Monday, August 27, 2012

New Normal?

Wow...I don't know how people go to school full-time AND work full-time.  They get a major fist-bump (typed fish-bump..hahaha!) from me!  This full-time school thing is NO joke.  By the time Friday rolled around last week, I felt like I'd bruised my brain! Ha!  Hopefully as I keep up this pace, my brain and body will adjust and I won't always feel *quite* so overwhelmed.  I'm writing from the school library again.  I've been in here studying since 8:15, and it was time to take a break.

I have my first Anatomy and Physiology text tomorrow.  I'm a little nervous about it, because I've never done it before...but we did take a practice test last Thursday and I only missed one.  So, hopefully that's a good indication of grades to come!

Kate asked in my comments what a career in surgical technology is.  The Mayo Clinic website describes it much more succinctly than I could, lol!

"Surgical technologists, also called "scrubs," or "operating room technicians," assist in surgeries under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses or other surgical personnel. Surgical technologists are members of operating room teams, which most commonly include surgeons, anesthesiologists and circulating nurses.

Before an operation, surgical technologists help prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment, sterile drapes and sterile solutions. They assemble both sterile and non-sterile equipment and ensure it's working properly.
Technologists also prepare patients for surgery by washing, clipping and disinfecting incision sites. They transport patients to the operating room, help position them on the operating table and cover them with sterile surgical drapes. Technologists also assist the surgical team with putting on sterile gowns and gloves."

Patrick and I did a 7 mile hike this weekend, bringing our walking total to 114 miles each.  I'm gonna be honest here and say that I'm not totally sure we're going to hit our goal of 300 miles in 90 days...but we are going to do the BEST we can.  I'd love to see us reach that goal, but we are finding that occasionally there just aren't enough hours in the day, or miles in our feet! But we are going to walk walk walk further and more often than we ever have.  That's still a victory, right?

My dad starts chemo today.  I'm nervous.  I want to respect his wishes...but I also really hope that his health concerns + chemo isn't a disaster.  I guess time will tell.  We went to church together yesterday morning, and had a really nice family dinner (his favorite: steak and tater tots, lol) last night.  I know we are entering the final chapter in his life, and I just want to help make it was good and positive (and love-filled) as possible.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Five Question Friday

It's time to join in on Mama M's Five Question Friday!

Here come the questions!

1. If you could have been (could be) any profession you wanted (brains and $$$ no problem) what would it be? I've just gone back to school to pursue my chosen profession...surgical technology!

2. How often do you clean out your car?  My car is pretty small (Jeep Wrangler), so I keep it pretty cleaned out.  The outside though, is just like a Jeep should be...dirty! 

3. Do you wish there was such a thing as fashion police or are you deeply relieved? Nah, I'd rather be comfy.

4. What's your go to food/drink/activity when stressed?  Diet Coke.  I  have a weakness for donuts too...but I'm trying to be strong!

5. If you had twins, what would you name them?  When I was a kid, I wanted boy/girl twins, and to name them Erin and Aaron.  I thought that was SO original.  Now, I'd probably just name them my two favorite names  Jackson Irwin, and either Fiona Grace or Piper Grace.  If I had two boys, my other boy name would probably be Ian Carter.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blogging from school

Guess what's happening to me....

My evenings of sitting on the couch, blog-surfing, playing on FB, etc...have been replaced by sitting at the table, reading and studying textbooks, making flashcards, and learning new computer programs.  But you know what?  I love it.  I'm still in the overwhelmed, oh my gosh how will I ever learn all of this stage, but I know I will.  Because I already am.

As Patrick drove us to school this morning, I was quizzing us on flashcards.  And there were only a couple I didn't know! Go me!  (His chemistry ones are scary, lol!)

Here's another new thing.  I'm blogging from school.  Right now, I'm between classes, and I'm eating my little lunch that I brought from home.  I thought I'd take a few minutes to sit and record this moment.

I've made some new acquaintances, and that's fun...but also a little scary.  I am/was very happy and comfortable with all of my long-time preschool friends.  Walking up to new people and introducing myself, or starting a conversation is hard.  But I've already found two people in my field of study who are also brand new to the program, and a few other nice folks too.

