Monday, April 21, 2014

What Better Reason to Celebrate!

I love parties. I love hosting parties more than anything. I like to have parties for absolutely no reason at all. I like to have parties for great reasons.

Three years ago, right smack dab in the middle of my cancer treatments I planned an epic Surprise 65th birthday party for my mom. Why was it so epic? Well, because I was smack dab in the middle of cancer treatments for one. But more importantly because I planned this party to take place in my house - the very same house my mother lives in, arranged for relative to fly in from out of town, made the food, made a 2 tiered birthday cake (my very first), and had the guests send letters with funny anecdotes about my mother and cleaned my house from top to bottom and swapped out the furniture from my living room to my dining room - all right under her nose.  Granted, I didn't do all of this alone, my brothers and sisters in law were a huge help.

And as shitty as I felt it really gave me a reason to smile during my treatments because I had such a great time planning it and she was genuinely surprised.

I'll admit, I was a little disappointed that Sean didn't throw me a party for my 40th last summer but I get it, he's not a party thrower.

But I am. And guess what. I'm in the initial planning stages of a party like no other. This will make my mom's 65th look like a card party at a seniors home.

I am planning a party that will have a band (or maybe a DJ, haven't figured that out yet) a photo booth, a signature drink, favors for the guests and more food and drinks than you can shake a paper plate at. And the whole think will be pink. Pink, pink and more pink. (well, maybe some mauve thrown in there too)  Can you guess what it is?

The rate of recurrence for breast cancer decreases somewhat after 5 years. July 27th, 2016 will be my 5 years.

And I'm gonna celebrate that bitch like crazy.

Yes, I realize it's 2 years away but time is faster than you think and when I say I want this party to be epic....I mean it. I'm going to invite literally everyone I know. And it's going to be awesome.

So if I know you....save the date. July 23, 2016. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Havin' a Ball

Did you know that soccer is the most popular sport in the world? Well, at least that's what Google tells me. I believe it though. Soccer doesn't require specialty equipment, can be played with just a few or with a lot of people (provided you're doing a casual game) You just need an open space, a ball and something to mark off goal posts....rocks would do.  Anyone can play it; it doesn't really take special skill to run around and kick a ball. (shhhh.....don't tell all the die hard soccer fans I said that)

Truth be known, I have little use for soccer. I played on my grade 8 soccer team. I don't think we won a single game but I had a crush on the coach and my best friend was on the team too.

This past Christmas I was at a local thrift shop (popping tags...haha) and Connor spotted a soccer ball. He just HAAAADDDD to have this soccer ball. So I sent Emily back in later to buy it for him and wrap it up to give him for Christmas (yeah, I gave my kid a used soccer ball for Christmas...wanna make somethin' of it?)

He loves this soccer ball. So much so that over the long, brutal, shitty, arctic winter we had his soccer ball had to mysteriously end up in my closet because I got sick of him kicking around the house.

Yesterday he told me he wanted to bring a soccer ball to school. He's joined into some of the other kids soccer games at recess but often times when we drop him off at school he'll wander in the school yard until he finds a friend. While he's never alone at recess, that drop off time breaks my heart.

So this morning I dug out his soccer ball and allowed him to bring it to school. He walked into the school yard and looked around. There didn't seem to be many kids around so he drop kicked his ball and ran after it.

It was like seagulls to a Cheeto, the kids flocked to him and before I could even start the car again he was enjoying a game of soccer with about 6 other boys.

It's that kind of thing I love to see. And it makes me wonder, there are so many kids who have a hard time making friends. Maybe something as simple as a soccer ball could help open that door. I know, as a painfully shy person myself, I will not approach new people but if new people approach me, I'm the friendliest person around. Maybe I should start bringing soccer balls with me whenever I go somewhere new.

Hmm, do you think they'll let me bring one to my first cake decorating class?


Sunday, April 13, 2014

To Vax or Not to Vax

I've avoided this topic purposely because the simple fact is, people who are anti vaccination will remain that way and people who are pro vaccination will remain that way too.

But after having been in an immune deficient state and reading news stories about measles outbreaks I feel the need to comment.

I'm not a doctor so I'm not going to argue the merits of one study over another. I'm going to look at simply what I know.

Does the measles vaccine cause autism? I don't know,  again, I'm no doctor.  But here's my question. If the vaccine did cause autism wouldn't there be a hell of a lot more autistic people out there? I've got three kids...plus me, plus my husband, plus, well all the people in my immediate and extended family. Of those countless people who have been vaccinated....one cousin has a son who's autistic. Not an overwhelming number in support of the vaccination causing autism argument.

