October is Julia's favorite month, it is her birthday month (October 7th) and Halloween, she adores dressing up for Halloween! I means a lot to me too, she was born in October, my first little girl, she was such a chatty little toddler and her vocabulary was amazing! She was and is a smart girl. She is also beautiful (yep, moms are biased, but she truly is beautiful!) She is kind, empathetic, and a good friend. Loves concerts, her Camaro, musicals, singing, digital photography, what can I say, I am very proud of her!
October is also Kara's birthday, she will be 5 this year, I still cannot believe it, she was so tiny when we brought her home, weighing 19 pounds and wearing 18-24 month clothing, now she is in size 4’s! We went to storage and took out a bin of Gymboree (with a few other brands too) for Kara (they were Meghan's who admittedly had enough clothing to be octuplets) One bin has enough clothing for 3 weeks, and there are 7 more there. If you visit me, you know we have girls clothing coming out of our ears, I am not certain I want to take the other bins out of storage. BTW, Kara looks so adorable in Meghan's almost new hand me downs. Today (for my Gymboree friends) she is wearing Romantic Garden! Kara is a stinker; a busy, funny, active, reckless, happy, silly little girl, but she is also very sweet and is now playing with baby dollies. To see her hug them and put blankets on them while they sleep, just too precious. She also throws them, steps on them and leaves them outside where the dog chews on them, but hey, I will focus on the good things.
October is also Down Syndrome Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness month, among others things, but of course those two have meaning to our family. It has been 6 1/2 years since I heard my husband tell me I had breast cancer. I watched the Survivor Movie and it brought back the fear I felt when I had full body scans to check for metastasis, the first was a CT scan, we laughed and joked through that, those gals were wonderful and supportive, my heart was pounding as it crossed over my head and torso. I made a joke when they said my brain looked healthy, normal, after so many jokes about the airheaded blondes, it was good to have proof there was indeed a brain in there after all.
Then came a full body bone scan, this one was bad as the tech was a somber and uncommunicative guy, he was frankly very mean considering why I was there, showed no compassion whatsoever. Ever had a bone scan, if you are claustrophobic, you better get sedated; the scan is 1 inch from your nose when it gets to your head. For me they began at my feet and worked thier way up. When we finally got to my head the techs demeanor changed, he seemed rattled and he kept going over my head again, my goodness, but the fear that leapt into my throat almost choked me. He asked me if I was ever dropped on my head or if I had a steel plate at one time. I realized he was looking at the strange indentation I have on my skull and chuckled. It has been there all my life. Maybe my siblings did drop me, it is likely, but after the scan I learned that many family members have the same defect, it is genetic! Still after all the stress the radiologist took pity on me and told me my scans were 100% clear of abnormalities, meaning, no bone metastasis. Whew, that was a huge relief.
I also had a MUGA scan of the heart to check left ventricular ejection factor, the oncologist wanted to be certain my heart was healthy enough for chemotherapy as Adriamycin (doxorubicin), one of my chemo cocktail, could cause cardiac damage. A scan following chemo showed some minor and trivial heart damage, and I was relieved to hear that.
After chemo, I had a PET scan to make sure I did not have new tumors forming, blood work came back questionable; thankfully that was also clear. I have had three PET scans since chemotherapy. They always unnerve me, but meditative prayer helps me through, I have not had any scans since 2006, when we committed to adopt one and then two little girls and came home with two different little girls, international adoption is sometimes more of a crooked trail than a straight one.
I hope you watched the YouTube video and hope you can understand how much a cancer diagnosis changes a person, a family. So many people tuck tail and run when their friends or family member are diagnosed, so many survivors tell me it is a true test of a relationship, so very true. Cancer scares us, and we do not always behave rationally when it enters our lives. Please swallow your fear and support your loved one, your friend or co-worker through their treatments. If you are a boss; just know that firing survivors because they miss work isn’t just illegal and immoral but demoralizing as well (yes, it happened to me and too many others) I truly believe that one of the best gifts you can give a survivor is your time and your prayers. Talk to them on the phone, take them to treatments, bring them food, be there for them.
Moving on…we took Meghan and Amanda to the dentist for check-ups yesterday, Meghan may have a small cavity and poor Amanda, her mouth was covered in herpes blisters, her gums are also bright red and bleeding. Her dentist said it was her first outbreak, meaning, she just got herpes simplex one. I had a cold sore 2 weeks ago and have to think she got it from me, goodness, I feel so terrible about it. Meghan also had one, we were all pretty sick. I should not have let Amanda give mommy a kiss. She is feeling better today, and ate all of her breakfast,. The dentist said the outbreak will last a few more days, she has been so miserable, but it is good to know why now. My good friend (a fellow BC survivor) tells me that sometimes institutionalized kids have compromised immune systems and often get herpes very easily because of that. She also tells me it gets better the longer they are with your family. Thanks Dede, I hope poor Amanda never gets them as bad as she did this time.
Amanda and Meghan are scheduled for sedated cleaning in January, oh, sedation always makes me nervous, and the last time I burst into tears when Meghan went under. She just went limp in my arms and her eyes rolled up in her head, I honestly thought she stopped breathing. I put my head to her chest and checked for air flow on my face, and even though her respiration rate was very slow, it was there. Do any of you other moms get scared from sedated procedures? I may have Tom take her back this time; I do not want to scare her with my fears. I feel like such a wimp though. If only she would cooperate and let the dentist work, but she gets scared and falls off the table, closes her mouth, she just panics. He did say he has seen many children like her who miraculously change their attitudes when they reach 11 or 12, goodness; I hope that happens for her too.