Almost 100 percent

I’m back.

Last week was rough. A GI virus that took down my mom and Lauren for about 12 hours spent about 10 days rattling around my body. It didn’t help that it was my “low” week so my body had NOTHING to help the fight.

Day by day, I tried to stay on top of rehydration, but the faster I put fluids in, the faster they were (violently) ejected from my body.

I went to work every day, but I won’t win any awards for my performance – it was all I could do to teach the bare minimum to stay on schedule. Usually my teaching style is very dynamic. I move around a lot, making use of the entire classroom. Last week, I didn’t leave my chair at the front of the room.

I slept. A lot. Because I was up all night, I slept until around 10 a.m., got up, went to work, came home, slept more. I had zero energy.

I was REALLY grouchy, and sometimes dizzy and light headed. I almost passed out after climbing about 40 steps in the parking garage – 40 freaking steps and I had to sit down for 10 minutes on the frozen concrete because I was seeing black spots. Good thing I didn’t park where I normally do or I definitely would have passed out on the walk to my office.

On Thursday, my tolerance reached a low point when I got mad at my thermos for keeping my soup hot and at my scarf for hugging my neck too tight. Getting angry (like, CRAZY mad) at inanimate objects for doing their job? Yeah, that’s not right.

I had been talking to the doctor and his nurses all week. Various tests came back normal. I finally laid it out for the nurse, “If I can’t get in today, I will go to the ER. I desperately need fluids, and I just can’t drink any more.”

I drove straight from work to the cancer center. Two bags of fluid plus magnesium and potassium and instructions for how to manage the GI virus symptoms, and I felt better. I slept through the night on Thursday.

I was still tired and weak and grouchy on Friday. I went shopping with my mom – as a birthday/Mother’s Day present, I wanted to buy her a new oven. She found one she liked and the sale was ending, so we had to go on Friday. It was all I could do to tolerate the appliance salesdude and his incessant repetition of the installation instructions. A trip to Target afterward was cut short because I just wanted to go to sleep.

Reread that – I didn’t want to shop at Target because I was tired. That’s pretty freaking tired, people.

My mom took the kids home with her Friday and Saturday nights so I could rest without interruption. I also decided to ignore the clear liquids/BRAT diet instructions I had been following for the past week. I was going to eat whatever my body told me it wanted. I needed nutrition (and to actually CHEW food) – more than comes from clear broth or jelly toast. Eating felt good.

By Saturday afternoon, I was feeling much better. By Sunday, when the kids came home, I was back to myself. Today, I feel about 95 percent “me.”

Friday will be my last dance with the red devil. I’m doing everything possible to stay on top of my health to get through the next few weeks before “regular” chemo starts. I’m told that will be the easy part.

Mother’s Day

I realized something yesterday.

Mother’s Day is a day, like any other day, for “only” moms. It was a nice enough day, in so far as it was like the Sunday before and probably the Sunday to follow.

As an only parent, there’s no sleeping in on Mother’s Day. My kids get up between 5:30 and 6:15 every.freaking.day. They each threw homemade Mother’s Day gifts at me before I was even out of bed. (Lauren made a card, and Ethan made a sun catcher and a Mom poem.)

Then they demanded breakfast right away. And conveniently forgot to take the dog out or get his food. So the dog jumped around under my feet as I screamed for someone to take care of him, at the same time that the kids screamed for berries. No, toast. No, cereal. No, eggs. OK, how about a little of everything?

And after they decided NOT to eat anything, it was up to me to clean up the mess. Then off to the shower, which should’ve been good for 10 minutes of peace and quiet, but instead became a parade of kids tattle-tailing on each other. Forget drying my hair or putting on makeup, I was lucky just to get dressed before I referred a wrestling match in my bedroom.

When I finally wrangled the kids into the car to go get flowers to plant (my Mother’s Day gift to myself AND “from” the kids since I let them pick out the flowers), it was complete chaos at the nursery. Apparently, everyone shopped for flowers. I lifted Lauren in the cart, to her dismay, because I just couldn’t chase both of them AND find flowers AND keep my sanity. Lauren continued to complain about being in the cart, and Ethan continued to aggravate her as I check out. They both argued with each other as I put them in the car and cranked the music to try to ignore the “he poked me” and “she’s looking at me” coming from the backseat.

I realized that was now lunchtime. (Where did the day go?) And I asked the kids what they want for lunch. They both shouted out fast food places (different ones, naturally) and suddenly burger and fries didn’t seem too bad. Quick drive thru order/pick up and casually tossed of the kids’ meal toys into the backseat and then the drive home.

The dog was barking from the backyard, where we left him basking in the sun. Flowers were taken out of the car to be planted later. And we sat down to lunch. The kid meal toys were apparently too much fun to get anyone to eat their food. And when they did finish, Ethan was still hungry so he asked Lauren for a few of her chicken nuggets (which we knew she won’t eat). She protested, he yelled, I picked up the nuggets from her plate and tossed them to Ethan across the table. Everyone was quiet for a few minutes before it was Lauren’s nap time.

Nap time is always a protest, but I convinced her to have some “quiet time” before we planted flowers. “No quiet time, no helping me plant,” I told her. She cooperated.

Ethan went outside to play. I sat on the couch to fold laundry. My eyes got heavy and I apparently fell asleep, only to wake up to Ethan watching a stupid movie. When did he come in the house?

Lauren started singing, “Is it time for me to go downstairs? I really want to go downstairs!” It’s her post-nap anthem.

She came downstairs and apparently changed into another outfit, but I didn’t even want to argue (or know) about what was wrong with what she was wearing when she went upstairs. We walked to the front door to go plant flowers, just as a huge crack of thunder exploded and the sky opened up.

Planting will have to wait. “Why?” Lauren asked.

I let the kids share iPad time as I folded laundry and picked up rogue Legos. I asked Ethan if he finished his homework. “Oh yeah,” he said. “I forgot.” And he scrambled to finish Spanish, math, and reading.

Then it was dinner time, and I decided to just take out leftovers from the week. I needed refrigerator room anyway, and the leftover Chinese, fettuccine alfredo, and steak and chicken fajitas should satisfy everyone. Of course, each kiddo wanted something different, but that’s okay. I just wanted the leftovers gone. Ethan said, “Maybe if we had a dad, he’d take you out to dinner for Mother’s Day.”

We polished off everything except the cashew chicken and some rice. Then I cleaned up the mess, started the dishwasher, and sat down for a few minutes before bathtime and storytime and bedtime.

It wasn’t a bad day, just a normal one. For me, apparently everyday is Mother’s Day.

(I should mention that B got me a Mother’s Day gift, a monthly subscription to BirchBox. I’ve looked into subscribing several times, but just never did. He NAILED his gift to me – I LOVE girly product samples! Now I feel pressured to find the perfect Father’s Day gift for him…)