MeUandMaddy's Blog

Welcome to our daily adventures with Maddy…

Category: Mia Famiglia

Vomits at the racetrack, giraffe feeding, and some great news.

When my sister and I were growing up, our parents would take us to Belmont Racetrack almost every Sunday during the summer. Since my SIL interns there, we decided to take M so she can get sort of an inside scoop of the place. It was a ton of fun. She got to go the the press-box, in the paddocks where the horses were prepped for the races, she had a blast. But before she got to do all that, she was hungry and ate a greasy pepperoni pizza at their concession stand, plus the heat and humidity AND the excitement, she was just on overdrive…so when SIL took her to the paddocks to look at the horses and then I get a text asking me to meet her downstairs because she threw up. Yes, threw up, everything she ate.
Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.09.39 AM
Pre-vomit shot. She was so excited to be here!

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Post-vomit and $20 lighter (for that foxy looking t-shirt) shot. She was still as excited to be here! After the whole vomit ordeal, she was totally fine, as of nothing happened.That’s my girl. And no, we didn’t win a thing…but it was a fun experience, vomit and all.

We spent our 4th of July in Baltimore. We love Baltimore, it’s a great place for kiddos and it’s not too far from us. J took Friday off and we headed down Wednesday afternoon. During the 2.5 hour drive, all we did was LAUGH, OMG – if you can hear our conversations, we would probably burn in Hell for all eternity but you know what, laughing beats the shit out of crying. We will laugh over anything, any day.

We had a mega fun time. M got to feed a giraffe! What a neat idea! We were bummed when we got to the exhibit and the zookeeper told us, they can only sell us the leaves to feed IF they were in the feeding area…and of course, no giraffes were in sight. So we walked around and came back, and viola – the hungry giraffe was there! Woo hoo! We happily paid our $2. for a sprig of what looks like eucalyptus leaf and she was a happy camper!

Feeding the giraffe was SO fun!

Feeding the giraffe was SO fun!

Best $2 spent during the whole trip. We also went to the aquarium and I have to say, for the amount we paid, it was really meh. Adventure Aquarium by us is better, M can pet baby sand sharks, and sting rays at our aquarium. This one was behemoth, but just not a lot of hands on exhibits. But it was an experience we had to try. During our final day, we went to the Walters Art Museum. By far, one of the best art museums, ever! We really enjoyed it. The art were amazing, M loved the Egyptian exhibit as usual (she is infatuated with mummification…don’t ask)…and I loved their Medieval World exhibit (all the Romanesque and Gothic art). It was just an amazing visit.

AND, I’d like to end this post on a good note. Last week, I went with my dad to Mt. Sinai for his follow up. I was really nervous about this visit because the last time he went in for the chest CT and liver MRI, they scared the shit out of us. They literally ordered his meds to “keep him comfortable”, basically, the death sentence. Of course, they made a mistake and after further examination, they said there were no tumors and the spot was in fact a small clot and residual from the RFA. So, I felt like, wow – we were blessed with such wonderful news, this time around, we must not be so lucky. I was a damned nervous wreck. As they did the MRI, the technician asked me to stay with her so I can talk my dad through the procedure in the machine (that MRI machine is a miracle of science!) and I was beyond tempted to ask her, do we see anything on the liver? But my better judgement told me that, she may not be correct in her reading. Why stress over it. So I kept my mouth shut and waited the 3 hours until seeing Dr. S. When we walked in, we see two other doctors in the office and of course, my heart drops. I’ve been to a few appointments with my dad, but I’ve never gone with him to see the oncologist. It was either my mom or my sister who brought him before. I’ve spoken with Dr. S. plenty of times but this was our first meeting. So, me being the ever pessimist, the first thing I say is, Should I be nervous? And suave as he is, Dr. S. says, No, why should you be? He proceeds to tell us to sit down and he turns to my dad and in very plain mandarin (I shouldn’t be shocked that he speaks Mandarin, his wife is Asian), that the scans were good, all is well. My dad was so nervous, he didn’t hear him! I had to ask Dr. S. (sadly, in English because I don’t speak Mandarin), So….everything is ok? Yes! All is well, and he is just like the last time, no new growth and in fact, the spot we suspected last time was truly just a clot. He is still on the transplant list.

