Plan Me

A friend of mine has told me repeatedly based on her current experience as a mother of 2 teenage girls, Plan A – don’t have children. Plan B – if you choose to disregard the sound advice of Plan A, make sure they have some sort of skill they can exchange for money in their teenage years. Pretty good advice.

 

The alternate title to this post is “The Elephant in the Room: Let’s talk about why I stopped blogging.”  While it goes a while back, to post wedding writers block and new job writing overload, the most recent reason I haven’t been blogging is I’ve come off about 10 months of lethargy. I  have been hibernating.  Lazy.  Exhausted.  Those words would work too.

 

I new it was happening, but in the weeks following the completion of Mom’s chemo, I have really  realized how much of my time and brain power was going to pretending that everything was normal.  This makes sense, your brain won’t let you live in a constant state of panic – well, mine won’t anyway. When people would ask me how she’s doing, I would answer with “Great! She’s doing really really well.” Because it was true, she did do really really well.  But doing well with Cancer, doing well with the complete loss of your stomach, and doing well with a slow drip of “Drano” being constantly pumped into you is not the same as “Everything is completely normal, nothing to worry about or preoccupy ourselves with here.” It’s doing really really well compared to the really really bad alternative.  And given the choice, I think we all could have done without it, which is not something you would say under normal “really really great” situtions.

 

The other thing that’s been preoccupying me is, and I’m sure this comes as no surprise, The Boy and I decided shortly before this whole mess started that we were ready to try and make a little person. When Mom got sick, the Boy said (probably wisely) “So… should we just put this whole idea on the backburner for a while?” to which I emphatically answered “NO! Are you crazy?!”

 

Turns out, Mother Nature seems to have agreed with the Boy.  We have spent the last year feeling pretty friggin’ frustrated that two healthy people in the prime of their baby making years can’t seem to get it together.  Since I’m putting all cards on the table with this post – it never even occurred to me we would have any challenge in this area.  Not once. If not right away, then DEFINITELY within 3 months.  The thought that it would be a year later and still nothing, didn’t even cross my mind. Frustrating.

 

And when I’m frustrated, or upset, or generally need to work things out – I write.  But when I thought of writing it down I immediately thought – if I write it down it will make things true, and that seemed far too confrontational for this little introvert – better to pretend everything is just fine. Besides, what good would it do? It wouldn’t change anything, and at worst it may garner 10 comments with the sound advice of “just relax” (which FYI is pretty much the most frustrating thing anyone can say to me ever regardless of the circumstances), or “just stop trying” (which from where I’m sitting right now, seems like an option that’s available to people that are either undergoing some kind of hormone support, or already have littles, or were on the fence about the whole idea to begin with, or are going to start pursuing other options for increasing the size of their family – and at this point we’re not in any of those categories).

 

So instead, I hibernated.  The combination of acting like my mom being as sick and that try as we might things don’t seem to be going our way in our other life plans, throw a crazy hectic job with insane deadline after insane deadline… well, overwhelming would be a good place to start.

 

But the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to exhale.  At work, my temporary secondment is coming to an end, and while I would love to stay, there are exciting changes happening in my old job, and I have recently decided that I have time to wait for the right opportunity to come up for my next move, besides I’m good with giving up doing 2 jobs and working overtime on Friday night.  Mom is doing incredible – and that’s not just relatively speaking.  There’s a huge difference in her energy and her ability to manage this new life without a stomach in the last couple of weeks.  And as for Project Little Person, we’re seeing a fertility specialist who is running the appropriate tests to make sure everything is fine, but has assured us that on paper – things look good.  We are in fact otherwise healthy, and there is nothing that jumps out to say “this couple can’t do this”

 

So I made a decision this weekend.  As an alternative to trying to “just relax” I have decided to instead take on a new project.  I’m calling it Plan Me. We can all agree the winter has been brutal, and I’m really noticing the itch to get outside and enjoy any hint at spring weather I can get.  So I’m focusing my attention on all the things that the Boy and I will find harder to do when we (hopefully) become 3 (well, 4 with Gordon). The Boy and I have talked about a weekly Nine and Dine date as soon as weather permits.  My birthday present this year is a new bike to go with the one I got the Boy last year.  We’re walking the dog. I’m meal-planning and getting our food situation back on track. I’m finding new motivation to start working out again. I’m looking at vacation plans for the summer, and having just learned that we have a 4 day weekend for Canada Day, I’ve started thinking about what I can do to celebrate Plan Me then.

