Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just around the corner

Today, Janessa is at the high school for sophomore orientation.  School starts in less than a week.  Tomorrow, a more experienced senior friend will escort her through the empty halls to find the best path from class to class.  I know it will ease J's nerves.  Thursday, she will also get a new hair-do, thanks to one of her awesome Young Women leaders.  I will merely sit back and watch a pro at work (and not have to listen to complaints after!).  Friday, we will make a quest to finish up clothes shopping...and then, we're ready.  It's just around the corner and I have mixed emotions.
She and I have shared a lot this summer.  I'm grateful that she is the kind of kid who is content to fire up her laptop and write stories all day long.  She is also semi-permanently attached to her iPod, where she watches YouTube "vlogs" (video blogs), checks her Twitter account every five minutes, catches up on reruns of "Reba", and follows her "boys" as they perform at concerts and get mobbed by paparazzi & crazed teenage girls.  Somedays, she and I skip putting on makeup or doing our hair and just watch Netflix movies.  We've slept in, stayed up late, had Panda Express take-out a few times, and seen a few new release movies in the air-conditioned theaters.  If not for the fact that I've been trying to heal from surgery through all this "fun", it would have been a perfect summer.  I think I would have gone crazy without her.
Now, she'll go back to school and I'll try to put in more time at my job, chorus, church responsibilities, and melanoma worries.  Two days after school starts, I go in for my quarterly scan.  I don't know how to feel.  I'm honestly afraid that if something else has grown, I won't be able to handle getting it taken care of.  I don't feel physically ready for another surgery and we're definitely pushing the envelope of medical expenses.  I'm already on a payment schedule that will go into 2014--and no doubt there will be more added to it in 2013-14.  What do you do in those situations?  There is no light at the end of the tunnel because the tunnel goes on for miles and miles and miles.  On our old insurance, I was "paid up" by this time last year.  This year, though our statements say differently, we are not.  Don't get me only gives me a headache.
I know nothing stays the same.  Change is constant.  Soon, the weather will turn cooler, I'll start making soups and casseroles again, I'll (hopefully) sleep better, and our carefree summer will be a wild ride of high school comings & goings.  It's just around the corner...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Caring Givers

Been thinking a lot lately about those who so willingly take care of others.  At some point in our lives, we are either the giver or the taker.  After being the "taker" for so long the past year and a half, I'm falling behind on being a "giver".  But, I still recognize those around me who are pros at it.
My siblings are good at being "givers".  My sisters fly in from their homes far away to take care of family, even doing the messy stuff that the rest of us would rather not deal with.  My brother is the constant presence in Mom's life and home, giving what he can to keep balance between healing and well-being. 
My hubby is a "giver", even though it means spending far too much time at work, in the heat, doing the mundane and not being appreciated.  My grands are "givers", though they're too young to realize that just the sound of their tiny voices makes my heart sing.
My neighbors and friends are "givers", whether it's  a welcome meal, a happy visit, or flowers that have added charm and beauty to my front yard this summer.
My children are "givers", though they worry far too much about me.  Most of the time they are more adult than I am, and it humbles me.  Aaron is and always has been my rock, a steadying force in his quiet way, and Chelsea would do anything to make things better and more beautiful and happier.  Janessa is my link to youth, as she shares her teenage life with enthusiasm and hope.  But most of all, I will be forever grateful to Lindsey for her sacrifice of time when she was my chief nurse.  There was no one I counted on more, no one who put the "care" into "giving", day after day, hour after hour, in spite of her own frustrations and worries.  All these people surrounded me with love and gave me the will to go on.  I pray I can live long enough to "pay it forward".
I went to chorus Tuesday night and reconnected with another chorus member who is dealing with her aging husband and the challenges he faces every day.  She said she was glad to be at rehearsal--alone--having made arrangements for her husband to be cared for while she was gone for a couple of hours.  I could see the weariness in her face, hear it in her voice.  And yet, there was that underlying love that she could not hide, the love that compels us to do hard things, to be involved with something we never dreamed we'd have to face, and to move forward when everything around us tries to push us back.  Truly, caring givers are ministering angels on this earth.  May they be blessed in this life...and the next.
(Picture:  Mom and Dad, married August 15, 1958, high school sweethearts--love them so much!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shaky Business