We talked for a few more minutes and when he asked the famous, do you have any other questions for me, I wanted to say, you gave us great news, I have no questions. But I remembered my manners and politely thanked him for his time and went on our way.

SO, there you have it. The good news is my dad is tumor free, thank God. We will head back there in three months for another scan. As much as we hold our breaths each time, we can’t let it hinder our lives. We have to shift it to the back burner and just be happy and positive. We continue to pray and thank God for all we have been blessed with.

Ok, I will get off my holy pew now. I’ve been slacking on the blogging…but it’s just been mega busy with the research lab and working part time for the Alumnae project. But, it’ll give me the experience I need for grad school…I hope. Until soon, peace, love, and happiness to ya!

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Welcome to summer!

Well, last Tuesday, M finished first grade! FIRST GRADE! Next, she’ll be going into grad school, stop the madness! I know this is so cliche, but where did the time go? My baby is such a big girl now, still a pain in my tookus as usual, but my baby girl nonetheless.

Nothing new to report…I guess no news is always good news, especially for my dad’s end. He goes to see Dr. S, his oncologist mid July and I’ll go with him to this one. I’m not sure if I can handle it, but I have to pull up my big girl undie-pants and just GO. He will get his MRI and a CT scan w/out contrast to see if any of the tumors came back to his liver. I continue to pray, that’s pretty much all I can do at this point. He is happy, seemingly healthy, and in good spirits…what more can we ask for?

Cancer really does suck. Mirt’s close friend has breast cancer and she’s been fighting it for a few months now. She’s doing chemo and radiation, and hopefully she’ll surpass this tough time in her life. Her coworkers at the Sheriff’s office held a fundraiser in her honor on Friday and we were lucky enough to go. We had a great time and Myra looked amazing, she is one tough cookie. When her sister gave the speech, I couldn’t hold it in anymore, even though we are not close friends, to see another woman, another human being suffer and go through this is heart breaking. I pray she overcomes this hurdle, I want to tell her so much that she doesn’t have to be strong all the time, that it is ok and even important to fall apart sometimes…but I don’t know her that well, so I don’t want to overstep the boundries. I can only support her and pray for her and her family.

On a lighter note, a friend of mine from Manchester came to NYC for her second visit this past week. While I’ve never met her in real life – I met her online through the magic of our common denominator, romance novels – it was AWESOME to finally meet in person. As M & I were heading out to the city to meet them, she asked me, “How did you meet her?” SIGH…here comes the sticky conversation. How do I tell a 7 yr. old that I met this stranger online and now we are going to meet in person?! Tread carefully…

I told her the truth, that we met online because we started talking about books and ended up loving the same books…and that it is ok to meet her because, one – I am an adult, and two, we are meeting in the middle of the busiest damn street in all of the small island of Manhattan. But for good measures, I told her sternly, but you don’t ever do this! She laughs…

I met Suz and her awesome sister. We went to Central Park Zoo and then to Wholefoods for lunch, J met up with us after lunch and drove us back to their hotel.  It was a zillion degrees on Saturday, I took the to the zoo via the train but we hopped in a f’ing cab going from the zoo to 96th because I was NOT going to trek back down into the hellholes of the city to catch the train. And you know, between the 4 of us, it was only $2.50 more! It cost me a $10 MetroCard and a LOT of sweat to schelp us in the f’ing heat from 42nd to 59th! After the zoo we were just famished, so I stopped the next cab and we all packed ourselves in, I didn’t care if it cost $30, I was not getting on the train and f’ing transferring! Hell no. BUT, my beautiful UK girls got to go on the subway, see an awesome little zoo, eat yummo foods at Wholefoods AND Mister Softee and ride the NYC crazy cabs all in one day. Who says I’m not a good hostest/tour guide?! Hmph!

I love Central Park Zoo!

I love Central Park Zoo!

