Ah, summer

Jul 27

Regular life goes on.  Cancer-centric moments are blissfully not the focus of my average days.  Sure, I make lots of allowances to accommodate the cancer treatment and impact on me… but I do not let that consume my thoughts.  My thoughts are consumed by the good things in my life.  Poor Maren has had a sore wiggly tooth for the past ten days.  She would ask for pain medicine to dull the ache, and she does not generally complain unless it is legitimate.  I had offered to pull the tooth and/or see the dentist if she thought necessary.  As we tromped down the steps after the swim meet on Saturday, she said with a sigh, “Mom my tooth hurts.  I think I want you to pull it out.  Is it wiggly enough?”

“Let me see,” I said, and gave her tooth a nudge.  It was on the threshold of just wiggly enough where I thought I could pull it.  “I am happy to try to pull it when we get to the car, but I’ll have to pull hard and it will hurt.  So, think about whether you want to endure the acheyness of leaving it in, or whether you want to deal with the one-time pain of having it pulled, but then healing from there.”

She nodded and gripped my hand as she contemplated this on the way to the car.

Greta, always good for some comic relief, plodded along next to us, tired after a big effort of swimming.  “Phew!” she exclaimed, “Swimming Olympics are exhausting!”  Because Saturday’s meet was at the big indoor pool, she associated it with her most recent reference for indoor pools: the Olympic swimming and diving trials we watched on television a few weeks ago.  Love that girl, and I love that she thought she just competed in the Olympics.  Confidence pours out of Greta.

When we got to the car Maren decided to have me pull her tooth.  I took a clean tissue, had her hold on to the arm rest of the car and squeeze.  It took two giant wrenching tugs, but it came out with lots of bleeding.  And sure enough, the root edge of the tooth looked like an arrowhead; it had been slicing her up inside her lower gum as it wiggled and likely would have gotten worse before it got better.  She was so pleased to have it out and proud of herself for being brave enough to get it over with.  Her maturity with the whole thing astounded me.  She’s really a beautiful young girl.

Monday was round one of the new chemo regimen.  Greta and my aunt made fresh blueberry and raspberry muffins for me to bring in with me, so I was thanked all afternoon for their effort.  Aside from that, there’s not much that changed from my perspective: the bags swing overheard on the IV poles while I talk to my friends.  Whenever I do look up at the IV bags to gauge their fullness, the passage of time, how much longer I have in the chair, I always whisper a prayer that whatever juju they are infusing into me would be potent and powerful against the cancer.  It’s too early yet to know what the specifics of the side effects of this new drug will feel like.  It will take time for the last one to wash out and for this one to build up.  I’m hoping it’s a bit easier on me.  I would love more energy, but I will take what I get as cancer-killing is the priority.

My nurses all knew the results of last week’s scan and the consequential treatment change when I walked in… there are several nurses keep my chart open on their browsers and hit “refresh” as they go about their work on my scan days.  They really care and their scanxiety on my behalf is perhaps greater than my own scanxiety.  (I really have gotten much better about that with time.)  I’m humbled by their personal investment in me.  Hallowed ground, that chemo room.  Hallowed ground.

Today I’m soaking in the summer day.  Maren is at camp (and I am missing her!), we’ve made cookies, and Greta and I are going to the pool shortly so I can swim laps and she can play.  Greta can make her own lunch and today she planned and executed the menu: creamy peanut butter and fluff sandwich, fresh raspberries, and pretzels.  Not bad for an almost-kindergartener!  Right now Greta is up in her room building an elaborate mini-golf-esque obstacle course in her room: tennis rackets are the sticks, she made foil “golf balls”, and she’s cut fabric for the course.  As usual there is a lot of tape involved too. It’s pretty cute when her imagination get going.  My girl loves trash-to-treasure art-ing.  Ah, summer.  I love thee.


  1. Lori6NV /

    So impressed that you find the positive in the summer run-around, mess-making days. I’m inspired to do the same!

  2. Marion /

    Quite impressed that you were able to just yank out Maren’s tooth. I am not able to even wiggle teeth! Glad we were able to say a brief “hi” at Bagel & Deli! I will continue to pray for your total healing. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer!

  3. Karen /

    Chemo room truly is hallowed ground!! I am a fan of mom’s Rock-Star med team. I am grateful she has a care team she trusts the way you trust your team of Rock-Stars!

    A friend/works-in-same office as my husband was recently diagnosed with stage 3 Breast Cancer. Thinking about what I could do for her brought me to something you had done. I provided a handful of gift-cards for her to give away – to somebody that helps her out, somebody that is having a “blue-day”, something to give away as a “pick-me-up” for her own ego. She was touched, nearly to tears!

    Thank you for the idea and the inspiration to “pay-in-forward” in such a simple way.

    I hope Maren’s Tooth Fairy rewarded her courage.

  4. Lisa Smith /


  5. Dotti /

    My husband Shawn and me, Dotti, are friends of Beth and Bill and Norv and Ros. I just want you to know I love your stories. I love my husband and daughter( whose 25, but I so miss her at your daughters age) and I can feel the love and strength you have for your family. I am always praying for you and your strength and the love of your family and friends.
    Many blessings!!