State of the Maynard Household Address
Troy told me I had to post something. He suggested a State of Maynard Household Address.
It’s been an up and down couple of weeks. Very up and very down, as a matter of fact. I hate to bury this first downer, so we’ll start with the bad news.
First and worst of all, a child in Colleen’s kindergarten class died Dec. 15. His death was sudden and unexpected. We were told “something respiratory” and that he was not breathing when his parents went to wake him up in the morning. Sad, frightening, awful. It’s terrible to think of his poor parents. It’s terrible to think of dealing with the death of a child, let alone two weeks before Christmas.
His name was Wesley and Colleen says, “he was very handsome and she wanted him to be her boyfriend.” Naturally, Colleen handled the situation much better than we did. She understands the idea that he is gone and will never come back and understands it is like Papaw dying. She doesn’t understand, though, how scary the idea of a child dying is to adults and it doesn’t have quite the “sadness” impact on her as it does on us.
I have a feeling this death is more an “idea” that will be with her for a long time. For example, in two or three years, when the impact of death is something she feels more, she may make a connection between the idea that if someone she knew died, then other kids she knows (or herself) could die. Or maybe she’ll always find herself oddly attracted to boys named Wesley. That sounds like a joke, but I mean it … or I mean something like that.
When I was five, the father of a classmate was killed at a railroad crossing accident. I can remember being told this, sitting at the kitchen table. I can remember not understanding at all why his dad wouldn’t be coming back. It made no sense to me. However, to this day, I have a terrible fear of railroad crossings. I get panicky when I see trains coming in the distance, even if the crossing lights aren’t flashing. I imagine this fear is somehow related to information I picked up as a kid about my friend’s dad.
So, the next bit of “downer” news is that I’m really struggling with the drug I’m taking – Tamoxifen – which I need to be on for the next five years! It’s causing me to have depression, anxiety, sleeplessness and general anger at the world. That’s a lot of the reason I haven’t been posting. Anyway, Tamoxifen gives me about an 8% increase in my survival odds. Chemotherapy gave me about a 7% increase. So, it’s really not an option to consider NOT taking Tamoxifen. In addition, about three weeks or so ago, I got another fill in my expander. This one aches. It’s making me have terrible back pain day and night. I wake up a minimum of four times a night, average probably six times, sometimes staying awake for hours. I’m taking lots of drugs to help both that and to counter the effects of Tamoxifen. I’ve also cut out caffeine to help reduce the anxiety brought on by the Tamoxifen. I’m also on an anti-depressant now (almost two weeks into it) to counter the effects of the Tamoxifen. And I take Ambien (sleep aid) nightly, although the pain from the expander still wakes me up four or more times a night even through the Ambien.
I turned into a bit of a wreck in just a few short weeks! It’s sad. At Thanksgiving, I felt the best I’ve felt all year. By Christmas, I was a train wreck. That is very much thanks to the Tamoxifen – well known side effects. I hope I’m on the mend, though. I’ve been feeling better since cutting the caffeine way back about two weeks ago; just recently cutting it out completely. I had not been “using” caffeine until fairly recently, which is actually a side effect for me of depression. Depression = chocolate, sugar and caffeine abuse in me! Thank goodness depression doesn’t cause me alcohol, cocaine and heroin abuse! I also discovered a way to prop myself up with pillows so I can not roll onto my expander. I just tried it for the first time last night and it helped tremendously. I hope it continues to help.
Besides starting to feel like things are improving, the other good news is that we did have a really good Christmas. We received significantly awesome presents this year: a totally rocking double oven, a Kitchen Aid mixer and an incredible video iPod. Colleen got her usual pile of loot from grandparents and Santa. People were very, very good to us this year.
We also received two big surprises. The IU Cancer Center staff chose us as one of their 30 recipients of a $200 gift card and an organization called IWIN gave us a $500 certificate to Kroger. These both were timely and useful gifts for us. And the sense of utter relief when they arrived made me think we are far more in need than we care to admit!
The other awesome thing is that we have made very serious progress on a couple of homeowner tasks. Troy and friends have nearly finished building a front porch deck for the house. We’ve been without a “stoop” and sidewalks since April when we had landscaping work done and it had to be torn off. The porch is gorgeous. We had tremendously good help when several of our awesome friends came by one Saturday a few weeks ago, along with 20 of the guys from the pledge class of Troy’s fraternity, and helped on the deck project and other significant jobs (like cleaning up the large amounts of timber that remained from six trees that fell or were felled in the spring). So, our yard is looking really good. Our neighbors might have something to complain about, though. The old oven is still sitting in the yard! It might be there until next spring.
We have some very good news about Colleen. She’ll be going to a Montessori school in just a few weeks. Don’t mention this to her, yet! She tends to get stressed out about information like this and will drive us crazy. So, mum’s the word. We are very excited about it and we know she will be thrilled once she gets there. It costs the same as what we are already paying for day care, but she’ll be able to go to a full-day kindergarten program!It’s a traditional Montessori program, so she’ll work at her own pace. This is awesome news to our ears, when we feel she is being intentionally held back at school now. We would have enrolled her in August, but we were a little busy fighting cancer back then. Anyway, it’s a big relief to me and an even bigger relief to Troy.
So, that’s the State of the Maynard Household Address. Vote for me in 2008.