This poor, miserable Polar Bear. It must have been 95 degrees and he just looks sad. It broke my heart to see him so sad…gives me mixed feelings about zoos and aquariums…

When we went back to her hotel, Suz gave me a bag of goodies, I swear, M & I are SOOO uber spoiled. My friend (another online friend, mind you) from Ireland sends us packages filled with goodies and now Suz schlepped from the UK a big ol’ bag of goodies for all of us! I am one blessed girl. It was an awesome weekend, but we were famished.

Since summer has started, I did get to read A TON! I don’t get to write reviews for each one, but I do read and rate them on GoodReads. And I have to say, I’ve been pretty darn lucky because I’ve read some great ones so far! I have to add a couple to my TBR list because Suz recommended a few to me during out visit, so I will be reading a whole lot more, woo hoo!

I did recently finish a book that was sent to me, it was a beautiful story, it’s not smut, lol – it’s a beautiful romance and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Beside Your HeartBeside Your Heart by Mary Whitney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this in a matter of hours, I couldn’t put it down! What is it about UK boys that always grab my attention (and my heart)?! Beside Your Heart was so well written, and the story was so…REAL, that it wiggled its way into my heart and staked a claim. Because it shares with us their teenage years, I was worried I wouldn’t like it, but their dialog, the events, and their heart wrenching realities made it such an amazing story that I forget they were in high school! I always say it, but I LOVE when a book can make my heart squeeze and gives me that – annoying lump in my throat threatening to start crying – feeling and Beside Your Heart definitely evoked them.

View all my reviews

Another roller coaster ride.

It’s been a while, I know. To recap real quickly, I finished my semester! Woohoo! I checked for my grade everyday like a nutty obsessive fool. I knew my grades were not going to be as great as my first semester…but not too bad overall. I got two A’s, a B, and a C+. I know, the C+ killed me, I wanted to cry…but considering that it was my toughest class, I will take it with a smile and much gratitude. I am ashamed to say, my GPA of 3.75 dropped to 3.53…but as J said, considering my environment and all I had going on, it is a really good GPA.

So after my semester, I read like a mad woman. I’ve been reading one book in a day and a half. For my book club, we’re doing Lori Foster’s SBC fighters series (my favorite, Sublime). OMG. I LOVE my SBC fighters (don’t judge me, I don’t drink or do drugs or go on *irrational* shopping binges…romance novels are my guilty pleasure)…I’ve read the series a few years ago, and when I suggested it at book club (because we LOVE Lori), we agreed to give it a go. And re-reading it now still gives me heart palpitations. What is it about MMA fighters that makes me swoon…I am really looking forward to our next meeting!

M & I joined our friends and did a 5k run called Color Me Rad. It was A TON of fun. We got sprayed and pelted with colorful cornstarch every 1k or so, by the time we got to the finish line, we were a colorful, beautiful mess! This is M’s second 5k run, and I’m SO uber proud of my little baby. She actually ran it and really had fun!

Color Me Rad

Color Me Rad – the AFTER

Ok, that brings us the this week. On Thursday, after I picked up M from school, on our way home I get a phone call from J. The first words out of his mouth were, “The hospital called me.” And of course, I go into panic mode, “Why?! What’s wrong?!” and a million scenarios run through my head in that split second. It turns out that the hospital had a liver for my dad. It was from an 86 year old gentleman. They would run the biopsy and as they await the results, they want to know if we want it.

SO. Of course, my emotions kick in. As I’m talk to J getting the info., I’m in tears sitting in CVS’s parking lot with M asking me if I was ok. I don’t hide from Madison when I cry, we are all human and if we feel like crying, there is no shame in it. I don’t want her to think Mommy is a robot or that since Mommy doesn’t cry, maybe it’s not ok for me to cry. No. It is ok to f’ing cry…I cry all the time…ok, no I don’t, but I do cry. Anyway, I said yes, I’m ok and bless my baby’s little heart, she waited so patiently until I got off the phone to ask me what’s wrong. Granted, she could hear what J is saying through the BlueTooth in the car, but she doesn’t interrupt.