Learning and growing, learning and growing. <3 p="p">

Monday, August 20, 2012

College Student

Well, it's official! I'm a college student.

Yesterday I got my textbooks and book-bag ready.

This morning, I took our family's traditional "first day of school" photo.

And honey and I headed off to school! Here I am in the library, before my Math class.

I was a bit nervous, just because this is so new, and so important to me. I mean, I quit my job to do this...and now, here I was about to begin! But, everything was fine. I talked to two "strangers" in class, and they were both very nice. I wasn't the oldest one there, and the girl across the aisle from me had a Hello Kitty backpack. (I adore Hello Kitty.) I showed her my HK pencil case, and we both smiled. So, it was a success! Tomorrow I have English, and then Anatomy & Physiology.

Patrick and I hit a "milestone" tonight. We did our daily walk, and it put us across the 100 mile mark since July 15th! Woot! We're a few days behind our "plan," but that can't be helped now. We just keep moving forward!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Twas the Night Before College....

That's right!  I start school tomorrow!  I can't believe it's fiiiinnnnaaaallllllllllly here!  I feel like I made the decision SO long ago, but it reality it's just been a year.  But throughout this past year, I've been planning, preparing, and thinking about it SO much that it kind of felt like it would never get here!

I quit my job, gave away all of my teacher stuff, and I am ready to start on the path to my new life!

I bought my textbooks last week, and have them all organized.  My book-bag is ready to go, and I'm charging my computer.

I have only one class tomorrow...Math.  What a way to get started, huh?

Think a good thought for me, ok?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sinking in

For those who are new to my blog, a little background.

My parents live with us. They moved in almost two years ago. Last summer my Dad had triple bypass surgery, and then dealt with a pain syndrome and hospitalization into the early fall. He has Alzheimer's disease and COPD. Their house in CA has been on the market for two YEARS and two months. About two weeks ago, it thankfully went into escrow. We are hoping and praying that the sale goes through without trouble.

 On Thursday, we received his sad diagnosis of small cell lung cancer. It has metastasized to his liver already. This spread of disease is called "extensive," providing a very grim prognosis. I found this information online later that evening:

"For extensive stage small cell lung cancer the median survival with treatment is 6 to 12 months, and only 2 to 4 months without treatment."

I may have said all this the other day. I apologize.

The next thing I wanted to say is that...this is starting to sink in. For all of us. And it's sad. Deeply sad. It's the kind of sad that you just can't get away from or make better. We are attempting to do some fun things with him, and make the best of each day...but we're all just sort of still in disbelief. Like...this does not compute. Listening to my mom on the phone yesterday, setting up his chemo schedule was surreal. Dad? Chemo? Wait. What?

In slightly better news, today my mom also set up her flight to CA in October to finish packing up their household belongings, and arranging the moving truck, etc. My sister lives in CA and will be going with her to help. We are so hopeful that my Dad will still be stable enough that Mom will feel like she can leave him for a week.

I want to write about my feelings about starting school on Monday...but my brain just isn't going there tonight. I'll try again tomorrow.


Five Question Friday

I've been a hit and miss blogger over the spring and summer. I had some big things happening, that I just couldn't widely share until the people in my life that were affected found out first.  These happenings were so big and consuming so many of my thoughts, that if I couldn't blog about them, I didn't want to blog at all!  But now that EVERYBODY knows that I've left my job and am going back to school...and now about my Dad's illness...NO MORE SECRETS!

I'm so happy to be able to come back to blogging.  It's a great way for me to record my days, my feelings, etc.  Plus I love the friends I've made online.  So...I'm baaaaack!

And just in time to join in on Mama M's Five Question Friday!

Here come the questions!

1. What's the one thing you buy every time you walk into the store?  Soy Milk, eggs, lunch meat, cheese, frozen waffles

2. If you had a day all to yourself how would you spend it?  I would sleep in, go for a hike by my favorite river and then sit on the rocks.  I'd take myself out to eat, and then come home and give myself a pedicure.  In the evening, I'd have a couple drinks and either watch chick movies or read a book.

