All Grown Up

e-gchpf2You’re not a child anymore, I realize.

You’ve grown and matured, far beyond wise.

 

Still, I remember how just yesterday

I could somehow love your sorrows away.

 

How I miss those times when just being there,

Brought your heart comfort when you were scared.

 

Those talks we’d have about friends and school,

And shopping for clothes and shoes that were “cool”.

 

My “little one” no longer, but adult and strong,

You don’t need me to help you know right from wrong.

 

I’ve let go of the past and look ahead with anticipation,

Toward the joy of the future with great expectation.

 

Though the memories of your childhood are oh so good,

There’s nothing I’d change about you, even if I could.

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My Husband Says My Blog Is Boring…

I know, I haven’t posted anything in quite a while. I have been busy with stepsons, my daughter and her husband visiting from Colorado, work, a birthday party (the big 5-0 for my sis-in-law) and I’ve been reading a good book that I have a hard time putting down (Spencerville by Nelson DeMille).

It’s been even longer since I posted any of my pix. But, since the kids were visiting this weekend and since we also had the birthday party I do have some fun things to add today.

 

This is my daughter, Laurie, and her husband, Cody. They flew in Thursday and went home to Colorado on Sunday. Aren’t they the cutest couple ever?

This is Ziggy, who is all dressed up in his grass skirt and lei for his momma’s birthday party.

 

Kids Say the Funniest Things!

My youngest stepson, B., is such a clown. He’s funny and loveable and totally enjoys being the center of attention. He’s half Asian, he’s proud of it, and this has led him to say some hilarious stuff.

“Thai. That’s Thai, like in Thailand, not Taiwan!” he spouted,  with a look that said “you’re so stupid” on his little 8 year old face, when asked a few years ago what KIND of Asian he is. Hahaha!

One of my husband’s favorite nicknames for B. is “Secret Asian Man”. We call him that often, and ask for Secret Asian Man sometimes when we call him at home.

B. gets a great tan every summer, so he’s also, affectionately, known as “Mr. Brownstone”.

“See how BROWN I am!”, he’ll say to my hubby. They always compete to see who is browner, and my hubby swears he is browner, but, really, B. always wins. (Hubby disputes this, but it is true.)

Tonight we picked the dudes up and took them to a new fast food place we just found a couple of weeks ago. We’re sitting out on the patio visiting (read: boys and dad are verbally hammering each other the entire time and thinking it’s hysterically funny), eating and having a good time.

During the course of this family outing my oldest stepson, N., started talking about the time that my daughter felt it necessary to drag 6 year old B. from the hot tub at the recreation center they were at because she thought the guy in the hot tub was trying to be a little too friendly with our little Secret Asian Man. She protects her little brothers at any cost! (No children were harmed, she’s just very cautious.)

My hubby joked that the man was trying to have a “dangerous liason” with B. That totally cracked N. up and he was guffawing loudly when B., who swears he really did hear his dad say “dangerous liason”, pipes up and says, ” That guy thought I was DANGEROUSLY ASIAN!”

I was laughing so hard I would have shot lettuce across the table if I’d have had a bite of salad in my mouth!  I had tears streaming down my face! 

 Yep, this is why we moved back to Arizona.

My Thyroid Surgery Experience – Part 3

I woke up around 6:00 on Tuesday morning and was ravenous. I ordered some breakfast and turned on the television, to our local channel 3. It was good to see familiar faces, comforting to feel like I was back (almost) in the real world. Kristen came in with my Synthroid, Calcitriol and Tums. It hurt to swallow even these tiny pills. It hurt to swallow water. I wondered how I would fare with my breakfast.

The dietary worker arrived with my cheese omelette and sausage and I was able to get it all down, one painful bite after another. I was so hungry that my appetite overruled my sore throat and I kept going. It was truly delicious and it seemed to get easier to swallow with each bite I took. I think the hot tea I ordered helped some, too.

I had a nasty cough that was probably caused from the anesthesia in addition to my constant allergy issues, and it really hurt to cough. I’m still coughing some, but it is far less painful a week and a half out from surgery than it was the day after! I laid in bed, waiting for more pain meds and water. At 8:00 someone came in and delivered my pills and refilled my handy-dandy 32 oz. mug with the hospital logo with ice and water! Hooray!!

Kristen came in a little while later and removed the dressing from my incision. I still had the tape, but the larger bandage was gone. I was much more comfortable once I saw the taped incision. It didn’t really seem all that bad. It was swollen, but that was expected. And it hurt some, but it wasn’t too awful. The pain from my sore throat and upper shoulders and back of my neck was worse by far than the incision site.

