Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Traditioooon, tradition!

There is a book that all persons with small children should have at this time of year. It's The Sweet Smell of Christmas and it's wonderful. I have many fond memories of my mom reading it to my siblings and I, and scratching & sniffing our little hearts out. Now that I have kids, my mom thought that I needed my own copy to share. She was correct. It turns out that this book is something Stephanie has previously shared with the kids, but Adam got their copy in the divorce (it was beat up and falling apart apparently) so the household was sadly lacking this classic tome of Holiday Cheer.

Since getting it last week I've read it at least 4 times, maybe more. The pine smells just like I remember, the cocoa is the same not-quite-chocolatey smell of every 'chocolate' scratch'n'sniff patch ever made. It's one of the things I really remember looking forward to every year at Christmas. (The other was my dad's annual reading of A Christmas Carol, but we may have a year or two before the attention span for that is present :-) ) Even though the kids already know this book it still feels like I'm getting to share a piece of my special memories with them and that's an indescribable feeling.

The other thing that I never realized until my mom pointed it out last week...Little Bear has had a cold through every reading of this book I can remember. It was never intended as such, but the voice my mom used for Little Bear sounds completely congested. Was this an ironic commentary by my mother on the inability to sniff what you've scratched when allergies are flaring? I don't know, and neither does she any more. But it's tradition, and as long as I'm reading this book to the kids, Little Bear will be searching for a decongestant.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Glimpses of happiness

The last few weeks have been a constant stream of medical information, doctor visits, learning about cancer and watching my wife get poked and prodded by all manner of physician. It has been a long journey but we are getting close to finalizing the answers we need and starting Steph's treatment (1st chemo is scheduled for next Wednesday). We know now that it is definitely a Hodgkin's lymphoma, nodular sclerosing type. Staging is still pending, but the doctors are sure it's treatable and nobody has broken a sweat talking to us or acted like this is anything other than routine (ya know, for cancer), which is encouraging. So on to a couple bright spots in the last few weeks...

Family and friends are great. I've thanked many people many times, but I'm still amazed at the support and help we've received. People are great, and we have good supports around us. It makes a big difference.

The other day K2 wanted to go ride her bike early in the morning, so we went out with Arlo to take a walk. It was a beautiful fall morning, K2 chugging along on her Dora the Explorer bike, me jogging with Arlo barrelling along behind her, and it was just what I needed. Contrary to the feelings of some, I really don't need to escape Steph and the kids...I just need the occasional reminder that things haven't always been and won't always be sad and sick and painful.

Another spectacular moment in step-daddyhood...K2 was on the toilet pooping, like she does, and she started rehearsing her moves for the Christmas program they're putting together at the daycare. I was in the kitchen making lunches and turned around to see a blond little 3 year old with her footie PJs around her ankles standing on the stepstool butt naked gyrating her butt off and belting out "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" at the top of her lungs. Luckily Steph was close enough to also enjoy the show. It was pretty damn cute :-) These moments help keep me in the game. "This too shall pass"!

Friday, November 9, 2007

And then there's cancer

Well the wonderful streak of goodness that has made up the majority of this year has been somewhat derailed. Stephanie has a giant tumor in her chest and the diagnosis came back Lymphoma. That's right folks, my beautiful bride of just under 3 weeks has cancer.

The good(?) news is that lymphomas are treatable. Medical science has gotten pretty advanced with this particular breed of cancer, and the prognosis is non-death-sentence-like. But it is cancer and it is scary and it will require chemo and all that comes with that.

The months ahead will be tough, and I don't know how much of this process I will be sharing in this space. Those of you who know me outside of this blog will, I'm sure, hear about this plenty over the coming months and I just don't know how much of it I want to post up here for anybody to read. But then I may need to put things down to get them out of my head. As a wise woman likes to say, "Hard to say..."

On a related note, the title of this blog is the title of a song that has been sometimes interpreted as the story of scientists working towards a cure...for cancer presumably...so for the 2nd time in 47 posts, here are the lyrics:

(I also think that once Stephanie kicks this thing it will really be time for me to finally go get that design over there on the right tattooed...)

"A Spoonful Weighs a Ton" (by the Flaming Lips)

And though they were sad
They rescued everyone
They lifted up the sun
A spoonful weighs a ton

Giving more than they had
The process had begun
A million came from one
The limits now were none
Being drunk on their plan, they lifted up the sun

Forcing it off with their hands
The trapdoor came undone
Above our heads it swung
The privilege had been won
Being drunk on their plan, they lifted up the sun

Yelling as hard as they can
The doubters all were stunned
Heard louder than a gun
The sound they made was love love love love love love love love