Archive for May, 2012

In Memory…
May 27, 2012

It’s Memorial week-end. We went to Ida Grove yesterday to leave a memorial on my parents and grandparents graves. We’ll do the same for Ken’s parents and Brian tomorrow. Sunnybrook Church had a special recognition this morning, as I’m sure many other churches did, for those who have lost their lives in the service of our country and those still living who are or have served.

This past week, I was stunned to learn that an old friend had passed away in her sleep. Oddly enough, she was planning on leaving on vacation the next day. She was packed and ready to go. She just didn’t realize where she was actually going. At her memorial service, it was pointed out how much Jill loved the ocean. That makes two of us. In fact, the ocean is to be Jill’s final resting place.

In less than two weeks, on June 8, we will be gathering to celebrate life and love in Bodega Bay…in a beautiful vacation home overlooking the ocean. I will stand beside the sea and I will remember Jill. In fact, the vastness of the ocean and its beauty and majesty, have a way of invoking lots of memories and emotions that lay dormant during the normal hustle and bustle of life. I will remember many who have gone before me and feel humbled by the mystery of life.

We never forget those in our lives who have passed away but certain times, like Memorial Day, trips to the ocean, etc. trigger those memories and bring them to the surface. So, I just wanted to take a moment this Memorial week-end to publicly remember John, Jeannette, Agnes, Harold, Jill and the many, many others in our lives who have gone before us. We love you. R.I.P.

Happy Memorial Day all.


And Believe…
May 11, 2012

Back in January, I wrote a post entitled Believe. It dealt with my fervent belief that 2012 would be my year. It would be my opportunity, after 2.5 years, to recapture some semblance of normalcy in my life. Over the past several months, while never losing sight of that belief, I continued to bump into walls in the dark, never sure what direction I was going to end up going or when I would get there. In my last post, as today’s appointment loomed closer, I couldn’t help feeling like I was awaiting my parole hearing.

I received a call earlier this week from the Cancer Center wanting to move back my appointment time. She said she knew I preferred afternoons. How does that work? How does she know that when she schedules 1000s of appointments every month? I definitely know I’ve been hanging around there too long.

So…this afternoon it was. Showed up between 3 and 3:30 for labs. Got called back for my nurse consultation and weigh-in.  I made sure to show up in heavy jewelry, a belt and left my shoes on. Still I didn’t gain anything but did manage to camouflage all but 1/2 pound of what I had lost. Then, the long wait to get called back to see the doctor.

Shortly after 5 I was called back and very shortly thereafter, Dr. D. knocked on the door. First words out of his mouth – You lost another pound. I corrected him that it was actually less than a pound and that it really was leveling off. He grabbed me by the shoulders and said “You can’t afford to lose any more weight.” I said, OK, I won’t, smiled and the drama was diffused.

We went over the  results of my labs and, for the most part they were good. He examined me and we talked about a couple of other things. He had talked about starting me on a new drug, but decided to wait. Good news.

Then he shook my hand and said, Mrs. Stueve, I’ll see you in 4 months. Seriously? I actually screamed (softly). He smiled and said, “I find nothing wrong with you. But if you have any concerns at all before 4 months, call.”

Parole granted.

When I got home, Ken was waiting at the door to find out how it went. I told him and screamed again. After 2.5 years I am no longer a cancer patient. I am officially a survivor. Ken left the room and came back with a gift bag. If you recall, Kelli came up with the idea of buying a charm every time I had a chemo treatment. Between the kids and my husband, I ended up with a beautiful, full charm bracelet that I wear as a reminder of the support of my family while I was doing treatment.

I opened the bag and it was another bracelet. It matches my chemo bracelet but includes just one charm. It is a little difficult to see in this photo, but the charm opens to reveal the word Believe. I cried. We both cried. It has been so long and so difficult at times, but neither of us ever stopped believing. I am so happy tonight I can’t stand it.

Sunday is the Komen Siouxland Race For the Cure. This is the 4th for Sioux City and the third for me. While not as much pomp and circumstance as last year, it will be a true celebration for me and my small band of “merry men.” I will walk proudly feeling like a true survivor.  If you’d like to donate, there’s still time do so today by clicking here and then on Donate to Cathy. Your gift will mean so much to so many. Thank you.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined..”                                                                                                     

Henry David Thoreau

Time to start on my book.


Awaiting Parole
May 3, 2012

Every Sunday night, I do a mental checklist for the week ahead. If it doesn’t include any medical appointments, I mentally smile and feel a sense of freedom. If it does include one or more appointments, Schleprock rears his ugly head. This week, Schleprock accompanied me through most of the week. I had a dental appointment at 8 AM this morning and, I must admit, I’m not really a fan. Needed a little more periodontal work and then the standard cleaning and flouride treatment. The laser treatment had to go on hold once again because they didn’t have all of the equipment needed. Not too bad, but glad to cross this off the list. I don’t have to return for three months.

Next up – May 11. Yes, I’ve already grabbed Schleprock’s hand, realizing that my next Cancer Center appointment is a week from tomorrow. I feel like I’m awaiting a parole decision. Will this finally be the appointment at which my oncologist says, “OK, see you back here in three months.”?  Will I enjoy the summer of freedom I have been so hoping for?  Or will some other unforeseen issue surface? Stay tuned.