Hello Again…

Safari

Hello dear readers…

Once again I am returning with a photo post after a long hiatus.  I know it is not the ideal way to manage a blog, but it seems to be what I need to do for the time being.

Though this used to stress me out, I am learning to let go a little.  And that is because of you.  From the comments I’ve received from so many of you, I have found that you are forgiving of my infrequent visits and that you’ve even embraced them.  What a lucky girl I am to be able to stop in with some photos of my spirited little boys and my quirky canines and know that you will be here to welcome me back with open arms, to know that you will celebrate the good moments in my life, and to take comfort in the fact that you will offer words of kindness when times are tough.

The past few weeks have been a bit of a mixed bag.  I began to follow up with those of you who left comments on my last post to let you know that the thickening in my chest was likely swelling compliments of the lymphedema that has made its way beyond my arms and into the area where my breasts once were, but I never formally posted about my appointment.  It was a bit of a blow to discover that it was likely an extension of the lymphedema, but MUCH less of a blow than a cancer recurrence would have been.  It’s amazing how cancer puts everything into perspective!  I never would have thought there would be a circumstance in which I’d “welcome” an advancement of my lymphedema, but here I am!

[If you would like to know more about what lymphedema is, what causes it and how it is managed, stay tuned -- I'm working on a post that will deal with this important topic.]

Just after that last post, pneumonia came knocking and, as you can imagine, it has been difficult to come back from.  On a positive note, though, I had a nice Thanksgiving break with the boys.  I spent most of Thanksgiving day preparing a turkey with all of the fixings.  I was pretty exhausted, but I’ve always enjoyed roasting the turkey and making Thanksgiving-y foods, so it was a labor of love.  Still, the day itself was a bit sad.  It was an unusually quiet holiday this year.  My in-laws had just gotten on a plane that morning and we had visited them night before, so we weren’t going to be going to their house on Thanksgiving Day.  And we were also not honoring the tradition of spending the other half of the day with my side of the family (usually at my aunt and uncle’s home) because we were missing some very important members this year.  I lost my youngest sister to the Alaskan wilderness (and her Alaskan boyfriend) when she packed her suitcase and got on the plane for a 5-day trip to Willow, AK in February.  5 days has stretched into 10 months because she has yet to return!  And the sister who had always been within minutes of me since she came home from the hospital when I was two years old, moved to Virginia to follow her/our dream to be near the sea.   She and my brother-in-law and my only niece and nephews hugged us goodbye as they drove away in their minivan and a big moving van during the first week of July.  And, sadly, they have not been back and my husband will not allow us to go to visit them (which the boys and I were pushing our hardest to do over the long Thanksgiving school break).  That leaves one sister [I am the oldest of four], but she and her husband [who is not a giant meanie like mine] went down to VA to spend Thanksgiving with my sister/BIL and the kids.  So it was VERY quiet.  My mother came over to eat with us and brought her little Yorkie.  The boys helped me decorate the table with our Halloween lights so we dined by the lovely saffron glow of the twinkly pumpkins we’ve collected over the years.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Then on Saturday and Sunday we took a quick little road trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Though the kids did their best to cajole my husband into allowing us to go to Virginia to seem my family, he made it clear that it would not happen now or ever, so we ended up “compromising” with Pittsburgh.  We had never been there but had heard that the city had a wonderful children’s museum and science center, both of which we have free admission to because of a reciprocal partnership between our local science center and other museums around the country (including those in Pittsburgh), and we also had a free hotel stay there.  Though the boys and I were sad about VA, we knew that it wouldn’t help to be upset about it, so we were determined to enjoy the weekend.  Though I would have been content to spend another “sick” weekend curled up under the blankets with the boys and dogs, I was the only one who would have gone for this over the long Thanksgiving weekend because the “sick” weekends had just been piling up with no end in sight.

Though it was tiring, I am glad we did it.  As it turned out, I had plenty of time to rest.   We only spent a few hours at the Children’s Museum on Saturday and then The Carnegie Science Center on Sunday, and we got home fairly early on Sunday.  And I just read during the roundtrip drive.  The hotel also provided board games, so we played Sorry! after the museum closed at 5 on Saturday, and then I was in bed by 9.  It was actually pretty relaxing.  At home, unless I am pretty sick, I have a hard time with giving myself permission to really rest.  For some reason it was much easier to do this while in another city or during the long car ride.   And the Children’s Museum was excellent.  There were plenty of activities to keep the boys engaged.  Our favorite section was an art annex of sorts.  The boys and I sat for ages at a long table cutting shapes that they could take up to a screen printing station where our designs would be printed.  I did the cutting and they would take the shapes up to be printed.  We made a nice stack of art that we plan to decorate their room with.  They loved the idea of stringing the pictures we made up on a long twine clothesline with old clothes pegs that were once my grandmother’s.  That will be our next project!