Smallpox was declared eradicated by the World Health Organization in 1979. Why? Because of vaccinations. That's great news right?! So amazing that in fact the only people who have to be vaccinated for it now are people who work in places like the CDC where they still hold the virus. Imagine if people ALL people were to be vaccinated against measles we could eradicate that too and then there'd be no need to vaccinate for it anymore.

I recently read an argument against vaccination asking what people did before vaccines - they were fine then. It's precisely that kind of stupid argument that makes me shake my head.

The answer to that question is simple. People got sick. Many died. Ask someone who had polio if they would have rather had a vaccine or the wheelchair they're in now because they can't walk.
The life expectancy of the average human has increased dramatically due to vaccines.

At one time the risks of the disease far outweighed the risks of the vaccine. Yes, I'm agreeing there are risks with any vaccine. Any responsible doctor will tell you that. But that was when the vaccines were new and the diseases ran rampant. Now that most people get vaccinated the chances of catching said diseases has decreased with makes it appears as though the risks associated with the vaccine are  more than that if the disease itself.

But therein lies the rub. If we all stop vaccinating to avoid the possible side effects the disease itself will make a stunning comeback (as it's attempting to do now) and boom - we're back to square one.

Let's talk about those who can't be vaccinated, those with immune deficiencies or other health issues that make it dangerous for them to be vaccinated or even the babies who are still too young. It's the herd immunity vaccination provides that protects them. And it's irresponsible of us to not protect not only them....but our own children.

And that brings me to the real issue at hand.

Google some images of people with measles or mumps. Looks like hell doesn't it? Why, I ask, would any parent want to take the chance that their child would suffer through that?

I don't buy into the argument that it's not a largely fatal illness and so we should just let our kids get it. Why? Why would you want your child to suffer?

When your child gets a fever do you give him Tylenol? When your child has a stomach bug do you give them some Gravol? Sure you do, because you don't want your child to suffer. How is this different? Sure, chicken pox is not really what anyone would consider a deadly disease but does that mean you want your child to suffer through 2 weeks of endless itching? Hells no.

We've all seen those posts on Facebook saying if you grew up the 60's and 70's and survived despite that fact that our mother's smoked and drank while pregnant, our houses had lead paint and asbestos, we rode in the car with no seatbelts (remember the station wagons with the seat the faced backward?) we didn't wear helmets, ate white bread and our medications didn't have childproof lids.

I'm glad I lived through all of that but I'm even more glad that my children don't have to. I'm glad that we, as intelligent beings, have progressed, learned the dangers of some of those things and made the necessary changes to ensure our health and longevity. Because in essence all the above is saying is that if it was good enough for me it's good enough for my kids.

Well not me. Just because it was good enough for me doesn't means shit. I want better for my kids and when they become parents I hope they want better for their kids than what they have now. It's not a slight against my parents that I want more for my kids that I had or me as a parent if my kids want more for theirs. It's evidence of progress.

In 2000 when it was time for Emily to get her first MMR I said to my doctor, "I've heard things in the news about how the MMR can cause autism." His response was succinct. "That's a load of crap." He made it clear that the choice was 100% ours but in his expert medical opinion there was no good reason to NOT give Emily her MMR. And so we did, with all the confidence in the world that he knew what was best.

When the chicken pox vaccine became available I asked again. "Is this necessary?"  His answer. "You had chicken pox as a child with no lasting effects. But is it a chance you want to take with your kids? At the very least, they won't have to endure the itching."

When it was time for Emily to get the HPV vaccine I asked him again, "I've read some scary things about side effects."  His answer, "You've just battled cancer. If there was a vaccine you could have had to prevent it, would you have taken it?" That's all I needed to hear. Hell yes, if giving her a shot will prevent that particular cancer then that is one less thing we need to worry about. Shoot her up doc.

And with every vaccine we've given our children I've asked my doctor - a person who has proven to me over the past 25 years as his patient that he has my best interests at heart - did your children get this vaccine? If the answer was yes then so did mine. If it's good enough for his kids, it's damn sure good enough for mine.

I doubt anyone's opinions on vaccinating have been swayed by me. That's okay. To each his own. I chose to vaccinate because, at the bare minimum, I didn't want to have to suffer through a sick child. Mundane illnesses like the common cold and the flu are enough for me to deal with thanks.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Backslide

I've been taking stock of my life for the last few days.

