MeUandMaddy's Blog

Welcome to our daily adventures with Maddy…

Seriously, why can’t I blog?!

Oh that’s right, I’m exhausted, that’s why. Excuses aside, it’s been a nutty few weeks. A quick rundown. As you know from my previous post, we had some not so great news. We did the only few things we could do, we prayed, we coped, and we tried to plan ahead. Easter Vigil was tough for me, as beautiful as it was, I just couldn’t think of anything else but my dad and his diagnosis. On that following Tuesday, my dad was called for an MRI to get a better look at the tumor, is it INSIDE the blood vessel or right outside, and what exactly were those spots near where the Radio-frequency was done in the liver.

On that Tuesday, I picked up Madison and went up to my sister’s house to hang out with her for a while. She, at the time, was 8.5 months preggo. Then, Jay called me and said he has great news. The doctor’s NP called after the MRI and they all apologized profusely, the MRI showed that the tumor from the CT Scan that started this roller coaster ride was not actually a tumor…but a small clot! FURTHER, the spots by the RFA (Radio Frequency Ablation) in the liver were just burn scabs! O…M…G!!!! I was in tears, I could not believe it. AND, so because there really is no tumor in the blood vessel, he is still on the transplant list…as he was never removed yet. It felt like a dream. I was beyond elated. The special medicine they ordered that the docs wanted him to take were cancelled, it was as if time rewound and was back to Nov/Dec when after his last treatment, the docs gave him the all clear.

So overall, it was a HUGE GINORMOUS emotional roller coaster. I can’t call myself a holy roller, but how can one not believe the power of prayers. We are so grateful. I know, it is inevitable that we will lose our parents, but I’m just not ready…not now.

On April 11th, I celebrated my 30th 33rd 35th ugh, 3x birthday…I feel old…but I’m supposed to be at my prime, no? I mean, seriously…BUT I will try to make this a positive year! A year of positive thinking, a year of better health,  a year of better academics, a year of more family time, and a year of more blogging (lol)!!!

Then on April 14th, we welcomed our little sweet niece! K’s water broke on the 13th, on Saturday afternoon…went to the hospital and by Sunday afternoon, they gave her a c-section! I was in my RA training on Sunday morning from 8am-5pm, but I was texting Jay back and forth to get the scoop. But when I was wrapping up around 4:45, he told me they gave her a c-section! So we welcome the beautiful Baby K! 8lbs 10oz/20in, a big baby!!! M was 8lbs 7oz/19in!

Help us welcome our beautiful baby niece, Baby K!

Help us welcome our beautiful baby niece, Baby K!

Sigh, what else…I met with my girls for my book club last Monday. I love this group, it’s small – there is a whopping THREE members including myself, heehee. Well, it was a bookclub, but now that I took it off Meetup.com because I didn’t want to pay for it anymore, a couple of the girls still meet with me. Yay! We read Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard, and I gotta say – it was pretty awesome! I LOVE the heroine in this book, she doesn’t have that damsel in distress factor, she was fierce AND funny…and she was honest enough with her feelings that she did find her jerky neighbor HOT as Hell. And the hero of course, was a perfect fit for her! We were in agreement that this was a great read! Hey, don’t laugh at my impromptu book club, it may be small but we have fun! We meet once a month, and do one or two books but as avid readers, we read a lot of side books, but we only discuss (or at least we TRY to stay on topic!) the books we planned for the club.

We try to do something fun on weekends with M, since during the week between our school schedules, Tae Kwon Do, and various other stuff we have to do, we TRY so hard to at least leave weekends for fun, fun, fun! On Friday evening, we dropped M off at my parents house and went over to Mirtha & Manny’s…we usually do a pizza/movie night once or twice a month. So far, it is 5-0…Five movies, 0 great flicks…all duds. Can you believe it? Well, this Friday we saw Lincoln. Jay & Mirtha fell asleep! Ugh, Manny & I were the only ones that thought it was pretty good. I didn’t think it was GREAT, but not bad.

