• Awesomeness,  Bipolar Disorder,  Dan,  Dr. Singh,  Gifts,  Gratitude,  Hobbes,  Hope,  Marriage,  Sunday Sunday

    Sunday, Sunday – Edition 1

      We survived another week! Time for another. Things that made me smile … What made you smile? The kindness and generosity of somone who is going to help us get Hobbes treatment to remove the tumor on his tummy. Creating a new playroom for Raine so that he can pretend he is an American Ninja Warrior. Vegan cookies from Cyd’s. My options are thin for a dairy allergy, so when in Peoria … Buy 4 cookies and live large! ( I would share a photo…But you know it! I ate them so fast.) Catching up with friends. Celebrity name drop! TAYLOR BLACK. JON BYLER DAN. ALLYSON PATTERSON. The support…

  • 2017,  Dearest Don Raine,  Family,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Holidays,  Hope,  JD,  JD,  Joy,  Love,  Memories,  Nate,  Nature,  New Years Day,  Oregon,  Parenting,  Raine,  Travel,  Values

    Dearest Don Raine – This Was 2017

    I regret that I didn’t write and share photos more in 2017 in this special space. The loss of Grandma Mary at the end of 2016 extinguished a spark in my heart. I worried that the spark could never return. I now know that her death changed me, Leah, as I know myself, evermore. It feels like I had to get used to this new version of me all year long. If you should lose a physical part of yourself–this is what I imagine it would feel like. How does one begin to live anew without want for what was lost? A leg, hands, sight, or hearing? I find my…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  Anxiety,  Cancer,  Coping,  Dan,  Gamma Knife,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  Parenting,  Radiation,  Raine,  Targeted Radiation,  Tumors

    Talking to Raine About Daddy’s Radiation

    It was a quiet Monday night. We finished dinner and Raine was anxious to watch the tv show The Voice, his latest obsession (he is rooting for Noah). Rather than head for the living room, I asked him to stay at the table for a talk. I was flying by the seat of my pants in an attempt to tell him about Dan’s radiation appointment the following morning. Dan didn’t even know it was coming. *** First, I busted out his creepy puzzle that reveals all of the anatomy of our bodies. It lets Raine place puzzle pieces in layers–skeleton, organs, muscle, and skin, as well as the clothing worn on…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Cancer,  Gamma Knife,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Radiation,  Tumors

    Medical Update Update – Some Zapping

    Classic doctor office wait. I suppose I could have waited one day for the update, but for once I wasn’t on top of my game and didn’t even realize there was an appointment this morning at the gamma knife center. I thought Dan was only getting an MRI, but he was actually discussing the results of last Tuesday’s MRI. The decision is to perform targeted radiation. The focus is three areas, two of which could have been remnants of his original mets that were initially treated when Dan had whole brain radiation. The third is the spot we recently decided to watch more closely. This doctor wants to target it…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  ALK-Inhibitors,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Kumar,  Lung Cancer,  Medical Jargon,  Metastasis,  NSCLC

    Medical Update: More MRIs and Stopping Chemo

    “And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.” – Paulo Coelho Based on MRI results in August, we spoke with our new radiation oncologist, Dr. Mackenzie McGee with OSF, as well as the opinion of Dr. James L. McGee, and have increased the frequency of these scans and now have them at the gamma knife center in Peoria. There is a spot that could be brain mets but it hasn’t changed recently. It will be more closely monitored if they find enhancement, gamma knife radiology would be the next step. In other news: With…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Anxiety,  Beer,  Bipolar Disorder,  Cancer,  Coping,  Crappy News,  Dan,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Radiation,  Scanxiety,  Tumors

    After MRI Results

    Dan is super chill. There just isn’t much that can ruffle him. He gets scanxiety (scan anxiety) just like the best of us, but he never really worries or freaks out. The only way I know how to describe him to people is that he is “zen.” There’s not much that can ruffle his feathers. He keeps an even temper, always maintains his sense of humor, and is focused on the simple things each day. I know this sounds super amazing–and I get that. However, I just have to share a caveat that I am MARRIED to him and have loved him for nearly 15 years and that which is the…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  ALK-Inhibitors,  Cancer,  Coping,  Hope,  Lung Cancer,  Medical Jargon,  NSCLC,  Podcasts,  Research

    Podcast: “Fighting Cancer” from TED Radio Hour

      At certain moments in time, I do like reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching documentaries related to the science of cancer. It is helpful for me in mitigating the anger and depression while knowing loved ones who died, are actively dying, or living precariously with the disease, like Dan. For someone who completely hated the subject of science in school for 20 years, I really am fascinated by it now and really geek out often with certain subjects. Expect me to share what I find–good or bad–more in this space. I listened to this podcast today while driving to and from work. I like to hear the individual voices who…

  • Dan,  Dearest Don Raine,  Nature,  Raine,  Special Events,  Washington

    Dearest Don Raine

    Dearest Don Raine, I’m not sure where to begin. I thought I could be one of those parents who blogged that could (well, blog reguarlarly for starters…) post letters to their children, but it turns out I am not and I haven’t even been doing a good job of trying. It has actually been two years since I wrote my first blog letter to you. I’m not going to apologize because there’s a delicate point to be made that perhaps all of my blog is for you. It is for me, to create and cope; it is for those who read it, to take what they will from it; and then…

  • Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Grateful,  Home,  Moving,  Raine,  Scanxiety

    We Made It To Gillman

      I am too exhausted to share about our moving week! The good news is IT IS OVER. We have officially made it to Gillman. We have beds to sleep in, the pets know where to find their food, our couches are situated, and the tv/electronics are in working order. Hallelujah. The weight and burden of another move (with another downsize) just one year after we relocated from Oregon to Illinois has now finally been lifted from us. Even Rocco and Hobbes seem to sense that the ‘Great Anxiety’ has passed. With their relief, they are napping hard and basking in the sunlight of their beautiful new back yard….Or if it is…