 

Maybe this is what people mean by “just relax” but for me, this isn’t an attempt at distraction – Plan Me still involves taking my temperature every morning, and following up with the fertility doctor.  Instead, I’m reminding myself that the hope is littles or no littles, in the end it’s just me and the Boy (who, BTW deserves a shout out for how awesome he’s been through all of this). So maybe I should take some time to be a little bit selfish, and get back in touch with the things I really like to do… like knit, and sew and walk the dog, and ride my bike and cook and bake and read, and watch terrible 90s television on Netflix and write for fun… not just for work.

 

And that’s where I’ve been.

 

Silver Linings

This is it. The final day of a long, long journey. Paula the pump finished her job overnight, and today Mom goes for one last weekly visit to Southlake to have the pump taken off, and the PICC line removed.  
 
She’s done. 
 
Everyone together now… exhale. 
 
We’ve made light of it along the way, celebrated family with cupcakes and told cancer where to go – all at the same time. I think every person in my family has used the line – “we’re really good at cancer” at least once.  We’ve picked a disease to stick with, but we come out swinging every time and today we can celebrate that we’ve kicked it once again. If you can’t laugh, you’ll cry, so we’ve chosen to laugh as much as possible.
 

The O and M on top were for the littles... we try and maintain some sense of appropriateness

The O and M on top were for the littles… we try and maintain some sense of appropriateness

We haven’t done it alone.  The outpouring of love and support on this blog, to our emails or on coffee dates has been overwhelming.  Whether it’s dropping by to check in, calling every single day when you’re supposed to be on vacation, or flat out insisting that yes you will be driving to the next appointment, no it is not a bother, and yes you will gladly wait for hours and hours while the chemo slowly pumps through – it has all been appreciated not just by Mom, but by everyone in our family. 
Bringing smiles with a touch of flare

Bringing smiles with a touch of flare


Through it all, I have often thought (and I know she has too) how people can possible fight this fight alone. It’s beyond me. 
 

Everybody on 3 - 1, 2, 3 - Fuck Cancer!

Everybody on 3 – 1, 2, 3 – Fuck Cancer!

There have been hundreds of comments about Mom’s strength, perseverance and determination.  And I’ll agree, the Olympians we celebrated last month have nothing on her. She’s been asked over and over, “how do you do it?”  Her answer, always with a smile and soft chuckle - “I don’t really see any other option.”  But I’m here to tell you as we start the long process of putting this horrible experience behind us what her secret has been. 
 

Happy Mom.

Happy Mom.

It’s you. 
 
She has drawn on your strength, on your support and on your friendship. You have made sure she knows that she is loved and she is needed and she is not alone. And by extension you’ve made our whole family feel that love too.
And so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.  Thank you for being there, for cheering her on, for checking in, for keeping track and for counting down right along with us. 
 
Thank you for being our silver lining. 
Silver lining

Silver lining

 
A friend of Mom’s sent this to me last week to be included in our #lovefor60onthe4th countdown.  I thought it was an excellent way to wrap this whole thing up.
 

The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things

Love is powerful. It can change everything in an instant…and for a lifetime. But, it’s something that’s not to be taken for granted. In fact, it’s often the little things, the compliment, the extra hug, the special effort to make your loved one smile that makes love grow. It’s not the most expensive gift, but the gift of heart that makes the difference.

Special thanks to Molls for her excellent guard dog skills. No leaf or snowflake has gone unnoticed in the last few months.

Onward and Upward – right Molls?!

Okay, so not EVERY day…

I know what I said.  Daily posts.  I didn’t quite make it but a big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent me pictures so far.  Keep them coming!

We’re in the last week, the final, final countdown. Mom went for the final change of Paula the Pump on Tuesday.  Her levels were all borderline, and there was a moment of consideration to delay her another week, but thankfully they recognized that might have killed her – so they went ahead. She has also received conformation that her PICC line will come out March 4th. Which means after months and months of taping a newspaper bag to her arm in order to get in the shower – she’ll be back to normal in a matter of days, and getting ready in the morning will stop being a 2 hour process…. you know, as soon as she no longer needs a nap after putting on makeup!
On to the good stuff – a few of you sent lots, so I’ll mix them up over the next few days.
Kirsten said while Instagram is a bit beyond her technical prowess taking a picture on her blackberry isn’t! These fat little birds remind her of her kids when they were learning to ski and skate. They’re “supposed” to be Christmas ornaments, but she loves them so much she’s decided to keep them out all year because they make her smile.

Fat Christmas Birds

Bud and Cary missed Mom and Dad in Florida this year, but they’re grateful for the sunsets there, and look forward to many more years ahead counting them down with their favourite neighbours


Florida Sunset

And Marg always smiles when she thinks of the birthday party she went to for Mom a few years ago.  She’s wishing Mom everything wonderful as she reaches this milestone!
Carol  Weldon Birthday

Keep them coming everyone!  On Instagram @60onthe4th or @gingerandgiant and use the hashtag #lovefor60onthe4th or email me meaghanweldon @ gmail dot com

Thanks to everyone I’ve heard from so far – tell your friends we’ve got FIVE more sleeps!!!

Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired

March 4th. That’s 8 days left. EIGHT DAYS!!! And you know what? It’s been a long fucking haul.  No one in our family has had a cold or flu this winter (*Knock on wood*) and do you know why? Because we don’t have time for that shit! (pardon the language but we’re all getting a little punchy!)

But the body and mind can really only take so much and Mom is currently feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  The end is near, but like the last mile of a marathon – that short distance is starting to feel the longest (or so the runners in my life have told me).
So the Sista put on her thinking cap and together we have come up with a way to bring a little sunshine into Mom’s life in the next 8 days, and to do it we need everyone’s help from near and far to cheer her on to a photo finish.
Our brilliant idea combines three things we love, social media, mom and a good hashtag.
We’re calling all photographers for photos of things that inspire you, things you’re grateful for, things that make this crappy fight all worth while. Sista signed Mom up for Instagram, (because apparently she needs another platform to try and understand it’s awesome and mom loves all things awesome) so you can Instagram your pictures and tag her @60onth4th or me @gingerandgiant and use the hashtag #lovefor60onthe4th.
Our thought was looking at pictures of all the things that you’re grateful for is a low-energy pastime that should bring more than a few smiles to not just Mom, but everyone who is counting down with her.
Not on Instagram? (well you should be – because it’s awesome) You can still participate by emailing me your pictures to meaghanweldon @ gmail dot com I’ll post some pictures each day on this little blog and maybe we’ll kill two birds and I’ll get back into the habbit of daily blogging (HA! We can only hope)
I’ll kick it off to get this party started.
Showing our patriotism at 7 am really takes a lot of us.
The Boy, Gordon and I were happy to show our patriotism at 7 am on Sunday. But we were truly grateful for a 3 hour family nap in the afternoon!
So post your pictures – be they profound, cute, inspiring or silly, and together let’s cheer this awesome lady to the finish line!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen – Start Your Countdowns

That’s right – we’re in the final count. T-20 days and the Weldon’s will officially be in remission, our favourite place to be. :)

Mom’s final chemo went well, it was a long day because she had the lab work first – but it was the final one, so it was a day well spent.

Next steps? 3 more weeks with Paula the pump until we can banish her forever.  And a CT Scan at the end of March – they don’t anticipate seeing ANYTHING on it, but they like to get a clear baseline following chemo for future reference.

And that’s it! For now, we’re counting down the days and planning a shopping trip for someone’s post-Cancer body. Because hey, if this is the silver lining, we’re going to make sure it looks fabulous!!

TWENTY DAYS!!

 

Missed one and another delay

Whoops! I missed one. A chemo round that is.  Mom is now 2 down and 1 to go.  The final treatment was supposed to start today, but she’s been delayed another week because of low white blood cell counts… again.

The bad news? Another delay means another week.  So we’re no longer counting down to February 25 but to March 4.

The good news? Another week off with no Paula the Pump.  This should leave Mom feeling pretty good by the time she goes in for the final assault, and maybe keep her from losing more weight (it’s become a small concern). Maybe she’ll get really crazy and gain a pound or two!

Either way, things could be a lot worse. And while she may be sick and tired of feeling sick and tired – there’s still light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s getting closer.

Thanks everyone for your continued love and support – sorry about missing a round, I’m back on track and staying on top of things. :)

 

Brrrr

I think the Boy misses my blog posting on a regular basis about non-Cancer issues, because this morning he generously gave me excellent blog fodder.  He’s nice like that.

As you may be aware if you live anywhere in Canada or anywhere north of he equator I can only assume, it’s frigging freezing outside.  The high today, -19C… feels like -31C.  That’s -23F for any Americans out there.  And that was the high.

BRRRR

This morning, when it was -39 our 2003 Camry with 309 000 km, decided it was too cold.  It thought better of going to work and general productivity, and made an attempt to barricade us in the house where we belonged.  That is to say, it wouldn’t start. The Boy upon realizing this, tells me we need to pull the Camry out of the single driveway so he can get to the truck that is in the garage.  I say, why don’t we ask the neighbours for a boost?  Actual Boy quote – “I’m not waking up the neighbours to boost us”  It’s 7:45am.  Not 5:30.  Our neighbours do not work shift work, and they have 9 year old, I’m pretty sure they’re up.

I go outside to find the Boy backing the car in neutral down the driveway – to go where, I’m not sure.  I go to the neighbours, ring their bell and low and behold, I am right – they’re awake.  They graciously give us their key and wish us luck. Point Meaghan.