I had residual stickiness from the tape that held my dressing in place. Yuck. I’m slightly sensitive to adhesives like that anyway, so it was red and itchy as well as being sticky. I went in to my sink and tried to remove some of the mess with a little soap and water on my washcloth. It helped some and I felt better. I washed my face and sponge bathed the rest of me as I wasn’t allowed to take a shower until Wednesday. Aunt Flo was still visiting, but was much more manageable than the previous two days. I was still cursing the timing of THAT event. I mean seriously, 6 months of NOTHING, and then the DAY BEFORE SURGERY!!! UGH. (Sorry guys, I know it’s gross, but women deal with it, and it’s relevant to my experience, so I’m writing about it.) It definitely brightened my morning to feel a little fresher and cleaner.

Hubby got to the hospital around 11:30, just about the time my lunch arrived. I ate my lunch, he ate his Subway sandwich that he brought with him, and we chatted. He said I looked a lot better than the day before and I think he felt better seeing me feeling more like myself. The nursing staff was awesome (well except Robin, but she’s an aide, and I’m still not sure she was all that bad) and my daytime nurse came in with more pain meds. I was definitely ready! About 30 minutes post drug I was ready to fall asleep again and hubby decided he’d run home and take a nap, too. We were both bone weary with all the hullaballo surrounding this surgery and I think it had just caught up with us. We kissed, he left, I slept. I slept for 4 hours! Then it was time to take my vitals again.

Everything looked good according to my vital signs. I was no longer on oxygen or the constant blood pressure  monitoring and was a little more free to move around. I was able to go back and forth to the bathroom at will, which is good because between the IV and the copious amounts of water I was drinking I was in there a lot! I was bored with television so I decided to order dinner.

It’s pretty cool, this restuarant/room service type system of ordering your food at this hospital. And the food, it was delicious! I ordered a chicken dish and some apple pie for dessert with milk to drink. I tried using the ordering thing on the tv…but after an hour of no food I realized that I had botched that order up somehow and called in my order instead. They could see that I had ATTEMPTED to order an hour earlier, so they put a priority on my meal and I had it in about 20 minutes instead of the usual 45. It was 6:10, and I was starving. It was still hard to swallow, but not as hard as it was the day before, or even earlier that morning. I chewed carefully and swallowed slowly, following up each bite with a sip of water.

Hubby showed up shortly after I ate and we watched television, a baseball game, I think, while we yakked and waited for the doctor to come in and, hopefully, tell me that I could go home. Dr. VLR showed up around 8:30 PM. After reviewing my bloodwork and charts he said that if I felt like going home I was free to go. Yay! He filled out the release paperwork, the nurse filled out hers and I left with discharge instructions, three prescriptions and orders to get another blood draw to check my calcium levels in 7 days (ooops, it’s been 10 days and I still need to get in to do that!).

We stopped at the pharmacy on the way home and went back an hour later to pick them up. I slammed down two Percocet the minute I walked into the house, and then checked my email and my blog. I was too tired and sore to do anything but read, so I spent about 15 minutes just sitting there staring at the computer until the meds hit me and I went to bed.

On Wednesday morning I got up and started to go downstairs to do some things that I normally do…like bringing my hubby his first cup of coffee. I do this because I love him, and I like to do something that shows him how special he is to me. But this particular morning he was having NONE of it! I was told, in no uncertain terms, to get back up there and get in bed and to let HIM take care of ME for a change…dammit!! So I did. 🙂  I spent most of the day in bed, scarfing down pain pills and moaning while watching baseball and basketball!

Now I’m 10 days past my surgery. My tape is gone, my incision is healing nicely and the swelling is going down more each day. I feel pretty good for the most part. It still hurts to cough, or sneeze, and I’m a little tired, but that’s improving each day as well. I haven’t slept well since the surgery until last night but I don’t really know why. My pain is nearly gone other than when I cough. My back and shoulders are still a little stressed and I’m taking Tylenol at night to help with that. Our hot tub has been wonderful for helping with the back pain! 

I’m acclimating to taking a pill every morning (Synthroid, which I will take for the rest of my life) and have my post operative appointments scheduled with the surgeon and endocrinologist. I’m back at work and have been able to put in full days all this week. So I’d say I’m doing pretty darned good!

I’m relieved that the pathology report did not show any other cancer whatsoever. None on the right side of my thyroid, no more than what we already knew about on the left side, and none in any of the lymph nodes  that were removed during surgery. I won’t know about having to go through the RAI treatment until I see my endocrinologist later in May.

