Thursday, August 25, 2011

In the hallways

The cancer path has influenced our lives in so many ways, and though we aren't currently in the midst of day to day battle, it still has such a huge impact in so many aspects of our daily lives. Some days, we are lucky to forget the battle at large, but really, at least for me, it crops up in little ways at least a few times a day.

Really, I'm so lucky and blessed. Still to this day, I pass people in the hallway at work that stop and bravely ask, "how is your daughter", or, "what's the latest with Sydney"? I call them brave, because truly, they are. Do you take that risk? The risk of the answer being "not so great", or, "we received some bad news". I am so thankful for these people, and their caring commitment to just being such fearless brave human beings.

I always strive to be that brave. It's hard though. But, trying to reach that goal, I've made it a purpose, especially at work, to bring together cancer "peeps". It may be them, their children, their spouses, or other loved ones that are fighting the good fight, but regardless, they deserve some support. I try (try being the operative word), to not shy away from the real stuff, to ask the questions I'd want to be asked, and to really listen to the answers.

It seems to go through phases, and unfortunately, recently has been one of the not so great phases. At work one co-worker has been recently diagnosed, one's husband was moved to hospice today, and one (one of my very best buds) has been told that he has another tumor after Cyber Knife radiation to a tumor found in the brain following the spread of colon cancer. I sit there, and trying as bravely as I can, ask, what's the next step, what's the next treatment, how can I help? So very little, really. But what I try to never forget is that it can always be worse, that the right attitude makes all the difference, and a good listening ear is priceless.

Everyday you're bombarded I'm sure, just as we are, with groups asking for help, for giving. This is good, and necessary. Heck, even we've asked for the same. But, I have a different question - what do you do in the hallways?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cleaning up the dishes

Last night was a great night. We did homework, we swam, we had dinner. For those of you that may not know, we have a dinner ritual (which luckily, we get to follow most nights). We sit, we eat, we talk about our day. No TV or electronics allowed. We typically ask the children 2 to 3 questions. The standard 2 are "What was the best part of your day", and, "What was the worst part of your day". Lately, for comic relief, we have thrown in "What was the funniest part of your day". Believe it or not, we actually get a better picture of our kids lives with these simple questions than we do with any others we throw at them at any other time during the day.

Tonight, we were regaled with tales of "100 lashes with a wet noodle" (Ainsley's teacher's hopefully comic response to non performance in the classroom), and with "I hate Spanish" from Sydney. Of course, the families response to that was to start talking in any other language except English. Mark, well, he does Spanish (or Mexican to those in Texas). Graham is quite adept at Chinese. Ainsley, well, she does a chinish - a nice mix of Spanish and Chinese, both of which she's had since pre-k. Me, well, I can do any language in a wonderful Southern accent. I really don't get it - English and I, we do quite well, not but a small hair of southern influence, regardless of growing up in Alabama. But listen to me "try" to speak another language, and you would swear I grew up in backwater Alabama with a banjo on my knee.

So, dinner wraps up with us all speaking in horrible tongues, and moves to the clean up phase. Mark and I have made the determination over the last month or so that there is no reason for adults in our family to clean up dinner. After all, this is why we had children (I did warn you that Mark is PC, and I'm not, right?). So, amidst kicking, screaming, and plate slinging, dinner clean up commences. I must comment, because last night was a rare event. The children cleaned up with only 1 fight amongst them, we had one cleaning the table, and 2 putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Life is good. One day they may graduate to bus boys and girls, and the bonus is of course that they will be bilingual while doing it.

Here's to the future!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Different View

So, many have expressed concern over the limited amount of posts from Mark over the summer. I (Lynley) thought I'd pinch hit and try to fill in some of the blanks. But first, we need to set the record straight - I am not Mark, I am unfortunately not witty, and certainly by no means am I a neuroblastoma aficionado. But, I can sometimes string a few words together, and hopefully, I can at least catch you up on our lives.

In case you didn't know, Mark was snatched up by an out-of-the-blue recruiter last December, with visions of steady money and a job just down the road. He couldn't say no (and shouldn't have), so Mark packed up his bags (laptop) and headed a mile and a half down the road to a job at Parker Hannifin, doing what he's always done best, and loved, which is programming. Thus begins the slippage of postings. Out of the house at 7:15 am and back home at TaeKwondo time at a steady Monday through Friday clip.

Personally, I also think that anyone writing a blog for as many years as he has has to feel the challenge of keeping up. He started before "blogging" was "blogging". He started before (for those in the cancer world) Care Pages existed. Yes, in the eyes of technology, Mark is ancient. Again, and this is me talking (writing), but what began as a brain catharsis, somewhere in the 8 years since begun, could maybe sometimes turn into something that seems like a job. I don't know, luckily, no one has ever depended on me writing a daily blurb (good choice), but that pressure if no longer for a personal release could to be a heavy one.

Okay, so enough about blogging. Here's the low down on the summer. The first part of the summer was taekwondo. We breathed it, we slept it, we sweated it, we worked it. Then came the "Great Trip to California" for the taekwondo Junior Olympics/Nationals. Both Graham and Sydney did great, and Sydney came home with a bronze. Not bad for a cancer kid, huh? Ainsley tagged along as always and had a great time. Check out our Flickr page for pics.

We returned happy, elated, and totally burned out on TKD of course. So began a month sabbatical. I'd like to say that exciting things happened during this time, but really, no one wanted excitement. We wanted home and family.

So, we had home, family, and a roast. Roast you say? Yes, that is what we've done this summer. I think we are now in the 3rd hottest summer rankings of all Texas time. Why do we live in this h-e-double hockey sticks place? Honestly, our brains were fried at at least 30 days of 100 temps ago, and I couldn't say.

I have to give an example of the heat (actually, I could give you a hundred, but I don't want to bore you even more). This one stood out. Sydney has to put in ear plugs to swim to fight off swimmers ear. They are made of some orange substance. Yesterday she couldn't find any of her "ears". We all searched. And searched. They have to be where you left them on the porch I said, at least a million times. Found them finally! They had been left on the, shaded mind you, back porch. We found some nice gelatinous goo on the wood planks of the back porch, oddly colored orange, with bits of dog hair sticking out. The dogs ate them you say? Oh noooo, what had been solid now was liquid, a nice melted pile of ear wax, dripping its way through the table. "It's so hot" sayings just begin to roll of the tongue, don't they?

Fast forward to August, when fast again becomes the name of the game. All the chaos of returning to school began to happen, and then before we knew it, school started. Sydney started 4th, Graham 2nd, and Ainsley 1st. We are a week and a few days into it, and so far no one has hated their teacher, and no blood has been shed. Keep your fingers crossed.

Now, I don't have a quaint purpose line to finish with, but I do need to run off, Ainsley and I are making cookies, and she's told me after reading the recipe that we need some "slick" butter. I'm wondering if that's something Central Market will carry...