The Boy says, “I don’t think it’s the battery, I think the engine block is frozen.  I don’t think this will work”

Well, the only thing I know about cars is when the car makes the clicky sound and won’t turn over, you try to boost it.  If that doesn’t work, call CAA.

We boost it.  It works.  Second point Meaghan.

The Boy says he doesn’t want to take the car to work for fear that it won’t start in the afternoon.  I said, I don’t want to take it to work since I work so close, the car won’t run long enough and it for sure won’t start in the afternoon.  (That’s the other thing I know about stalled cars, you need to let them run for a bit after you boost them).  I ask for a ride to work.  The Boy says, yes – he’s just going to switch the cars around.

We hit the road, we turned onto the main road, and the Boy says to me “Can I drop you at the corner? I have to go.”

Are you serious?

Yes.

It’s -39 billion outside.

“You have a hat and mittens, you’ll be fine.”

And he kicked me out.  And so I trekked in, on the unploughed sidewalk, uphill, in the freezing freezing cold.

My outrage was two-fold.  First, taking me all the way to work would have been an extra 2 minutes.  Literally. The Boy still got to work 20 minutes before school started.  He had the 2 minutes.  Second, who says “yes I’ll drive you to work and then kicks you out halfway there? Third, completely recognizing the distance is NOT far, it was the cold.  And the sidewalk was unploughed, which does not make for a quick walk and it did I mention it was seriously freezing?  By the time I got to work, I was frozen. My eyes hurt, my lungs hurt. My knit mittens were not definitely not enough to keep my hands warm. 

The Boy received the following text message…

 

Classic BoyDo I need a ride home? Clearly.

After much berating on the drive home the Boy was able to recognize that he was deservedly in the dog house. He went out again and got me a present.

 

IMG_1478

Tim Horton’s Hot Chocolate - “to warm you up.”

Well played buddy. Well played.

New Year, New Beginnings… almost.

Happy New Year everyone! 2013 brought us a lot of ups and downs to say the least, and this little family was happy to bring in a new year and toast to a healthy 2014.

Of course this time of year encourages reflecting on the year that’s passed, and plan for the new.  I was in a yoga class just before Christmas and during the final Shavasana we were encouraged to remember the last year, and let the images wash over us.  I can’t lie, 2013 will not go down in my books as a favourite, but there were some good memories in there too.  The Boy and I finally went on our honeymoon. Our puppy was liberated from spending the night alone in her crate in the kitchen and now sleeps comfortably on my pillow, or her new trick, under the covers, like a proper spoiled only child. I got a promotion, it may be temporary and sure, I’m currently being sucked back into my old job, but they’re still paying me more so I’ll take it! But most of all, I have spent a lot of time in one of my favourite places with my favourite people.  There’s been quite a bit of quality family time this year, and while the circumstances could have been better, they could have been a lot worse too.

But most of all, a lot of love was sent my way this year, and shared with my family. So thank you. It’s not enough, but it’s all I’ve got.

For those of you diligently keeping track – Mom should be having Chemo treatment 2 of 3 (or 5 of 6 depending on how you’re counting), tomorrow.  Unfortunately, her neutrophils are down.  For the non-medical among us, that’s basically white blood cells. Since chemo kills your immune system, they won’t do it if you’re already compromised.  Which is smart. But it does mean a 1 week delay, which stinks.  Not that a week of feeling pretty good is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that we were down to 6 weeks, and now it looks like we’re back up to 7.   Paula the pump will get ditched for a week and they’ll try again next week.

January does bring promise of new beginnings. Of course I’m hopeful that this year brings lots of positive things to share, and I promise I’m thinking about how to maintain this little blog after it’s current theme passes. All I can say for now is stay tuned.

One Down Two to Go

I think they call this the home stretch.  Or maybe this is the last leg, and 6 weeks from now will be the home stretch.  Either way, we are one chemo round closer to the finish line and I for one will take it.

Mom had her PICC line fixed on Tuesday, they were hopeful they could get it all done in one day, but unfortunately there weren’t enough chairs. So Wednesday she went in again and Paula is back in our lives.

And how did it go? WONDERFUL.  Mom came home for a long winter’s nap, but has had no nausea at all. This is what her doctor thought would happen, that she was so sick with the first rounds because she was nearly obstructed.  But now that we’ve got that pesky stomach out of the way… good to go.

She has been told that the devil in this cocktail will be exhaustion.  Flat out, dead tired, ZERO energy exhaustion.  But now that we’re in the last leg of this tour, we are all definitely rallying around the countdown.  8 weeks, 6 days.

It’s going to be a quieter Christmas than normal in our house that’s for sure, but I feel confident speaking for all the Weldon’s when I say – we don’t mind one bit.

Message from Mom – Do you think I willed the delay by saying I wished for a few more days before they killed me again? Shoot! What a waste of a wish!