Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
More news later!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Since my mind is in sort of a mish mashed state right now, this is going to be a bit of a mish mashed post. Maybe we could even go so far as to call it a mish mashed, miscellaneous post. Or, maybe possibly, even a mish mashed, miscellaneous, Smithellaneous post. Yup. That sounds good to me.
I have quite a few pictures from our vacation that I’ll be posting over the next week or so, but first I wanted to write about one of my goals for last week. That goal was to make it through at least one day (since being diagnosed) without crying.
Can you look at the picture below and try to guess how that goal is coming along? Steve was eating breakfast a couple days ago and I sat down to talk with him a few minutes, feeling all cheery, chipper and chatty. Ten minutes into the conversation, the ol’ emotions welled up and the Kleenex box was, once again, called into use.
This is the not-so-cheery face I wear around occasionally. Other times, though (and I dare say, most of the time), I feel fairly positive.
Even on vacation, even at the beautiful beach, there were somber moments. But I know that’s to be expected.
And speaking of somber moments, Sandy, a cousin of mine recently sent a picture to me I had never seen before.
Right to left, you’ll see my Grandpa and Grandma Clemmerson (Dad’s parents) my Uncle Duane and Aunt Rita (Rita is Dad’s sister and Sandy’s Mom) and my Mom and Dad. (On a non-somber note, you can take one look at my Grandma’s face and know that she was one the zippiest, sauciest, funniest ladies you could ever hope to meet. I miss her!)
The somber note comes with the knowledge that both Grandma Clemmerson and Aunt Rita died of breast cancer.
I’ve always known that they had that disease, but it hit me especially hard after being diagnosed with cancer myself. Even though my prognosis is excellent, I still feel a small, scary shiver at the thought of joining the sisterhood of those who have been diagnosed and didn’t survive—especially when that sisterhood includes women who were (and are) very special to me.
And while I’m on the subject of cancer, several of you have asked if someone would be updating the blog tomorrow. I don’t know when they’ll be able to get to it, but someone will keep you informed as the day progresses.
In fact, tomorrow morning at this very time, I will be in a surgical suite under anesthesia. And the thing that I have been pondering, waiting for, and dreading will be in process. Hard to believe it’s almost here.
Okay. Enough of that!
Now on to more cheery pictures from our vacation.
I was determined to get up early enough one morning to see the sun actually peep over the horizon. And here it is! Peeping! That was so much fun. (Especially since I got to go back to bed, and the sun had to stay up!)
Just before the sun appeared, several large groups of birds flew by—there were thousands of them. Obviously they were on their way to a Very Important Bird Convention.
Here are a few pictures of the lovely house we stayed in.
Steve’s colorful jelly beans.
And here’s a not-so-lovely picture of a “little plant thingie” that was lurking in the vicinity. I’m not exactly sure what this is, but I will let you know that when you step on one, as I did, you will not be a happy camper. Steve gallantly got down on the ground and pulled it from my foot--without the benefit of anesthesia, might I add. And then he held it up so that you could all see the inherent nastiness of the nasty little thingie. Ouch.
After I had survived the trauma of the thingie, we walked over the sand dune behind our house to check on the ocean. Just to make sure it was still there. (It was.)
Steve and I were amazed that as far we could see, there was no sign of anything man made. So cool.
Well, the time has come to pull my thoughts away from lovely beaches and concentrate on a to do list that’s even longer than that stretch of sand you see above.
It’s hard to believe that this is the last day (for a few weeks) that I will feel anything like normal. It’s going to be an adjustment to not be able to run around and be as busy and productive as I love to be.
But . . . I heard something a long time ago that has stuck with me. It said, “In acceptance, there is peace.”
And that is my challenge during this surgery and recovery—to accept it. To be grateful for a medical procedure that can get rid of cancer, to embrace the period of rest and recuperation, and to not get overwhelmed by the aftermath of dealing (physically and emotionally) with a double mastectomy.
I have my work cut out for me in finding acceptance. In finding peace.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Well, ladies and gentlemen, the countdown to surgery has begun.
Tonight around dinner time, Steve and I will head back home. Tomorrow, we’ll spent most of the day in Manteo, getting all of our last minute stuff done. Unfortunately, as it turns out, some of our last minute stuff will include picking up our mini van from the garage where we dropped it off yesterday after attending Sarah’s award’s ceremony. With everything else going on, we now have a lovely, unexpected repair bill of $350. But since we’d hate to break down at the side of the road on the way home from surgery, we figured it might be a good idea to get it taken care of. (Hitchhiking immediately after surgery is generally frowned upon in medical circles.)
