August was busy with getting back to school, and September has been about getting in to our new back to school groove. Mama is leaning hard on her lists and pushing heavy for consistency and follow through. I actually took back to school photos ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL this year. That’s unheard of, even though it is always on my day 1 list. I opted for a little easier shot this year (I love you, Pinterest), so this time, it was taken in our lawn… and there weren’t many props to worry about.
I love back to school photos (bless my photographer heart), so each year I try to do something special. Last year has been one of my favorite back-to-school photo set-ups of all time, even though this year’s sure turned out cute with little fuss.
In the last few weeks while my blogging time has slipped away, this is what we’ve been up to:
:::finished organizing the book cases all through the house (which took forever):::
:::gone to our “back to school bash” with our local homeschool co-op:::
:::continued swim lessons:::
:::cheered on our biggest kid as he began his first job and second semester of college afar:::
:::started homeschool again:::
:::field trip at the Bluebonnet Air Show in Burnet, TX:::
:::continued renovating the house – ever so slowly:::
:::continued working at mom’s house – ever so slowly:::
That doesn’t sound like a lot… but I’ve been dog tired at the end of every day. With the stress of having to make financial decisions looming because of being over-taxed by taking care of two places of residence since mom died, I have also felt like there’s a silent time-bomb ticking away in the background, urging us to work faster on every project. I have to remind myself daily that I’m trying to keep myself from getting back in to a routine of zero-margin for mama. It has been difficult adhering to my rules about resting when there’s more work to do than ever and my own mama is gone (it hurts to realize that she really did so very much to help us out each week and I know I didn’t thank her enough). As an only child, there’s no one to share the load, either. It is what it is. So I keep putting one foot in front of the other and praying that it will eventually all get done. I guess we all have to look at it that way, no matter the job.
The good news is, even though I have been worried that the stress of grief and loss would negatively impact my health, it seems I am doing fine. God is propping me up, for sure. This last week, I went in for my first follow up colonoscopy since my colon surgery to remove the cancer back in August of 2016. A little over a year later, the results were astounding: clear healthy colon walls, totally healed surgery site, not a single tumor or polyp. That means my colon is clear of cancer and I don’t have to have another colonoscopy for three years!
A friend of mine recently went in because of my cancer scare… and she was thankfully, fixed up by her IG doctor during her test. They found a few pre-cancerous polyps in her colon and removed them right there; before they had time to turn in to anything life threatening that could metastasize to other parts of her body. I love stories like this. I hope I can talk everyone I know in to going to get a colonoscopy (and I can recommend a top notch doctor at Round Rock Scott & White: Dr. Duggan).
If you have colon cancer in your family, you should get a colon-screening at least 10 years prior to the time when your relative was diagnosed with cancer (in other words: if your grandma had it in her 60’s, you should go get a test in your 50’s). In my case, my grandma had it in her 60’s and I got cancer in my 40’s, so I would say 20 years is safer. If I had gone and gotten a colonoscopy a few years prior, my cancer would not have breached the colon wall and infected three lymph nodes. That’s why I have to do three month blood tests, and the oncologists are monitoring me closely to make sure my cancer doesn’t re-appear in some other place in my body. The colon and liver are the most likely places, but with your lymph system infected, cancer can ultimately spread anywhere.
Next up, I have blood tests in November, and then another liver sonogram some time in the future. I try to minimize radiation, so I don’t do a lot of PET scans or CTs. I have only done one for diagnosis in the hospital when the GI doctor found my cancer initially. Just a note to those who haven’t heard before: I had NO SYMPTOMS other than being tired, so please don’t wait for blood and guts and misery – by then, it will surely be too late.
You can imagine how relieved I was at the news yesterday. Just knowing that I don’t have the added weight of health issues to fret over is such a blessing. Truly, your health is the best kind of wealth. I’m not a millionaire, but I feel like someone gave me a million bucks when I woke up from anesthesia yesterday. I was too woozy to leap for joy, but I was tickled “pink” seeing the doctor write on my colon image test results “no polyps, no tumors! 3 yrs!”
I’m sure I freaked him out when I told him I was taking mistletoe injections from Europe, but that’s another story. He told me he was glad I was “still standing” a year later. He told me he remembered me since I was the weird one who opened up the way for his patients to be able to eat coconut oil during their liquid diet (even though he hasn’t had many takers) – hahahaha!
It makes all that two-day liquid diet and laxative colon prep worth it when you get a HEALTHY prognosis! Let me tell you… it was pretty miserable watching my family eat and smelling their gluten-free pizza and turkey bacon breakfast. I was a grumpy “cat” for sure. By the last few hours, I was so hungry (“Hangry”), I could have eaten my cell phone.
I’ll be posting at a later date about a healthier way to do colonoscopy prep. I couldn’t BELIEVE what they told me I should be ingesting as part of my liquid diet on the day before my test. Hospital nutrition seems to lead more people to NEED hospital care. Job security, maybe??? Best to not rely on them for your diet advice.
In the coming weeks, we are planning to:
:::get the boys teeth checked and cleaned at the dentist:::
:::graduate the boys to the next level of swimmers at swim lessons:::
:::clean out mom’s refrigerator, mow again at her place, and continue purging things:::
:::clean out the garden weeds and plant for fall:::
:::build a dining table and light fixture box with wood:::
:::fix my old SUV for my daughter:::
:::finish the grouting in the kitchen, and finish the painting in the hallway:::
:::attend the GRAND OPENING of my sister’s new Pumpkin Farm:::
I’m looking forward to cooler October days… more school fun… more outdoor field trips… camping… and the countdown until Thanksgiving and Christmas. We thought about that the other day: we are just 12 weeks away from Christmas or less! Here’s to praying my eldest can keep his 4.0 and we can manage to ENJOY and SAVOR all these fall moments before the holidays are upon us.
If you haven’t seen it yet Heather, please watch the movie “What The Health”.
I’m so sorry that your mama is not around to see this!
With love, in Jesus’ name,