Health and Caregiving

World Ovarian Cancer Day


Today, I’m doing double duty and posting to spread awareness of ovarian cancer and honor my mom since it is Mother’s Day weekend.  My mom has suffered several bouts of cancer and is currently in hospice because after her eighth or ninth round of chemo, it stopped working on her tumors.  She did a round of radiation, which slowed the progression and has now chosen to let it take its course rather than torture her body with more “treatments”.  But, one of the cancers she got that was particularly bad and probably was the source of some of her current problems, was ovarian cancer.  She didn’t catch it until it had progressed quite a bit and this was after being a 15 year survivor of breast cancer (so it was not being watched, but it is just that insidious).  My mom was lucky as ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all gynecological cancers.

I encourage everyone who is a woman or has a woman in their lives to learn the symptoms of ovarian cancer (which can often be dismissed as something less serious), the risk factors, and how to be an advocate for yourself in the case that you think you or someone you know are at risk.

It isn’t what anyone wants to deal with, but catching these things early on and knowing the realities and options available is important.  So, educate yourselves and spread the word on May 8 – World Ovarian Cancer Day!


Twis the Night Before Christmas…


Well, tomorrow is our fifth Christmas with that little miss in the picture.  And it is quite amazing that my mom, also in the picture, is here for it.  I cherish the time that Bean gets to spend with her Grandma because my mom’s cancer is a constant threat.  She is not feeling well much of the time.  Almost constant nausea (she has cancer around the duodenum area and I think that causes her a lot of discomfort), badly hurting back, and she has horrible anxiety and weakness.  But, she is with us.  She gets to do a puzzle with Bean, drive around and see Christmas lights with us, etc.  We have never been a family strong on tradition or celebration, but with a daughter and mother who, in many ways, really should not be here (20 or 30 years ago, neither of them would be – cancer treatments and heart transplants have come a long way in that time), I feel like it is of the utmost importance to celebrate what we can when we can.  My Christmas could be prettier, cleaner and less frustrating, but it could also be a whole lot lonelier.  I’ll take the mess and the frustration and the exhaustion.  So, my Christmas gift is captured in that picture above.  Tomorrow we will focus on gift giving and receiving and eating, but I will try to focus on the gifts we’ve already been given.


Summer, summer, summer…

I need to get a post DONE!  I have so many drafts in my file that I start and don’t finish and then it leaves me without a post on this blog for days at a time.  I have great ideas and even some quality writing, but if I never get it done and posted than no one gets to enjoy it.  So, today, I’m just going to get a post up.  It may not be perfect.  It may not be something different and intriguing, but it will be a post.

Today is what I will consider our first day of officially being on summer break.  This is our first week without preschool (DD graduated last weekend, but still had four days of school to follow).


So, today is a pretty lazy day.  We were going to make it a pajama day, but we had a rental car this weekend and have to return it this morning, so I will have to actually get dressed after all…bummer.  It is projected to be about 104 today here, so staying inside in the AC and not doing much seems like a great plan to me.  I do want to get the house cleaned up a bit more than it  currently is (it isn’t horrible, but it isn’t great).  I would also like to plan out some things for summer – I feel aimless right now and I hate that feeling.  So, perhaps I will print out a calendar and start filling it in with the things we plan to do.

This week we have to go (back) to my mom’s on Wednesday.  We were planning on going there for a trip to Discovery Kingdom with her preschool teacher and another preschool family anyways, but it turns out my mom has her CAT scan that day, so to help my sister out, we’re going to take her to that so my sister doesn’t have to drive down to take her.  We can still do plenty at Discovery Kingdom because Bean only really lasts a few hours before getting totally worn out anyways.  Bean is excited to see if she has grown enough since last summer to ride a few other rides (the Killer Whale ride pictured below is her biggest goal right now).  I’m not sure she has, but we’ll see.

killer whale ride

From there, we will head to my in-laws in Bakersfield for a few days.  We haven’t been there as a family (my DH and DD have gone down alone a couple of times while I was traveling for work) in a while, so it should be a good visit.  Although I am not looking forward to the heat.  But, it isn’t like it won’t be hot hear at home, so it isn’t really that big of a difference.

I want this summer to be one that at the end I think, “Wow, that was a great summer break!”  Last year I ended it with a great vacation, but not the feeling that the whole summer break was good.  A lot of last summer was spent dealing with my father’s illness and that made it less enjoyable.  This summer, I was hoping for a break from medical issues, but we still have to wait on finalizing that since my mom has the CAT scan that will tell us whether the radiation treatments she received worked to stall out her tumor growth. So, we shall see.

Other than that, I have swim lessons scheduled and VBS both starting June 23.  My daughter is also doing some summer day camps at her old preschool – three or four weeks of those.  I am trying to keep her busy or I’m afraid we will both drive each other crazy…and she doesn’t need to spend all day every day with the neighborhood kids.  I love that she has neighborhood kids to play with, but some of them are a bit older than her and I think they teach her some bad habits at times.  I try to think of these as learning opportunities since she is starting school next year and will have plenty of potential bad influences around that she will have to navigate, but it would get a little tiring day after day after day.

What about you?  What summer plans do you have?