Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So long, Rev!

Wicked monkey cakewreck

We spent Memorial Day Weekend in Omaha. My sister-in-law got tickets to Wicked, and we had a girls' afternoon out. (Older girls -- WCK is a little too young for Wicked.) I loved the play, although I had some issues with the way it changed some Oz history. Yes, Oz is a real place with a real history, and if you disagree, I will drop a house on you.

We also went to the Omaha zoo, where we rode the new Skyfari ride and WCK picked out this beautiful mask from the gift shop. I love you, Dr. Zaius!

We also celebrated Jay's birthday. WCK has been begging to make Jay a Batman birthday cake for weeks. We found a little Batman candle holder at Target, and my mom bought some squeeze icing so we could write "Happy Birthday, Jay" (or something) on top of the cake. When we were all ready to get decorating, we realized that we didn't have the plastic writing tips necessary for the frosting, so it all came out in one big ooze. We did the best we could:

My mom wrote "JAY" and WCK did the rest. I have to say, the red stuff looks kind of like The Joker's face, or maybe it's an abstract representation of the angst felt by the citizens of Gotham City. This is a cake that works on many levels.

Friday, May 22, 2009

On fire!

My appointment with Dr. GPO this morning was like a big party. He brought WCK some apple juice, and then he called in the nurse who has been handling all of my Revlimid paperwork for the past two years so she could hear the good news. He handed her the form that's usually sent to the pharmacy every month and said, "Go ahead and get rid of this."

I suggested she set it on fire. It was a fun morning.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Case closed!

I make my insurance company a little nervous. No matter how often I explain that I'm not on the brink of having a stem-cell transplant (and racking up bills for a stem-cell transplant), they seem convinced that I could still go off and have a transplant at any minute. For quite some time now, I've been assigned to a special transplant case manager, who calls me every month to make sure that I'm not dying and/or having a transplant.

Today she called and said that she'd contacted The Mayo Clinic, and based on what she'd been told, she was going to officially close my case.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Watch out for Jabba the Hutt

Thanks to Jay, WCK has developed an interest in Star Wars. A couple of weeks ago, she asked to check out a library book called Watch Out for Jabba the Hutt. Every night before bed, Jay and WCK dance around gleefully to the Return of the Jedi soundtrack, and then they sit down and read Watch Out for Jabba the Hutt.

One of the more surprising things I've learned from Watch Out for Jabba the Hutt is that Jabba has a son, a cute little baby Hutt, named Rotta. I said that I wasn't aware that there was a Mrs. the Hutt. Jay said that there's not, but Jabba has a serious girlfriend. Then my brother-in-law came to visit, and while he agreed that Jabba has a serious girlfriend, he said she is not the mother of Rotta. He was pretty sure that Hutts reproduce asexually.

Seriously. These conversations go on in our house. My child has a zero-percent chance of turning out non-nerdy.

Anyway, WCK was very excited to show Watch Out for Jabba the Hutt to Uncle Wookiee (Yes, we call him Uncle Wookiee. It's not because he looks like a wookiee. He just really likes wookiees in general.). She brought the book downstairs ... and then it disappeared. We looked everywhere for Watch Out for Jabba the Hutt.

Where was it? Was it hiding somewhere, reproducing itself asexually?

WCK wasn't too concerned, maybe because Uncle W had brought her a bunch of cool new Ewoks for her Ewok village. I was horrified, not just because I was going to tarnish my nearly perfect library record, which is bad enough. I was going to have to admit to a librarian that I had checked out a book called Watch Out for Jabba the Hutt.

I'm happy to announce that we found Watch Out for Jabba the Hutt this afternoon, tucked away safely in a drawer. It had not reproduced itself, and Jay and WCK were able to read it again tonight. My library record is again safe, and my child is back on her path to nerdiness. Thanks, Jabba!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Yes. A bottle of glue.

WCK's birthday party is tomorrow. Every year, I vow that WCK's birthday party is not going to turn into a giant extravaganza. Then everything goes black, and when I come to, the party has turned into, of course, a giant extravaganza. It's usually a bigger extravaganza than the extravaganza I was picturing when I vowed it would not turn into an extravaganza.

I thought I was doing a pretty good job of keeping things under control this year until WCK asked me what my birthday had been like when I turned four. My mom kept meticulous records of these things in my baby book, so I hauled it out of the closet and checked. I had three little girls from the neighborhood over to the house. My mom noted that my sister did not attend the party because she was taking a nap. We had a little homemade cake. I wore a big poofy party dress, but everyone else wore 1979 bell bottoms. There was a short list of gifts, including socks, underpants, and a bottle of glue.

There's a picture of me holding this bottle of glue. I look really, really, really excited to have received my very own bottle of glue.

What's WCK getting this year? Um. More than a bottle of glue. At this rate, what are her children going to receive when they turn four? A yacht?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm not alone

I realized this morning that I'd once again forgotten to post my monthly New Kids on the Block tribute on the 11th. In my defense, I was at Mayo that day, but is that really a good excuse? If I truly loved them, if I was truly a devoted fan, maybe I would have remembered, even while I was having blood sucked from my body. I started thinking that maybe the magic was gone; maybe I needed to end my monthly vigil.

Then, this afternoon, I remembered that I had an episode of the Today Show still in the TiVo from last week. One of my friends had alerted me via Facebook that the New Kids were scheduled to appear that day, but I didn't get the message until 15 minutes before the show was over. I set the TiVo anyway, not expecting anything. I finally checked it, and it turns out that I caught them just in time.

