Thursday, April 13, 2006





Kendrie -- Day 119 OT and covered from ankle to knee in bruises, front and back, but I can’t even worry about it because I’m too busy feeling like my head is going to explode.

Blaine -- who freakin’ knows? Does anybody know? Really? ‘Cause I would love for you to tell me if you know.

Once again, I find myself having to apologize for the delay in updating this site. I confess that I’m struggling lately with whether or not to keep it going, and if so, in what fashion. I thought after Kendrie finished her treatment, I would continue to journal in more of a blogger form; detailing our experiences with the Disney channel, sports travails, humorous anecdotes, travel plans, homework sagas, and life off-treatment. With any luck, providing hope and optimism for those families still in the thick of their cancer journey, and maybe even giving the rest of you a laugh or two at our expense in the meantime. I figured I would utilize Caringbridge for six months or so, then make my way over to Typepad or Blogger and carry on there, in true mommyblogger fashion.

Now, given Blaine’s situation, I’m not quite sure where to go or what to do with this site. We still have chaos and insanity and fun stuff in our normal lives, but to blab about that without mentioning him seems rude. And fake. Because really, we’re completely distracted by what is happening with him. But to blather on about his trials is depressing. And I struggle with finding a balance. Plastic and entertaining? Gloomy and truthful? In the meantime, apathy strikes and I write nothing.

Here’s where we are now, with regard to Blaine. Let’s get the exploding head stuff out of the way first. Although, I must warn you. Only *MY* head is exploding. Yours will only explode out of dullness if you read the following, because even I am tired of listening to myself whine and complain. So if you have something better to do …. ANYTHING … like re-grouting the bathroom tile or cleaning out the bottom mildew-y vegetable bin in the refrigerator, I would go do it now. Otherwise, read on at the risk of boring your brain cells. To a mind-numbing, painful death. And really, if that's the end result, shouldn't there be alcohol involved????

He returned from his consultation in Seattle last week, sobered by the reality of what five weeks of radiation will entail, but almost excited, in a sick and twisted way, to just get things started so it would be over. The good news is the success rate he was quoted in using neutron beam radiation against this type of cancer: 80 percent. “Success” is defined as total remission. That’s a pretty respectable quote. Same statistic Kendrie was given in her ALL treatment. (Conveniently, he didn’t ask about the other 20 percent.) Not as good news are the side effects he can expect from the treatment: extreme fatigue, a permanent 10 percent hearing loss, greater risk of secondary cancers later (where have we heard that one before?) a permanent loss of the ability to produce saliva, therefore, chronic dry mouth both during the treatments and for life, severe mouth sores, possibly necessitating a feeding tube, possibly a permanent ban on solid foods, and life-long dental problems on the teeth he has left (yeah, because he hasn’t had THAT already for the past three years?) So, in a perfect world, he’ll be a tired, deaf, dry-mouthed, toothless cranky man existing on chicken soup and food in a blender. But hey, he won’t have cancer anymore. It’ll be like being married to my dad. (Those of you who know Calvin can laugh, right?)

But that’s ok, right? Because a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do. So it’s fine. Timing has become tricky, since radiation was scheduled to begin next week, last five weeks, and he will need a support person there, at a minimum, for the last two weeks. Obviously, at 38 weeks pregnant, it won’t be me. So my mom was elected, which is fine, except she has always been our “helper” person during my deliveries, watching the kids while I am in labor …. So if she’s in Seattle with Blaine, I’ll be here by myself. Which is fine … I can give birth by myself, and pass the kids off to babysitters for a few days while I’m in the hospital, although that’s not an ideal situation. So, although it took an extreme amount of childcare coordination on her part, my sister offered to come here for the delivery, just so I wouldn’t have to go it alone --- problem solved, right?


First, Blaine has had an inordinate amount of problems getting the legwork for his Seattle trip taken care of this week. The military is great about our coverage, and what they provide for us, but Blaine has to do every bit of the groundwork and gophering himself. Travel forms, finance, hotel arrangements, hospital arrangements, medical records, etc. First, he went to the travel office to get orders so he could actually make the trip, and realized they put the wrong dates down for air travel. But they can fix that, so it’s fine. Then we found out the Air Force will pay for my mom to travel to Seattle, and to help Blaine back to Atlanta at the end of treatment, as his "official chaperone" but getting her back home is our problem. There was no working that one out. So we’ll either drive her home, or fly her home, which is no problem and fine. Just something we’ll worry about later. Because of course we don’t know exactly *when* they’ll be coming home, so we’re not able to make plans for that now. Then, he needed a few prescriptions refilled, but there was an exercise going on this week in the medical clinic on base, so his doctor didn’t return his calls for four solid days. This is the same doctor who has literally made house calls for us, so I know he wasn’t avoiding Blaine, he just wasn’t available. But in the meantime Blaine was getting panicky that he was leaving on Monday with no pain meds and no-one seemed able to help.

Then, on to today’s drama.

