2020, you are weird

So I look back at my post when I restarted this site – Reciprocal Waltz 2.0 – and it just makes me laugh. Here’s to documenting a great 2019! I mean, it was definitely an interesting year, but I’m not sure I’d call it “great”. It was more, “Oh hey, I survived that year, yay.”

And now it’s mid 2020 and so far we are in a global pandemic, plus the three million other awful things that have happened world-wide. Oh, and because of the cancer in 2019, I’m super high risk from said pandemic virus. Yay! Not.

And on a personal level, this year has been rough. I’ve had surgery due to an infection, my kidneys also failed due to that infection and the antibiotics used to treat me (I am fine now, but kidney failure? not an experience I recommend, at all), and my once very mild asthma is now much more present thanks to last year’s radiation, the infection, and then an unrelated bout of pneumonia. The meds I am on to keep the cancer from coming back cause a lot of discomfort. I’m still adjusting to this new, lifelong normal of what cancer and treatment did to my body, and it’s been hard, both mentally and physically.

A hospital bathroom selfie! How classy.

Not all of 2020 has been bad though. Before the pandemic started, I got to go to Panama with my work team. It was just as awesome as you might imagine. We had a ton of fun together, got some solid work done, ate good food, laughed a lot, and even checked out the Panama Canal.

One of the ships that I got to watch go through the Panama Canal locks

Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve also gotten to spend a lot of time with my kids, which after having no energy to parent much in 2019 has been nice.

Because we are all home and not running around, and because I’m still healing from being sick multiple times this year, I’ve also had a lot of time to play video games, watch TV, and be crafty again. I have even combined Animal Crossing and craftiness:

I’m still not sure what the rest of 2020 is going to look like – really, who is, at this point. But I do have to say that I’m looking forward to doing more crafty stuff. It’s been fun.

I’m even debating about starting a blog so I can document my works in progress there. Or maybe I’ll just post about them here? We will see what happens. I’m still playing around with the idea and a site. Will update when I decide what I am doing!

Randomness

Ha, so, I was going to update this blog regularly…and then chemo started and I got so sick I ended up taking a couple months off of work, and I just couldn’t handle blogging.

I have now done 16 rounds of chemo from February to July, then on July 25th I had a bilateral mastectomy. I then had a second surgery to remove a cancerous lymph node that didn’t get removed during my full axillary dissection (long story, that one). I then had another surgery because my incision on that side got irritated from procedure #2 and decided to open.

I’m doing okay mentally, but in some ways I’m still barely keeping my head above water. I might blog about it more once things settle down.

Right now though, I am healing from my third surgery, and feeling very stir crazy. I’m starting to think about our house again, and projects I want to do around here. I’m working out scheduling for work and kids and everything else during my next 7 weeks of radiation. I’m feeling a little panicky because this is the calendar they gave me and holy heck that’s a lot of appointments all on its own:

And that’s just October. Sob. I’ll be going through November 21st. It could be way worse! But yeah, it’s a lot.

On the positive side, I’m escaping to the gulf for a couple days soon with my husband – I’ve never been and seeing the Gulf of Mexico is a bucket list item for me, so I can’t wait! My kids are all doing well in school, I feel like I’m finally getting my brain back and that I’m able to focus during work again, and oh! I have hair again:

So yeah! That’s a super short version of the last, oh, 9 months. Hahaha.

Waiting, Testing and Productivity

So since my last post, I’ve seen more doctors and gotten more tests back. (And my cats are getting really tired of how much I’m out of the house. They are used to me home a lot because I work from home. Remus decided to take matters into his own hands, er, paws, and sit on my shoes last week to keep me from going out again.)

The biggest information that we now have is that my particular cancer is “hormone receptor positive”. This mean it grows in response to estrogen and progesterone. This article talks a bit more about it.

We are unfortunately still waiting to find out if my cancer is HER2+ or not. The first test was inconclusive. HER2+ tends to mean the cancer will be more aggressive and fast growing, so that’s not great, but there are meds they can give that directly focus on “shutting off” HER2 in your body – so I’m trying not to worry too much. I should find out today at some point which one it is, and then my oncologist can make some treatment decisions.

Today and tomorrow I am doing a bunch of testing to make sure my heart is healthy enough for all the chemo drugs, and also to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread. I am trying to stay positive. It’s been hard. I’ll be glad once those are done and the results are back. My oncologist assures me that they should send him the results very quickly, at least.

This sign was super comforting while waiting for today’s testing…hahaha! I’m not glowing (yet) though…

Once everything is back and I’m cleared for chemo, I’ll get something called a “port-a-cath”. This is a small item placed in my chest that will be connected to a catheter going into my blood stream. Having the port will mean that I don’t need to be stuck with an IV every time they need blood or to give me chemo meds, so this is a really good thing.

In order to burn time while waiting on all these tests, we have been cleaning and purging. Awhile back we had cleared out our storage unit and had placed a bunch of the boxes, our old crib, and a few other random assorted items like that into our loft so I could sort through them. We needed to move my office space up into the loft again (we had moved it down to a more central area of the house, but I don’t want it there while I will be in and out of work) and also get our loft set up for having guests in and out. We are now about 90% of the way there overall – and the loft is 95% clean – so yay!

We also watched the live action filming of Rent last night. I loved parts of it, was meh on other parts. Anyone else watch it? What were your thoughts?

Future Loft DIY Plans

We bought our first house in May 2017. The house we bought is your standard two story home. No basement, but it has a great loft area that serves as a bonus/family room.

The railing in said loft area looks like this:

Our loft railing – from the MLS listing pictures when we bought the house

It’s ugly, barely meets code and has started to wobble. Then, some spindles started falling out. We’ve reinforced them with screws for now, but that’s a very temporary solution and not one that is incredibly safe.

After some discussion, we’ve decided that our first big DIY project in this house is going to be to rip out that railing and replace it with a half wall that contains built in bookcases. We haven’t quite decided if we’ll build the bookcases ourselves, or set half-sized Billy bookcases from IKEA into the space and finish around the bookcases to make them look built-in.

Here’s my incredibly artistic drawing of what I’m thinking…

I know you’re jealous of my drawing skillz.

And a few Pinterest pins with similar ideas to what I’m thinking…

We’ll see how things go, but right now, I’m pretty excited about this particular project.