Back to the story. *Sorry, I tend to get off topic* My initial reaction after emotions kick in is YES, WE’LL TAKE IT! But the slightly more rational side of me demands that I make some quick phone calls. One, call my parents. Two, ask J to call my friend who is a geriatric doctor and ask for her opinion. Three, call my dad’s oncologist and ask for his opinion. I get off the phone with J and then M comes out with the inquisition:

Why are you crying? Because I’m really emotional right now. The hospital called Daddy and told him, there is a donor liver available for grandpa. So he can get a transplant. Remember I told you grandpa has an unhealthy liver because of the caner tumors? Well, the doctors wanted him to have a liver transplant to make him healthier.

What’s a transplant?  It is when they take a body part, an organ, from one person and put it in another person to help them.

What’s a donor? A person who donates. In this case, the liver donor is a gentleman.

Where is the gentleman now? *SIGH* The donor past away, baby…he’s in Heaven now.

I feel like I’ve said too much. But I don’t want to lie, and M sometimes can be either very detached and unaffected (not insensitive but just like, Oh…ok and moves on), or very inquisitive and concerned. This was not the latter. I will talk to her more about it later on, but for now, she seems ok. I’ve answered her questions to her satisfaction.

Anyway, J rushed home, thankfully it was 2:30 in the afternoon so there wasn’t much traffic. We also had the HVAC guys here installing our new unit since 9am! Luckily, my sister and my baby niece came down to hang out with us. So she had to stay with the HVAC guys until they were done and took M to her house to spend the night. While J & I took my parents and rushed to the hospital…poor J just rushed home from the city and to now literally turn back around and head BACK out in rush hour traffic. My anxiety was killing me. We had to be at the hospital at a certain time frame, it’s not like they can keep the liver or OR waiting.

We get off the GWB and were FIVE, FIVE…1, 2, 3, 4, FIVE miles from the hospital and the f’ing GPS said 25 minutes. The hospital is calling us every few minutes, Jay’s phone, my dad’s phone to ask us how far we were. It was bananas. I never hated traffic more. To know that we were so f’ing close and all this traffic stood between us and a liver transplant.

We get to the hospital and J drops us off so he can go park. We rush upstairs and like droves, the transplant team was on him. We walked in and it was non-stop.

*Mr. C? *Yes! We made it! Sorry we’re so late, the traffic was terrible. *Come with us. We have 40 mins until the OR.

OMG. Deep breathes. He couldn’t even go pee, poor guy had to hold it until they got his blood work. EKG, lab work, X-Rays, etc. As one of the doctors said, this may seem chaotic and scary, but it’s organized chaos. While I spoke with the doctors, trying to grasp this, my dad is cool as a cucumber! Dr. L kept asking if we had any questions but at the time, I really didn’t. Dr. L (I must say, he is one good looking surgeon! Ok, ok, I’m sorry, back to the event) tells us, It will be a 6-8 hour surgery. He will be here for about 7-10 days depending on his recovery. After surgery, he will be moved to Surgical ICU and we will not wake him until later on the evening since we will be going in tonight and won’t be done until tomorrow morning. We might even wait to wake him the following day. There is a chance of an infection and even a chance of death.

Wow, party pooper, huh?

My dad gets changed, goes with Dr. L down to Xray and we walk with the nurse to the holding area. Our nurse is awesome, very straight forward and kind lady…funny as heck, too. She shows us where to wait for him from Xray and where to wait for him while he’s in surgery. Told us to go get food while he’s in surgery since it’ll be a long night, and then bid us goodnight and told us she’ll see us in the morning. It made my heart warm and fuzzy because she said, don’t worry, he’s in good hands, he’ll be fine…I’ll see you in the morning. Something about her simple (perhaps even automatic) statement had some calming effects.

My dad comes back, the anesthesiologist comes to chat with us. She gives him his IV fluids. Explained that he will get two IVs, one for fluids, one for anesthesia and once he’s under, they will put a catheter in his neck for the full effect. He will also have a breathing tube fed in because it is such a long surgery. And they will not remove it until he is awake and they see that he is strong enough to breathe on his own. So they don’t want him to panic when he wakes up and sees/feels a tube in his throat and tubes/IVs in him, etc. Even after all this, he is still so calm. My God, I would be a damn hot mess.

