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July 2010

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Date Night

 (Sorry the photo is so blurry, I panicked and tried to get the shot before the screen changed. Even though the photo isn’t great Danny was really impressed that I got the shot. He called me “quick draw.” I’m sure he was referencing a spaghetti western or something. Either way, I’ll take it!) Last night, Danny and I had our first date since before the surgeries. We loaded up the truck and went to the drive-in movie theater. It wasn’t exactly a romantic movie, but The A Team was pretty nostalgic for both of us. Of course, in my opinion, any movie can be romantic when you’re at a drive-in! In fact, Danny and I saw two shooting stars! I won’t tell you what I wished for on the first shooting star, but the second one I wished that everyone I know, everyone that I’ve ever met, would have a moment of complete relaxation. Hopefully, whether or not you knew it, you let out a big sigh of happiness. For the record, I don’t believe that telling the wish ruins it. Maybe on birthday cake candles, since that only happens once a year, but regarding spontaneous wishes it’s fine to tell what you’re hopping for. Just my opinion. I wished for a moment of complete relaxation because things get crazy in life, and we all need a moment or two to regroup. When I used to get worked up I would try to tell myself, “relax, relax, re-laaa-ax.” But, lately, I’ve found an even better way to lower my heart rate. Instead of focusing on me, I close my eyes and silently talk to myself about all the things I want for my friends (the health of their babies, happiness at home, the fortune to find their big love, success…

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Novelties In Life

Here are some photos from last weekend. Luckily, there’s no such thing as a bad photo on the island. It was incredibly fun re-introducing myself to a place that I love so much! For example, I don’t remember seeing snails on blackberry leaves before. I’ve always considered myself to be very observant, but I could never understand why I had such a hard time remembering things (details in old memories and things of that nature – long term stuff). In fact, I can’t count the number of times a friend, or family member has told a story that included me and I have absolutely no recollection of the event. Finally, now I know that I wasn’t causing the lack of memory (due to inattention), but that my tumor was shoving my brain and taking away the real estate. Which oddly makes me happy, and makes me feel like I’m not crazy, or oblivious. I’m sure I’ve seen snails on blackberry leaves before, but often I get to feel like things are a new experience even though logically I’m sure I’ve experienced them before. I’m kind of like a child, very excited about the novelties in life.

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The Busy Squirrel

Jeez. Once you start going, you’re never able to stop! There’s never enough time in a day. So much for Friday Harbor Stories…maybe I can integrate them into my coming blogs. Today, Danny and I had to wake up at 5:30am to head out for my 9:00am doctor’s appointment at the UW in Seattle. I’m starting back up with speech therapy. Since I will be needing radiation therapy, chemo, and multiple craniotomies in my life, I figured I needed to learn some tricks to keep my mind alert, and tricks regarding speech and cognitive stuff. I know that there are going to be times in my life when I will have to relearn many things, and the better I prepare myself the easier my life will be in the future (and easier for Danny, my mom, my dad, my bro, and anyone else that comes into contact with me). I’ve always a been the kind of girl that does the dishes before bed because I hate waking up to a mess – same concept, it’s just regarding my brain. Random story, I remember having to relearn brushing my teeth. The paste had been squished onto the head of the toothbrush, and I reached over and grabbed it. I then started poking the outside of my cheek with the handled end of the brush. It was bizarre. I knew something was odd, but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. That’s only one story, there’s a multitude of stories, and there’s no guarantee that the next surgeries won’t be the same situation, or even worse. I’m not trying to say that to scare anyone, it’s just a reality. I’m not scared, not right now, I might be scared in the future or jeez maybe even tomorrow, but I like to prepare…

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Happy Tears

I just returned from Friday Harbor, and it was overwhelmingly amazing! I have so much to say, but since I’m so exhausted, I’m not sure if I’m going be very cohesive. I don’t even know where to start. Here goes my best shot. When I first pulled into the harbor, riding the ferry, I suddenly became extremely emotional. I started to worry that maybe the trip to the island was a mistake. I was intimidated by the thought of running into people, not sure if people would recognize me, or that I would have to do a lot of explaining. As Danny and I came off the boat, we walked up to the Crab Shack (Danny was drawn in by the smell of the fajitas wafting through the open air market). While we waited for Danny’s lunch, I was hiding behind my sun glasses, looking around and hoping that I didn’t see anyone I recognized. All of a sudden a familiar face popped around the corner. It was a guy that I went to high school with, panicking, my heart rate jumped through the roof. Instantly, I had a billion thoughts run through my mind, “Does he recognize me?”; “Does he remember who I am?”; “Does he even know that I have a tumor?” But just as quickly as those thoughts flooded through mind they were squashed, because he took off his sun glasses, came straight toward Danny and I, and gave me a huge hug. The first thing that came out of his mouth was, “Holy cow, you just made my day!” Even though this guy was my age, and we’d grown up together, we hadn’t been really close friends. I later learned, from our conversation that it was his 30th birthday. I was completely blown away, that on…

