December 30, 2008

Would You Like A Little Cheese With That?

Whine on.
I am so tired. All the time. I don't feel like doing one thing. No reading, no cooking, no scrapbooking, no photography, no blogging. We have been at the mercy of our winter weather, feet of snow now being melted by buckets of rain which, when coupled with freezing temperatures, turns every surface into a skating rink overnight. We've been stuck in this house together, three of us sick with pretty good bronchial crap, me PMSing and waiting for my new synthetic hormones to kick in, feeling so gloomy and so freaking TIRED.
Whine off. Whew.

We had a lovely, small, quiet Christmas. Santa delivered the coveted MP3 player for Claire and the Pokemon Electivire Action Figure with special foil trading card for Ben. We stayed in our pajamas all day and ate junk food and I took a very long nap in the afternoon. Very Norman Rockwell in our snow-covered farmhouse with a tendril of smoke curling up out of the chimney.

Then "we" lost the Nintendo DS with the new Pokemon Ranger game in it. The house was combed top to bottom. Claire's room even got dusted (gasp!) because we had to clean it to look for the DS. Mark went through all the garbage since Christmas, all the pockets of every coat and inside every shoe and boot. This morning he said we needed to stop being so exotic in our search and go back to the basics because really, where the hell could it have gone? INSIDE the couch. Not under the cushions or beneath it, but inside of it, and it's not a hide-a-bed. Pulled the stapled netting off from underneath and out plunked the DS. Mark left for work with a smile on his face and guess what Ben is doing?

And yes, we really are leaving for Germany in 2 weeks. Just turning off the lights and walking away. And no one is "sprechening" much deutsch around here. The institute (I love calling it that, although I guess I shouldn't giggle about it too much considering my current mental state!) has awarded us a german tutor upon arrival, so that should help in communicating with the german medical system about filling the prescriptions I have to take everyday for the rest of my life and finding a good potato bread that Ben will eat! The rest is just details.

I'm planning to give the blog a little face lift in anticipation of our time in Europe, something along the lines of "Kaydub Does Deutschland" perhaps? Because 2009 is going to be my year, I can feel it in my bones. No more of the torture that was 2008; I'm gonna let it shine.

Happy New Year Y'all.

December 22, 2008

Snowed-in With Friends

By Mark

I've finally lost track of accumulated snow. 11 then 4 then 6 then 8 then some more. It's a bunch and the drift on the far side of the pass after Saturday's wind was a bit too much to attempt even with chains on the big rig.

It may sound a bit saccharin but I wouldn't want to be snowed in without my best friend and sweet love, especially since her radio iodine has finally dissipated to french kiss levels.

Claire got to be snowed in with her best friend too, and they have been making the most of the occasion.

Oh, the wonder of it all.

December 20, 2008

A Heartfelt I Love You

Today I have been married to this guy for 22 years, the kind of guy that would sit in a vinyl chair at the hospital for 2 days working sudoku puzzles just so I didn't have to be alone. Happy Anniversary Babe. I love you. And as soon as my mouth is no longer radioactive, I will be expecting the biggest smooch of the century.

It was quite the snowy adventure but we made it to Spokane and back home yesterday. We have many inches of snow here, but they have many FEET. It was impressive to say the least. My scan went well; I have a hot spot where my thyroid used to be and two small spots in my sinuses. When I go in for the next RAI scan in six months, they will be able to determine if those hot spots were wiped out by this round of radiation. I began my second hormone pill this morning and am expecting to feel fabulous any time now!

We're laying low and waiting for our next storm to begin later tonight. We are predicted another 3 to 7 inches of snow with 20 mph wind gusts tomorrow. Claire and Mark are in town getting gas for the snow blower and picking up Emily so she can be snowed in with us for a couple of days. It is so beautifully bright out today; the sun is shining in clear blue skies, but I can't even share a picture for fear of searing your eyeballs. Suffice it to say, it's a proverbial winter wonderland and we'll definitely be enjoying a white Christmas.

December 18, 2008

Dear Mother Nature

We're sorry. Would you like to come in for a cup of cocoa?

A special little elf hid these tiny festively wrapped chocolates for us to find after her departure. That little elf escaped our snow only to become stuck in Vegas since yesterday afternoon. My brother Zach is flying from Denver to Houston today to attend my brother Ray's college graduation tomorrow, so I know she's getting anxious. Good luck mom; it's the biggest reason why we don't try to leave home and take to the friendly skies this time of year!