William enjoying one of the activities at The Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA

William enjoying one of the activities at The Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA

The Science Center was a bit more difficult for me.  But there was plenty to keep the boys busy.  And there were a plethora of benches and even some comfy chairs for me to sit in and even lie down on!  It really was chock-full of activities and displays.  We were even able to enjoy a star show (also free!) in their cozy planetarium chairs, located right inside the science center.  And the boys participated in some cooking demonstrations (free, too — and with samples!) in the “kitchen” section of the center.  Yum!

Yay! for The Carnegie Science Center's comfy chairs!

Yay! for The Carnegie Science Center’s comfy chairs!

And then we were back home to our dogs Sunday night, and I was back in to the hospital Monday morning to start off a full schedule of medical appointments this week.  But it was nice to have a change of scenery for a weekend!

Wow, I’ve written far more than I intended and I haven’t even gotten to the photo challenge yet!  Rather than muddle the photos up with all of these words (which have little/nothing to do with the challenge!), I’ll post a separate photo challenge entry in a minute.  I’ll also be requesting your help with a little something in the next post…

See you in a few…

20 thoughts on “Hello Again…

  1. So good to hear from you. I’m glad your Thanksgiving turned out well, considering all the setbacks. How terrible to keep you from your sister. You deserve better.

  2. Great post. I’m new here, so I don’t know all the details regarding your Lymphedema. However, my chest gets puffy and big when it’s time to do my manual lymph drainage. It is blocked at the “watershed”, which is the bony area between the “breasts”. I have to massage that for awhile, then also massage my right armpit. This opens up my good nodes and makes room for the new, re-routed fluid. I then have to spend about an hour gently massaging the fluid over from my arm and chest. It really does work! I also do a lot of compression bandaging in the evening. I’ve done a lot of therapy for this, and am also participating in a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan-Kettering using acupuncture! Stay tuned. Anyway, sorry if I am telling you stuff you already know. Take good care and FIGHT!

    • Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment, Krissy. I am sorry for you are also dealing with lymphedema and I appreciated that you took the time to give me a window into your own LE and treatments. Yes, please keep me posted! Thank you– and warmest wishes to you!

  3. No matter how far inbetween your words occur it’s good to know you still have them. I must admit I’ve been a bit worried so I’m glad your well enough to post. May you rest well and heal quickly.
    Sincerely
    Benjamin

  4. You are coping with so much that I honestly don’t think it would be fair to expect from you to keep posting all the time. I enjoy each of your posts as it is the quality not the qty. I’m please to hear that you had a fun thanksgiving and I’m saddened that so many of your loved ones aren’t closer to you physically. I hope that next year you can visit them.

  5. It’s too bad about the trip to VA. Science museums are so much fun and i’m glad you had some time to enjoy your boys and relax a bit. Many hugs to you. Write when you can and in the meantime know that i meditate on your health and joy.

  6. I’ve been thinking about you the past few days, wondering how you were doing. So I came to your blog and find a new post! I’m sure I’ll get an email soon, letting me know that you posted, but I beat the email!! I’m so glad to read your update. and Yes! we are here for you whenever you find the time and energy to post.
    Even though a bigger group at Thanksgiving might have been what you dreamed of, the quieter, smaller one was what you needed. Love the family photos!
    Continue to rest so that you can heal from pneumonia. That stuff will kick anyone’s butt!
    Take care my friend.

    • Thank you! Hmm, I’ve been hearing that not everyone is receiving the email notifications…
      I am glad you like the photos, and I appreciate that you took the time to say hello. I’ve thought of you, too, but my actions can’t seem to keep pace with my thoughts, so I haven’t managed to say hello.
      How are you feeling??
      Hope you are healing…
      Warmest wishes… xoxo

      • I got the email notification this morning :-)
        And no worries about actions. Your thought are enough! I am back at work with just a few issues still to deal with. I’ll get me new front teeth, not for Christmas, but Valentines Day :-)

  7. I live in virginia and have friends in Pittsburgh, and have been to the science museum there 3 or 4 times. So your post was very close to home for me! Glad to hear that you are doing ok and are enjoying yourself. I wish you the best.

    • Thanks so much! The science museum is one of the best we’ve been to, I think. My sister tells me it’s beach beach weather where they live in VA this weekend. I hope that’s true where you are, too. Thanks so much! Happy Holidays :-)

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