Sunday, July 29, 2007

The con artist and the critic

As you know, WCK is addicted to her pacifier (or as she calls it, "Blue Fire"). We try to be very strict about keeping it in the crib and only letting her have it at naptime and bedtime. One of her favorite activities, though, is trying to smuggle Blue Fire out of the crib and, when she is successful, running down the hall with it in her mouth, cackling about the evil deed that she's managed to pull off. Of course, her evil cackle is a little muffled by the pacifier.

The other day, I saw her about to pull off a Blue Fire Smuggle, so I grabbed it and put it on top of the changing table, out of her reach. I then stepped out of the room for a second to check the laundry. When I came back in, WCK was looking at me with big, innocent eyes. "Poopy diaper," she said casually -- almost a little too casually -- and then sauntered over to the changing table, waiting for me to lift her up. I almost fell for it for about two seconds, and then it dawned on me -- WCK never wants to go up on the changing table, no matter how poopy she is, and her diaper wasn't poopy at all! She just wanted a free ride to the top of the changing table so she could have better access to the Forbidden Blue Fire. Con artist!

Jay says she's going to grow up to be a Monorail salesperson:




Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car poopy diaper! What'd I say? Poopy diaper!

Yesterday, Jay had his company picnic at the Kansas City zoo. We got free admission to the zoo all day, and then a free lunch. It was a really fun idea, but it was so hot (Missouri in July = Gates of Hell) that it got pretty miserable after a while. I was on sterioids, so I was already sweaty as it was. WCK typically loves the zoo, but yesterday her reaction to every single animal was a flat, bored-sounding, "No. Don't like it." Nothing could impress her. If the con artist thing doesn't work out, I think she's going to be a movie critic:



As for a potty update: She has not yet repeated the peeing feat, although once when I asked her if she wanted to go pee, she sat on the potty and cheerfully yelled, "Peeeeeeeeeeee! Peeeeeeeeee!"

I realized that much of this blog entry is about poop and pee. Get used to it, people!

Oh, I'm up to page 405 of Harry Potter.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

TRIUMPH!!!!!!

This was going to be a blog entry about how I haven't had time to blog. We've been having a fun visit from WCK's godparents and their very adorable baby (See, Dan? I blogged about you!), I'm in the middle of organizing a service project for my stay-at-home moms' group (I'll post more about that later, for those of you who might want to donate), and, worst of all, I'm only on page 122 of Harry Potter, and I just know the ending is going to leak out before I finish it, and my life will be ruined. I must read Harry, not blog.

But I had to post this:

Less than one hour ago, WCK WENT PEE ON THE POTTY!!!!!!!!!

Jay is at a Royals' game, and I called him on his cell phone to tell him. You know, back when you're young and dating, you never think that one of the most exciting phone calls you'll eventually share as a couple will involve the words "pee" and "potty."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Arrrr, baby!

Yesterday WCK and I were headed out of Hy-Vee when I stopped to dig my car keys out of the diaper bag. I didn't realize that I had stopped the cart right in front of an enormous rum display featuring a life-sized pirate who was glaring down on us. WCK did not care for the pirate at all. "No, no, Mommy!" she said. "Don't like it!" I explained that he was a pirate and that he was just pretend. All the way out to the car WCK could not stop talking about the pirate at the grocery store. Once we were in the car, I told her that pirates were fun, and they said, "Arrrr, matey!"

WCK found this hilarious. "Arrrr, baby!" she exclaimed. And that is how we drove home:

ME: Arrrr, matey!
WCK: Arrrr, baby!
ME: Arrrr, matey!
WCK: Arrrr, baby!

Just another step in my plan to warp my child's mind.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The power of Pod-itive thinking

Earlier today, I got the following comment from DavidE:

Look at it this way, at least your trip to Mayo is "Pod Free"?

"Oh, yeah!" I thought. "The Pod!" I hadn't even stopped to think about the Pod since the last time it was forced upon me last March. Even when I called up to Mayo to make my appointment, I didn't think about having to use the Pod, which just shows how long it's been. I hate that thing. (For those of you just joining us, The Pee Pod is my affectionate nickname for the container the Mayo Clinic makes me use for my 24-hour urine collection. Yes, a 24-hour urine collection is exactly what it sounds like. It has to be the worst medical test ever. I would rather -- honest to God -- have a bone-marrow biopsy. At least then you get good drugs and cookies.)

Less than an hour later, the mail man stopped by and dropped off ... the Pod.

I always suspected that the Pod had evil, mind-reading powers. Now I know for sure. Beware the Pod.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kee Dorge

Today I took WCK to her first real movie. A nearby theater shows kids' movies on weekday mornings for just $2 -- and WCK got in free because I said she'd sit on my lap instead of taking a paying customer's seat. This week's movie was Curious George, or as WCK would say, "Kee Dorge". We love Kee Dorge around our house. We've read the book at least once a day for the past two months, so I thought she'd enjoy it. She seemed confused when we got to the movie theater, since she's never been to one before. "Grocery store?" she asked.

