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nugget and i spent the past three days celebrating the end of a successful round of chemo and our return to nursing.  disney doesn’t have a button for that, but we still had a fantastic experience.

our sincerest thanks and gratitude to the new parade cast and characters at the paradise pier breakfast. you all made our celebration absolutely magical.

pictures soon, i promise!

 

my sister’s one-day sister-in-law (i just know it!) tagged me in a facebook note, “end of year meme.”  it would have been sooo easy to use the majority of her answers because, dude, it’s like she wrote them just for me!  but, alas, she did not, so i’ve crafted my own responses just for you.

 

  1. what did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
    was diagnosed with and treated for cancer
  2.  

  3. did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
    i don’t make them
  4.  

  5. did anyone close to you give birth?
    most recently, the greenes welcomed their twin girls
  6.  

  7. did anyone close to you die?
    i lost an old friend.  he was a great man.
  8.  

  9. what countries did you visit?
    chemoland.  it sucked.
    walt disney world
  10.  

  11. what would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
    energy and hair
  12.  

  13. what date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
    june 12th, it was the last time i nursed my daughter before i started chemo
  14.  

  15. what was your biggest achievement of the year?
    resuming nursing after battling cancer
  16.  

  17. what was your biggest failure?
    having to stop nursing
    yes,  i realize that was beyond my control, but to me it felt like failure.
  18.  

  19. did you suffer illness or injury?
    yes
  20.  

  21. what was the best thing you bought?
    our new house
  22.  

  23. whose behavior merited celebration?
    my mother’s
    my husband’s
    my daughter’s
  24.  

  25. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
    northern virginia’s drivers
  26.  

  27. where did most of your money go?
    our new house
  28.  

  29. what did you get really, really, really excited about?
    taking my daughter to disney for the first time
  30.  

  31. what song will always remind you of 2008?
    the hot dog song
  32.  

  33. compared to this time last year, are you:
    happier or sadder?  happier
    thinner or fatter?  fatter
    richer or poorer?  poorer
  34.  

  35. what do you wish you’d done more of?
    crafted more homemade gifts
    visited more friends
    blogged more
    taken more photos and video of my family and friends
  36.  

  37. what do you wish you’d done less of?
    had less cancer
    gained less weight
  38.  

  39. how did you spend christmas?
    at our new house with my husband’s parents, brother, sister-in-law, and my parents, grandparents, aunt & her family and her godparents & their family
  40.  

  41. did you fall in love in 2008?
    every day
  42.  

  43. how many one-night stands?
    (seriously?  this one i have to change to something more mommy blog- friendly)
  44.  
    what changes did you make to “green up” your lifestyle?
    collected more reusable shopping bags and got my mom in the habit of using them, too
    started a compost pile
    chose a tankless hot water heater for the new house
     

  45. what was your favorite tv show?
    lost
  46.  

  47. do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
    hate?  that’s much too strong of a word.
  48.  

  49. what was the best book you read?
    did i read any books?  i know i started reading anthony bourdain’s the nasty bits, but i can’t even remember if i’ve finished it. 
  50.  

  51. what was your greatest musical discovery?
    steve burns’ and the flaming lips’ steven drozd’s ” i hog the ground”
     
  52.  

  53. what did you want and get?
    to nurse my daughter again
  54.  

  55. what did you want and not get?
    skinnier faster
  56.  

  57. what was your favorite film of this year?
    this is the last question i answered because, honestly, i can’t remember watching any movie in its entirety aside from charlie wilson’s war. so i guess that’s it.  though if i’d had opportunity to watch the x-files: i want to believe, i’m sure that would have beat out charlie wilson.
  58.  

  59. what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    went to my birthday party, 35
  60.  

  61. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    having more energy and less nausea after chemo
  62.  

  63. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
    chemo casual
  64.  

  65. what kept you sane?
    prozac and ativan
  66.  

  67. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
    oh, how i love me some brit-brit.  girl is a spectacular disaster!
  68.  

  69. what political issue stirred you the most?
    the presidential election, though that was more of a circus then an issue
  70.  

  71. whom did you miss?
    my friends from orlando
  72.  

  73. who was the best new person you met?
    my chemo nurse, danna
  74.  

