Let’s Talk Shrinkage

Friday is a day Mom has been waiting for 9 fast and slow weeks. Paula is leaving us for a while – that’s right, we’re through the first leg of the relay. The first block of chemo rounds is finished, and we’re waiting for a surgery date.

What else is new? Shrinkage.

That’s right.  It shrinks. Mom had another CT Scan to update the surgeon in a couple weeks.

Drumroll please….

We’re down 2cm.  4.8 to 2.8!!! That’s practically half!

Liver – clear! Lungs – clear! Kidneys – clear! Every major organ you can think of (besides the stomach of course) CLEAR!!

Can I get some big ups!?!

There’s just one small but.

One rogue but actually.

One rogue lymph node.

Was 7mm now 10mm.

BUT since it’s best to bookend bad news with good news – that uncooperative little bastard of a node is right near the shrinking tumour, and will be taken out with the surgery.

So it’s practically ike it’s not there at all… that’s the way I’m looking at it anyway. 🙂

Message from Mom: “It’s the best I could hope for. Now all I have to do is behave myself for the next 4 weeks.”

“Oh Paula I’ll miss you” – said no one ever

Two Years

When the calls and conversations
Accidents and accusations
Messages and misperceptions
Paralyze my mind

Busses, cars, and airplanes leaving
Burning fumes of gasoline
And everyone is running
And I come to find a refuge in the

MeaghanDan_0374_Crop

Easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay

Monkeys on the barricades
Are warning us to back away
They form commissions trying to find
The next one they can crucify

West Photo-2047

And anger plays on every station
Answers only make more questions
I need something to believe in
Breathe in sanctuary in the

Easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay

Orange tie

Children lose their youth too soon
Watching war made us immune
And I’ve got all the world to lose
But I just want to hold on to the

Easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me

Mr. And Mrs.

The easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay

Easy Silence by the Dixie Chicks was the last song the Boy and I danced to on our wedding day.

Two years has flown by, and these words have never felt more true for us.

Happy Anniversary Buddy… I know whatever this year brings for us, we’ll take it on it together.

Love always.

Round 3

She didn’t want to jinx it, so she asked me not to post until after the weekend – but to say this round was much better than the last, would be an understatement.

Mom was given an extra boost of anti-nausea meds this time, plus a handy prescription of Ativan. Between the two, she didn’t feel the need to stay in Newmarket post-chemo, she was able to make it home and largely sleep through it.

Dad and Brother got some education in how to start and stop an IV through the PICC line, which meant Mom could easily set herself up with 1 litre of saline each day Thursday-Monday.  That helped.  A LOT.  One of the big challenges last round was that Mom was so sick, she really couldn’t stay hydrated, which of course just made things worse.  Getting the saline in made a huge difference and something she’ll definitely be keeping in mind the next time around.

For now, it’s 2 1/2 more weeks with Paula the Pump, then she gets a good break.  No date for surgery date yet, but it should be sometime closer to the end of October.

Message from Mom – “What am I going to do with all my free time!”

 

Wiggin’ Out

When Mom first heard she was going to have chemo, one of her first questions was how long will I have until my hair is gone.

12 days. Not 12-15.  Not each person reacts differently.  12 days from the first round. Firm.

Since she was in the hospital, and was resolving to the fact that she wasn’t going to get out until after her first chemo, she put me on a mission – find out where to go for a wig.

I called Hairafter Salon and Spa, where my mom has been having her hair done for 35 years. Neither of us thought they’d have them there but the idea was they would definitely point us in the right direction.

What followed was one of the sweetest conversations I’ve had since this whole thing started.

Me – Hi John (John Colombo is the owner, and has been personally responsible for my mom’s head for at least 35 years), My mom has cancer and she needs to know where to get a wig.

JC – Meaghan, I’m so sorry to hear that.  What do you mean where does she go?  She comes to me!

Me – Oh really? I didn’t think you had wigs there.

JC – We don’t.  I will find her one, I’ll cut it and dye it and it will look exactly like her – no one will ever know.

Me – Wow! Okay, she’s hoping not to have spend a million dollars – this is temporary.

JC – Meaghan.  Leave it to me, it’s done.  Send me a recent picture.  I’ll order a bunch, she’ll come in and we’ll pick one, then we’ll shape it, dye it and she’ll pick it up.

Me – Thank you

JC – This is the least we can do, do not worry about it – tell her it will be perfect.

To say Mom was touched is an understatement.

She had her first chemo, and 12 days later…. still a full head of hair.  Turns out they hadn’t given her both drugs the first round, and it was the second that would both knock her down for a few days, and make her lose her hair.  The delay gave her some time, she was able to go down look at a few options and pick one.  The entire staff at Hairafter had a hand in making sure it was perfectly dyed and coifed. She took it home, and John asked her to come in again when her hair started to fall.  Once again, he would take care of it.

Thursday she went to a “Look Good Feel Better” session at the hospital, and Friday morning her hair started getting messy – so back to Hairafter she went, and to no one’s surprise the staff were nothing but wonderful.  They took her to a room in the basement, where her head was shaved and her wig styled.

 35 Years is a long time

Needless to say, it was an emotional haircut.  But having it done by anyone else – inconceivable.  Having a team of staff that were so genuine and caring made it so much easier.

Fresh from her new ‘do, Mom and Sista went off to Changes in Newmarket for some accessories.  While Mom is happy with the look of her wig, it is hot and kind of like a tight ponytail – you can’t wear it all the time – your head kinda gets tired. Changes, sells all kinds of head scarves.  Scarves in every colour and weight. Scarves for sleeping, and scarves for fashion.

The Model

Mom has been known to collect an accessory or two, and what’s extra nice is they’re so reasonably priced, it’s easy to get one for every day of the week.

A girl needs accessories

Once again, the staff person at Changes was absolutely fabulous. She walked mom through how to wrap them, encouraged her to try different styles.  And even gave her one for free, simply because it was slightly smaller than it should have been.

All in all, losing her hair has not been pleasant – as anyone can imagine I’m sure.  But luckily there are people in our world who care so much for her happiness and those that have been called to a profession that makes this whole crappy part, a little bit easier.

From the bottom of our hearts… thank you.

Message from Mom: “I was sitting here looking at this picture from your wedding… they did it. I have the same haircut as I did that day!”

Help from Mom

Yes she does – and just as beautiful.