Friday, July 12, 2019

Update as Promised

My latest scans showed no detectable cancer!!!  That means for right now no more chemotherapy treatments.  I will go in monthly for blood work and to have my infusion port flushed and every other month to see the oncologist.  My life has been so busy with doctor visits and chemo that I am really going to enjoy my free time.  I do need to have an another endoscopy but that is a piece of cake compared to many other procedures.

So just call me Ms. Optimism but with a touch (just a touch) of Ms. Pragmatism.  I had an unbelievably good response to the chemotherapy.  But given the extent of my cancer when it was diagnosed, cancer cells almost certainly remain in my abdomen.  They are isolated and cannot be identified on scans or in the blood markers.  They may be dormant for years.  Or they may suddenly wake up and start to grow.  But for now, for right now, I am considered in remission.  I choose to consider this a chronic illness to be monitored and nothing more for now.  I have not let cancer define my life no matter how much of my time it consumed.  I can now put it on the back burner.

Our son and d-i-l brought our dear granddaughter for a nice visit over the Independence Day holidays.  So why is this photograph of my son?  And one taken so long ago?  There is a little story here.  My mother obtained this Campbell's Soup tee shirt for our son when he was three or four.  He loved this shirt more than anything he ever owned and wore it all the time except when it was in the washing machine.  He wore it over a long-sleeved shirt in cooler weather and he wore it until it was really too small for him.  I saved the shirt along with his blankie and favorite stuffed toy and gave the shirt to his wife some years ago.  The blanket and stuffed toy I sent when Violet was born.

Our son proudly wearing his shirt

Fast forward to the present.  The family arrived here for the holidays.  What should Violet be wearing but her Daddy's favorite shirt!!!  It will never be pure white again, but it is in surprisingly good shape considering the number of washings it endured decades ago.  Our daughter was totally amazed when I sent her a photograph.  She responded, "That cannot be the same shirt!"

It's not surprising that Violet has no attachment to the shirt whatsoever.  But you cannot imagine the flood of wonderful memories that ran though my mind when I saw it.  Memories of a very sweet and loving little boy who once played in the woods in our house on the lake.  Who was gentle but strong-willed.  And the fact that he grew up to be an amazing man, husband, and father.

Violet decided to try out the dolly stroller.  She found that it didn't work very well.  But that's how toddlers learn, isn't?  How do you know whether or not something will work if you don't try?

Violet and the famous tee shirt

We had so much fun with this active little sprite.  She is happy-so-lucky and is constantly on the move.  Yet she will sit and draw or color for quite a while.  She loves bubbles and can dip the wand and blow them herself.  But she prefers to have her Daddy use the thing that makes giant ones she can pop with a foot.  She is learning manners and has such a sweet little voice that can get amazingly loud when she calls out for her daddy or mama.

She went downtown to help celebrate the festivities.  She loves being a people watcher, especially if she is on a bench eating gelato.  She hates to wear hats but fortunately she will wear sunglasses so her eyes are protected.

The bookstore owner gave her a little flag

The next day, she got to go to everyone's favorite store, O. P. Taylor's Toy Store.  It is packed full of every toy or game you can imagine.  It is such a fun place with wonderful staff and several hands-on areas where children can actually play with toys.  She was most impressed (as we all are) with the Lego roller coaster.

Violet takes off her shades and looks in wonder at the displays

Our quote for the day comes from  the great Native American Shawnee, Tecumseh:

"When you rise in the morning give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself."

It is impossible for me to make a list of all the things for which I am thankful.  But I am thankful for them every single day.  It sounds trite, but since my diagnosis I have awakened and said aloud, "Thanks for another day."  I'm not sure for whom it is intended, but it makes me feel better to acknowledge my extremely good fortune.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention our Lucy on a Friday.  We miss her greatly but now we can laugh about the fact that we had just gotten an order from Chewy days before she died.  A big bag of her prescription kibble and 36 cans of her prescription diet.  We are washing bed covers and toys and those, along with the food will be most welcome at our local shelter.  Lucy will be helping a lot of shelter dogs even now.




Barbara Rogers said...

Oh that's great news...a break from cancer treatments always is. And I'm so glad to hear Lucy's stuff will help other dogs. Your g-daughter is a darling little girl, another great reason to be granteful. Thanks for sharing all the good news.

KB said...

That is absolutely wonderful news about your chronic illness. I am smiling for you, and I am giving thanks. I will try to learn from your attitude - because life isn't so easy here right now (dad's cancer).