We here on the farm are in our 24th hour of snow. Our state highway is closed to town. The kids are home from school and are probably beginning their winter break right about now. The hospital has me on stand-by for my body scan; as soon as the weather breaks we are heading to Spokane with the intention of maybe not getting back home for a while. The radiation that's been emitting from my body will eventually degrade and we might miss the opportunity for pictures. Can you say have to do this again? No way. We WILL make it to Spokane.

And to our friend Wendy who will be managing the homestead while we're away, we say "hang in there baby, it's not always this way, we promise!" And really, when you change your perspective and look at it in a different way, being snowed in is a gift of time, one that many of us may never have the pleasure of experiencing.

And then there's always the room service....

December 15, 2008

Sofa King

By Mark

We were Sofa King (say it fast) snowed in Sunday. But, it was light and fluffy, just what the snow blower likes. The grader busted through the pass late in the day. Though he didn't linger to make it pretty, it was plenty functional. Bob stopped by with Brian's plow and busted the big drift across the driveway, mostly for fun because I had blown a path through it already. Then we chained her up and busted a path up to the old place so one of his hands could move in. All in all a perfect Sunday, all play and no work!

Here are a few more of the pics if it isn't cold enough at your place to get ya in the spirit of the season. Feels like minus something out there tonight but the stars,,, oh my,,, the stars are wow.

December 13, 2008

No need to travel

By Mark

Kristi is still amazingly radioactive and winter finally came with a full force blizzard so there really isn't any need to go anywhere.

This is our new Radiation Safety Officer. I have been relieved of my duties by this young upstart. I can't get the counter out of his hands.

This is what it looked like from the door to the studio if the patient sat on the bed. FYI it sounds like somebody is torturing a lot of crickets.

The kids have learned the two most important rules of dealing with radioactivity,, time and distance. Keep time short and distance long. We even spent a little time talking about exponential functions, twice as close is four times the radioactivity. Kristi went to the basement and we were able to track her movements through the floor with the geiger counter. Great fun.

Yup,, that is as close to a foot as we get in half a day around here. This was measured in the open driveway before the wind started. It's legit! By the way the wind is blowing out there I'm sure we will be able to bury a yard stick by morning in the right spot.

The snow is too dry for snowmen and snowballs, but just right for sledding and drifting.

Me and my snow gal spent a lot of time playing. We even got the old snowmobile running and used it to pack down the big run. Bet we have to do it again in the morning,, bummer.

Hello From the Hot Zone

I am still quite radioactive, but dropping quickly, and the family is having a good time tracking my progress with the geiger counter. My pillow, my toothbrush, and my coffee mug are singing the most, well in addition to MY WHOLE BODY! Unfortunately, I don't feel very well today. Woke up and took my first dose of hormone replacement, had a nice breakfast and then spent a little time worshipping that old porcelain god. I am tired and cold and have been nursing a swell headache for days on end, but at least my food choices have been returned to me and I am savoring my mom's yummy gumbo. The weather here is frightful and beautiful, pretty near a foot of snow on the ground and the wind is blowing hard. So very excited to wake up tomorrow and see how our landscape has been transformed. I am isolated in my studio, so I'm working on Christmas presents (they'll have a little extra brightness this year lol!) and watching DVD's on the old laptop. I'll be posting pictures soon, but I need to wait until I'm a little less toxic to touch the camera. Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

December 11, 2008

The girl is hot tonight

by Mark

Kristi is currently really hot. I mean 100mCi hot. She was giving off almost 100 mRem/hr if you stood next to her. That is more exposure in 20 minutes than I've had in 2o years of research.

Here is our gal in the hot zone.

Everything is prepped for easy decontamination, and this is where most of it is going. Drink up fishes.

Just one little pill. Don't let all the Pb shielding make you nervous, it really is good for you!

We had to be in Spokane by 9am and all she had to do today was take that one pill. She didn't get to finally swallow it until after 2pm. Gotta love hospitals, eh? It did give us some time for a little mischief. We modified the bulletin board with a little white tape. Think anyone will notice?

December 9, 2008

I'm All Aglow

Well, not quite yet, but I'm on my way to the big house for my very large dose of radioactive iodine on Thursday. My first blood draw showed my hormone levels to be well above what is required for treatment and I've been on my diet for almost 2 1/2 weeks already, so the time has come. The nuclear medicine man told me that if I followed all of his directions I would be released around noon on Friday, so I'm planning to be on my very best behavior! He even said I could have a regular old breakfast Thursday morning, whatever I want, but I'm foregoing that in favor of a latte on the way to Spokane. I haven't had one since November 21 and if you know me at all, that's a really long time. I am starting to feel the effects of no thyroid hormone. My mom and I finished my Christmas shopping today (thanks for the playdate Carrie!) and I was exhausted by the time I got halfway through my errands.