Yesterday, we took M and her pal to Six Flags. The girls had a blast! The weather was great, sunny & beautiful! And the crowds weren’t too bad. They got to go on rides without waiting more than 10 mins! It was awesome.

Well, I must be off…I need to get some Zs…allergies are killing me. I feel sluggish and exhausted…I can’t even enjoy the beautiful weather! And poor M, she’s suffering from allergies, too…my poor baby.

Have a great week and I promise to blog more…you know, for my legion and legions of readers out there, heehee.

Advertisements

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

A whopping two entries for the entire year, woohoo!

I really suck at blogging, right?  Well, I try.  I’ve blogged some on my group blog, whom I adore – but I had to step away from the Subclub for a while.  Those girls are rocking the house and I’m so uber proud of them.  I had too much personal stuff going on,  I didn’t feel like it was fair to them for me to stay in and let everyone else carry my weight.  But I love my girls, if you love to read romance novels (no, not just smut – although, we love our smut) and want to connect with authors, stop by and say hi to them.  They’re a bunch of great gals there!

Allow me to sum up 2012.  In January, as you know – we went on the Disney Cruise for our vacation.  We didn’t really vacation anywhere else this year, ooh we did do a short trip (weekend thing) up to Niagara Falls with the M family.  We had a blast, beautiful drive up, breathtaking falls (we went to Canada side), gouging food prices, and stopped at an aquarium in NY on the way home.  Short and sweet.  We went to AC a few times, I love me some AC…although I don’t gamble, I just love the hotels and the food…good times. J took his mom, his aunt, and M to see Frankie Valli at Borgata, our friend got them AMAZING seats (2nd row!) and Frankie Vallie gave M his new CD since she was the only kid in there within reach, she had a great time.  How funny though, her first concert and it’s not Justin Beiber or a trendy boy band, it’s Frankie Valli.  And our friend got us a suite so we stayed overnight…they went to the concert while I basked in some quiet time.  LOVED it.

My sister is preggo, yay! I’m going to be an aunt!  M is THRILLED because finally she gets a cousin who is a…GIRL.  All five cousins on J’s side are boys, so she is beyond excited.

I finally graduated from MCC in May, with high honors, yay me!  I wasn’t going to walk, but J made me do it…and I’m glad I did.  M, my mom, and J were so excited…and then I realized, it is pretty awesome to graduate with high honors while wearing the hat of a wife and mom.  It was pretty neat.

M graduated kindergarten, my baby is growing up so fast.  It was a nice short ceremony.  I started my first semester at RU, it was rough at first, my nerves were shot.  It’s a behemoth of a school in comparison but this semester, luckily – I had all amazing professors.  I can only pray and hope my next semester goes as smoothly.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been reading…A LOT.  Well, some people seem to frown upon my choice of reading, but meh – I love what I read and it makes me damn happy.  Hence, joining Subclub.  I didn’t get a chance to read as much during the semester and I was ITCHING, just itching to read something other than textbooks!  But now I’m on break, so I’m smothering myself with books of lovey-dovey as J would call it.

What else.  In the summer, my dad was diagnosed with liver tumors.  We were devastated.  Lost.  Scared. And just plain numb.  But he’s a trooper, he endured it – went along with all the chemo treatments and with good spirits.  They found three in his liver, so they could not just cut them out.  We met with the transplant team, he is on their list but it can take years.  But in the meantime, he went through TACE treatments, the chemo meds were shot directly into a caterther into his liver.  Usually, they enter through the groin area.  Each time was an overnight stay and J, my rock, decided to stay with him overnight each time in the hossy.  Because his hossy is out of state, he didn’t want my dad to panic if he wakes up in the middle of the night and not know what’s going on…so he stayed with him each time and went straight to work the next morning.  Bless that man, I love him to pieces.  Anyhow, he had 3 tumors.  Each TACE, it took care of one.  Finally, this last one a couple of weeks ago, he had TACE on one Monday, and the following day, he had radiation.  Because it was his last tumor, they wanted to double bang it.  And today, we got the news from the hospital that it was very successful and he is now cancer free.  Words cannot express how I feel.  I’m overwhelmed with joy, I know not many people now a days are religious, and we cannot call ourselves holy rollers, but we prayed and thanked God every day, our family and friends prayed and sent kind words.  It was heartfelt, and powerful.  And today, we are even more grateful for those prayers.

