"I got a lovely script lettering across the top of my shoulders that says, 'Poisoned Girl.'"

Audio Interview conducted by Jonathan Olshefski

4 a.m.

I wake up at 4 a.m. every morning. Sometimes I go right back to sleep. Sometimes, like now, I find myself on the computer. During the day I have been ever consumed with stay at home mom stuff. Baby wrangling and such. Or appointments. 4 a.m. is a time when no one needs me and I have nothing to do. Sometimes I use it for prayer. But lying next to Kelly praying for myself and everyone else punctuated with loud snoring is not always productive. Sometimes this is more cathartic. So here I am in front of the screen with the blinking cursor and I have a million things swirling around my head. The heaviness of the last few weeks has lifted. Although still on my mind. The duties of today seem to push away the pain of yesterday. Is that not always the case?

My week was full of some rather enjoyable moments. I met with my friend Megan . And aside from Clay mauling her son as they left, it was a lovely visit. On Wednesday I got tattooed. My first since my surgery. I am not allowed to get tattooed on my arms because of my lymphedema. And my pt Nikki cautioned me about tattoos from the waist up but in the end said go for it. So I chose the day when I would be off from chemo to give myself the benefit of a higher white blood cell count. I got a lovely script lettering across the top of my shoulders that says, “Poisoned Girl”. It has tiny poison bottles anchoring each side. It took my friend Topper about 20 minutes to do it. I am so thrilled. I will have to get a picture of it and put up on the blog. If you need an explanation it’s a chemo thing, they poison me. I have let myself be poisoned for the last 8 months and will continue to for an indefinite period of time. I guess it is empowering to say ,”Yep I chose this crazy treatment.” Someday they will find a cure and future generations will not be able to understand chemotherapy anymore than we understand blood letting and leeches. But for today it’s what I rely on to stay alive. So I am a poisoned girl.

On Valentine’s day Kelly and I had a lovely and romantic dinner at the Melting Pot fondue restaurant. It was 5 courses. I gave up after three. Actually, we ate a lot. It was a set menu and we had a really good time. We had reservations for 4pm. Which was perfect because Jenny had Clay until 6pm and we were home by then. Note to parents, it is not hard to get a babysitter early on holidays. Early dinner/lunch dates are so much fun. Kelly and I try so hard to steal away time together. He works from 11am until whenever. Lately whenever is 1,2,3, a.m. He tattoos more at night because that’s when people walk in the shop. So there are days where we barely see him. The older kids not at all. But we try to have fun when he is home.

Tomorrow we are going to the Franklin Institute science museum with Kelly’s parents. They are in town from Cali. The F.I. has a Star Wars exhibit that everyone wants to check out. I am so glad it is my off week from chemo so I can enjoy this as well. We made all our plans tonight as Bill and Karen sat in our living room. Karen likes to plan too so I do not feel bad saying, “OK let’s decide right now exactly what we are going to do for the next 2 days.” In fact, it is a bit compulsive for me to do this. But that’s how I roll. I plan the route I am going to drive places. I plan everything in advance if possible. If I could schedule when my kids were sick I would. I know what off weeks for chemo are for the next year and a half. I also note when my scans will be and everyone’s birthday. Thank goodness for my calendar.

I guess that means that I am planning for my future. This is a good thing. I think there was a time when I was planning only for the days and weeks that seemed tangible. Now the future seems possible. One day at a time I am going to outlive you all! Ha ha. Like I said before 5 years from now people will see me and say, “Isn’t she dead yet? Drama Queen made us think she was going to die.” I am doing quite well. Who knows? I got my second cold since starting chemo this week. It was a sniffly running nose sneezing thing. I was over it in 48 hours. My friend Cindy said I am the healthiest immuno- compromised person she knows. Yeah.

The good week awaits. I will no doubt fill it with baby wrangling and house work. I will fill it with appointments and friends. I will fill it with prayers and blogs and phone calls. I pray for and thank you all.

So here’s to health, long life, and a cure for cancer. God bless you all.