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The Decision To Try

   Last night, feeling exhausted yet restless, Danny and I headed to the gym. I warned Dan that I wasn’t really sure if I could last long, and he said, “Hey, even if we only go for 30 minutes, at least we went.” Once I got on the treadmill for a twelve minute warm up I started feeling better. My legs started stretching out and I started jogging. Before I knew it I was hitting the cool down period because I had reached 60 minutes. I can’t believe I jogged four miles! It was a nice pace, 12 minute miles, and no headaches! I’ve decided that the easier the pace the longer I can run. I’m not pushing it, just listening to my body.  On the way home from the gym I saw this quote on the avenue. I thought it was absolutely hilarious that my inspiration was up on a sign above a burger joint. What a simple, yet profound thought. As we drove home I realized that all I’m doing is just putting one foot in front of the next and it’s working. I still haven’t given up even when things are hard. I’m proud of myself. I still want a shirt that says, “I don’t just have a bad hair cut, I’m surviving a tumor.” Just for the record 🙂

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Two Different Personalities – One Body

Last night I was trying to explain to Danny how odd I feel. It almost like I’m trapped with two different personalities in one body. Half the time I’m laughing, and enjoying myself, and the other half of the time I’m afraid, and anxious. The weirdest part is that I might look like I’m smiling and enjoying myself, but often times, behind the facade, I’m in a dark place, full of fear and pain. I just received a letter for my next MRI appointment and doctor’s visit. Now, instead of meeting at the surgical pavilion on the third floor, I’ll go in for the MRI and then meet with the team of oncologists on the first floor (in a radiation oncology exam room – how intimidating is that!!). It’s a little change, but it strikes my heart with fear. Probably 100 times a day I get scared, I remember the pain, and I try to dig myself out of those dark places. I’m starting to get really exhausted, just trying to be positive. I’m going to need some more tricks. One of the tricks is going to have to be leaning further on Danny. I started reading about my type of integrated tumor and it was a big mistake. I need to get back into the habit of just enjoying my life, as best as I can. There is nothing more that I can do, other than make healthy decisions and be happy. A surprisingly hard thing to do when all I want to do is hide under a rock and pretend this isn’t happening.

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No Limit Of Kindness

Last Saturday, instead of doing the Chelan Man Olympic Triathlon which I had been planning on conquering (prior to the diagnosis), I attended a concert. We went to the concert with a group of friends, a group that knows no limit of kindness. They’re always making me laugh, and they never disregard my ridiculous moods. They always make me feel like I’m completely normal, even when I can’t seem to believe in myself. At first, I didn’t want to be in any of the photos, and I would hide behind other people’s heads, but soon I realized how rediculous I was being. So I don’t have hair and I feel fat. Oh well. I told myself to just deal with it and suck it up. I’m glad I did, because now I have some memories. I guess I can be pretty vain. too bad we were missing Jessaca – she had the fancy seats down front 🙂 I think that’s my hardest hurdle socially. I don’t want to be in photos. I don’t want to look at myself. When I see the photos, it all of a sudden becomes so real. I can no longer pretend what I’ve been living through, and the uncertainty of my future. I can’t wait for the day when I can really relax, truly feel safe, and unload my sadness.

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Mother Daughter Day

Sorry for the lack of posting – life has been insanely busy. On Friday, I spent the entire day with my mom. Halfway through the day something hit a note and triggered a nerve. For the first time since my diagnosis my mom and I shared good old sob for about an hour. It was therapeutic, and yet scary. My mom is always trying to be the strong one, and it’s hard see her with so much fear, and pain in her eyes. This brain tumor is incredibly hard on my family…it’s hard on everyone around me. The day was so emotionally exhausting that I didn’t document the day with a photo. I know that I could have taken several different photos, but it wouldn’t have been sincere. The whole point of this idea is to find things that help me experience new things, and noticing things around me that bring me joy. I should have just taken a photo of my mom, because I saw my mom in a different light that day. She’s quite strong, and yet very fragile at the same time. 

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