My family is perfectly imperfect and not a day goes by without humour, tears or tantrums. Blogging is the modern version of keeping a diary so feel free to read along while I share the good the bad and the ugly aspects of being me!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Its arrived with a bang.... cold and flu season is upon us and it has often made me a nervous wreck.
For the average healthy child a cold or flu is a nuisance but it isn't overly dangerous, for a person with cancer it can be at worst fatal.
I've never really been a mom that's been a big germ-a-phobe, I've let my boys play in dirt, puddle jump, and I've watched with only slight disgust as one of them ate a piece of chewing gum off a movie theater floor but this is different.
I am now noticing how dirty and germ infested things are and more concerning to me is how dirty and germ infested people are.
I cringe when the woman at Tim Hortons handles my cash and then makes my coffee without washing her hands first, debit terminals are handled by hundreds of people everyday, elevator buttons, door knobs... germs are everywhere and there is no avoiding it.
All I can do is teach my children by example, we wash our hands often, cough into our elbows instead of our hands, avoid touching our faces and try whenever possible to not share drinks etc.
The part that gets me frustrated though is the amount of people that are so unconcerned and unaware, that will hack all over you, wipe their nose and then touch something or worse, use the washroom and not wash their hands.
We recently were at the developmental pediatricians office and a child in the waiting room was obviously sick. As she coughed, sputtered and constantly perfected the art of the sleeve wipe that most children do, her parents sat and chatted about how clearly ineffective the antibiotics were but never once wiped her nose, gave a reminder to cover her mouth or washed her hands with the antibacterial products that are provided on every wall.
At one point the sun shining through the window provided the perfect lighting for me to clearly see the products of a sneeze travel at light speed and land on the back of Kurt's head (mental note: disinfect Kurt's head with the antibacterial foam by the door).
When Kurt coughed into his elbow I offered praise for "coughing properly" and reminded him that we need to always cover to help keep the germs away from Nick....
I thought perhaps that at the very least these parents would think that I'm a snotty b*tch and would either instruct their child to cover her mouth or would go out to the hallway away from the toys but nope they didn't even blink an eye.
Clearly I again expected too much.
On another occasion I watched a woman leave the mall bathroom without even turning on the tap, I wondered if it would make any difference if she knew that its possible now that a medically fragile person could be hospitalized, require blood products or worse... because she couldn't take two minutes to rub some soap around on her hands (not probable but indeed possible).

Yes, I am aware that our Mothers always told us that its nice to share - but I don't think illness was what they had in mind.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

An Absentee Hockey Mom

After six months and one day of fighting a huge battle Nick has laced up and is guarding the net tonight in his first hockey game of the season. Instead of being at the arena with my coffee and my camera cheering his team on I am parked at my dining room table blogging.
 I just cant go, I am an anxious hockey mom at the best of times and I drive Dom crazy with my tendency to jump out of my seat or pace behind the chairs but watching Nick now would be too much for me and everyone around me. I can feel my heart race just thinking about his heavy equipment, his blood rapidly flowing, the concern about his picc plastic coming off and the possibility of infection from the contaminated sweat... what if he shares a water bottle with someone who is getting sick - ahh I'm such a mom!
Most of all I dont want to see the disappointment in Nick's eyes when he comes off the ice... whether his team wins or loses he will find fault in his personal game - thats just his nature.
Like me he sets the bar so high for himself... go big or go home, zero to sixty in seconds and anything less then perfection is unacceptable, its a curse that unfortunately I think both of my biological children have been born with.
Instead of being proud of the fact that despite having cancer he is out there playing he will instead focus on not skating fast enough, not having quick enough reflexes, being tired or will find fault in the league or the other players.
Tonight he spent hours pacing around the house internally battling about whether to play or sit the season out, he claims that its because this year there are two goalies on his team and he "doesn't think its fair that I paid 100% and he's only getting 50% of the ice time" but in reality I know that he is doubting his own abilities but doesn't want to openly admit it for fear of looking like a failure.
Whether he protects the net or not I am proud, I can only imagine that if I had cancer I would lay in my bed and feel sorry for myself but not Nick, he remains active and while he has his negative moments he really doesn't let cancer be the focus of his days.
Today as he debated about playing I told him to "let it be an early start of his normal life", he sort of huffed and mumbled "yeah... real normal".
Perhaps normal isn't the best word, what is normal really?
There's a saying that normal is only a setting on the washing machine - seems like a true saying to me. Maybe we should call it his new life or his different life instead.
I just need to find a term that doesn't make him huff and roll his eyes at me... cancer may attack many cells in the body but apparently the obnoxious teenage cells are immune.

Friday, 7 October 2011

A Thankful Heart Is A Happy Heart

Thankfulness is being grateful for what we have. 
Its an attitude of gratitude for learning, loving and being. 
Appreciate the little things that happen around you and within you everyday. 
Think positively. 
Thankfulness brings contentment 
~ The Virtues Project

Every year on thanksgiving my family plays a game. Early in the day the kids decorate a box or bin and then before dinner everyone is given a slip of paper that says This year I am thankful for___________, once everyone's filled out their card it gets put in the box. Once gathered around the table the box is passed from person to person and one by one the cards are read aloud... I guess its kind of like our form of saying grace.
I started this tradition the year that Nick was born because I wanted my children to grow up being thankful for what they had and I wanted them to have to occasionally stop and think... really think about how lucky they we all really are. The politically correct answer always is This year I am thankful for my family but occasionally we get some original ones.
This will be the first year in 15 years that we wont be playing the game. 
I cant.... I dont know what to write. Watching your child fight for their life is a horrible thing but the one positive thing that it provides is a renewed and exaggerated sense of thankfulness.
This year I am thankful for more then could ever be written on a post it note and I dont think that I could pick just one thing. I also dont think that a turkey basted with tears is going to be tasty.
Its so easy to complain and live in the negative, to function each day with a pessimistic attitude - That was me, I lived my life like that but I dont anymore.
Imagine living your life truly seeing the positives, the good things that each day provides in addition to all the not so wonderful parts. Of course I appreciate all of the obvious super fantastic things in my life like the love of my amazing family, the unbreakable strength of my marriage, Maxwell finally getting his tubes put in, Dom's benefits which provide the medication that Nick needs, Kurt and Riddick making developmental gains, My Aunt Bonnie finally being on the mend, my Dad making himself a daily part of my life after many years of distance (him telling me that he was proud of me after the Relay for life is something that I will never forget so thank you to whoever taught him how to text) and of course last but not least the fact that Nick is a fighter and is kicking cancer's ass!
But as important as those BIG appreciations are I now find myself thankful when I get to drink my coffee hot, when I can finally see my laundry room floor, when I find a letter mixed in with the bills in the mailbox, when there is a parking spot at the hospital that doesnt require intense focus to get into. When I find a great sale or a pair of jeans that make my butt look great. My days may be filled with some things that I'd rather not deal with but they are also filled with lovely things that I'm sure have always been there but I just havent noticed.
This Thanksgiving be thankful for your family and friends.... be thankful for them EVERYDAY but also be thankful for all of the many things that form the silver lining to your otherwise gray cloud. When you feel what real thankfulness is you will never look back - its almost euphoric.
 My boys have always liked the Veggie Tales movies and each of them seem to have always chosen Madam Blueberry as their favorite... the moral of her singing story is that  A thankful heart is a happy heart  - I believe that no truer words have been spoken.