  75. tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
    this is your life, right now.  this is what you get.  stop preparing for “someday” and start living it the way you want to now.
  76.  

  77. quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
    “it’s a brand new day,  whatcha  waitin’ for?”
  78.  

  79. tag five people to post their answers to this 2008 wrap-up meme. please link back to this blog from yours.
    non-lucid drivel
    the twinkies

    motherhood and cancer
    life with the moonhils
    returnjourney

monday, the pet specialist will read my scans.  i should hear something that day.  i’ll be sure to post as soon as i do.

tonight, nugget and nugget daddy are sleeping in nugget’s big girl bedroom (aka, the guestroom) because mama is radioactive.  this means i get the whole california king bed to myself.  well, myself and the two cats.  i hope they can find some room to squeeze in.  the steroids are doing wonderful things to my physique.  i’ll share with you my lastest self-portrait.

stay puft marshmallow man

to… mor… row… tomorrow!

right now some of you are appreciating that more than others.  some of you are also doing choreography in your chair now.

tomorrow is my pet scan.   it’s at 10 am eastern time, at the hospital for which my uncle is chief of radiology.  he’ll be having his best pet specialist read it and i’m sure we’ll have the results as soon as he can get them.

so in the meantime, i’ll return you to your regularly scheduled blog reading and holiday preparations as a distraction.   i do hope you’re enjoying some egg nog and the occasional cookie, or three… or four.

nursing is continuing to go well.  nugget’s taken to exclaiming, “mama, beebies!” when she’s inclined to nurse.

 

here’s the big news:  as long as my next pet scan is clean (like the last one was) then i’m done.  no more chemo, no radiation.  done.

what this means for us right now is nugget can nurse again.  amen!

a woman i used to work with messaged me on myspace this week.  i read it yesterday and it absolutely made my day, which i might add was spectacularly craptastic up until then.

“i started working at magic kingdom back in 1997 and only partially knew who you were. you were always cool to me at town square and spectromagic and stuff, but we were only acquaintances.

i happened upon your page through mikki and started reading your blog, “bits of myself,” and i cannot help being taken by how fucking amazing you are.   sorry for the language from someone you do not know, but i can’t think of any other words.   i don’t even remember where i started the “bits,” but i backed up to where you found out you had cancer. by the time i got to your final breastfeeding with nugget, there were uncontrollable tears streaming down my face at how you kept apologizing to her, for something that you did not ask for.

i don’t know how much all of this means coming from someone you don’t know, but i just had to get this out.  i was driving day parade floats when you were at mk with your baby girl, and i saw you two days in a row.   knowing how painful it must be, there you stood in the sun, in a tank top, bald… smiling and waving.

i hope i didn’t weird you out with all this, but know that you have touched one more individual’s life.  you are the strongest woman that i don’t know.”

i just needed to thank you for that and let you know that your kind words have touched my heart.  thank you for reading my blog.  and thank you to all of you who continue to do so.  i hope you’ll all stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to this chapter of my life.

the motherwear breastfeeding blog

today, the motherwear breastfeeding blog is running a compilation piece of mine.  i’m so honored and excited!  if you haven’t subscribed to that blog yet, i highly recommend it.

and since we’re already talking about me, here’s what some other people have had to say about me recently:

going for the gold – world breastfeeding week 2008
pure love
you’re going to cry
what love looks like

 

i miss nursing my daughter.

jaundiced nugget in the hospital 

 two months old    all plumped up on mama's milk    happy as a clam

 sleepnig beauty  nugget nirvana

 pensive princess  i see you!

flight to new orleans

peek-a-boo

mother's day 2008

       

       

       

 one last nursie

good night

oh, how i miss the simplicity of our nursing days.  life without breastfeeding is hard, and cancer certainly isn’t making it any easier.  crying was limited to brief moments following boo boos and over-tired minutes post car seat strap-ins.  it was never part of naptime or bedtime.  a balanced diet was effortless.

i never knew the struggle of naptime.  now i have to walk and rock nugget in my arms or in a peanut shell while she chews on a pacifier, maybe holds her blanket and always twiddles at least one nipple.  at night we lather, rinse, repeat or if i’m really lucky we just lay down and she holds on to each boob, binky clenched between her teeth and drifts off, dreaming of nursing i imagine.