I’ve only had a little bit of trouble with my voice, kind of like a 13 year old boy going through puberty. I crack and squeak a little at times. I can’t yell but I’m not much of a screamer unless I’m watching sports. I’m grateful because I know sometimes damage to the vocal cords and/or nerves is unavoidable during this kind of operation. I think having a skilled surgeon who has done over a thousand of these procedures was key to coming out of this with very little damage to my voice and to my parathyroid glands. I’m very grateful for Dr. VLR.

I’m grateful to all my family and friends who have supported me with their words, their prayers and their phone calls, emails and blog comments.

I’m very grateful to my aunt and uncle who were here with me while I was going through the FNA biopsy  and my CT scan as well as several doctor’s visits that they attended with us. They took us out to dinner the night that I got the first pathology report that indicated that I might have thyroid cancer. My aunt went to bat for me with my insurance company and got some things straightened out that there was serious confusion around.  My uncle was traveling here to be with us for my surgery when he hit a patch of ice in the mountains of New Mexico and rolled his truck. I’m so thankful he wasn’t hurt badly, but I’m so sorry that he was hurt at all. Both of them have given my hubby and I so much support through this and  we love them very much!!

I’m extremely grateful to my husband for taking excellent care of me throughout this whole last week, despite the fact that he’s been sick. He took a week of vacation time off from work to be there for me whenever I needed him. He took me to two baseball games and yelled for me when I couldn’t yell for myself! He’s been there for me every step of the way through this whole ordeal, from October of 2007 through today. Thank you Honey!! You’re the BESTEST!! I love you more than life itself!

 

The Week Before Surgery

THE BACKSTORY………..

Back in early February, when I first knew I might have to have surgery to remove my thyroid, I told my boss what was going on with my health. His sister passed away about a year ago from colon cancer. Needless to say, my announcement that I have thyroid cancer was disconcerting to him. He was appropriately sympathetic and, I thought, supportive. The next afternoon when he arrived at work he called me into his office for a closed door discussion.

Boss-Man: “I assume this cancer means you will have to have surgery?”

Me: “Yes, at some point. I need to find a surgeon and an endocrinologist first.”

Boss-Man: “Well, I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but I do need to think about the needs of this office in relation to the possibility that you may be out for some time.”

Me: “Okay.”

Boss-Man: “Do you know of anyone who might be willing to come in here to do your job while you’re out?”

Me: “I don’t really know many people at all here in Phoenix, but I’ll think about it.”

Boss-Man: “Maybe you should call some of the temp agencies…see what they have. And see what the ‘going rate’ is for temporary help.”

Me: “Maybe.”

I was a little floored that he was bringing this up after declaring that he didn’t mean to be insensitive, but I gathered myself up and went to my desk before letting the tears spill down my face. I was so scared and still quite in shock from finding out that I have “Follicular Carcinoma”; now I was scared that my job might be in jeopardy as well.

I thought about it for a couple of days and then remembered that my friend’s 20 year old daughter wasn’t working the last time we spoke. I called my friend and asked if her daughter was still looking for a job, explained the situation and told her I thought Nikki might be a good fit. My friend said she’d check with her daughter and have her call me, which she did the very next day. I told her about me going in for surgery sometime, probably soon, hopefully sooner rather than later. Nikki said she was interested and I asked her about her skills and requested that she send me her resume’. She emailed it to me that night (this was back in early-February) and I printed it and gave it to my boss. Of course I heard nothing more from him on the subject for several weeks.

After my surgery was scheduled, I asked Boss-Man, several times, if he had something else in mind for covering my desk or if he wanted to talk to Nikki. But, he couldn’t be bothered about it then.

“Talk to me about this next week, remind me.” he said.

THIS WEEK……………

Next week took about 6 weeks to get here. I finally sent him a nasty-gram email asking him what he had planned…I didn’t know if Nikki was still available or not, but we’ve got two weeks to interview and train someone at this point. He decided to have me call Nikki and she came in for an interview with Boss-Man a week ago last Thursday. I started training her this past Monday.

I do all the administrative jobs in my small office. I’m the receptionist,marketing person, office manager (my official title), technical support, maintenance person and special projects coordinator. I fix computers, create marketing packages and advertisements, send emails, print, scan, fax, copy, clean, move, order supplies and keep the office in working condition. If the light bulbs burn out or we need a new electrical outlet installed, I call a maintenance person. If a contract needs to be written, I write it. If we need a new phone system or printer for the office I seek out providers, do interviews and cull the lists down to the final two or three prospects that make the most sense for our office, taking into consideration the size of our company and the cost of the product or service.

