Archive | May 2014

No Doctor’s Appointments!!

It’s a minor miracle that I have no doctor’s appointments this week. In fact, it’s the first week all year (if you don’t count the vacation week, which I don’t because I wasn’t in town) that I have not had to go to a doctor’s appointment for either myself or the kids. If you take the kids out of the equation, there’s been one other week all year, but I had to go and sit in a doctor’s waiting room for them. so I’m including the kids in my record. Pretty sad that we’re nearly half-way through the year and I’ve had, at the most generous, three weeks with no appointments. Don’t worry, I’m back to the doctor’s office next week. You needed worry I’ll miss those waiting rooms.

Since I have no doctor’s appointments, I’ll talk about something frivolous – my hair. I actually got my hair cut before I went on vacation. I was debating whether or not it was long enough to get it cut, but it was starting to annoy me and not flip up correctly. Besides, if I got it cut, it would have some actual shape and style as opposed to just being how long everything happened to grow in.

Before - looking a bit wild and crazy

Before – looking a bit wild and crazy

Not having a lot of experience at the hair dresser’s, I wasn’t really sure what to tell her. The conversation went something like, “I’d like it to flip up in front, but not be so crazy in back, and keep something in front of the ears, but maybe not so much. Can you do anything with that?” Luckily, she could.

After - much more tamed.

After – much more tamed.

I was quite pleased with how it turned out. It’s not too different from what I came in with, but it all works together better. I am amazed that hair an inch long can still manage to stick up funny in places. The curl seems to be coming back, and it looks a little darker than before chemo. That’s probably just because all the sun-bleached highlights are gone. I am glad to note that I can make it look presentable after swimming without needing a mirror or brush. Overall, I’m quite happy with my hair. The question becomes how long I can go between haircuts…

Gynecology visit

Vacation is over, which means it’s back to doctor’s appointments. I think next week I have no doctor’s appointments (either for myself or for the kids), which is the first time this year I’ve gone a week without waiting in a doctor’s office somewhere. I don’t consider vacation week to count, but even so, that’s not a good record.

This week, I was off to the gynecologist. If you remember, way back at the beginning of this process, my PET scan had turned up a couple of anomalies. One was a cyst on my kidney and one was a cyst on my ovary. The last time I visited Dr. Li, he asked that I get the ovarian cyst rechecked, just to see what it was doing. I finally got around to calling the doctor. My primary care doctor couldn’t do it. I actually had to go to a gynecologist. Sure, what’s another doctor to add to the fleet of doctor’s I’ve been seeing!

The gynecologist the nurse recommended is part of OBGYN Associates, in the same office building as my plastic surgeon. It’s a huge office – both times I was there this week, there were at least 15 people in the waiting room. They give you pagers to know about when your number will be called to go back in the office. The doctor was very nice – took a quick history and then did a gynecology exam, since I was there and it had been about a year since my last exam anyways. Besides, I wanted to make the visit worthwhile, since they weren’t going to do the sonogram that I really came for that day. I needed to make another appointment for that visit.

Latest gown pattern, with a white sheet on the bottom half

Latest gown pattern, with a white sheet on the bottom half

At least I didn’t have to wait too long for the sonogram – I was back in two days for that. It was a quick wait and then in to meet the tech. You take off the bottom half of your clothes, wrap yourself in a sheet and lay on the bed with your feet in the stirrups. There was a cyst on my left ovary, but no blood flow to the mass, which implies fluid filled and not a tumor. The doctor will look at the scans and double-check, but the tech didn’t seem too nervous. Good. Even though I didn’t think it would be anything serious, any kind of doctor’s visit and test now implies a bit of nervousness.

Last Day, Late

I didn’t manage to get this post up before we left the Outer Banks. I wanted to get the house packed up Friday night so the kids and I could go swimming one last time on Saturday morning. As I keep telling the kids, finish your work before you play.

Friday was a rainy day. We couldn’t complain too much, since it had been so lovely all week. It was time to find some indoor activities. In the morning we decided to do some beading at a store just across Highway 12 from our road. We actually walked, since the rain had slowed down significantly. It took us a very long time (over an hour at least) to finish. I think the adults had the hardest time. I was always looking for just the right color and size to fit in my pattern.

The finished products

The finished products. I made the bracelet and StatsGuy made the navy/black necklace.

Lunch was at Dirty Dick’s Crab Shop, which was very yummy, and then we went to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. It’s one of North Carolina’s maritime museums, focusing on all the shipwrecks that occurred on the shoals off the Outer Banks. I should have taken a picture of the building, because it was such an interesting shape, but I was distracted by the rain. It’s not a very big museum, but I was pleasantly surprised at all the cool displays, including something on the Monitor, and even an Enigma machine off a German U-Boat. It’s not necessarily worth a special trip, but if you’re in the area you should check it out.

