Sunday, June 27, 2010

McCravings and McMedicines

A couple of years ago, while we let the kids play in the play area at the local McDonald's, Mary Ann and I were coming up with all new McDonald's terms. I'm pretty sure it was during one of the McRib phases. Like, "this McRib sandwich is making me McSick." Or, "the smell from all the kids socks in the play area is McStinky."

I've had to add another to the long list we were coming up with back then. The McCravings or McMedicine. Amanda's chemo has given her many side effects. Very high mood swings and overall orneriness are among them. This weekend was no different. On Saturday there was plenty of whaling and lamenting about having to have the chemo and how "its the worstest day ever." We do what we can to try to accommodate the moods but have found there is very difficult line to define between where we need to be the parent and live by the rules that were set, and where and when to give in to a child that is going through very difficult times and is heavily drugged. Sometimes it is very tough to know what side to lean towards.

When Amanda gets cravings for something it can be a tough battle with her until she either gets what she is looking for, or gets distracted enough with something else. Since early morning Saturday, Amanda had the craving for a McDonald's hamburger. She was asking for one before 10:00 am. We tried to hold her off as long as possible but paid the price for waiting so long. We didn't get out until maybe 5-6 hours later. She spent a lot of the day crying, screaming, getting her massive headaches from the crying, and overall having one of her "very bad days." When we finally hit that drive through it was like flipping the switch. She downed the hamburger and no more crying, she started talking normally, she perked up, and became more like herself. I don't know if I'd every call something from McD's medicine, but it sure cured what was ailing her yesterday.

On a side note, after the burger she had enough left in her to go to Hobby Lobby to go find some more projects to keep her busy. While wandering through the store, Erin pointed this out to me. She said, "Dad, Dad, look. I'm on the crayon box." I think Amanda pointed it out to Erin but Erin was pretty excited how much it looked like her. You decide.
After Hobby Lobby we hit the snow cone shack for a quick cool down. Everyone downed their snow cone pretty quickly except Amanda. She only ate about half of hers. We try several different ways to keep her hydrated and drinking during chemo because it helps with the migraines. But sometimes no matter what we try she just doesn't seem to be able to drink as much as she should. We didn't push our luck because right after the snow cone and we hoped in the car and we heard, "I'm getting a headache." That means head home quick and stay on top of it before it becomes unbearable. We still dream of when we can get out further away from home as a family but it seems we don't get too far from home lately. You have to take enjoyment in the little moments whenever you can.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Break

"School's out for summer!!!" - Alice Cooper

Thanks Miss Moulton. There's a reason you are Teacher of the Year many times over.

Amanda made it through third grade. Perhaps barely. Her teacher pointed out that it was because Amanda picks up on everything so quickly. My comment was "you should see her when she doesn't have cancer." I am so grateful to her teacher. She was absolutely fabulous to work with. We appreciated the patience and kindness shown from her and the class.

Keeping Amanda busy this summer is turning into an interesting problem. She thinks she is better than she really is. She wears out so easily. Fortunately she has scaled back her lofty aspirations from summer's past and is still content with small activities. She's also been a bit more emotional and clingy lately. Scott's entire family went on a cruise. We stayed behind. It's hard getting left behind and I think she's keenly aware of it. She doesn't mind what she's missing as much as she misses the people. Most of my family is gone on a trip this week. I think having everybody gone was a a scary reminder of her fear of being alone. Amanda can be hugging me till I turn blue and she will still say "I want you." She's always been this way. Cancer's just made it worse. I suppose some emotional fear comes with the territory. I'll work on dishing out some extra attention.

I have to admit that my thoughts are a bit jumbled. On one hand, I've had this strong desire to start living again, to make my time on earth a bit more meaningful, to be more grateful, to love my family even more. On the other hand, I am painfully aware of so many people that have lost or are losing their life to cancer. I do no understand why Amanda is still here and they are not. She has something to offer all of us, and I have the responsibility to build her up so she can can accomplish it. I do no fully understand what it is, but I know that her life is a gift and that she is meant to be here. My heart aches for those that cannot have what I do. I am so fortunate to have my children. I suppose being grateful starts with living happily. I'm finding a lot more joy in my children and am trying to accomplish as much as I can within my means. We are starting small; Amanda and I are working on a garden. It is a great start together and I am tickled with how excited she gets about it. I am so grateful to still have her.