I don't have a list of 5 this week, just one big thing. Several weeks ago a CT scan showed "not subtle" growth (Dr. C's words) which means it's time to begin chemo again. While I wasn't surprised by the scan results, it's still hard to take. This is maybe the only time I've moved into the chemo routine with cancer-related symptoms, pain, etc. and I thought it might help me embrace the chemo as a gift, as life-giving, etc. But I just can't. I've tried to be grateful and I just hate it instead. Tuesday was the first round of this newest drug and despite the prediction that this would be a much easier drug to manage than the last one, I've been quite sick for the last 3 days. Thankfully, I will only need to have infusion every 3 weeks instead of weekly. I know that things will settle down, and our whole family will become accustomed to the chemo routine again, but it's been a hard week. My parents have been so helpful with the kids and even brought my favorite comfort food (homemade chicken and dumplings) for supper. 

I'm happy for the weekend. Nothing better than Friday night at home with Brian and the kids; it's always been our favorite downtime. Depending on how I feel, we have a little morning trip to the farmers market planned for tomorrow and hope to attend a friend's soccer game in the evening. Happy Friday, friends.

*****

 Eyes on the road, please.

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I see the blog background is messed up. It's okay - I haven't updated in over 8 years so I guess it's time. Now if I can only figure it out!

Friday, August 09, 2019

Five on Friday (August 9, 2019)

I'm not going to even address the fact that I skipped blogging for the entire summer. Yikes! I'm writing a summer recap post so we don't forget summer 2019 but it's not ready. For now, let's jump back into memory keeping because if I don't get to it, maybe I never will.

1. Today marks the end of the first full week of 7th and 10th grade. Both kids were ready to go back although Rory balked a little more than Camden. We're entering the season of electives, which means Camden has added and dropped classes this week. I believe he ended up with 4-5 honors classes and his electives are Weightlifting and Visual Arts. Because our school provides Chromebooks to 7th grade on up, Rory came home with her very own Chromebook and I'm not sure I've ever seen her so excited. This means both kids have fully entered into the digital age which terrifies me completely.

 Official uniforms this year complete with plaid skirts and branded polos.
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First night (didn't even make it until 7:30 on the couch)
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Last night (fell asleep reading her Bible with light on)
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2. I heard recently that if you don't regularly manage the logistics of being a family, then date nights quickly turn into business meetings. So we had a Lewis family business meeting (over coffee and scones) Tuesday afternoon and then passed on the info to the kids Tuesday night. Maybe now we can have date night?

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The 3 biggest changes we made for the school year: no bedtime for Camden at all and no limits on video games for his Friday night which technically means he could pull an all-nighter on the PS4 (He's 16 years old so it was time to stop controlling this, but I don't want to!!). Family devotions on Monday night, and we'll be working our way through the gospel of John; kids are to come prepared with the Scripture read, notes made, and a list of things they're grateful for from the past week. And, finally, kids are on their own to set alarm clocks and get up and out the door (Worst-case scenario they could be left at home and miss school. It won't come to that, right?)

3. I got new glasses this week. Unfortunately, I had to pick them out all on my own (because Rory was certainly no help) and I'm having flashbacks to my 5th-grade school picture with brown glasses and short, permed hair. It's too late now for a change so I'm stuck with them for the next 2 years. "Don't take this the wrong way, mom, but you kind of look like a nerd. In a good way." -Rory

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4. Rory chose contacts instead of glasses for the year. Immediately, she looks like a teenager and I don't like it. The red lipstick didn't help. Have I mentioned that she is thissssss close to being the same height as me? I cannot deal.

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(matching red lipstick)
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5. Because our schedules were so off this summer with one or more of us missing for a majority of the weeks, I've done very little cooking. We've had ice cream almost every night and Rory and I have eaten our body weight in watermelon. My back-to-school mission was to cut out ice cream and prepare meals. Here are 3 recipes that stood out: southwest chopped chicken salad, chicken salad (I used avocado instead of mayonnaise), and blueberry buttermilk breakfast cake.

Our weekend plans are family night tonight (Camden requested pizza so the dough is already rising on the stove), basically recover from the first week of school, and gear up for next week which will be much busier for a multitude of reasons. Brian and I have fallen hard for two documentaries this summer and we've invited our local family over to watch with us tomorrow night. In case you're interested - The Dawn Wall (Netflix) and Free Solo (Hulu). 

Happy Friday, friends!