Saturday, March 17, 2018

Adventure Quota? Met!

Brain cancer is...

 ...letting the women do what women do:  Have adventures!

Denise and I met for an early morning hike today, with the only plan being that we were out for an adventure, exploring some trails in Brea and Fullerton.  Old shoes, ready for mud:

Adventures galore:

Proof of adventure completion:

 Old shoes post-walk.

In addition to meeting our AQ (Adventure Quota), we were surprised to check our devices and see that we had covered eight miles in two hours...and we weren't done talking yet.

Yay for friends!
Yay for adventures in our own backyards!

And:  Yay for more adventures to come today...our and yours.  Let's meet that AQ, Team D!

 AQ Updates

 Yes, there were more adventures in store at our house. 

First:  You know it was St Patrick's Day, right?  You know all the luck that comes to you if you catch one or more leprechauns? 

Yusss!  We did that!  It's been 25 months of sneaky leprechauns, Easter bunnies, Super Bowl Strollers, Halloweeners, Secret Santas...and this very day--today--we caught a couple few key players! Extraordinarily lucky!!

What an adventure.  But wait!  There was more!  We prepared for the final festivities...

...and then called it a wrap...
...before dinner at the Cat and the Custard Cup with Beth and Geoff.

AQ x 2.

Love you, Team D!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday...Finally! (Funny?)

Brain cancer is... glad it's finally Friday.

Kidding!  We're being funny, because Fridays look much like other days in our lives except for...

...breakfast with Gordon (plenty of vitamin C!) and...

Cosmo's Bistro
...lunch with LuAnn.

Yes, another great day.  Happy Friday, Team D!  Enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Back in Alex World...Again

Brain cancer is...

 ...happy to be back in Alex World.

If you know Alex, you know you're in for a good day if you can spend the day in his world.  (See the 2016 "Appreciating Alex" post by clicking here.)

We had a great day with Alex here in Fullerton today.  Above you see the end of the day, watching History's Greatest Hoaxes.  (Spoiler alert:  The Alien Autopsy film was faked.  Gasp.)

Earlier in the day, we enjoyed taking Alex through our park walks:

The shot, above, is in Yorba Regional Park, where today we saw not two (as before) but ten wood ducks!  Here is actual photographic evidence of a couple of them:

No such duck could exist on Earth!  They MUST be from another world! (The person composing the blog has control over the degree of cynicism expressed in the post.)

After the walk, Beowulf said, "Who cares about ducks?"

Right, Beowulf?

Bonus Content

When we logged into Google tonight, it asked us to "relive this day."  We learned that this day one year ago, we were also with Alex and Tiana, but in Pennsylvania, celebrating the beginning of Match Day festivities.  What a difference one year makes!

We hope you are happy in your world today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Benefits of Caregiving

Brain cancer is...


...granting us new perspectives.

Today on our walk I completed a telephone interview with a small magazine about care giving.  They focused on "our story," but I prepared--just in case--by thinking about the answer to the more general question:  "What have been the benefits of care giving?"

I hadn't considered how I have grown through care giving until I prepared for this interview.  It was a good opportunity to think about how I am a better person because I have the honor of serving as Darrell's caregiver.  Here's the short list of benefits to me:

  1. Selfishly, taking care of Darrell is taking care of myself.  We are one.
  2. Care giving grants me an opportunity to express my love for him in very tangible ways.
  3. It allows me some explicit control over his cancer by actively fighting it. Acts like making the medical phone calls and changing arrays are my fierce cancer eradication efforts.  
  4. Care giving has heightened my empathy not only for Darrell but for all humans suffering.
  5. I have learned so much about glioblastoma multiforme.  Don't get me started.
  6. I have learned patient advocacy, both the mindset and the skills. Long-time blog readers may remember me crying to some insurance person on the phone when Optune was initially denied (click here for the post).  I still cry but not when I've got my patient advocate hat on. 
  7. I have learned self advocacy.  It took me a while to say to post-diagnosis Darrell, "sometimes my ideas are better than your ideas, and this time, we'll do it my way."  This lesson applies far beyond my marriage; I have gained a clearer sense of myself and my priorities.  
  8. I have learned a new social skill set.  Serving as a care giver has taught me a whole new set of skills for reaching out to strangers regarding their stories and for finding the connections among us all. 
I ran my initial "benefits" list by Darrell, and the above current list includes his insights into the changes he's seen in me as a person through care giving.

A final thought on care giving:   We chose the image, above, from our walk today because red-tailed hawks are just so beautiful, watched from below.  We also chose it because the video capturing the birds reveals something metaphorical about our relationship:

What strikes us about the two birds in the video is how they soar not alone but so beautifully in tandem.  I may be Darrell's caregiver, but equally, he is mine. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Oh, Hello Again, Rain!

Brain cancer is...


...drinking up the rain.

Typically my phone's weather app teases us, predicting rain by the hour and then taking it away.  Today was a happy exception:  The rain started this afternoon rather than this evening.  Ahhh!

Rain updates:  Gail loves rain. (Thanks, Gail, for the beautiful mental picture of the illuminated, misty mountain view you shared in your recent email.)

Dash is the only dog thus far represented as a lover of rain.

In sum, today was great because:  It rained, we walked, I had a great time with Kristine, and Zach and Summer returned home after several days away.

Thinking thoughts of happiness for you.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Team E

Brain cancer is...


Today was a so-so day (great, of course, but also blue around the edges).  Until, that is, we went against our Monday inertia and headed out to dinner.  There we met Eric (above), whose family similarly stated, "We weren't even going to go out tonight."

Darrell's Optune unit--yet again!--brought GBM to the forefront of our shared human experience.  Eric is a new member of the GBM club.  We are sorry, Eric, for the club membership and all that comes with it.  But we feel grateful to have connected with you and your wonderful family.  We send you all our best, and we wish you strength for the journey.  Email us. 

We welcome ourselves to the newest and best team in town:  Team E! 

Team D, you know how to seal the deal, right?

Here's to every good thing that holds us together as a species.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

To Putter

Brain cancer is...


And also, brain cancer is...vetting ideas for the Word of the Year, 2019.  Today Darrell nominated the word "putter" as in "to putter."  As in spending the day doing things such as...

...making the bed.


...walking at a leisurely pace at the park to take bird pictures.

And as in...

...gathering ingredients to make delicious black beans from scratch.

And as in...

...preparing nutritious frozen treats for the dog. 

To putter, as in:  "to occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner, doing a number of small tasks or not concentrating on anything particular."

"Puttering" also apparently involves studying words, such as the etymology of the word "putter" and definitions of words like "desultory"  and "vet," when used as a verb.   

So far, it sounds like a good choice, Darrell.  But it's only March.

Who likes the rain?  Update

So far all the humans who responded to yesterday's question like the rain.  Dogs do not.