Sunday, May 27, 2018

Moving ahead...

I'm determined to make sure this blog doesn't become all about cancer, but since that's such a big part of my life right now, it's going to take a balancing act.

So how about we start with happy things this time around?!

Little by little we are making this apartment our home. Thanks to Tina, we were mostly settled in with what we had by end of day one. But since we'd brought very little furniture, we've had to do some shopping. I've scored great deals at a furniture consignment store, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, IKEA, Amazon and my latest favorite: Wayfair. Both of our kids gave me gift certificates to Wayfair for Mother's Day! They know me so well 😂 I've always loved "nesting" and doing my best to create a calm, restful space to call home. The process of doing that this time has proven to be quite stress relieving in the midst of all the medical and insurance drama, and it just makes my heart happy to make things pretty. The world could use more pretty things, don't you think?! 

Have y'all heard of the Marco Pollo app, where you create video messages and form little groups with whom to share them? Our kids got us going on this, and we have a family group which is SO FUN! It's so nice to hear that little ding on our phones and know that either Jon or Tina has posted a short video. You know, grandparents can sit and watch a cooing baby face for a really long time, totally mesmerized by their beauty! Or laugh at the silly antics of the older grandchildren. What will they think of next!?

And because I am the quintessential grandmother, of course I have to share some adorable photos of my adorable grandkids 😘

Adalyn is as besotted with her baby sister as the rest of us. Aren't they absolutely precious?! Counting down the days until I get to see them!

I think they are going to be best friends, don't you?

I've mentioned the pool which the kids love (and Papa too!). So refreshing on hot days! I've not been in yet, but it's only a matter of time. Once I start feeling better and gaining some energy, I'll be joining them.

Simon loves, loves, loves to help Papa with projects. I ordered a set of Eames style mid-century modern chairs from Amazon and picked up a Tulip style table from IKEA for our dining nook, and Simon was Papa's #1 assistant on assembling those. I'm going to have to get his picture with a pencil stuck behind his ear like one of his favorite cartoon characters, Handy Manny. (The chairs around the table in the background are extra folding chairs we picked up for when we are more than four, and they are seriously the most comfortable folding chair I've ever sat on.)

And I'll finish up the cuteness allowance with this picture of Betsy, in her favorite spot in our apartment: the walk-in closet. Girl not only likes to play in there, it's where she takes naps (her choice!). Such a funny, sweet girl  💗💗💗💗 Love how each of my grandkids is so different and unique and special. 

Today Ivan and I celebrated our 39th anniversary by going out to breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi's, a lovely restaurant with some great gluten free options. I had the lightest, fluffiest, best waffles in my life! Usually gluten free baked goods tend to be heavy, but I really don't think I've ever had a better waffle, with or without gluten!

I'm so deeply grateful to be this man's wife as he continues to love and cherish me in sickness as well as health!

And then we came home and I'm hunkered down as day-four-after-chemo side effects hit. At least it doesn't seem to be as bad this time and I'm hoping the trend continues. 

But backing up... We left off last week with me in limbo regarding chemo when our insurance still hadn't come through for us. Ivan continued working the phones for hours on Thursday, Friday, and Monday but it wasn't until 9 a.m. Tuesday we learned I'd been approved for chemo -- which was scheduled for 9:45! To be honest, we'd been disappointed so often we weren't expecting the approval and had to rush around to get ready and out the door pronto! But we made it, and after meeting with the nurse practitioner first (since the oncologist wasn't in that day), chemo recommenced.

I felt better prepared this time, after a "chemo class" the week before, where the physician's assistant walked us through each of the side effects I'd struggled with the first round, and how we could mitigate and deal with them. I'm already experiencing fewer and less intense side effects. I think it also helps that I'm getting less chemo (they really blast you the first time and then ease up on subsequent treatments). Plus I'm not on antibiotics like I was last time which, along with the steroids they give you to offset other side effects, created the perfect storm for a horrible yeast infection in my mouth. I won't lie, I was a big baby for two weeks until the appropriately named Miracle Mouth Rinse finally cleared that up. 

But the biggest factor in experiencing fewer and less intense side effects is, I'm convinced, that I'm not packing and moving across the country right after a chemo treatment, so MUCH LESS STRESS. I'd highly recommend that no one else try that daring feat, because it almost

In other medical news, I had a brain CT scan on Monday. Fastest test yet, at just about five minutes. I told Ivan they must not have found anything to scan. "If I Only Had A Brain" from the Wizard of Oz immediately came to mind 😉 Since we haven't received a call about the results, I'm assuming everything checked out okay.

Continuing to deal with insurance stuff. Ivan spent another hour and a half on the phone yesterday as we are still trying to get assigned the primary care physician we want. He's been calling for three weeks about this, and every time we're told it's being handled and within 72 hours he can set up an appointment. And every time he calls the doctor's office, he's told we are not on the list yet! So frustrating, you have no idea. We've asked for a case manager with AMBetter so we don't keep getting booted around, and going through the same rigamarole every single time, but we were told they don't do that. But somehow (?!) Ivan ended up talking this Friday to the same person he'd talked to last Friday (coincidence? I don't think so! Thank you Jesus!) and when he pointed out she'd failed to follow through on a single promise she'd made, I think she felt guilty enough to go the extra mile and call the doctor's office herself and talk to someone in billing.

That meant Ivan was finally able to make an appointment, but not with the PCP we wanted because he doesn't have any openings until July. Ivan had been scheduled for an endoscopy in April because our doctor in Indiana thinks he has ulcers, but we naively thought it would be better to wait and get it done here (since, you know, life was a little crazy between me starting chemo and trying to move cross country at that point). We had no idea it would take more than two months to get this handled! He has an appointment to see another doctor in the same practice as the PCP we want on June 6th, at which point he'll get rescheduled for that endoscopy and hopefully we'll find out what's going on. Ulcers? Gallbladder? Something else entirely? We just want to know what's going on so we can address the issue.

Today was a perfectly beautiful day here in Las Vegas, with a high of just 81. Sad I wasn't able to spend more time outdoors, because the intense heat arrives this week and I don't think we'll have a break until fall. We've been told by many here that this Spring has been quite mild, and that last year this time it was already up around 110! I'm grateful for God's grace in easing us into the hotter climate. I recall our years in Florida back in the 80s when I'd get the kids up early to go grocery shopping (most of the big stores were open 24 hours even back then) so we could be home and back in the air conditioned apartment by 9 a.m. Pretty sure that's how I'll survive Nevada summers too! 


The Bug said...

For someone who never wanted kids, was a terrible babysitter, and also an indifferent aunt (sorry Brad, Brandon & Jena!), I sure do love to see other people's grands. As far as I'm concerned, you could never overload a post with pictures - especially of yours because they're so cute!

I'm glad the insurance drama seems to be getting resolved - thanks to Ivan persistence! Here's hoping the side effects continue to be manageable & that the chemo does its job. I'll be praying for that result!

Now, I would REALLY like a waffle!

Mari said...

I think you're right about the brain scan. The longer it takes to hear something, the better! Glad the insurance issues are improving.
Those grandkids are adorable and getting so big. Seeing them is the best medicine!

Jennie Sholly said...

So thankful you are having less aggressive side effects. Praying for your ability to tolerate and for healing. So glad you can enjoy the grandchildren. You look a lot better than when you were here.

rita said...

So good to talk to Ivan today and have a "tour" of your place.
Glad we figured out how to do it ;-)
Mother's first question was "How's Kim?"
We prayed for you.