I'm going back to work in a week and a half and I've been feeling ugh about it. I've been worrying about what I'm going back to (the clutter and chaos).

I've been thinking a lot about my weight. I'm so unhappy with myself. I've reached yet another weight milestone (not a good one) and while I know the answer is simple - stop eating so damn much - putting that into practice is something else.  I want so desperately to go back to the gym but until my surgery is complete and I've fully healed, I can't. That's still a long way off.

It occurred to me today that I'm feeling this way because I haven't been at work for 4 months. I am bored. I am stagnant. I am wasting away.

I've felt like this before....back when I had chemo. I hated not being at work, not necessarily because I love my job oh so much (I do, but that's not it)   It's because I had a purpose. I had something to do outside of my family.

And here I am again. A backslide.

It occurred to me today that I've spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. Poor me, I had cancer. Poor me, I had a failed reconstruction surgery. Poor me, I'm fat. Poor me, I'm bored.

But I'm alive.

It then the epiphany came.

I'm alive and I'm wasting my second chance. I'm sitting here on my ever growing ass waiting for things to happen so that I can wait for things to happen.

Well, that has got to change. I read a thing in a magazine the other day that said something like "be grateful you can still move" 

I've been given a second chance and I'm fucking it up in the largest way imaginable. I've wasted the last three years.

Today is a new day. I'm going to waste my life anymore. I'm going to do things. It might not be something big everyday. Maybe I'll cook something new. Maybe I'll take a walk. Maybe I'll get excited about going to work again.

 But no matter what it is, I've got to stop sitting around here watching my second chance pass me by. I got to keep on living - so I need to keep on living.

So what did I do today?

I found something on Pinterest that I liked so I did it.

We've been painting our main floor. We went from a green and a yellow that I loved but have since worn out their welcome to an off white (French Vanilla) I love it. It looks so clean and new. (Of course, with three children it won't look that way for long. Thankfully the walls are pretty washable.

Anyway, now that everything it painted its time to rehang the pictures - the same ones that have been on the walls since we moved in over 12 years ago.

And when I saw this on Pinterest I had to do it. So here it is, my hallway.

The sayings in between the pictures of my kidlets are both from Dr. Seuss.

"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you!"
and
"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird and when we find someone who's weirdness is compatible with ours we join up with them in mutual weirdness and call it love"

See, I thought about having professional pictures done of the kids and the family all together. I even tried my own, of the kids together and smiling nicely.

That is so not us!

We are that family that bunny ears people in photos. Or makes a face. Or crosses eyes.

And so I celebrated that by taking pictures of my children in their natural state - being themselves. My oldest wrapped up in a blanket staring at her iPhone. My middle one upside down doing an handstand and my little guy making the silliest pose he could think of, that is not at all silly which makes it that much more awesome.

Because that's who they are.

Okay, enough blogging.

Instead of driving to get my little people from school I'm gonna walk.

Because I have to start moving forward.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Shameless Plug Sunday

Remember Shameless Plug Sunday in which I plug the business of someone I love or maybe just some place I've been that I felt really great about having been?

Well I'm gonna do that again today. But the plug is for me.

Okay, well the plug isn't exactly for me but it's a plug for cancer.

Okay, it's not really a plug for cancer either 'cause, well let's face it, that shit's a bitch and we don't want to want to send cancer any good juju.

There are only 60 more sleeps until the Relay for Life and I am so far off of my fundraising goal it's crazy. We've raised only 20% of our goal so far.

That's. Not. Good.

So, friends I'm putting the plug out here....for y'all to consider.

You can click this link to get to our Relay for Life page and then you simply click the button under my Dad's picture that says "donate to Papa's Pride" and enter your info. And there's even an option to use PayPal. And, for my dear American readers - yes, even you can donate. Your money is good here and it's not a competition - the Canadian Cancer Society, the American Cancer Society....it's all good.

I'm not asking for the moon, just a couple of bucks will do. Every little bit helps.


April is Daffodil Month for the Canadian Cancer Society so Emily and I volunteered a few hours to sell daffodil pins at our local WalMart. It's not overwhelmingly fun but worthwhile nonetheless. We did good too, in our 3 hours I think we made about $200.

The work the Canadian Cancer Society does is so important any little bit I can do to help - to give back....I'm going to do it.