By the time we got back to our house in the afternoon, the rain had stopped so we went down to the beach. I thought it was too cold to swim, but the kids went and played in the waves. It really wasn’t bad (considering all the wind we’d had), so I was sure to swim the next morning before we left.

Some pretty impressive waves

Some pretty impressive waves

Then it was time for our final dinner. Everyone was sad to leave and we all promised to keep in touch, even the kids.

A crazy group photo

A crazy group photo

It was truly a delightful vacation, full of good people and fun activities and no worries. It’s sad to have to go home and back to work and cancer treatments (I’m sitting at the Cancer Center getting my every-three-week Herceptin treatment right now), but we will go home refreshed.

Fishing and Pirate Attacks

We decided to participate in Thursday’s Little Pink activities instead of doing another day of lots of driving for potentially little reward. The morning started with family photos on the beach. It’s a little tricky doing outdoor photos, considering everyone’s got transition lenses on their glasses, but we tried to keep them from going dark. A professional photographer came in and took everyone’s photos in multiple combinations – whole family, parents, kids, me and the kids, and just me. I’m excited to see how they turn out – I’ll post the best ones when I get copies.

After the early photos, we came back to our beach house and went swimming. The wind had picked up overnight (a storm was coming), so the waves were really crashing in. The water was much colder as well, so I wasn’t tempted to go in. The kids delighted in feeling the waves crash over them.

Little Pink had several morning activities planned – a beach-side devotional (we skipped that), Yoga (also skipped), and fishing on the Avon pier (we did that one).

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Both kids managed to catch a fish (different kinds, even), so the morning was a success.

For the afternoon, we went back to the Cape Hattaras lighthouse to actually climb it, all 248 steps.

They're painting the lighthouse.

They’re painting the lighthouse.

The view from the top was quite impressive – you could see Buxton and Avon to the north, the end of Hattaras Island to the south, and Diamond Shoals in the ocean. The wind was also impressive. StatsGuy elected to stay on the ground and check out the little museum on the premises. He’s not so fond of heights.

Our final activity of the day was a pirate cruise. photo(56)The first mate told some pirate stories, and then gave out squirt guns to all the kids to defend the ship. After running around and squirting each other (and the adults), another boat drew up alongside and attacked.

Can you see the buckets of water they have?

Can you see the buckets of water they have?

They had buckets of water to throw at us and even the hose. Some of the water even made it across to our ship, and the kids were drenched. The adults elected to move to the other side of the boat and stay mostly dry.

Soaking wet, slightly shivering, gloriously happy children.

Soaking wet, slightly shivering, gloriously happy children.

A great time was had by all! We’re all sad that Friday is our last day. We’ve had such a wonderful time, it’s sad to see it come to an end.

Stand-up Paddleboarding and Waiting

Last night was a late night out, so I didn’t get a post up before heading to bed. That just means I have two days to record.

Yesterday morning’s Little Pink activity was stand-up paddleboarding. It wasn’t ideal weather because the wind was blowing at a good clip. The kite-boarders were out in force, which the instructors commented usually meant it was a no-go for paddle-boarding. But, it was the only day the instructors were up, and at least the wind was blowing on-shore. We didn’t have to worry about being stuck out in the middle of the sound if we got tired coming back in. I must say, the paddleboarding was so much fun for everyone. Even the kids enjoyed themselves. The first time out, I was a little shaky, but every time was easier. The trick was getting out far enough into the sound to make it fun surfing back in, but not so far you got in the way of the wind surfers.

The afternoon was quiet back at the beach house. Mr. Curiosity is still pretty sunburned, and I didn’t want him to get a lot more sun. Besides, the evening activity was putt-putt and go-karting. Everyone needed to be rested up for evening fun!

Go kart fun!

Go kart fun!

We tried all the fun – go karts, bumper cars, and putt-putt. Sadly, StatsGuy beat me once again. I beat him on the front nine, but blew up on the back nine. One of these days I beat him. Both the kids got to play with their friends, which was nice for all.

