The good stuff

This time of year.  I love it.  I love everything from September until January 2.  For me, fall has always been “a new start” for me, rather than spring.  And following fall is Halloween, my birthday, and Christmas.  I love the lights and the cheer and the hot chocolate.

Three years ago I wondered if it would be my last Christmas.  I made sure I took every moment in, just in case it was.  And I did it the following year.  And last year.  And now here’s my fourth, just around the corner.

I pulled out the decorations and lights and such today and got everything sparkly (except the tree).  I found three strings of lights that were half out and a broken nutcracker.  I also found all kinds of little notes from myself to my boys.  I wrote them last year and tucked them into stockings and such, just in case I wasn’t around this year.  Huh.  I don’t even remember doing that.

I cried, re-reading those notes.  It’s a bittersweet thing, this life.

But today I’m not sad.  I feel good.  I’m walking around and playing and working and eating and sleeping and pooping.

I’m also surrounded by love.  The people in my life are just. so. wonderful.  God knew what he was doing when he dropped me into my various walks of life.  I’ve landed only in the best circles.

My dear friend Kristi had a Lemon Grass Spa party for my cause (“my cause” being First Descents and my holistic treatments) that was a blast – relaxing, joyful, and just plain FUN.  She hosted, so I planned basically nothing.  I got a nice foot soak and had the chance to catch up with some good friends (and meet some new ones!)  We even had enough orders to get some little gifts that I plan to distribute to other chemo patients at my next treatment.  Pay it forward, right?

And I have been busy – “play dates” and catching up with friends and sometimes just showing up at their houses to eat lunch, even if they aren’t home.  Life feels normal.  It allows me to enjoy these little sparkly Christmastime moments.

Oh yeah, and we were in California.  Did I even post about that?  Here’s some pictures, just to prove it:

Despite all the good stuff, I always have a little ball of anxiety somewhere in the back of my head.  It’s usually just enough to remind me to eat well, make some new consultation appointments with specialists, and take my vitamins.  But that little ball tends to get bigger and bigger as I approach scans or tests or even blood work.  Next scan isn’t until January, but we already talked about it at the doc’s, so the anxiety ball has started to wiggle.  But, my blood work has been great.  Last week, my liver enzymes were ALL normal (usually at LEAST one out of four is out of whack a little), my platelets have been stable (the bottomed out when I was taking Xeloda before), and my cancer markers have been dropping.  One of them is 13 – the lowest it has EVER been (it started out at 34,000+, just to put it into perspective).  The other one (CEA – that’s the one they really watch) is about the same. It lingers around in the teens, but dropped two points since my last blood work.  All of this on THE PILL instead of the IV chemo makes my heart dance, and quiets that little anxiety ball just a bit.

I’m going to try darn hard to focus on the good stuff, because there sure is a lot of it.


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