I was a complete mess from July until now.  I’m scattered and just spread too thin…but now I feel better.  A small weight has been lifted, but the pesimist in me is still cautious.  Although he is cancer free now, chances are it may come back until he gets his transplant, but for how we are humbled, thankful, and grateful.

I don’t want to delve too much into it, I’d sit here and cry my eyes out.  Just know, all is well thus far.  We have been staying positive, his positive attitude is contagious, and we are grateful for that.  I am happy to say, I have some amazing and genuine friends and family – I’m truly blessed to be in their company.  I will post more soon – hopefully I will be more dedicated in posting.

Peace, love, and happiness to you.

Let’s get-a-packin’!

For the past few weeks, J & I have been doing a lot of hem haw on our vacation.  We just could not decide.  For a long time, we had planned on going to Rome for Easter Break 2012.  Then we, of course, threw in the mix – the usual Disney Cruise.  We have been on 6 Disney Cruises and we just cannot get enough.  Each time is a different experience.  But at some point, you have to say – ok, ENOUGH with the mouse.  But then, when M starts to bring up how much fun she has on Mickey’s boat…then you lose all will power to tell your baby, no – we’re going to Rome instead.  SIGH…well…I guess I’ll see Vatican City and the Colosseum one day…

So J & I did some quick thinking, and now…in 8 days, we will be setting sail with Mickey again.  But we will be sailing on the new boat – the Disney Dream.  Yay!  And the fun part is, we are going to surprise M!  She thinks we are going with J on a business trip, then once we land in Orlando, we will surprise her.  We would love to surprise her once we get to Port – pulling up and seeing the Dream, but we opted for their transport, so she will definitely know once she sees the Disney Cruise busses.

This is the shortest time I have to plan.  Usually, we have a year!  Not a flipping week to plan.  But I am excited now and more excited that we are surprising M.  She has been asking about the new boat and wanting to go…a mini Disney fan in the making.  THEN, we are going to surprise her AGAIN – after the cruise, when she thinks we’re going home – we are actually gonna spend a couple of days in Disney.  Full of surprises!

Wish us luck – hopefully – everything will go smoothly and we’ll have fun.  When we come home, it’ll be Chinese New Years, so it’ll be a fast moving few weeks!

Ok – everyone is snoring away and I am catch up on my Twilight Zones from the New Years Eve marathon.

NOW, you may begin the festivities of Christmas!

I tell this to anyone and everyone who will listen.  Before Halloween I went into Target to get something and I was blown away by the Christmas decorations and Christmas paraphernalia’s already on display!  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE, absolutely LOVE, Christmas – it is my favorite holiday.  But mid October?!  Ugh, by the time December rolls around, the commercialism is so jammed down my throat that it literally sucks the joy out of Christmas.

But, today is December 5th, this past Saturday, we put up our Christmas tree, decorated our humble abode, and listened to Christmas music.  And so, I feel better.  All is right now.  As a bonus, we got some gift shopping done! YAY!

"I'm trying not to freak out!"

Yesterday, we went to check out the Christmas displays at Longwood Gardens.  Now, I love this place for it’s simplicity and beautiful displays.  HOWEVER…Yesterday was a whole new can of aggravation.  Oy – it was jam packed.  Maybe because it’s the first weekend in December and it was fairly nice weather outside.  We did get some nice pictures…a couple…but overall, I wish we would have just stayed local and done something else.

There's a heart shaped into the tree! Awwwww....

Whateves.  I refuse to let my negative nancy pull me down – I love Christmas time and today is a new day.  I just finished a paper (wootwoot!) while M is in school, I had time to apparently blog, and through the miracle of positive I don’t give a hoot thinking, I will enjoy this new day.

Hope you enjoy as well!

xoxo

Great reads!

