Hawaiian Holiday

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We had such a fun time on Maui. There were happy hours and mai tais and cabanas and palm trees. The resort was beautiful and we took advantage of the grounds and the pool. Eight days was not long enough, I’d like to go back RIGHT NOW. I’m so grateful to have had this time laughing and having fun with friends. We went on a sunset dinner cruise:

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And to the Hyatt Luau:

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And two different days we got cabanas on the beach, which were fabulous:

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And now it’s back to regular life. The morning after I got back I had to go to chemo. The next day, I did all the preparation for my upcoming radiation. Later this week I’ll be starting a 3-4 week course of radiation treatments to my hip area, where I have been having pain for several months. I got my first four tattoos ever. . . little dots that will help them line up the machine each day. I’m hopeful that the rads will work and I’ll be able to stop taking painkillers every night. Another cancer adventure!

The Move

Downsizing has been on my mind for a long time. This little rental house in Bellevue is just a half-mile from my folks, has no stairs, and is the perfect size for me and the pups. The yard is gigantic and the dogs bring in a pound of dirt a day each, easy. Moving from a 3200 square-foot house to a 1200 square-foot house is no easy feat. But the things I love best all fit in this house and I feel really comfortable here. 

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Things are getting organized and I’m settling in. I’m still waiting for my TV to get started up, but I finally have internet now, which is helping me get caught up with things.

England

Our trip was fantastic, we crammed a lot into 10 days. We started in London where we toured the city, rode the Eye, went to the tower, and had a night at the theater and saw The Book of Mormon. It rained quite a bit, but what else would we expect?

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Next we took the train to York. I wish that I could have seen more of the town, but I was down for a day or two. Thankfully, we were staying in the nicest hotel I’ve ever been to, so I slept the day away in a King-sized bed and had heated bathroom floors. Yay. The best part of York was when we hired a driver to drive us through the Moors.

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We drove all the way to Whitbey, a small town on the Northern Sea. It was a gorgeous afternoon in a very pretty town.

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After a few days we took the train back across the country to Bath. My dad was a very good sport as we attended the parade for the annual Jane Austen festival, visited the Jane Austen Center, and even dressed up in period clothing for a few photos. Sadly, there were no sightings of Mr. Darcy.

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Before I knew it, were were back on our way to London on the train, then on the plane home. While I was gone, Tara was dogsitting for me and taking care of the little monsters. While there, she packed my WHOLE HOUSE for moving. So less than 48 hours after getting home, the moving vans arrived an I became an official Eastsider. More on that later…

Stable!

I was very surprised that after my tumor markers have slowly been creeping up slowly over the past several scans, the PET scans show everything has slowed down and we’re calling it stable. So I went ahead and had TDM-1 today and we’ll continue for another 3 months. So now I can focus on my trip to England and then moving to my new home.

We leave tomorrow evening. I am a packing superstar and fit everything into a carry-on roller bag. I’ll check it for flying, but it will be easier to get on and off trains, etc. Ever need help packing light for a trip? Call me to help! This bag has 2 pairs of shoes, 10 pairs of underwear, pajamas, 5 pairs of pants, 2 dresses, and 8 tops. Plus all of my toiletries and such. Yup, I rock!

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Go Gamma, Go!

My 6-week brain MRI follow-up was done last week and the news is all good. The lesion has already shrunk by about a third. Gamma radiation can work for up to six months, so the lesion may still continue to shrink. Small victories, I will take every one of them that comes my way.

Things seem to be moving fast and the time is flying by. I leave next week for our trip to England. After I get back, I’ll be moving to the Eastside to my new little rental home. I’m excited to be in my new place, but not excited about the actual moving part.

Ella has found a wonderful new home with Wendy and Glenn and their two male cats. She is being a bit of a diva and has not made nice with her new kitty friends yet. But I think with time they will all come to be buddies. I am sad not to have her here, but I know it is for the best.

Giving up Griffin will be even more difficult– for me because I am so attached to him, for him because he does not like change at all. I worry so much about what is going to happen to him if I can’t find him a good home. He can move to the new house with me, but that doesn’t really change things long-term. My biggest fear is that I will die and he’ll end up in a shelter. He’s terrible in cages and at the vet, so I think in a shelter environment he will just be scared and hiss, he’ll be even older. . . no one wants to adopt an angry 15-year-old cat. I really want to find a good situation for him now so that I won’t have to worry.

I have a PET/CT this Friday and an oncology appointment next Wednesday. I’ll find out then if I’ll be staying on TDM-1 or moving on to a new plan.

Big Changes Ahead!

I’m looking forward to my trip to England next month and a trip to Hawaii in November. Life is good and I’m moving forward, I want to downsize and simplify my life as much as possible so I can spend my time enjoying trips, family, and friends. So I’ve decided to move out of my big beautiful home into something one-level and more manageable. I’ve found a lovely little rental house in Bellevue just a half-mile from my parent’s house. It has a giant backyard and I’ll be able to walk to lots of things. I’m really excited about this next phase!

The downside is that I need to find a new home for one or both of my cats. This new house is very small and since one cat beats up on the other, moving to a smaller space will make that worse. I also think it’s better to place the cats now, when I am able to play a role in finding them new homes, rather than leaving them behind for my parents to deal with.

So, anyone interested in a 13-year-old cat? Let’s meet them!

ImageElla is a very beautiful, petite calico female who loves everyone and everything. She has never met a cat she doesn’t want to be friends with or a dog she doesn’t want to groom. She has never had a health problem, has always used the litter box, and is just a sweetheart. She would love to live with someone who is home a lot or has other pets to keep her company. She does like to go in the backyard but is fine as an indoor-only cat.

Griffin is a fluffy, opinionated, sensitive orange tabby male, also 13-years-old. I got Griffin as a tiny foster kitten at 4 weeks old and he’s pretty attached. But in his old age he has become a bit of a bully to little Ella. Griffin doesn’t like change, he prefers routine and would probably be best as an only cat. He’s fine around dogs as long as they don’t try to eat him. His favorite thing is to curl up next to my pillow, purr, and suck his thumb. Yes, seriously. It’s adorable. Full disclosure– when Griffin is mad at me, he poops in my bathtub. Could be worse!

I have had both of these cats for 13 years now and it’s hard to imagine life without them. But I want to do what is best for them, and that is to find them great new homes. I would love for them to go to friends or someone I know so that I can stay in touch and know how they are doing.

Can anyone out there help me by providing a home for my furry babies? It would be such a kindness to me if someone could take them in and provide me with peace of mind that they will be loved even after I’m gone.

Catching Up

I never wrote about my Gamma Knife experience, I think because I wanted to forget about it! It was a long day at Harborview but so far I haven’t had many side effects from the radiation except for fatigue. My eyesight is unchanged, which is a huge relief. I have trouble finding the words I want to sometimes, but that could just be from the fatigue, the chemo-brain, etc.

The worst part of Gamma Knife is the metal head frame that they screw into the skull. It’s about as awful as it sounds. 

ImageI am glad it’s over and I hope I never have to do it again. I go in next week for my first follow-up MRI to see if the lesion is responding. It can take up to six months to see changes.

I’ve been sleeping for most of the summer, but have had a few fun trips with friends. One weekend up at Whidbey with my friends Emma, Katie, and their families. So fun!

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Last weekend I met Emma’s family and Shawn’s family at Westport, WA for a beach weekend. The resort was fun for the kids and we had good weather the whole time. 

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I am so lucky to have so many awesome friends!