We wait and wait in this holding area. It looks like a less restrictive ICU. Many beds with a central command center. Once in a while, the automatic doors will open in the end and if the timing is right, if the other door opens when someone is exiting or entering, I can look in and see the actual OR where they were ACTUALLY performing surgery! I nearly passed out. Bright light and people in paper scrubs & blue bouffants (as it is so oddly called as per the box of them staring at me next to my dad’s bed for 3 hours) looking down at something.

So…we met with two of the surgeons and the anesthesiologist. Dr. L comes back and explains that it may be another 40 mins. because while the liver is here, Dr. R who would perform the actual surgery (Dr. L is the fellow doctor who will assist in the transplant) is looking over the liver to be sure. The doctor who removed the liver was a little concerned with the vein but Dr. R wants to look at it now that it is here. We wait.

11PMish, Dr. L comes back and breaks the news. We are not going to use the liver. I thought for a second that I had dozed off and was dreaming. So I come to full attention and for some reason, for the first time tonight, he doesn’t look at me when he’s talking. He looks at J. From the moment I met him when we walked in, he looked me in the eyes and talked to me…even after J showed up and introduced himself. Dr. L always looked at me and spoke while looking in my eyes. And when he made this declaration, I almost wanted to hug him and say, it’s ok…

So there you have it. The doctors rejected the liver. Dr. R came out and talked to us for a while, explained that while age doesn’t effect the liver, it was a healthy liver…the vein was a different story. It was too fragile and would not have made it through the transplant. Did I want to cry, yes. Were we devastated…no. When my dad happily shook Dr. R’s hand, I saw he was ok. He wasn’t torn up or angry or upset.

Words cannot express how grateful I am to the donor. To his family. To my dad’s transplant team. I am humbled. Even though the transplant didn’t happen and we left the hospital without a new liver, I still feel we are truly blessed. All the emotions just sort of froze. I didn’t know how to react. My parents were fine. And surprisingly, I feel ok. I was worried that I would crack, but I’m humbled and I am grateful. For the blessings of the donor and his amazingly altruistic intentions, I would never be able to thank him or his family even though it didn’t work out as planned…but I do pray that he and his family knows how grateful we are. I can only pray that his family receives the strength they need for his passing and I wish I could tell them and the donor, thank you. It’s all I can say because there is no word, just no word strong enough.

To be an organ donor is such an unselfish deed. While I know there are hundreds of thousands of people on a wait list, a list that holds the power of their well being…I cannot imagine the fear, and the angst. My dad may or may not get another phone call with a donor. If I was a match, I’d do it. Scared and chicken-shit as I am…I would. While he may or may not get another call, I can only continue to pray. Pray that his MRI scans come back negative. Pray for his continued positive spirit. I continue to pray for guidence and strength. I know I can’t control everything…the more I try to control things, the more I realize just how little control I have.

I’m exhausted. I’ve cried enough writing this post. I thank God for my amazing family and friends. Without them, I would crumble. Even the most random text or email, just to say something silly, not related to my dad, it makes me smile. It reminds me just how truly blessed I am. For now, all I can say is, truly…thank you.

Until next post, I am going to plant myself into my next delicious book (hey, it keeps me sane).  Peace and love.

Last day of class for the semester, yay!

So today was my last class for the semester, woo hoo! But I have three finals and a paper for next week, so I’m not in free agent mode yet. I’m excited and nervous, all in one. I’m excited because I’m done for the semester – no more tests, no more papers, no more schlepping my tired butt to class every day. I’ll still have to get up ‘normal’ time to drop off M at school, but afterwards, I can come home and sleep! Shhh, don’t tell her though. And, I’m nervous because, I have had my bouts of depression and when I’m…stagnant, my depression kicks in. And once I’m in that funk, it’s pretty darn difficult to shake. As I’ve told my therapist, I refuse to go back on meds. It took me a long time to shed the meds, and I refuse to go back on. I’ve been free of meds for two years? I don’t even remember! So, anyhow, I have to try and stay active and busy. As much as I complain about school, it keeps me occupied. We’ll see…my famous words…we’ll see.

