Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Even Duds wanted in on the action. This crazy mutt loves the snow. I am pretty sure he had icicles coming down his chin. Crazy bastard. ;)

This one is after she was inside and warmed up. Very proud of herself, snuggling w/ her baby (who she insists on keeping her naked all the time).

Love these pictures... This was the weekend of the big blizzard. Jake had lots of shoveling to do and Layla said she wanted to help. We were amused by this, since the last time we bundled her up for a day of fun in the snow, she took one digger and got a tiny bit of snow in her mittens and it was all over from there. She wanted to go inside, have some juice and watch Sesame Street. We tried to push her to toughen up, "get back on the bike", etc., but that little stinker just wouldn't stay outside with us. So when the snow was falling like a mother this time around, Jake and I sort of giggled when she said she wanted to play in the snow. But she did it. She played with Jake and trudged through the snow and had a blast. She was so cute in her gear all bundled up. Reminds me of "The Christmas Story" where the younger kid (why can't I remember his name right now?) is so bundled up he can't put his arms down. She didn't look super enthused in the picture by the tree, but that's because she was playing the "serious" game with me. Also known as the staring game ... she tries to stare me down and whoever smiles first loses. Too funny.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thanks for letting me count on you

Said best by Bruno Mars... Here's my thank you to all of you who've stood by my side over the past couple of months since, well, let's just call it "Drop Day" (because all I remember about that day is dropping to the ground like a ton of bricks). Take a listen (Count on Me, Bruno Mars):

Most of you know where we're at now in our journey, but for those of you who don't, I'll give you the super short version only because as selfish as it might sound, reiterating this starts to wear on me and sometimes I just want to stuff all the info, fear, worry and all that comes w/ it into a huge trash compactor. With that said...

Last week Tue we met w/ Dr. Raizer at Northwestern (Robert H Lure Cancer Research Center). He confirmed the big question, which was does "aggressive" mean cancerous? He said that yes, it does. Before you grasp your chest and gasp for air, please remember that the tumor, Thank God, has been removed. But this type of tumor (hemangiopericytoma) is very rare and very aggressive. So, Dr. Raizer's recommendation is to go ahead with radiation treatment. First, he wants me to have a bone scan and CTs of my chest, abdomen and pelvis. This will show us whether there are any traces of anything anywhere else in my body ("hot spots"). After that, I'll have another MRI so that the doctors in Chicago who reviewed my case can get a more clear picture of my brain (the last MRI from 11/22 was still not 100% clear due to surgery). The next MRI will then help the doctors decide which type of radiation I should get - gamma knife, which is a one day procedure that pinpoints one specific area or "regular" (I don't know what it's called dudes) radiation that treats a larger area.

Right now, my days are spent on the phone, scheduling appointments, asking questions, transferring records, explaining my "case" since day one, and making decisions (lots of which I'm not sure are the right ones). It's like having a new job, really. And let me tell you, the job I have at Wells is WAY better. I am lucky if I get one day where I am not on the phone or email w/ some sort of medical person (yes, email. Dr. Raizer actually gave us his personal email addy). I'm thinking about someday becoming a health advocate where I can stand by people who are taken off guard the way we were with some sort of health condition, and have never been through all the nitty gritty that comes w/it. Because I know that when this all started I just listened with wide eyes and nodded. Not now people. Now I'm bossy (right, right, I know, not very different than before, but this time, I'm talking fire out of my nose bossy), persistent and sometimes a little irrational. So if you or anyone you know is going through anything like this, and they want to chat about how to get what they want from doctors and anyone / thing relating to the medical field, just let me know. It's called march your ass into the office / facility and say, "Give me my records and all the other shit you have and I'm making sure they get to the right place." (Thanks for cheering me on, Jenny.)

With all of that said, I'll leave you with this (so you don't think I've lost it or am someone other than myself): Please don't think that as my friend or fam member you cannot talk to me about your life. About the everyday things that are happening with you. About the fact that your week has sucked a big one because your furnace broke, your husband (or wife, back off dudes) is being a neanderthal, you have a ton of shopping to do, your kid is being a misfit, etc. Hearing about your every day lives is helpful for me. I'm finding that some people think they can't talk real w/ me because of what's going on and to be honest, when you give me the edited version of your lives, I want to return it and pay a little more for the unedited version. That's why they're always priced higher and are way better, right?!

Please go out and have a drink or a shot or something for me (cuz I can't until like flippin May). While you're at it, crank this one up. It's one of my favorite's right now and Pink is on my list of people to meet. :) Raise Your Glass -

(For our mature audience, you can just copy and past the URL links noted above into a new browser window and hit enter. Find the song I'm leading you to and click on the little play button; also known as a sideways triangle.) ;)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Tree Farm

Yesterday morning, The Sherman's made their annual trek to the Christmas tree farm in Hartford. This place has is a gold mine... They sell trees (obviously) but take you out into the field to pick your own tree. You can tag it and have some dudes come chop it down and bring it in for you, or, if you're married to a lumber jack, you can take one of their saws and have your husband chop it down, then trim the ever loving crap out of it right there in the field and drag it in. Then they mark your tree and tote you and a bunch of other frozen families back to the starting line for hot cocoa and maybe a glimpse at Santa. Layla was lucky enough to get to sit on the tractor with Santa because, believe it or not, daddy is friends with Santa!!

I was so happy to be able to get this tradition in this year. Things have been so busy with doctors appointments, recovery, and Jake's hunting schedule. I wasn't sure if we'd be able to go all out this year. Then, after I tried to get Layla out yesterday to at least make a snow ball with me and she had a meltdown because she didn't like the cold, I wondered if we should even go (okay, and also because I didn't want to freeze and was tired even though it was only like 10 a.m.). But Jake made it happen and it was great. We all came home and crashed for the afternoon. I'm still burned out from that extravaganza, but I'm happy we made it happen.

Off to Chicago to see the oncologist tomorrow. Wish us luck. We will have lots of information after the appointment and I'm hoping it's all helpful and good. Wells Fargo friends, I will be in touch as soon as possible to be sure no one is doing my job better than I did and hopefully give an update as to when I'll be able to come back! :)