So I spent the past 48 hours holed up in bed with a 103 fever, sweaty chills, unproductive coughs, and endless excruciating headaches.  I have no idea how it happened, but this bug knocked me off my feet, I’m usually fairly immune to common colds and germs, but this one was a wicked one.  Thankfully, my super awesome husband was there to rescue the weekend.  He ran my errands, even took M toy shopping for a birthday party she was going to, (of course, along the way he had to buy her a thing…or two…but you pick and choose your battles, you know?) made me his famous fruit salad (my cure-all, I swear it can help grow back a limb) to give me that vitamin boost, and when I thought I was ok enough to take M to the party today, he insisted that I stayed home to relax & feel better.  Is he awesome or what?  To boot, I had promised my friends two things…one was to help W pick up the cake from the bakery before coming to the party (since it was closer to me than for her) and another was to help K watch lil Caleb at the party since she was not going to be able to make it to the party…so just because I’m sick, doesn’t mean I can’t keep my promise!  So J had to do all my bidding for me…and he even took pictures!  I love you, baby! I know this sounds sappy but even in my sweaty, matted hair, booger-snotted appearance, he still looks at me like it was our first date…heehee, he rocks.

Ok, I’ll spare the sappiness – so while I, for one, hate wasting time.  I put my iPad to good use!  I downloaded a few books (for free!) and actually discovered I have a new favorite author! Anyhoo – her name is Nicky Charles, I would totally post a link here for her site, but her ‘site’ is a freebie Goggle’s site and it’s got a hot sweaty guy on the front banner…SOOO…as this is a more…kid friendly blog, I will not post her link here. But you can Google her. Her books could be downloaded to your readers or on pdf format.  The Mating was her first book, awesome read – there are some flaws in it, like the ‘heroine’ in the story is not very strong. She totally fits the damsel in distressed category, but great story, her second book The Keeping is also pretty awesome. The ‘heroine’ in this story is MUCH fiercer, she is a spunky ball of fire and cute!  BUT keep in mind, these are paranormal romance novels, so if this is not your cup of tea, then don’t bother.  I’ve had many debates on Twilight or the Sookie Stackhouse series, so if it’s not your thing, don’t read it but don’t talk trash about any other person’s talent on writing.

Well, it is almost 2am and I need to get M to school in the morning then I have my last day at Eden, since I had to call out on Friday. I did not want to spread my nasitness, whatever it was…or is. I’m hoping by morning, I will be a-ok again.

Hope you had an awesome weekend!

Do I have to leave?!

For the past few weeks, I have been observing classrooms at Eden Institute.  It is a requirements for my Ed Psych class this semester.  At first, I thought I had a shoe in and figured this would be a breeze, I can just observe at Madison’s school, after I drop her off, I can just go into the older class and observe, then pick her up afterwards.  Easy breezy!  But then I decided that I’m just cheating myself.  My ultimate goal is to teach in special ed, observing a Catholic school will do nothing for me.

So, I contacted Eden Institute in Princeton, NJ – I met with the their Assistant Director, who is an amazing lady – and I’ve been there ever since. The first day, I found myself wishing I hadn’t chose special ed. It pulled at my heartstrings, while observing the middle classroom, there were a few times where I wanted to excuse myself so I can run to the bathroom and cry. These beautiful kids were just so sweet, so innocent, and yes – they had behavioral issues with the baseline of Autism, but they pulled at my heart the very first day. By the end of the next observation class, I was confident to say “this is what I want to do, no doubt.” I spoke with a few of the teachers and most of them said mentioned that their original intention was not special ed, but once they got in, they loved it. The love they share with those kids are priceless and words can’t describe the bond they have.

Well, tomorrow is my last day there…and again, I want to cry. Because I will miss the kiddos and teachers. They have been more than helpful and it was such an awesome time getting to know some of the teachers and hearing their side of the story. Of course, it’s not rosy days all the time, and there are moments where I’m sure if I were in their shoes, I would be very stressed out. Their work is under-credited.