On Saturday, Jay had to work, so I took M to run some errands. I tried to make it as fun as possible, I had to run to school to return a text book so I told her she can feed the geese/ducks by the pond. Well, sadly – when we got there, there was a big ol’ sign that says DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE. Damn it! M didn’t care actually, she brought her little video camera with her and filmed a lot of stuff. There were two ducks at the pond that kept following her, so she got a few shots of them.

My future film maker.

My future film maker.

Since she LOVED her video camera and was filming everything, all day, I wanted to give her my old Flip. But since I hadn’t used it in so long, the internal battery died. I charged it all day but nothing happened, so Jay said it must be the internal battery…and since Flip doesn’t make them anymore – there’s nothing I can do. It’s just garbage at this point. That sucks!

I have another little Sony video but I need a damn Sony memory card so we’ll work on that next. But she had SO much fun. She kept “directing” me, telling me where to stand so she can get a shot with the scene behind me.

She had a fun day, it was perfect weather, too. I know, to a lot of people, this is boring stuff…but hey, I’m a mom – AND – the blog is for my Maddy! 😉

On Sunday, we went to visit her Girls Scout Camp during their open house. I have to tell you, I’ve never been to camp. Growing up in NY with my family, we didn’t do any of these extra curricular activities. Pffft, Tae Kwon Do? Yoga? Girls Scout? Camp?! I don’t think so. Well, I was a bit shell shocked. This is really like camping style camp. Make fun all you want but it wasn’t until recently that I understood how big an acre is…(for those of you who don’t know, it is about 43,500 square feet, give or take a few feet – square footage, I understand…acres, not so much). ANYWAY, the camp leader told us “This building here is the only one with indoor plumbing so everyone loves this building, but it’s for junior scouts…” Excuse me? You know what my next question is…”Sooo…where do they pee?! They’re here all day!” She calmly told me they’ll use Port-A-Potties or latrines. But Port-A-Potties are better.” OMG. Strike one. As we stroll through beautiful green fields and trees, I ask, “This may sound silly, but ummm…do you guys have ticks here?” Again, calmly she tells me, “Mmmm…sort of. Last year, I only found two ticks on me and I was here for five weeks.” WTF. Strike two.

Ok, so maybe Girls Scout camp isn’t for M. Jay’s right, maybe she should do a swim camp at the gym we go to, or something…anything besides this. Sigh, but I can’t shelter her, right? I mean, if she doesn’t get exposed to this camp stuff, she’ll send up like Jay & I…clueless w/ nature. So…expose her to 120 acres of trees and outdoorsy greens, and ticks and possibly lyme disease and peeing in latrines, or shelter her and keep her in a bubble. Hmmm….

When we left, she adored the camp, she was looking forward to it. I give her two days max before she comes crawling out of the woods with twigs in her hair and dirt under her nails screaming she hates camp. We’ll see. I hope she enjoys it though. She does get to swim everyday and go boating, AND she’s VERY excited for archery. Step aside, Katniss Everdeen…

Ok, my allergies are kicking my butt, my head is going to explode so I’m off to bed. More soon! Hey, I’m getting better at this blog thing…now I just need to figure out the rest of the stuff.

Me & my Maddy

Me & my Maddy

Peace, love, and happiness to you!

What is that itch?

As we come closer to the end of the semester, I am itching, just itching for something…what it is, I’m not quite sure. A drink? A getaway? A long slumber? No clue. My brain has been racing all over the place, and I cannot wait for the my last class to end on Monday. Then finals will begin the following week, but it’s ok – it’s gotta be done! I want to not have to study or read papers or do quizzes…I want to do nothing but sit in my jammies and read all day. BUT…let’s be realistic here…that will not happen. I still have to get up my normal time to drop M off at school, run my errands/appointments, clean the darn house and take care of the laundry…and I have to go in for my RA lab work on campus. SO…I may get to read a little bit more, but not as much as I would like. Ah well…still nice to have a break. OOH, and I have to study for my GRE. Yay.

