A Noteworthy Morning

Ah teenagers…they are so independent but…on occasion they still need their parents.

Our 18 year old daughter thinks she is ready for the world.  As a college junior she is moving to the university next month fearless and without worries.  But for mom the worries continue.

But we must let go.  And so our young adult made arrangements to visit friends in PA.  I stayed out of it except to give advice when asked.  You know, like, “Remember just because it’s cheap to fly the red-eye doesn’t mean it your friends will want to pick you up at 6am.”  So plans were made and all I did was ask what day she was leaving so that I’d be free to take her to the airport.  The friends were emailed the schedule and all was set.  Or so we thought.

Yesterday we were talking about the upcoming trip.  Rebecca was leaving Tuesday and would be talking to the friends with flight information, etc. some time on Monday.  With a little prodding she pulled out her suitcase and began thinking about what to pack.  After all, Monday was empty except for packing and picking up any last minute items.  When I headed for bed we talked about getting her boarding pass.  The closer to the airlines 24 hour window that you order the pass the better chance at a good seat on the plane (you know how it goes).  Since she  had an early flight I offered to go online when I got up, then she could sleep in a few minutes. 

Bob and I got up our usual early hour and talked about who would take her to the airport and assorted reminders to each other before the appointed 6:45 time to sign onto the website.  We’ve flown often enough that it was pretty routine until the website flashed in red letters “Unable to confirm this flight.”  Hmmm, so I looked a little further.  Wait a second, the website information said that her flight was this morning!  Yikes!  How could that be?  I jumped up and ran upstairs informing Bob that something was dreadfully wrong.  What to do? What to do? 

Of course, the first thing to do is to wake sleeping beauty and start firing questions at her.  (What a terrible way to wake up.)  Yep, the airlines was right, the confirmation paper said the flight was the 19th, not the 20th.  Two months ago, when making reservations she must have written down the wrong date.  Okay, take a breath and lets call the airlines to see if there is any way to salvage this trip.  After being on hold for what seemed an eternity the agent finally answered.  Yes, the flight was for today and yes, it had already left, and yes, she could fly out tomorrow but it would cost an additional $250 for the ticket.  But then she asked if my daughter was over the age of 22.  Why she asked, I don’t know (maybe this is the new Obama age of adulthood). But in any case, she then told me that there was a policy if a customer was at the terminal within two hours of the scheduled departure time they would get her on a standby flight that day and with no additional charge.  “Could we make it there?” she asked. 

“Could we?!” Ka-ching!  Dollar signs were flying past my head as I ran upstairs.  We raced around like crazy people getting dressed and tossing clothes into her suitcase.  “If the friends can’t pick you up today or if you don’t get in until midnight you’re just going to have to spend the night in the airport.”  Bob and I both were shouting out questions to her, “Did you pack this?  Did you remember that?  Do you have your money, your purse, your backpack?”  And we flew out of the house. 

We arrived at the terminal at 8:15 and I told my stressed daughter to hurry in and look for the shortest line while I parked the car.  A half hour in line would spell trouble.  Well, you know that old adage, “The Lord watches over children and fools.”  I’m guessing we fit in both categories this morning.  As Matthew and I walked in to the terminal Rebecca was calling us.  She was booked on an 8:45 flight and with a detour to Buffalo would arrive in Baltimore just a couple hours late.

Sure enough she just sent me a text that she had arrived safely and and the friends were right there to pick her up.  “No worries, Mom,” she wrote, “and thanks for getting me out of bed this morning.”


The Road to Recovery

It’s one month since my last radiation treatment.  There are sure signs that I’m on the road to recovery.

Physically, I’m looking different.  I have hair… I have eyebrows.  Both make me look twice when passing a mirror.  Strange but I got used to seeing myself without eyebrows.  The lack of hair I never got used to but scarves served their purpose hiding my head.  People ask if my hair is coming back different but sad to say, I think it will look very much like it used to–lots of premature gray (at least I’m saying it’s premature…) I enjoy being able to run a washcloth over it and be set for the day.  A friend asked me what I put on it to make it stick up straight.  I’m not sure she believed me when I told her that going every which way was most likely my natural look.  Anyway, my hair is now about a 1/2 inch long so I’m still a ways from needing a haircut.

Another interesting physical change is my finger nails.  Did I tell you how they were loose and I was constantly worried about them falling off?  Both my finger and toe nails are now almost normal looking and seem to be adhered once again.  The other day I was looking at the horizontal ridges which I know are from stress.  What I hadn’t noticed before is that there were eight well defined ridges.  And guess what, I had eight chemo treatments.  I bet they are related. 

Oh, you might be interested in knowing that my skin has returned to normal from the radiation.  I expected to have a deep tan like I get every time I visit my sister in NC and forget to use sunscreen at the beach.  Certainly the radiation burns on the skin were similar but they sure didn’t last like a regular sun tan.  Maybe because they weren’t the same type of burn???

Also physically, but not so visible is my energy is returning.  No I’m not quite back to normal but I don’t need naps every day.  And guess what???  I mowed the grass last week! Yes, the whole yard.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure I had enough energy last summer to mow the lawn.  Strange how that hindsight works.  Mom pointed out how I had been complaining that I needed a nap every day last summer.  It all made sense after the diagnosis. 

I’m not sure about the whole chemo brain stuff.  It’s still a challenge to concentrate on projects and to remember what was on my agenda for the day.  Some friends have told me that the brain fog lasts a year.  In any case, I’ll use it as my excuse for forgetfulness and any otherwise unseemly remarks I might make.  It works.

People want to know if I’m in remission or better yet, cured.  I don’t know when I’ll have that answer.  I go back to the doctor in August and will have lab work done then.  The last labs with the cancer markers were good so next month’s labs will have a good baseline to compare with.  I had forgotten that I’m not really, really done with chemo. I have to go back every six months for a couple years.  I know for certain this treatment is not nearly so hard on the system and I’m thinking I will keep my hair. The main thing now is that these doctors all have hold of me and will keep a very close eye on everything.  (Remember you MAY use me as your example of what not to do–ladies, get those mammos…don’t wait until you are 50.)  But in any case, we all thank you for your prayers as we travel down this very different road. 

Now that we’re well into summer and it’s more than plenty hot here it’s time to get out of town.  Matthew and I are planning to spend more time in Strawberry.  Bob already bought me some paint to I can work on the ceiling up there. (I know, what a nice guy…)  It does appear that I’m on the road to recovery and I’m sure it will be more fun up in the mountains where it’s cooler–even if it is with a paintbrush in hand.