Today we decided to skip out on the Little Pink morning activities and take the ferry to Ocracoke Island. Things did not work out quite as planned, mainly because we had to wait for the ferry. Oh, we got there just fine, but the UPS truck and giant tour bus got the priority lane and took up half the ferry. Not just on the way there, when we had to wait an hour to get on the ferry, but on the way back. That was only a half hour wait, but we were missing the kids’ pirate party/parents’ date night! Then, the ferry took an hour to make the crossing, not the advertised 40 minutes. We were starving by the time we got to the town of Ocracoke! Lunch was at the marina. It was tasty, but slow. Essentially, we had a half an hour to wander about the island before it was time to get back in the ferry line.

The ferry dock

The ferry dock

We did make it back for the evening event. Dinner out was delightful. We didn’t have to worry at all about children complaining they didn’t like anything on the menu. StatsGuy got a local fish dish. I went with the steamed variety plate. I really wanted blue crab, but they were out. This was the next best thing – snow crab legs, crawdads, mussels, clams, shrimp, and oysters. It was so yummy! The kids had a blast at their pirate party as well – they were chattering nonstop on the drive back to the house.

Tomorrow’s schedule has changed for us. Originally we were going to drive to Kittihawk, but we didn’t want another day of driving with little being done. Instead, we’ll do the Little Pink fishing off the pier. We’ll also get our family photos done, since Friday’s looking like rain. Should be fun!

Beach day

Our first full day of Little Pink activities started with a morning at the beach. They had a big tent set up at the beach, with lots of chairs, and beach toys around it, including boogie boards. Originally, I was just going to dip my toes in the water and watch the kids play, but the water was much warmer than I expected. So, I grabbed a boogie board of my own and hit the waves.

All set to ride some waves!

All set to ride some waves!

You’ll notice the highly appropriate rash guard shirt. I will admit I wasn’t wearing it in preparation of the boogie boards, but to provide a bit more coverage than my bikini provides. The straps on my other bathing suits go right over my port, so I can’t wear them. The bikini fits, but I don’t like showing that much skin. The shirt I bought to go under a flotation device while we were in the Bahamas and it works here as well. As a bonus, no roughed up skin on my stomach from the boogie board.

The kids had an absolute blast playing with the other kids. After wiping out a few times, Mr. Curiosity gravitated to some kind of ball game with one of the other boys his age.

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Miss Curiosity was in and out of the water, wearing various flotation devices, and soaking up some warmth in the sand in between.

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StatsGuy was the smart one and stayed in the shade with his book.

photo(46)

Sadly, we discovered the sunscreen I used isn’t too waterproof when you’re playing in the sand and surf. Mr. Curiosity is the reddest. He even broke down and let me put some aloe on him. I had to stop at the local Super Wings to get some, but it cooled things right down for him. I hope the burn fades by the morning, but he’ll be wearing a shirt for our upright paddleboarding tomorrow. I’ll also be putting lots more sunscreen on everyone.

In the afternoon, we checked out some of the shops in Avon and Buxton. The kids were wiped from the morning on the beach and even awesome homemade custard from Uncle Eddy’s wasn’t enough to revive Miss Adventure. So, it was back to the beach house so she could take an hour nap before dinner and games.

Dinner was Mexican tonight, and our kids immediately sat down with the kids from another family. One of the Little Pink volunteers presided at that kids table, and we had a delightful adult table right next them. After dinner we planned some silly¬† “Minute to Win It”-type games and it was back to our beach house for games of our own.

Tomorrow is paddleboarding and then putt-putt and go-karting. Should be fun, although we may need another afternoon nap to make sure we can handle the whole day.

On vacation

We made it to the Outer Banks today. We left yesterday and stayed in Williamsburg overnight, visiting Fort Monroe in the morning. It was a fun morning. We walked around the perimeter of the Fort. You drove through one of three gates that were barely a car width wide.

I was glad I wasn't driving

I was glad I wasn’t driving

We visited the museum in the Fort, which wound its way under the fortified wall through room after room. After lunch, we were off to the Outer Banks. We kept glimpsing the water through the sand dunes, but it took a while to get a clear view of the ocean. Once we got past Nags Head, all the touristy places pretty much disappeared, and the scrub took over. It was a surprisingly boring drive, but I was glad we weren’t in a super-touristy area.

Once we got to our meeting point, we were shown to our beach house.

Cape Escape - our beach house

Cape Escape – our beach house

It is a two-minute walk to the ocean, which we checked out almost immediately. I’ll have to get some pictures from our deck tomorrow. We had a welcome dinner where each family introduced themselves, and then the kids were taken out to play while the adults heard all the details on the week. We’ve got some good activities planned for the week – I’ll be sure to take pictures and post each night. Tonight, it’s time for bed. Tomorrow, it’s a morning on the beach and then game night planned. We brought our own games to share with the group – we’ll see if anyone wants to branch out into less common games.