In many ways, I'm back to doing things I was doing before the surgery, but the downside is that I'm still a lot more fragile than I used to be.  I don't want to be--I don't like it all--but it is what it is.  I went to church Sunday and stayed for the entire 3-hour meeting, and by the third hour, I was shaky.  Even my voice was shaky, which is weird for me, the one who can usually project to the back of the room if needed.  Last night, we had family night with A &L and the girls and I tried to sing with them, but I sounded like one of the Munchkins.  How will it be to go back to chorus next Tuesday night?  I hope it will just take some practice.  I came home from church Sunday, had a bite of lunch, and tried to start a new library book.  But, before I knew it, I was sound asleep, worn right out.
The sleepless nights continue.  Many suggested I try Melatonin, which I have, and it allows me to sleep for about 2-3 hours...and then I'm awake.  I find myself pacing the perimeter of my TV room in the dark, just to relieve my restless legs, and make myself more exhausted.  Last night, I rubbed lotion into my legs and arms and then laid down under the fan.  That must have done the trick because I don't even remember Dean going to work at 4 AM.  I woke up to my alarm clock (J needed to get yearbook pictures taken at the school this morning) and just wanted to stay in bed.  I know it will get better one of these days, but it sure is frustrating.  Sometimes, I just want to put on my shoes and go walking at 2 in the morning.  Weird.  Wonder who else I'd meet, sleepless in the neighborhood.
On a good note, I'm working more.  My feet swell up like little sausages, sitting at my desk, so I have to take a break more often.  But, that's okay.  It gets me moving and helps me remember to fill up my water bottle, rotate the laundry, check in with the family, and put my feet up for a few minutes.  Seems to help.
I'll be glad when I don't have any issues to report.  Don't you get tired of hearing me moan and groan?  I sure do get tired of it.  I've got to get out of the "shaky business" and into the "fighting mode" again, as my 3-month scans are just around the corner.  I think I need (want) another vacation before then.  Where's that sack full of gold coins?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I know God gives us strength when we need it the most.  I started to feel semi-"normal" about the middle of July--able to eat a little more, do dishes and laundry (yipee...), move better, etc.  It was just in time because Chelsea and her family decided to come celebrate Pioneer Day (July 24 here in Utah) with us and I couldn't have done it without that extra boost of energy power!  First, Chels and I were able to go to our Salt Lake showing of the Broadway cast in "Wicked" at the beautiful, historic Capitol Theater.  I've been keeping mum about these tickets since about February or March because I could only afford two and I knew there would be moans and groans from those left at home.  When Chels called and said they were coming for the big parade and fireworks held on Friday, I asked her if she could come early and go to the play Thursday night.  What a thrill!  It was an amazing show!  The leads were wonderful and so talented and gave me goosebumps.  I loved the music, the set, the costumes, the humor, the whole thing!  It was a treat.  Friday was stressful, just like always, because we have to be at certain places at certain times and the traffic is horrendous and it's hot and everyone is grumpy (especially me) and then, of course, I'm tired-er than usual and have more pain than usual...blah, blah, blah.  I'm sure my family is as sick of me being sick as I am.  But, all in all, we enjoyed the parade, especially the entry called, "The 2000 Stripling Warriors", from the Book of Mormon account of the 2000 young men who fought against their enemies and "did not doubt" the truths their mothers had taught them.  It was very emotional to see our day & age's 2000 stripling warriors, dressed in their tunics and armed with their own personalized, wooden staffs, ready to battle against evil.  I'll admit I got teary.  The trek up the hill to see the fireworks was hard and I got winded and sore, but the fireworks themselves were fantastic, as usual.  Just love our vantage point with the "bombs bursting in air" right above our heads.  Ooooh, ahhhh.... Saturday night, we went to A & L's to watch their neighborhood bike parade.  Some of the neighbors played patriotic music from their car stereos, as the kids passed by once or twice (or more) on their decorated bikes, scooters, wagons, rollerblades, etc.  It was wonderful and the kids were a hit.  Our Ally & Avery threw candy suckers like in the real parade, and that was a bonus, especially to little Knox, who kept picking them up off the grass and chomping them.  After the parade, Linds & Aar made homemade ice cream, which was a real treat.  Yum, raspberry hit the spot.  Monday morning, we were off with the Stephensons for St. George to spend a few days before the Scentsy convention in Las Vegas.  My energy level was still good and I was so relieved.  There is always pain at night, but I slept pretty good and was able to keep it under control with ibuprofen.  We enjoyed our time with Mom and Chels & family, and then we were off to the lights of Vegas.  Convention had its ups & downs.  Lines were long that first day and we were all exhausted, but what a rush to be with 11,000 Scentsy consultants!  I had a few melt-downs (mostly by being frustrated with my family), but all in all, it was a wonderful few days of doing completely different things than we do in our everyday life...going to shows, walking Fremont Street, eating way too much in buffets, people-watching.  Convention was motivating and a little intimidating, too.  I wish I could be better at this job and not have to worry about anything financial.  We got lots of free product and heard motivational speakers whose words are still rumbling around in my head.  Hope I can act on them.  Came home tired, but happy.  Not ready for real life, but today is August 1 and I've made some goals to get back into my regular routine.  I guess if we were always on vacation, we wouldn't appreciate these times when we just have to deal with slow computers, too many bills, cleaning out the fridge, and getting a haircut.  I'm so grateful that I can finally say, "I guess I'm going to make it after all!"  Whew.
(Picture:  my silly girls, Chelsea and Janessa)