Speaking of my mom, thank goodness she's here. We picked her up at the airport last Saturday and immediately drug her out to the forest the next morning in search of a Christmas tree. She was such a good sport, just put her feet into my Ugg boots and off we went. She will be taking over the job of "me" for awhile, for although I will return home on Friday, I will have to be sequestered from my family until December 19th. At that time I will have a body scan, start my hormone replacement therapy and be done with this cancer thing for awhile I hope.

It was of course raining on our expedition, but that did not dampen our spirits and we found the most beautiful tree in the meadow. We even got it home and decorated that night, although the rest of the house will have to wait for my decorative hand a little longer. And yes, I will be putting up the village lest you think I am a cruel parent; Claire and I made a deal that I would put up the houses and she could do everything else. I guess I really am letting go of the control factor this year!

And here are my two beautiful elves under the Christmas tree. I am slowly working on my December Daily album and maybe after I get home and put on my rubber gloves (oh yes, I must wear rubber gloves to touch my computer for a while) I can post a few pages from it. Until then, peace and goodness all around.

December 5, 2008

Beautiful Music

We spent the last evening in our middle school gymnasium listening to the musical goodness of all the children in our school system orchestra, from elementary through high school. They were simply amazing and way, way better than we had anticipated. Thanks to all the wonderful people in the world who love children so much that they will spend their lives teaching them how to make beautiful music. Because it must be really, really hard sometimes.

Here's our girl getting ready to leave for the concert with her viola.

And here she is in the thick of it. The beginning orchestra students got a little miracle when, unbeknown to them, their teacher arranged for the high school strings to accompany them on their songs. It was a delight to watch their little eyes light up when they realized that they were making beautiful music. They all sat up a little straighter and prouder. So sweet.

I am home alone today, all day. Ben is at a friend's, Claire at school, and Mark at work. I'm puttering and listening to music fairly loudly, got a fire going and I'm ready to print pictures and work on my December Daily album. I am feeling such a sense of gratitude for each additional day I get to spend without many symptoms. I feel they may be numbered. But my mom is here tomorrow, WOO HOO, and hopefully I can hold out to go cut a Christmas tree on Sunday.

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friend Shawna. Have a great day girl.

December 2, 2008

Hello world.

I'm crawling out of the turtle shell known as recovery from surgery and looking around for a new shell in which to pass the time of hypothyroidism. I met with my surgeon yesterday; my scar looks fabulous!! and the pathology report confirmed the diagnosis of papillary carcinoma in both lobes of the thyroid. While we were in Spokane, Mark and I took care of most of our Christmas shopping (and don't get mad at me because I'm AHEAD, for cripe's sake I may have to sleep through Christmas!!) and had a pleasant, back-road drive home in the sunshine that burned off our perpetual fog for a few blissful hours. I start tests tomorrow to track the level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone in my blood so that we may determine when I might enjoy a lovely stay in isolation at the Hotel Sacred Heart in Spokane.

Both of my brothers called me today. I hardly ever talk to them on the phone and then for both of them to call me in the span of a few hours was delicious. My youngest brother Ray is making plans to spend a couple of months touring Europe while we have a home-base for him from which to foray out in Germany. He is graduating with a BA in History later this month and is doing some worldly exploring before entering Law School. My brother Zach called to share with me some most excellent news about which I'll encourage you to let your imagination wander. Suffice it to say they were both little golden sunbeams for me on this most dreary day.

I picked Ben up from Kindergarten today for the first time in a while and I wish I could paint a picture of the relief and joy on his face when he saw me there. Even though I cannot help what's happening to me, it doesn't keep the "mommy" guilt from descending, especially as we're heading into the holiday season. We're keeping things quiet and minimal around here, but Claire absolutely put her foot down when I told her I wasn't planning on setting up the Christmas village this year, claiming it was her very favorite part of it all. So added to Mark's list of "Honey Do's" is fetch the boxes from the basement, it's decoratin' time!

Loving this right now and hoping to participate. Some angel of a mother-in-law left a little gift certificate for me to our local scrapbook store and I might head there tomorrow after blood tests to purchase a few new goodies. Plus I could use a few hugs.