Saturday, July 28, 2012

saying goodbye

Hello, my loves...

These past weeks have been an emotional challenge, and I have felt more fragile and delicate than ever. 

My grandmother was scheduled to arrive in Seattle on July 4th to spend a few days before embarking on her dream Alaskan cruise. However, an emergency surgery for a small bowel obstruction canceled her trip, followed by an uncontrollable infection and respiratory distress syndrome, which took her from this world last week. Jesse and I flew down to Orange County, California last weekend to be with our family. It was a sad and emotional time, but beautiful in that it brought loved ones together.

In her passing we have all been reflecting on what a magnificent lady she was and the ways in which she inspired us. My earliest and fondest memories of her are her singing for me. She had the most magical singing voice, and how I wish I had inherited that! But she did instill in me a love of music, and every time I sit down at my piano I think of her hands, gradually aging through time and becoming more arthritic and less nimble, but still able to play the most beautiful classical pieces until the very end. Her favorite tune of all was Somewhere Over The Rainbow, which certainly has become my preferred as well. When I was a child she sent me a cassette tape she recorded of herself singing that dreamy song, and how I wish I still had that. 

Carole, my grandmother, imbued the French spirit, as she would linger for hours over a meal, eating slower than any of us grandkids thought humanly possible. She also loved to savor her red wine and her coffee. Eating a meal, surrounded by her loved ones, was her most treasured time of all. We could all learn from this to slow down a little and relish the best moments and meals in life.

She also loved to travel, and although she didn't make it on her Alaskan cruise, she did traverse the country much in her midlife in the RV her husband loved to drive. I remember fondly when they would roll up to my childhood house and my brothers and I would gleefully go sit in Grandma's motorhome, and even got to sleep a night or two in there. As I mentioned before, my grandmother did love her coffee, and at her service my aunt shared the story she had heard of one of their travels when they were driving through the city in their RV when it was time for Carole's afternoon coffee. Of course there was no where to park the monstrous vehicle, so her husband circled the block again and again while Grandma was in the coffee shop.

The most amazing thing about my grandmother was her ability to spot beauty in anything. She was always observing the world around her and pointing out what she thought was beautiful; things that most would never have even noticed. Somewhere Over The Rainbow really did seem like a fitting theme song for her. And in her memory I will try to open my eyes more; to experience the world around me and seek out the lovely amidst the mundane. What a marvelous way to stay positive and happy.

It aches that she will not be there for our wedding reception in September, because I remember the delight in her voice as I told her about it, and through her tears of joy she told me how excited she was for it, and for Jesse and I to be married. I know that she will be watching us from over the rainbow, among bluebirds, where dreams really do come true...

I love you, Grandma.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

just a little update

Hello's been a long time, and I regret the long absence. So very much has been going on in my life, yet very little progress with my treatment has taken place. I'm blogging from our balcony in this amazing 80 degree Seattle weather. There's no place I'd rather be than the Pacific Northwest in the summer. Jesse and I house- and dog-sitted in Redmond this week, and spent our nights hanging out in the hot tub or drinking wine in the sun, blissfully enjoying the sun. Can you tell I'm from the NW, seeing as I feel the need to write half my post about the sunshine?

I want to say thank you to those of you who have contributed to my cancer ass-kicking fund. With the nightmare of all of the hospital bills I've been facing, your support is so very appreciated. I don't know how I'd do it wi

We have been hard at work planning our wedding reception. It's shaping up to be just the celebration I envisioned, thanks to some help from some very wonderful friends. My good friend Sarah is helping me to create and letterpress some incredible invitations, and it's amazing how much work goes into creating custom stationery like that. She listened so closely and is transforming my visions into a reality, and knowing her, the finished product will be even more than I could have dreamed of. I can't wait until my loved ones find them in their mailboxes.

I am just finishing my up second week at my new job. It's been a whirlwind trying to move to this new practice, and slowly but surely everything is coming together. I'm excited to finally move into the 21st century with computer charting, and learning the system has been a breeze. However, working in a clinic with male patients is quite different to me, having only worked with women for the past three years! Thankfully, the doctor I work with will still only see women, but the office dynamics are certainly different. I look forward to us getting settled into our new routine and seeing what amazing things we can accomplish.

In the beginning of June I went with the doctor and nurse practitioner I work with to a urogynecology conference in New Orleans. It turned out to be a disaster getting there - think canceled flights and spending the night on the floor of the freezing Dallas airport - but we learned a lot and it was a great bonding experience for our team.

Other excitements include some sailing expeditions, one of which was a 16 hour journey from Seattle to Anacortes on the 4th of July. It was Zeus' first long sailing trip, and he did great. Weekend brunches with friends or family seem to be becoming a routine, and I have to say it is probably my favorite moment of the week.

And as for my treatment, I did decide that I wanted to try the radioactive iodine, and see if it will work. The risks of external beam radiation are just too high. It has been a nightmare getting the treatment scheduled. There was a shortage of the thyrogen medication until June, and now that it's in stock, there is a backlog of people needing treatment. They had me scheduled for the end of August, but since our reception is September 1st and I am required to keep a 3 foot distance from anyone for a week after discharge from the hospital (as well as many other not-fun precautions), I had to ask them to reschedule the treatment for September. I am still working with the Cancer Care Alliance to get that scheduled.

So, there's some snippets of my life. I'll try to stop by more often :)


Sailor dog { + friend }
Sailor husband

4th of July Sunset