i never knew a picky toddler.  whenever nugget was hungry or thirsty the milk bar was always open.  trying new and different foods was fun instead of stressful.  nugget’s tummy was never upset.  her favorite snack was always handy.  we never had to pack a meal to go out.

i did at least have a few weeks and the foresight to work in the concept of “kisses make boo boos all better.”  nugget still kisses my port and scars everyday.  recently she’s added my breasts to her fix-it list and kisses and hugs them all day long.  she’s trying her best to make mommy all better with her kisses, because she knows that’s when she can have her nursies back.

today is the motherwear breastfeeding blog’s 17th carnival of breastfeeding and the theme is pumping.   while i didn’t choose to submit for the carnival, i am chosing today to write about pumping.

i’ve written before about my love hate relationship with the pump… well, mostly about the hate portion.  its rhythmic sucking makes me sing little songs to it’s always irritating tempo.  then they mix around with the gymboree songs already stuck in my head.  then i realize how badly i really do need the prozac and ativan.

i don’t know for sure how long it’s going to last.  i’m trying to be realistic about the prospect of having cancer, undergoing chemo and pumping for (hopefully only) six months.  it’s kind of like starting out nursing.  i tried to limit my expectations of myself.  i said i’d aim for six months and then see if i could go for a year.  that seemed ridiculously long to me at the time, much like pumping for six months does now.  but a year came and went and well, here we are.

nugget daddy stayed down at my parents’ last night so nugget and i have been left to fend for ourselves for the majority of the past two days, save for a playdate and lasagna drop off yesterday afternoon.

i didn’t get to pump at all yesterday.  i can’t pump in front of nugget.  that would be like asking your pregnant best friend to take you to happy hour.  i meant to pump last night once she went to sleep, but i fell asleep, too.  my boobs had been angry ever since.

nugget likes to have her naps with me in the peanut shell, but this limits my options for the duration of naptime as to what i can actually accomplish with twenty pounds of sleeping toddler strapped to my chest, lovely though as she feels snuggled against me.  her grandmamie puts her to sleep in the stroller and i bribed her into it with chocolate chips this afternoon so i could pump, finally, and subsequently blog about it.  lucky you!

i was so angry the first few times i pumped after starting chemo.  it was like rubbing salt in the wounds.  i couldn’t nurse nugget and i had to stand uncomfortably in the bathroom watching my milk fill up plastic bottles instead of a happy baby.  and then as i would dump the ounces of heartache down the sink a new wound would appear like a gaping mouth to catch my salty tears and sting my aching soul.  what a waste.

you won’t find much if you google “cancer” and “breastfeeding” except for articles about nursing after breast cancer.  “chemo” and “breastfeeding” yields the same contraindication tagline over and over, and “cancer” and “breastmilk” mostly just points you to article after article about this guy who drank breastmilk to fight his prostate cancer.  those, mostly sensational and local news, articles mention milk banks selling milk to cancer patients when they have excess available to sell.  it costs $3 an ounce.

i’ve had plenty of time to think about that guy and those $3 ounces while making up songs to the pump’s rhythm and calculating how much i’d just poured down the drain.  warning!  here comes the crunchy freaky part.  squee!  maybe you want to stop reading, uptight next door neighbor guy or old school grandpa, maybe there’s a golf game you’d rather be watching. okay, so seriously, why the fuck would i want to keep dumping my milk down the drain when other cancer patients are paying good money to get their hands on it?  i don’t know what exactly it might do for me, but it sure won’t be doing anything at the bottom of the sink that’s for sure. so i sucked it up and sucked it down.

it was sort of gross at first, though why exactly i’m not sure.  i think it was the temperature.  i can’t think of any beverage i regularly consume at body temperature.  but now i’m used to it and pleased by thought that i might actually be doing something to help save my own life.

so, now i have a new goal.  i want to pump twice a day for the whole six months, or however long it might be.  i know i might get sick.  i know i might have to stop if i do.  but if i approach it the way i did breastfeeding, then maybe i can make it through.  maybe if i tell all of you about my plan then i’ll be hell-bent on reaching my goal.  maybe some mother out there trolling the interwebs for a glimmer of hope will find my blog now, instead of all the other useless crap i found.

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