We had our first sign of trouble when one of the pre-movie commercials featured a scary monster -- I mean, a really, really scary monster, people! -- eating a can of Chef Boyardee ravioli. The next commercial was a Priceline ad featuring William Shatner, who I personally find more disturbing than the scary monster, but WCK was still a little hung up on the Chef Boyardee thing. Everything else was just a little too scary and intense from then on. She did enjoy the few scenes of the cute monkey frolicking and having misadventures, but there was far too much time devoted to the evil son of the museum director plotting to screw over the Man with the Yellow Hat (who, by the way, is named Ted) and some search for a scary-looking ruin in Africa, blah blah blah dee blah blah.

WCK begged to leave after about 30 minutes. So we went. The second we were outside the door of the theater, she told me, "Kee Dorge! FUN!" and has been reminding me how fun it was all day. At least she wasn't traumatized.

In other news: I keep forgetting to let everyone know that I'm going back to Mayo to see Dr. H on Aug. 27. I like to check in with her at least every six months, and I really want her opinion on how she thinks I'm doing on the Revlimid. Plus we probably need to talk about if/when I'm going to have my stem cell harvest. We'll see how it all goes.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Closer to fine

My parents were here to babysit this weekend, so Friday afternoon I went to get all of my hair cut off. It was getting a little shaggy.

Before:



After:



Only without the bangs. And the monkey.

Friday night, Jay and I were able to go out to Genghis Khan Mongolian Barbecue and then see the new Harry Potter movie. Saturday the two of us went out to lunch and then wandered quietly through Barnes and Noble without having to chase anyone through the children's area. All of us had Minsky's pizza at home on Saturday night, so we pretty much spent all weekend eating everything in Kansas City. I figure it's OK, since it only happens once a year. Still ...

Before this weekend:



After:



I got the complete copy of my test results in the mail, and I'm feeling a little better about that 2.7 spike, because I can see that lots of other things are improving, too. It's really nice to see my total protein listed as "normal", without the big bold type the lab uses to point out everything that's abnormal. Also, my albumin is back to normal, too, although just barely. Too-low albumin is one of the things that prompted Dr. H to start treatment. Lots of other protein-related numbers (for you myeloma buffs, these would be my Beta Globulin, A/G Ratio, Gamma Globulin, and Total Globulin) are much improved, and the last two are just barely out of the normal range now.

The coolest part of all is my IgG. IgG is a good protein that you need, but mine has so much bad stuff mixed in it that it is way too high. I haven't seen my IgG results since March. My all-time high was over 5400 (normal is 700 - 1600) and now it is 2476! It's down by more than half! Also, my other "good" proteins (IgA and IgM) were dropping too low, because all that IgG was crowding them out. Now my IgA is just barely normal, and my IgM is almost there.

Maybe someday I will be all-the-way normal. What's that like?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Time to be happy

First of all, today is our nine-year wedding anniversary! Nine years! Since I look like I'm under 18, I must have gotten married when I was eight. My parents are coming this weekend to look after WCK so Jay and I can go out to dinner and a movie. Back in the olden times, we'd go out to dinner and a movie every weekend -- sometimes twice a weekend. Now it is an annual event.

The nurse called this morning with my results. I'll get a complete copy of everything in the mail so I can scrutinize every single number, but the most important number -- my M-spike -- is down to 2.7. The nurse and Dr. GPO think this is great, and Dr. GPO has been telling me all along that my response would slow down after the first couple of cycles, but I still feel a little disappointed that it didn't go down more. It was 3.1 last time, so it's only gone down .4 in one month. I guess I'm just impatient. I want that sucker gone. On the bright side, my total protein is now 8.1, which is NORMAL! Anyway, the nurse was very happy with my numbers, so I guess I should try to be happy, too:


Sunday, July 08, 2007

One more left!

Blog-reader Gina has already snapped up one of my free marrow-donor coupons (Thanks, Gina! It's in the mail!), but I still have one more available. It'll allow you to sign up online to be a bone-marrow donor FOR FREE! Usually signing up online will cost you $52. The sign-up process is incredibly easy and painless, and now you don't have to pay anything for it. AND you could help somebody -- possibly save a life. What could be better?

If you want it let me know. I'll send it to you in a flash.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Feelin' hot, hot, hot

Our air conditioner went out on Thursday evening. When you list the Top Ten Annoying Things That Can Happen To You, having your air conditioning quit in Missouri in July probably ranks up near the top. Heck, I don't even like to live in Missouri in July even when the air conditioning is working fine. The Air Conditioner Man didn't show up until late yesterday afternoon. He was able to fix it temporarily, but we need some hideously expensive part in order to keep it going in the long term. WCK can't go to college now, but at least we will be comfortable. She can get by on her good looks.