It is wonderful to hear of V's visit, and that FUN tee shirt. It is amazing that it's still in great shape. She is a live wire who makes all of us smile!

I'm glad that their visit came when it did to help you through those initial extremely tough days after Lucy's passing.

Arkansas Patti said...

Am delighted with your remission. Happy dance here. I have been cancer free for 10 years but still go once a year to be sure. It is such a joy to be given the all clear each time.
That shirt is in amazing shape and even the lettering is crisp and bright. It was meant to be an heirloom.
Violet is getting cuter every day. What a blessing you have in her.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I’m so darn happy to see this good news! I can’t imagine all you’ve been through and it will be so wonderful to focus on something other than health stuff. I had happy tears reading that and also the T-shirt story. How very sweet to see the full circle in your family. I’ve saved some items from my girls and I can’t wait for the day to share them with grandkids.
I’m glad you had a good visit with that little sprite!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

I love this post-- on many levels; so glad to learn of the remission. Your Lucy will be sorely missed but her love lives on for others not as fortunate through your donation. I will continue to pray for your healing. Your granddaughter is absolutely adorable (and the shirt is so cute!!). Enjoy your summer!

Vicki Lane said...

A wonderful post! You have remained upbeat since the diagnosis and I suspect that's partially responsible for the present outcome. The story of the shirt is so sweet and Violet is so precious. Aren't we grannies lucky! And Lucy lives on in our hearts and in her gifts to shelter dogs.

Tara said...

oh, what a relief to be in remission (even with those caveats). A break from the chemo sounds FABULOUS. Smart of you to understand, however, that those cells could pop up again. Nothing like your mortality staring you in the face to get you wake up fast and be grateful for everything. I've experienced that.

The story of the t-shirt is a wonder: how incredible it must be to see it on your grand daughter. You were smart to save it and his blankie and bear. When I was pregnant with my only child, my mother gave me my hand stitched baby quilt. What a treasure. I have it still.

I'm tearing up a bit, as your post hit so many tender spots. That Lucy's food and toys will go to a shelter warms my heart no end.

Much love to you!

The Bug said...

Yay yay yay! So glad for your good news! I've admired your attitude throughout this whole ordeal & you continue to impress me.

That Violet is so adorable. Glad you had a good visit with her. And I'm double-glad that Lucy's things will be a blessing to shelter dogs.

Nance said...

I am so very glad to hear this news. What a long and arduous journey it has been!

It's great that Violet and her parents got to come and visit after their trip was delayed before. So many special and meaningful touchstones were included in this narrative; I know all of them brought you a poignant joy.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to read your good health news. I love your attitude and perspective. Truly the best.

Seeing that tee-shirt on Violet is as sweet as it gets. Love gets passed on from one generation to the next. Really lovely.

Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

Oh my gosh I don't know what to say. I've been away and just checked your blog for the first time since getting back. Of course I am thrilled about your good news and loved the part about the T shirt and your son and Violet but I had no idea that Lucy had passed on. I can remember the days when she and Ellie were a pair and then, of course, after Ellie died it was Lucy learning how to get on without her. I am so sorry and have all of you in my heart. Life certainly keeps us guessing doesn't it … but your upbeat attitude is lovely to see and to learn from. Hugs.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thank you for sharing the wonderful health news. May you continue to have good health and maintain that positive attitude. The Campbell's shirt is truly a family heirloom and even if Violet doesn't favor is as much as her father did, it was still a great story to read. Violet is more charming every time her photos appear on the blog.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thank you for your comments, everyone

Barbara - Yes, granddaughters are definitely reasons to be grateful. Among all the other things.

KB - So sorry to hear about your father. Sometimes I think my ordeal has been harder on my family than on me. Sending positive thoughts to all of you.

Patti - Ten years. That's great!

Suz - I had saved more things, but they really surprised me with the tee shirt. Violet is wearing it at a much younger age than our son did.

Mrs. Goodneedle - Thank you. I do enjoy your blog.

Vicki - Oh, yes. We grannies are indeed lucky. What a coincidence that both of us are near the same age and both our granddaughters are as well. We are blessed.

Tara - Thanks for the kind insightful words. I have had amazing response, especially since they were not able to remove all the mass during the surgery.

Bug - We are still cleaning and gathering all the stuff. We are sure the shelter will make good use of it.

Nance - It was indeed a good time to have sweet little Violet here. She is such a busy little thing and has a great sense of humor already.

Robin - Thank you. Yes, the shirt and the love are passed on.

Ginnie - Thanks. I can't wait to read your book.

Beatrice - Thank you.