Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review

Every year, Dave Barry does his "Year in Review." I'm not as funny as Dave, and 2013 wasn't that funny, but here's mine!

DECEMBER 2012: Zane, despite being a Mormon man from a very traditional family of origin, told me he felt HE should stay home and I should go back to work. Surprised but pleased, I agreed. I had a job at Legacy Preparatory Academy by New Year's.

JANUARY: I start work! The teacher I replaced was fired for incompetence and was my students' third that year. I'm their fourth. Poor kids. Sabrina and Raiden start going to High Altitude for daycare on Wednesdays, and Raiden goes to Progressive Preschool. Zane becomes a stay-at-home dad, and I make the 51-minute drive every morning and afternoon. Raiden loses interest in breastfeeding.

FEBRUARY: We get into the routine of Mom working and Dad staying home. My grandma Buys dies, the last of my grandparents. I think she does it great -- she was getting older but still doing okay, they started to go downhill. She failed for about six months, then was clearly on her deathbed for about a week. That was enough time for all her local kids and grandkids to say goodbye. Dad was on a trip, but got home just in time to be there with her when she died. Either that, or she waited for him to be there! She left us to return to Grandpa and Uncle Jim. Lucky them!

MARCH: We continued our new routine. Oh, and my insurance kicks in.

APRIL: Here's where it starts getting fun. It's spring break, so I have a doctor's appointment on Monday. Hmmm, let's check out this breast lump. Mom hears about this and demands (demands!) that I get my tests at Huntsman. On Tuesday. For some reason, they squeeze me in. Mammogram and biopsy on Tuesday. Diagnosis on Wednesday. Cancer. Friday I get my PET scan. It looks local. Phew. Mastectomy two weeks later. While recovering, I check the website teachers-teachers.com. There is a job at Snowcrest, three minutes from my house. I burst into tears. Again.

MAY: I cut off my long tresses to make a wig. Students everywhere are shocked. I interview at Snowcrest, and a tension-filled week and a half later I get the job! Meanwhile, my current school is great with working with my diagnosis. The day before school ends I leave early, which has me only missing one class that has two teachers, and go get my first round of chemo, the EEEEvil Adriamycin and Cytoxan, hereafter "AC." I go back to school the next day, a little fuzzy. Raiden turns one.

JUNE: This month is full of AC. The first two rounds are okay emotionally, although the constipation (TMI, I know) is horrible the first time. The next two rounds are not okay. Mom stays with me every weekend I have chemo, despite her hectic schedule. My hair falls out.

JULY: I have my last of four rounds of AC. I have a breakdown. It is not fun. I get really sick, just in time to go to California. Sabrina turns 5, and we have her first friend birthday party. It is fun. I start Taxol and have an allergic reaction. It is not fun. I finish the Taxol dose, and it looks like I'll be able to tolerate it.

AUGUST: I continue Taxol. I have another reaction but less serious than before, so they just give me the Taxol really, really slowly to start so my body can remember that this poison is actually saving my life. I start school at Snowcrest. My commute has gone from 51 minutes to 3 minutes. Sabrina starts kindergarten, and loves it. Of course. Sasha starts "boy preschool" and also loves it. Raiden does not love going back to daycare.

SEPTEMBER: I continue Taxol and teaching. Every Saturday I leave before or during Sabrina's soccer game to go to Huntsman. Lisa, O Friend of Friends, comes almost every week to chat and watch Veronica Mars and eat treats. I gain 15 pounds. I blame Taxol. I'm on a million mgs of steroids to fight the allergic reaction, so it's really true. My hair starts growing back. Sasha turns 3.

OCTOBER: I finish Taxol. Although I enjoy having my Saturdays back from the 6-hour driving + treatment, I miss Lisa and the time to myself. I turn 36 the day after my last Taxol. Now I'm just on an every-three-weeks schedule for Herceptin. Cost per dose? Over $9000. Thank you, Altius. I start radiation in Ogden.

NOVEMBER: I continue radiation. I want to be done by Thanksgiving, but I have two more days. I get burned but it's not too bad. I get my first period since Cytoxan and have another echocardiogram. My heart is fine. Zane turns 39.

DECEMBER: I finish radiation and get to stay at school after it ends. I've been leaving about 10 minutes after school ends every day to get to radiation, and I don't like it, so this is nice. We have a lovely holiday season, which we are still in until January 2, when Sabrina and I go back to school.

This year has been enough for me to develop fear of the number 13 because it has SUCKED. However, it's over in a few short hours. 2014 will involve, I hope, another mastectomy and a double reconstruction. I will take Herceptin until July, when I will be done with cancer. Forever, I hope.

Thank you, all who read this, for your prayers, fasting, temple roll placing, and love. I have really felt the power of prayer this year. I know I've been able to get through this year thanks to all of you. Here's to a better new year!

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