3. Are you a speed limit driver? If not, over or under? I tend to drive the speed limit.

4. What's your favorite dessert to make, homemade or from a mix??  I love to make this "Apple Cheese Danish Braid."  It's easy, delicious, and everyone loves it.  It's home-made...but you use crescent rolls.  Not sure if that counts, lol.

5. Would you rather have a spider or a mouse scurry across your face (no copping out and saying "neither!!")? Oh Em Gee.  This is nearly impossible.  I guess I'm going to have to choose a mouse.  The idea of a spider on my face nearly makes me hyper-ventilate!  The notion of a mouse on my face is horrifying as well, for the record, lol!

Friday, August 17, 2012


We had to take a couple days off from our walking schedule.  Patrick got a sore foot, and he needed to rest it.  We had chiro appointments today, and the dr. confirmed that nothing is broken, but probably plantar fasciitis.  I KNOW how bad that hurts.  Poor man!

Anyway, we hiked 3.9 miles today, which brings us to 88 miles this month!!!  We "should" be at 100 to be on-target...but I think 88 is pretty darn awesome.

On the day we started, I had Patrick take a picture of me.  Now that it's a month later, I had him take another one.  Let's see if there's any visible difference.  I have lost 8.8 lbs.

This is me on July 15, 2012...our first day of walking:


And, here I am today...August 17, 2012, after a month of walking.  88 miles:


I'm not sure I see a difference...but I know I'm stronger.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Full Diagnosis

We found out this morning that Dad has Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC). This type of cancer is not staged I, II, III, IV. It's either classified as limited or extensive. My dad's is extensive, because it has metastasized out of the place of origin. (This would be Stage IV in other types of cancers.) The oncologist said that now that we know it's SCLC, we don't need to pursue *where* it started, because it's already progressing. 

Surgery is not an option. Chemo will not cure it, only possibly slow it down. However, none of us are certain that chemo won't kill him faster. He does want to start chemo though, and he will go August 27, 28, 29. Then he doesn't go again for 4 weeks. The doctor said that if he hates it, or can't tolerate it, he can stop it at any time. 

I read a very sobering statistic today: "For extensive stage small cell lung cancer the median survival with treatment is 6 to 12 months with treatment, and only 2 to 4 months without treatment." 


My dad has had basically no response at all.  

I just want to sit on my bed for a little while and be sad.  

(In other news, I got my college textbooks today.  That was exciting...and staggering.  Thank God for financial aid.  My books cost $587!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One step at a time

A month ago, Patrick and I set a goal for ourselves to walk 300 miles in 90 days.  As of today, we've walked 83 miles!  It is very challenging, but honestly we are loving it.  All of this walking is giving us plenty of time to talk, and lately...we've had lots to talk about.  Plus, we've found some really beautiful trails and walking paths in our area!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What we were afraid of

Got results for my Dad.

It has been confirmed that he has cancer in both his lung and his liver. The biopsy results for both locations match...meaning it's cancer on the move.  The doctors have not yet been able to determine the origin of the cancer though.  We hope to schedule his first oncology appointment tomorrow.

Of course I'm very sad.  But there are so many other feelings too.

Some of my feelings are, my dad feels pretty good right now. I would love for my parents to be able to do some traveling, have some fun, etc. If he starts chemo immediately, that will tie them to home, and he'll fairly immediately be very weak. 

My dad does NOT take care of himself. Any care that he receives is due to my mom, or Patrick and me. He hates (and gets surly) to be reminded to do (or not do) things. He will not remember all the special things that will need to be done while he's on chemo.

His respiratory system is WEAK. He has Alzheimer's and COPD. I am quite fearful that chemo will kill him faster than cancer.

He wants to fight, and if the oncologist sees reason to do that...of course we will do as he wishes.  There are just no easy answers.

There is a little bit of good news to share also.  After two years and two months on the market, their house in CA is finally in escrow.  In addition to prayers for my Dad's health, and our peace and wisdom...would you please keep this sale in your thoughts?  My parents really need for this sale to proceed normally, and to not fall apart. It's a long escrow, not due to close until around Halloween.