I did go see my neuropsych professor during her office hours…not to ask a question about the material, but to discuss my grade. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this class and I adore this professor, she is a genius, cuts to the chase, and pretty funny, too. So…fingers crossed that I do well on my final, so that I can bring my grade up a smidgen.

I did finally finish reading Walking Disaster. At Tricky Tray last week, I was talking to a friend of mine and (we love all the same books) when I brought up the topic, she & I were giggle like little girls. Good God, people thought we won a prize we were squee’ing and giggle so much. But we both loved it. Being able to see Travis’s POV was awesome and brought some closure to some feelings we had. AND the epilogue was AMAZING! For the rest of Tricky Tray, we just talked about books and had an idea to start a local book club within our group. We’ll see how it goes. I’m all for it!

We did Rutgers’ Day last weekend and M had a blast! We went with her friend from school and her mom & baby brother. We got there early enough were parking wasn’t an issue, Erinn drove because I hate driving in crowds and squeezing into parking spots, but luckily – Erinn found us a pretty sweet spot. The kiddos got to feed two baby sheep, which of course were not hungry by the time it was their turn. The M & Bridget insisted they go into the cage with the wolves…who are we to argue. So, we let them go. The girls LOVED the wolves, they got to pet them and talk to them, even met a pup. It was a $3 donation to go in to the cage with the wolves (there were handlers in there, don’t worry, we got this…) and they freakin’ LOVED every minute – did not want to come out!

M & Brady did a clementine eating contest. Granted, he’s only 3 and M is 7, so Erinn had to step in and even out the odds. She helped peel his clementine and may or may not have shoved some wads of clemintines in his mouth…I can’t say…I don’t have proof. But Brady won! And he was SO proud, he finished and threw his hands up in the air just like the young lady told him to do before the contest. He won a little lunch bag and for the rest of the day, he carried that bag like it was his golden trophy, he was SOOO cute!

Bridget wanted to see the horse on the treadmill so we waited around and I have to say, it was pretty f’ing awesome! I haven’t synced my phone yet but once I do, I’ll add it here but WOW, the horse wanted to run and when she finally did get up to a fully gallop, it was SO NEAT! Seeing the horse run on the treadmill was probably the highlight of the event. By the end of the show, we were famished…so we walked around a little bit more and went to an early dinner at The Rainforest Cafe. The kiddos had a fun filled day, which was nice. I love seeing M so happy and carefree – I feel bad sometimes because on most weekdays after school, we’re doing homework and that’s all. When she asks me to play with her, most of the time – I can’t because I have to get this paper out or I have to study or I have to get dinner ready…it’s always something. So on weekends, we try so hard to have fun and play. I don’t want her to grow up so fast that when I’m ready to play with her, she’s out the door on a date with her boyfriend or something. Thinking of that makes me sad…

Ok, enough of that! I’m off to bed – I’m exhausted. These allergies are killing me. Coffee, Zyrtec, and Advil is my daily breakfast nowadays. Breakfast of champions! I will post some pics and the horse video soon.

Peace, love, and happiness to you!

xoxo

Cancer sucks, part two.

Back in July, the doctors found three tumors in my father’s liver. That turned our lives upside down temporarily, it really shook us up. Through the magnificence an amazing team of doctors at Mt. Sinai, and some very powerful prayers, in December his scans came back that he was tumor free.  After three rounds of Chemoembolization (TACE – where a caterer is inserted in the groin area directly to the liver to dispense medication) and during his last round of Chemoembolization, they added a round of Radioembolization.  In December he went for a follow up scan and got the a’ok. All was well, no tumors!

We went on a family vacation, J, M, my parents, and I went on the Disney Cruise (yes…again but this time on the Disney Fantasy). It was awesome.