It's a sign from the Universe. The vigil must continue. Plus, look at all of the women who showed up at the Today Show. I'm not the only crazy one out there! There are hundreds like me!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


WCK is turning four in just a few days. She had a little birthday party at preschool yesterday. I came to her class with M&M cookies from the Hy-Vee bakery, WCK got to wear a little construction-paper birthday crown, and everyone in the class sang to her. My parents got to come along, too, which was nice, because they've never seen her prechool before.

It was all very fun, but WCK initially did not want to go to school that day.

"If I have my party today," she wailed, "then I will turn four TODAY, and I want to turn four on my real birthday!"

I had to reassure her that she is still three until May 17, but she still seemed a bit skeptical.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Holiday road

It's official. Dr. H gave me the OK: I finish up this cycle of Revlimid, and then I am done. DONE.

Well, I'm done at least for now. I will most likely have to go back on Revlimid or a similar drug sometime again in the future, and my arch-enemy Dex still looms on the horizon. There's no way to tell how long I'll be able to be drug-free. Months? Years? When I stop the pills, I'm going to be back to my old "smoldering" state, where I have checkups every two months, and I'll get treatment again when the myeloma starts looking like it's about to do something bad to me (drops my blood counts, looks like it could harm my bones or kidneys, etc.)

For now, though, let's warm up the Family Truckster: I'm gonna be on vacation!

Waiting for blood

The blood-draw waiting area at Mayo is always packed, because practically everyone needs to have his/her blood drawn first thing in the morning. The waiting area is a big, long room filled with wall-to-wall chairs. I'd guess there's seating for about 100 people -- all patients, because nobody else is allowed in the waiting area. When you enter the room, you stand around for a couple seconds looking a little shocked at the crowd. Even if you've been in there a million times before, it's always a little surprising. Then you try to pinpoint one open chair in the sea of chairs and climb over everybody to get to your seat. Then you sit and wait as lab techs pop out from behind curtains every few seconds, calling out names. The crowd watches a little jealously as the other people get their names called to go behind the curtains and get stuck.

Then when your name gets called, you feel very special. "Heh, heh, heh," you think, again trying to stuff your book into your purse while climbing gracefully out of the middle of a row of people. "I'm the chosen one." You know everyone is jealous.

Today, a lab tech came out from behind a curtain and called a name, and two guys popped up. It turned out there were two little old men with the exact same name, and it wasn't, like, "Bob Smith", either. It took a minute to get everything sorted out. This happened right in front of me, and everyone in my section of the waiting area got a good chuckle out of it, because, well, there's nothing else to do except sit around and feel jealous. I felt a little bad for the guy who didn't make the cut, though. I can imagine how excited he was to have his name called in the first place.

Despite all of the witnesses, I'm probably the only one blogging this, because I'm usually the youngest person in the blood-draw area by about 30 years.

I see Dr. H in a little bit. I'll post an update when I get one.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cycle 25

That's right. Tonight I start cycle 25 of Revlimid. That's a whole lot of cycles. Will it be the last one? I go to Mayo on Monday, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I thought I deserved this nice sign:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

Long before I had WCK, I heard that the day your child learns to use a doorknob is a very sad day, because you can no longer contain said child when you want to. I never really understood that until WCK learned to use a doorknob and then learned how to defeat the childproof cover on the doorknob. For a long time, we've been having a lot of trouble with her escaping from her room at night when she is supposed to be going to sleep.

Tonight, I yet again had The Talk with her about how she needs to stay in the bed. She then had an amazing idea: I should make a sign reminding her to stay in the bed.

Never mind that she can't read. I am willing to try anything.

Together we made a sign that said, "No going out the door!" I had to explain to her what an exclamation point is. I said it meant the sign was very, very serious about her not going out the door.

I taped the sign to the inside of her door and left. And?

She did not go out the door. She went right to sleep.

That's all I needed for the past year? A sign? Now I'm thinking of all of the other signs I can make: "Eat the healthy dinner I cooked for you" or "No screaming when I'm on the phone". The possibilities are endless.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Wild and crazy stickers

I had a grandma who taught elementary school for years, and who liked to collect and save things. After my grandma passed away a few years ago, my mom found a set of plastic drawers filled with stickers -- probably hundreds and hundreds of stickers. Somehow, these stickers ended up in the back of one of my closets (because I also like to collect and save things). When I cleaned out the closets for the new carpet installation, WCK found the stickers and became obsessed with them. The other day, I walked into her room after "rest" time, and found that she had stuck what looked like hundreds of stickers all over her walls and furniture.

"Look, Mommy!" she said. "I decorated for a party!"

Then, while she was supposed to be helping me take the stickers down, she ran into the other room, got the scissors, and cut up a pharmacy receipt that we needed for our medical savings plan. It was a really fun afternoon. At least she is working on her fine-motor skills. I really don't understand why using scissors is an important skill they need to learn at preschool. I would really rather WCK not know how to use scissors. It's only a matter of time before an unfortunate haircut occurs.

Fortunately, the stickers are all really old and have lost much of their stickiness, so they came off the wall really easily. How old are they? Among the stickers I removed were ones featuring Robin Williams as Mork, one that said "Aqua Velva Dude" and one that said, "Well, excuuuuuuuuuse me!"


My M-spike is at 1.7 again. I'm not sure what that means. I'm sure it's not too big of a deal, but we'll find out when I see Dr. H in about a week. Bleh. (That's "bleh" to the M-spike, not to Dr. H, who is delightful.)