Tomorrow evening, Steve, Sarah, Snowy and I will grab an early dinner and then head out the door to Greenville where we’ll meet up with Steve’s parents (from Charlotte) and my mom and sister (from Wisconsin) and prepare for the early morning surgery. (We have to be there at 6 am.)
But you know what? That day isn’t here yet. Today we are still on vacation, if only for a few more hours. And better yet, I am happy to report that I have now retrieved my camera cord and uploaded all my pictures. I won’t force you to sit through them all in one day (you can thank me later) but today I’ll concentrate on Monday’s jaunt to Ocracoke Island.
To get to the island, you have to take a 45-minute ferry ride, which was quite exciting to a couple of landlubbers like us.
This is Steve’s head. (In case you we were wondering!)
Once we got to the island, we explored a few of the side road and found a couple of signs we just loved. If you’ve ever wanted to have a street named after you, all you have to do is just get a board and write your name on it. It worked for Howard. (And his street.)
This sign also made us smile.
Of course, when the road is this lovely, it’s pretty easy to drive “real, real slow.”
That particular (slow driving) road took us to this little shop. I was especially intrigued by the “Books to be Red” sign; I still haven’t quite figured out what that meant, but any sign having to do with books deserves a picture. I also loved the word “uniquities” on the sign. Those Ocracoke folk are pretty creative in the signage department.
As we were entering the shop, Steve stood and pondered for a moment if he could get away with requesting a motorcycle for his upcoming birthday.
And then he thought, “Naw. I’ll just be content with riding this rubber shark instead.”
The front of the bookstore. Don’t you just love it?
After browsing for a while, we drove a few blocks (real, real slow) to an ice cream store and came across this very stressed, anxious island dog. Can you say, “No worries?
Across from the ice cream store was another colorful, quaint shop. I just love colorful and quaint!
I also loved the orderly way all these bikes were lined up. (No, I don’t get out much.)
Following the ice cream eating and the bike gazing, we drove a few blocks to the lighthouse.
As much as I loved the lighthouse, I especially the loved the old light keeper’s house beside it. (Which is now owned by a private individual.) The old tree in front of the house was gorgeous.
And then it was back on the ferry . . .
and back to the lovely view from our very own (borrowed) balcony.
Such a lovely time.
Such a great opportunity to take life real, real, slow.
For you folks who like to see on a real map where things take place, I have included one for you. A lot of people have trouble picturing what the Outer Banks are so hopefully this will help make it clearer.
The Outer Banks are the strip of islands out in the Atlantic. If you’ll look to the left (um, I mean, to the west) of that string of islands, you will see Roanoke Island and Manteo. Looking north on the Outer Banks, you’ll see Corolla, which is where we went a couple weeks ago to see the wild horses.
Heading South, you’ll see Rodanthe (yes, it’s where the movie “Nights at Rodanthe” was filmed) Waves, and Salvo. That’s the little area where we’re staying on vacation. And if you look way south on the map, you’ll see Ocracoke Island which is where today’s story happened.
There. Now you have received an official (albeit brief) education about the Outer Banks. Wasn’t that fun?
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This morning our very own Princess Groovy Chick will be honored in a ceremony at school for being on the A/B Honor Roll for the past quarter. (Her only B was in math—and considering that she started the school year two grades behind in math, we are thrilled, amazed and astonished that she was able to earn a B!)
Although it will be an hour round trip to get back to Manteo to attend, we decided to take a brief break from our vacation and go and celebrate with her. It’s her first award since going to public school and she’s come such a long way, despite her learning difficulties; we just want to be there to cheer her on.
While we’re in Manteo, we’ll stop by the house to pick up my camera cord so I can finally post some pictures. I’ve been feeling rather photographically discombobulated not having any photos to include in my recent posts.
In the meantime though, I thought I’d throw in a few pictures from a year ago this month, just as a way of incorporating at least a few pictures; also, I always think it’s fun to look back and see what we were doing a year ago.
WHY is this man smiling?
It’s because he’s sitting on THIS can!
The above photos and the two pictures that follow were taken at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, NC, which Make-A-Wish arranged for us (and some other families) to tour.
Steve loves airplanes and had a great time hanging out out and talking planes with a pilot.
And here is Steve in yet another role—the High Priest in an Easter Drama.
Sarah and Victoria spent several days together last April; part of their fun involved looking back through old pictures, plays, and stories they had written back when they were “young.” Snowy is, of course, an integral part of the fun.
April also included yet another visit to Duke.
After Nathan returned from Israel, he spoke to the youth group at church about it. He is one fine fella. (Whom I happen to miss very much!)
So there ya have it--a few pictures at least. Hopefully later today I can post a few from our current sojourn to the sea.
But for now I’d better jump in the shower so that I can rid myself of my alarming morning hair! (You haven’t seen alarming, until you’ve seen my hair.)
More later. . .