Let's start with the fun stuff. When we left off at the last post, I was enjoying a fun, food, and friend-filled weekend in beautiful Fort Worth. We continued that by going to the zoo on Sunday. I love our zoo. It's one of the best in the nation and it's less than 3 miles from our house. Membership is super reasonable and parking is free, so we pretty much go all the time. The kids are experts on animal feeding schedules and know all the quickest ways to get to each exhibit. It's a special part of our life here.
We usually pop in for an hour or two, so we never do any of the extras- no snacks, no train, no carousel, and never any feeding of the birds. The first few because I don't even bring any money with me into the zoo anymore and the last one because I really don't like birds. But our happy weekend made me crazy and we spent three whole dollars on feed sticks for the kids. It was a HUGE hit and maybe I like birds more than I thought.
Landon, the animal whisperer, immediately got a bird to land on his hand- and he even made sure it matched his shirt!
Cora took her job as bird feeder VERY SERIOUSLY and basically hunted down the birds waving her stick threateningly and yelling "HERE BIRDIES, EAT. EAT!! EAT THE FOOD!".
Amazingly, it actually worked at one point and she was THRILLED when a bird pecked seed off her stick.
It was a really great morning. The day continued with Landon losing his mind over absolutely nothing but that I'm sure was somehow related to his sleepover party on Friday night. He was banished to his room until he could better handle life. Later, we rode bikes around the street and spent nearly an hour throwing the frisbee around with the kids. The weather was finally below 90 and 85 felt practically crisp compared to the highs of our fall so far.
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On Monday night Landon performed for the PTA membership with his third grade class. It was as earnest and adorable as all elementary school activities should be.
Landon is not musically inclined. He's super smart and reads like the wind, but music is like Greek to him - brand new dialects of Greek - every single time he hears it. It's the craziest thing. Claire hears a song on the radio once and wanders around the house absently singing it for the rest of the day. Landon hears a song on the radio 10x on 10 different days and it's brand new every time. So he had to work SO hard to memorize the songs and was concentrating SO hard during the performance. And though he had previously voiced skepticism at the air guitar and other moves, he was a good sport and jumped right in. Air guitaring while singing new Greek dialects is very hard and I was very proud of him for managing.
Claire sat with her posse and Cora, who has recently decided Claire's best friends are also HER best friends, bounded over and squished her little behind right in between two of the big girls and then gazed at them adoringly throughout the performance (a performance she INSISTED her Landon was not in). Then when we were walking down the hall to pick Landon up post-show, she had to hold hands with "my friends" too. It was adorable and so far the big girls find her endearing. Like a little pet or mascot.
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On Tuesday nothing particularly notable happened, but I did master crow to headstand in yoga and that was exciting. I also went to barre at night which I haven't done in forever and it was fun and inspiring (and exhausting! Katrina kills it) to be a student again.
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And so on Wednesday I headed to the dermatologist for my follow-up after using my flesh-eating zombie chemotherapy anal wart cream to basically destroy my skin and take my basal cell carcinoma with it. My skin had finally largely healed- it was still pink and a bit tender, but I could wear normal clothes and leave my house whenever I wanted. I was a little nervous going in to the appointment because a new spot had appeared on my chest, in about the same place as the cancer spot. And sure enough, as soon as Dr. R saw me she said, "Okay, we're going to need to take a biopsy of that today." Because of course- I'm in a dermatologist's office, why would I get to leave with all my skin intact?
She thinks it is likely skin cancer, again. But just for variety and bonus points, this time it's probably a squamous cell carcinoma! She explained that it's possible the cancerous cells came to the surface in this squamous cell growth after we basically burned off all my old skin and my body had to make new. So like the Earth, I have layers. Mine are just made of cancer.
I'm honestly pretty depressed about it. Squamous cell carcinomas aren't the worst skin cancer to have (that would be melanoma, but you know, that's probably just underneath this one), but they can grow large and spread rapidly to other parts of your body, so I'm not exactly moving in a positive direction.
On the upside, I showed her the pictures of my chest on the chemo cream and she was horrified. She took my phone, showed it to all the nurses, and then told me to email the pictures to her so they could go in my file. She assured me I would never be on the cream again; that my reaction was extreme and terrible; and should she ever think of suggesting a chemotherapy treatment again I was to tell her "NO" and remind her to look at the pictures in my file again. So at least I have validation I wasn't just being a whiner? Because I really felt like one at the time. (But oh my god you guys, I really did hold most of it back, that was such a terrible process.) So, now I get surgery instead! Yay?! Nothing like a nice white scar across your clavicle and the knowledge that tumors can just be hiding under your skin and you don't even know they're there until you get bit by a zombie and lose a bunch of skin and then they show up when you're all better.
I'll get results back next week. It's possible it's just a non-cancerous growth that came up while my body was regrowing so much skin. She didn't sound like that was likely, but we'll see. I've already treated myself to two new pairs of shoes as pre-treatment just in case, and I'm keeping them regardless of the results but they haven't helped yet. Yes, I'm glad we found it, I'm glad it's localized, I'm glad it's not something worse, etc, etc, but I'm 33 and I have layers of skin cancer and I'm just kind of bummed. Maybe I need more cookies?
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And to end on a high note, food!
Sun: Homemade Mac & Cheese and my mom's Chili; made separately and served in the same bowl (I omitted the crackers on the mac and cheese)- SO GOOD. I'm done waiting for fall, we're just making fall happen while the air conditioning continues to blow because it's 95 outside; also, green beans on the side to make it healthy.
Mon: No Boil Baked Ziti (made it on Sunday, cooked it Monday; so good!!)
Tues: Taco Soup (I got the recipe from my mom, but this one is almost the same except I use about 1-1.5 cup of frozen corn and 2 cans of drained pinto beans; note: I hate ranch dressing, but the inclusion of the dry ranch dressing mix is essential and delicious), tortillas, chips, salsa
Wed: Creamy Spaghetti (inspired by this recipe, though I don't use the crockpot, I just cook 2 lbs. pasta and make the creamy sauce in separate pots, then dump the al dente pasta in the sauce and let it soak it up for a few minutes and serve)
Thurs: Pumpkin Pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, Trader Joe's Pumpkin Rolls for dessert because dammit I might have cancer again (they're delicious; buy them next to the crescent rolls in the refrigerator section)
Fri: Frozen crispy fish (Panko Crusted Cod from Costco; so good), sauteed veggies, rice mix from a box.
Sat: Homemade Pizza because I "never make that anymore" and everyone now claims it's their favorite.
It's also totally possible we'll bail on Saturday's pizza plans because I'm not sure I have active yeast for the dough anymore and I really want a frozen margarita. It's medicinal and cheaper than the third pair of shoes I just added to the my DSW online cart. Skin cancer is so expensive.