Here is a video from their site:

I have had the honor of meeting some of those awesome kids in the video and some of the amazing teachers in there as well. I will be pretty sad tomorrow saying good-bye to them, I just hope I can be a big girl about it and hold it together.

Last night, I ordered them some yummy stuff from Popcorn Factory, hopefully, they’ll get to enjoy a yummy treat. The kiddos LOVE snacks!

I will miss Eden Institute, even though it was a short amount of time in comparison – I have grown attached and will definitely miss them.

xoxo

Ok, ok, we’re back…

Well as you can see, I am still a terrible blogger as ever.  It is now the end of February 2011 and I guess I’ve missed a couple of posts.  Let’s see…

We celebrate Christmas and it was awesome fun.  Not as stressful as the usual years, I guess planning ahead does pay off.  We had our New Year’s Eve dinner at Rat’s at Ground for Sculpture and discovered that M loves dinning there only because the gentleman called her “miss” and pulled out her chair for her…J and I did enjoy the food though!  I started my spring semester in January, we celebrated Chinese New Year, and last week, we threw my sister K at surprise 30th birthday party.  It was fun to be had by everyone and a great 2011 so far…

Great news to be shared: I want to welcome Baby Teague, my separated at birth sister (of course, not literal, but it is uncanny how similar we are in our ways!) Lyssa had her 2nd beautiful baby boy…I’m sure you will see tons of photos of Teague & Quinn posted here real soon (once I get the hang of posting pix!) and congratulations all the moms out there with their sweet little babies (too many to list!)…there is a baby boom going around!  I also want to add congratulations to another BFF, Wardha for their awesome news of preggo-ness!  Yay!!  My other BFF – Sherry is almost done with Grad school (yay!) and will be visiting back home (Cali) in a few days, so we are quite excited for her.  I am now med-free, as some of you know, I was on anti-depressants for a little less than a year, at times with heavy dosages.  I am now happy to say, I am Prozac free for about 2 months and I am totally fine.  I do continue my talk therapy every three weeks or so, but that it just for me to vent and for me, as a prevention to going back on the meds.  Lastly, I’m sure I can go on and on since I’ve have not blogged in a while – yesterday, after mass I bumped into an long time old friend of mine…from Junior High School!  Can you believe it?  What is even more unbelievable is that, it was not like we stayed in our JHS neighborhood, our school was in another state, so after 20 years since JHS in NY, we ended up in the same town, same church, same school for the kiddos, and attending the same mass!  I just thought it was amazing…small world we live in, huh?  It was great to see him and meet his beautiful family!

I will try to do a ‘Great news to be shared’ often, because I think (inspired by my professor – at the begining of each class, we are to say one thing that is going well in our lives – it’s pretty neat to take a moment and find that one small thing), we don’t get to appreciate the little things that often and it’s the little things that we should be thankful for.  Until next time…xoxo

Not that bad!

So we finally made it to the doctor’s office – I really miss having my TomTom, it sucks to actually look at the physical address of the buildings while driving! UGH.  Anyhoo, we went to see Dr. B for the first time…he came highly recommended by Kathy and he was awesome.

M would not agree though, at first she would not stop yapping with him, but when she saw the needle (he tried to hide it) and she SCREAMED!  I could have to, even though Dr. B let her sit on my lap to get the shot, she got one in the arm, one in the forearm (for the TB test) and one on her thigh.  My poor baby!!!  No matter how many prep talks we had, there was not preparing for THREE shots.

But afterwards, she was fine…got two lollipops and was a happy camper again.  In the car ride she even laughed hysterically about pee’ing on my hand.  SIGH…yes, Dr. B needed to test her pee, so she tried and of course, in the process of holding the cup and not seeing so well, she f’ing peed on my hand!

But I’m glad that’s over with – I don’t know how to break it to her that she’ll need a blood test soon at the lab…eeek!

One more thing!

J, M & I signed up for “Light the Night” walk…it’s for a great cause.  We are looking forward to it on October 2nd.  We are SEVEN DOLLARS from our goal!

We’ll be posting pics soon!