I was given four days (I ended up getting 5) to impart this knowledge, which has taken me 2+ years to gather, to Nikki. She has done very well given the limited time we had for her training. But it’s been a whirlwind week. Every day flew by. I think she has enough knowledge and instinct to carry her through this next week while I’m out, she has good computer skills and a very sweet manner. She will do fine as long as nothing out of the norm pops up, and she has my phone number if something does.

THIS MORNING………

This morning I woke up to the phone ringing downstairs (the handset for the upstairs phone was left on the coffee table last night). I didn’t reach it in time, but the two messages left in voice mail made me cringe.

The first message was from my cousin (who is like a sister to me), left at around 6-something. The second message was from her mother, my auntie (also very dear to my heart). My uncle (who is truly one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known) left Colorado yesterday to come for my surgery. He made it quite a ways yesterday after having trouble with his truck that morning and finally getting on the road about 2:30. He got up early this morning and set off toward Phoenix. Unfortunately he did not make it very far. He hit an icy patch on a bridge and rolled his truck!!!

I called my cousin first and left her a voice mail. Then I reached my aunt who told me more of the details of the accident and gave me the number to call the hospital where my uncle was in the emergency room. I was able to finally reach him on his cell phone. He said he was banged up and bruised and had some superficial cuts, but the x-rays appeared to be negative and that he was okay. He actually sounded almost chipper. TALK ABOUT SAYING A THANKSGIVING PRAYER!!

I think he’s probably hurting more than he let me know, but I’m just so grateful that he’s okay. I can’t even type this without tears streaming down my face. It doesn’t matter that he can’t be here for the surgery; it DOES matter that he will be okay when he stops hurting from the accident. Please, PLEASE pray for a safe trip back to Colorado for my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. I love them all dearly and they’ve been through so much today! And PLEASE pray for a speedy recovery for my uncle.

LATER THIS MORNING……..

Later this morning I had a scare with one of my cats. My oldest stepson was petting Sassy (whom my husband has given various other names to over the years, but her original name is Sassy) this morning and noticed a strange growth by her dew claw. OMG!! There appeared to be a “warty” patch next to the claw as well. I called my vets office and asked to get her in this morning. They kindly informed me that they had no appointments until Monday. I kindly, but firmly informed them that I was not available on Monday and that I needed her seen TODAY! They worked her in. It was, in fact, her dew claw, which had grown extremely fast and had curled around and ingrown back into her paw! Fortunately, only the claw was the problem. The warty patch was just a scab where the claw had irritated her pad. They removed the claw, clipped her other claws and told me that as cats get older their claws grow really fast and that I need to trim her nails often! You can bet I will be on top of that one from here on out!!

OTHER STUFF……..

My grandfather, who lives in Wyoming, is not doing well. He has lymphoma and another kind of cancer that is kind of like leukemia that is keeping his blood from making platelets, which are needed for clotting. When he gets the tiniest cut or scratch he will bleed for days. He’s not in a lot of pain, but it’s still sad to know he’s suffering from these cancers. I was blessed to get to go visit him in November last year. I’ve really missed Grandad since I don’t live in Wyoming, close to him, anymore. He’s in his early 80’s and I’m really worried about him. He does seem to be in good spirits, however. He’s been a big part of my life and I’m not ready to let go of him just yet. You know?

I’m drained…I need to do laundry and pack for the hospital. We’re having a BBQ here tomorrow with some good friends so I have food prep to do, too. AND, I have to take the boys to their church in the morning as oldest stepson has a special ceremony to participate in. That is before the BBQ.

I need the surgery on Monday to remove the cancerous thyroid from my neck. But more than that, I think I need this week of down time. I think the real fun starts sometime after we get the pathology report back on Wednesday, but I’m kind of looking forward to a couple of days in bed and a full week off work!

Happy Birthday to my Lovely Daughter

It seems like only yesterday you were a tiny newborn. Everyone in the hospital said you looked just like me, and I thought, “No, she’s beautiful!”  

 You have grown more lovely, inside and out, as the years have passed. You are thoughtful, caring, intelligent and wise beyond your years. You have more courage than I could have ever mustered at your age, and I’m so proud of who you have become. You work hard and you play hard! You love deeply and permanently. Your dedication to those who you call friends and family is untiring.

 They say that parents give their children roots and wings, and I hope that is true. I know that on the days when I long to draw you close under MY wing I have to take a small step back and realize what an independent, loving adult you are. You don’t need me to be your “mommy” anymore and that’s a good thing. That is something you and I accomplished together. I’m blessed to know that I’ll always be your Mom and your Friend.

I hope you have the happiest birthday today! No one deserves it more than you do Baby Girl. I love you with all my heart! I’ll see you soon!!  

 Love, Mom

 My daughter and son-in-law

Laurie and Cody on their wedding day.