Anyway, because of the "We're Now Living Among the Flames of Hell" situation, I was actually grateful that I got to go to the Cancer Center on Friday and sit around in air-conditioned luxury for almost two hours. For once, I was happy that the lab techs -- as usual -- had the wrong orders for my tests and made me sit there in the freezing room while they straightened everything out. Then, Dr. GPO -- as usual -- was running way behind schedule, so I had to sit there forever. Usually all of this is annoying. Yesterday, it was just delightful.

My CBC and INR were just fine. My hemoglobin is still below normal at 11.1, but that's a small improvement over last month. Maybe it's starting to claw its way back. I won't get the results of everything else until next week. Dr. GPO said I'd get them Monday, but I'm guessing it'll be Tuesday or Wednesday. Dr. GPO says the protein drop usually slows down after the first couple of cycles, so he's not expecting as big of a drop as last time, and that's OK. We'll see what happens.

Because my INR has been so stable, I don't have to go back for an entire MONTH. Woo! Another vacation!

Unless, of course, our air conditioning quits again. Then maybe I'll have to fake a nosebleed or something.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Ah, youth

I've had a problem that has plagued me since I was a teenager: Apparently, I look a lot younger than I actually am. I was still getting carded for R-rated movies well into my 20s. After we moved into our house, I'd open the door to door-to-door salespeople only to have most of them ask me, "Are your mom and dad at home?"

It hasn't happened in quite a while, so I thought, "Well, maybe having a baby and getting cancer have finally aged me." Today, a guy from the water department came by to hook up some new water-meter thingie. He explained what he was going to do, and then said, "Um. Are you over 18?"

HEH.

This was kind of an annoying problem when I was 17 and just wanted to see The Hand that Rocks the Cradle without being harassed. Now it's just fun.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

There's no place like home

We're finally home from our vacation. WCK turned out to be a very good traveler. She had just a few typical unhappy two-year-old moments, but nothing that couldn't -- and hasn't -- happened at home, say, on a trip to Hy-Vee. For the most part, she was very agreeable about sleeping in her travel crib, staying in different hotel rooms, and riding in the car for long stretches at a time. She did have one awful bout of carsickness on the Wildlife Loop at Custer State Park, but she bounced right back. (Note to parents: Never feed your child an enormous peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and then immediately head out on the Wildlife Loop. If you absolutely have to do that, have more than four baby wipes in the car with you. Just something to consider.)

If there was anything to see in the state of South Dakota, we saw it: Roaming buffalo, Mount Rushmore, the Corn Palace, Al's Oasis, that low-budget prairie-dog farm outside of the Badlands, you name it. One of our early stops was Wall Drug, which is nearly impossible to explain to anyone who has never been there. I guess it's part drug store, part enormous tacky gift shop, part restaurant, and part bizarre playground for the kids. Wall Drug features an enormous animatronic T-Rex that roars every 12 minutes. We kept WCK away from the roaring, but she still spotted his head peering over the wall. From then on, she decided to remind us every 12 minutes that she was scared of the dinosaur. She would approach strangers at Mount Rushmore and inform them, "Scared! Dinosaur!" We think it was her personal warning system: "Hey, if you're going to Wall Drug, don't go see that dinosaur, people!"

We'd long planned to take her to Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, SD, which is, well, a free park with a bunch of concrete dinosaurs in it. By the end of the week, after hearing about the scary dinosaur 600 times, we weren't sure how well she'd tolerate it. We were expecting to stay for about 30 seconds and then sprint to the car. Instead, WCK embraced the dinosaurs and gave them all kisses and drinks of water from her sippy cup. Scary dinosaur was forgiven!

We also took her to Storybook Island, another free park in Rapid City that's filled with displays from kids' stories -- think a very, very, very low key version of Disneyland for two-year-olds. WCK loved Storybook Island more than anything. I think possibly WCK is going to run away from home and move to Storybook Island the first chance she gets. The one exception to her Storybook love: As we approached the Wizard of Oz display, WCK shrieked, "No! Don't like it!" and ran away. Tears came to my eyes. I want to cry just thinking about it. A few days later, we tried to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder exhibits in DeSmet, SD, and she had pretty much the same reaction. Now, if WCK didn't look exactly like all of my baby pictures, I think I would march down to the hospital right now and accuse them of switching babies on me. Nobody who hates The Wizard of Oz and Little House on the Prairie simultaneously could possibly carry my genes.

Anyway. It's good to be back, despite the mountains of laundry and unpaid bills and the nice film of dead bugs all over the new Pilot.