In an effort to protect his remaining teeth during this radiation, Blaine had to get fitted today for what is called a hidden bite block (I envision some sort of mouth guard like football players wear, but really, I have no idea what it is. For all I know, it’s like the dental equipment my sister wore all through junior high ….. wouldn’t that be unfortunate? A Jason radiation mask AND head gear???) His initial appointment with the dentist was this morning, then he planned on joining the kids and I for the annual Field Day Extravaganza at their school. He called me mid-morning to tell me the dentist found a cavity and they absolutely had to fill it before he could have radiation, so he’d be running late. Fine. Then, they got in there and discovered the cavity was so large there was no way to salvage the tooth, so it would have to be extracted. Today. Ok, well, he’ll miss Field Day, but that’s fine. But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) radiation can’t take place if there is an “open” wound in the mouth …. So unless Blaine wants to risk some kind of radiation-poisoning-infection-scenario, and spend time in a hyper baric chamber, (I swear to you, they actually mentioned a hyper baric oxygen chamber!) radiation will have to be postponed by a week to ten days. Ix-nay and ancel-Cay on all the planning and reserving and coordinating Blaine had done this week in order to leave on Monday. All down the crapper.

Which would be fine …. But my mom and my sister have already gone to great lengths to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements for the days we told them we would need them. I arranged my delivery, and let the baby’s parents know exactly when to come, based on the supposed radiation schedule. And now, we have no idea when Blaine will be rescheduled. Naturally, the radiation-oncologist wasn’t available today to talk this situation over with us. Naturally. Why would he be? Why should one freaking thing go smoothly, or as planned. Why should we have any stinkin’ clue when he’ll be getting his treatments? Ten days later? Two weeks later? How does that affect my sister’s travel? My mom’s travel? This delivery? Seriously, I would throw my hands up in the air at this point, but the carpal tunnel is so bad I’m afraid I would never get the feeling back in my fingers.

You know the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons, whose face you never see, and whose voice is just a monotonous “Wah Wah Wah--Wah- Wah”? That’s how I feel, listening to myself. Every plan we have has a flaw. Every contingency plan has a flaw. If we do plan A, then **this** is our dilemma. If we move to plan B, then detail #3245 bites us in the ass. Plan C doesn’t work because *that* would be too logical.

OK, so, a couple of things I have to apologize for:

1. That this is so boring. Don’t deny it. I see some of your eyeballs rolled back in your head. I’ll get back on the site this weekend and post some photos from the kids’ Field Day …. Much cuter and more entertaining than the details of Blaine’s ongoing medical saga.

2. If it sounds for one micro-second like I am complaining about Blaine’s treatment. We are blessed and hopeful for full recovery. Thank goodness for this type of treatment, the people who can do it, and the opportunity it gives him for remission, even if it’s in Seattle. I just wish things were a little less complicated.

3. If it sounds for one micro-second like I am complaining about this surrogacy. I am blessed. This pregnancy has been uneventful and special. All that matters is that the parents get to welcome a beautiful, healthy child into the world. I’m lucky to be a part of it. I just wish things were a little less complicated.

4. My comment about the hardship of single parenting in my last post. First of all, I was only “single” for four days ….. I think even Mommy Dearest could’ve handled four measly days. And I sincerely want to apologize to how insensitive it must have sounded to my friends D.G. and K.E. (You know who you are, and why I need to apologize.) I am blessed. I love my kids beyond measure, even when I want to staple their little mouths shut. We will manage our five weeks alone just fine.

5. If it sounds for one second like I am complaining about the military. I am very proud and grateful for what the military has done for us. It’s just difficult to make arrangements, for major life events like this, when our family is so far away. As a "dependent spouse", I love being a peripheral part of the Air Force ---- but, have found myself gazing longingly at my “There’s no place like home” Dorothy-slippers more in the past three years then I did the previous fifteen military years combined.

6. If it sounds like I’m complaining because my crystal ball isn’t working. We’ve been dealing with this shit for three years. I just want to know the end is in sight. Right now, the end is so far away we couldn’t find it with both hands, a blow torch and a periscope. I know there are no guarantees in life ………….. but I would sure appreciate a “Get out of jail free” card right about now.

Well, there’s a 2000 word limit on Kvetching Posts, and I’ve exceeded it tonight. So I’ll sign off for now. I’m going to go bury my disgruntlement in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, sleep off the sugar low, and hopefully awaken tomorrow feeling refreshed and cheerful. Of course, my kids are out of school for Easter Break, so my cheerfulness most likely won’t last past 9am, the estimated TTBFWOA (Time To Begin Fighting With One Another.)

But a girl can dream, right?

PS. One happy parenting moment today, proving I am a child of the 80’s: I taught my kids the words:

"Alfalfa, will you swing me before we have lunch?

Sure, Darla.

Say Romeo, what about your promise to the he-man woman hater’s club?

I’m sorry Spanky, I have to live my own life."

To my delight, they love the song as much as I do.

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