Today was his three month follow up. I just got off the phone with the nurse practitioner of his oncologist. The scan came not what they want to see. The tumor is back and is now in the blood vessel. He is now disqualified for a transplant (they put him on the transplant list right after the found the tumor back in July). Because once in the blood stream, a transplant will not help. They will give him oral medication to take every day: Nexavar 200mg. He will take this once a day for a week and once he works up a tolerance they will increase it to two pills a day at 400mg. The NP told me the side effects which is trivial in the big picture, but freaky nonetheless. He will develop blistering rashes on the soles of his feet and the palms of his hands. So to prevent that, they will give him a cream to apply prior to taking the medication and continue to apply every day. He will see an elevation of his HBP. And because he already has HBP, he has to see his primary to control that first, then continue to monitor. And he will have diarrhea and fatigue. So he is to take some Immodium.   I tried so hard to think of important questions to ask but my brain was numb. I just could not get anything to fire and I was just jotting down the info as fast as I could keep up, hoping that I can make sense of the  notes afterwards. I did ask her to be honest, at this point, what are we looking at. Will there be a point where he will be cancer free. Her best roundabout answer is, this is not good news. Because it is in the blood vessel, it can travel. Sigh…I don’t know. I’ve never wished harder that I was a medical student that I do now, I wish I understood the full concept and logistics of this. I understand a lot of it, but it’s not enough, I wish I understood completely.

After I got off the phone with the NP, she sent them to see the doctor who will oversee the Rabioembolization.

NOW…because my mom went with my dad, and she understands and speak enough English to get by, when it comes to this – communication is difficult. Luckily, Mt. Sinai is wonderful enough to have bilingual staff. The NP explained what she can to them in Mandarin. Dr. S has an amazing staff and we love Mt. Sinai. Anyhow – I told my mom to have the doctor conference J so he can ask all the right questions, get a better understanding, and then explain it to me. He’s good like that, you can explain quantum physics to him in one sitting and he’ll have it absorbed, written down, and have a list of questions ready for you before you finish your explanation. So he’s my go-to guy when it comes to important stuff. Me, I’m more of a – sit there with my mouth open and scribble “key words” as fast as I can and pray that I will understand it afterwards sorta gal. I’m the OPPOSITE of the go-to person on important information sessions.

J just called me and told me that what the NP told me and what this Dr. F told him is completely different. Dr. F. told him that the tumor is at the entrance of the blood vessel, not necessarily IN the vessel. At this point, we are still going to fight aggressively, we are not at a point where we “make him comfortable”, we are going to fight it. By doing this Radioembolization, plus medication, they are hoping to get rid of the tumor and put him back on the transplant list. Doesn’t that sound more positive than what the NP told me, “this is not good. Radioembolization and Nexavar is not a cure, transplant is a cure and he’s not qualified anymore. This will slow progression, not cure it.”

J asked Dr. F if this was terminal and Dr. F said “No. Right now, it is not.” That’s all I needed to hear.

Deep breath in…hold…and release….

We have a long road ahead of us but we can get through it. We have to get through it, we have no other choice. I feel…scared, a little shattered, worried, but a part of me is ok. We will get through this. I’m just really scared for my dad. I keep saying, God, I’m not ready for this. I know it is inevitable that we lose our parents, but God, please – I’m just not ready. Selfish, huh? I know. So I’m just going through this emotional roller coaster…I’m really scared for my dad. What he must feel right now. How scared he must be.

Last time, when I told others of his health, I was so overwhelmed with love and prayers from everyone that I cried like a baby for hours one day, I broke down when I was alone and just bawled my eyes out. I just felt so blessed and lucky to have some very heart warming, caring people in my life. Some people don’t get many in their lives and I’m blessed with so many. It was my emotions overtaking me, that and my dad was at Mt. Sinai at the time and no one was giving us any answers when he didn’t come back to his room from the procedure for hours (but that’s another story for another time).

Wow, this is the most I’ve written in a very long time. It feels good. In all honesty, I do see a therapist.  I’m not ashamed. I was at the start of my sessions, about 2 years ago. But now I’m a proud advocate for talk therapy. Beats Prozac. I’ve done that too and I fought with every ounce of me to get off it…now that I’m off for over a year now…I will do whatever it takes to stay off of it. But seeing Dr. Jeanne once every three weeks helps a whole heap. I think if I didn’t see her, I would go back to locking myself in the closet and crying at the drop of a hat. And writing helps. I just wish I had more time. I will definitely continue to try. I will try.

Peace and love.

Me