Technically, August 11th signaled the end of the “Dog Days of Summer”, but it sure feels like we are still in the thick of it. It is hot in Florida. Not just temperature wise, but hot and steamy, sometimes muggy. We are fortunate to live so close to the ocean. We do get to enjoy the ocean breezes that break up the hot monotony.
Mason is back in school. He is officially a 7th grader bringing home plenty of homework. Our days are shifting back into the school routine of checking homework, making sure dinner is early enough, so that Mason can get a good night’s’ sleep. His days begin early, waking up at 5:45. He has to be at the bus stop by 6:50. One would think he would sleep in and hustle in the morning, but he moves like a turtle in the morning. That trait, he got from me, not his Daddy!
The summer has been a busy one for us. We traveled, Mason was busy with Boy Scouts, we had friends from near and far visit and stay with us, and Mason began MMA (mixed martial arts) training. And, I had my Mayo visits, including my scans.
I was going to address these in the order written, but I thought that may be a little too dramatic, even for me! So, I will go in reverse order.
My Mayo visits are routine. Every three weeks they see my lovely face. But, every few months, I get additional attention with MRI scans, PET scans, and echocardiograms. July was that month. I am happy to report that my scans continue to be clean. We are beyond thankful. The chemo medicine that I take is definitely working. The side effects are severe, but clearly worth it! We will stay the course until this treatment plan fails and we have to change treatment. That is the life of having Stage 4 cancer. There is always a treatment plan, until all fails. For now, we continue to be blessed. I do not have the words to adequately share how thankful and joyous that I am.
Mixed Martial Arts
I didn’t really know what this was until recently. Honestly, I never thought about it. We knew we wanted Mason in other activities. Boy Scouts are great, but he needed more. We tried Jujutsu, but the large classroom size and the wide range of ages was not appealing to Mason. Through friends, we discovered an MMA trainer who gives one-on-one training. It is going very well! Mason is learning self-defense techniques, but more importantly, he is gaining confidence. So far, it has been a winning experience!
Spending Time with Friends
We were lucky to have 2 sets of friends visit three different times! They came with their families and it truly was like being away on vacation. We spent many hours sitting by the pool or at the beach. We ate good food, drank great wine, and had awesome conversations. Many nights ended in spirited games of Mexican Train! We were happy to see their faces, but sad when they left.
I also have a wonderful group of ladies in my neighborhood that I call friends. We always have fun when we get together.
My Boy Scout named Mason
Mason is excelling in Boy Scouts. He has achieved his Star ranking, which is only 2 positions away from working on his Eagle Scout designation. Once he completes Star (there is a time commitment), he moves on to Life, and then Eagle. It won’t be long before I am posting pictures of my Eagle Scout! He continuously works on his Merit Badges. He has earned 50+ so far, which is quite an accomplishment. During the summer, he and his Daddy go camping for a week with the Scouts. They went in June.
In my opinion, it was awful. It was hot, buggy, rainy, they slept in tents, ate awful food, took very few showers - if any, slept on the ground. Awful! They loved it! This is why I’m a Scout mom from afar, I could never camp. Not like that. Well, never like that.
And, We Traveled
On my last post, I mentioned tackling my bucket list while I still could. Travel is a big part of that list, but it is also the most unkind to my body. We have to be conscience on the days we travel based on my medication schedule and my Mayo visits. I have my “bad” medicine weeks every other week. It is much easier to travel when we go on my “light” chemo weeks. My side effects are more pronounced on those “bad” weeks.
We also have to get very ahead of my gastro issues, i.e. diarrhea. This happens every week, lucky me! I know I’m oversharing, but diarrhea plagues me daily. The amount and number of times it strikes is an unknown. Some days it could be easy, but other days, I could be in the bathroom 10-20 times throughout the day. I am thankful we have good plumbing!!
Because of this and my fatigue, we have to be very deliberate and thoughtful when planning trips, especially long plane rides. So, we took the leap and went to London for 8 days. It was one of the best family vacations we have experienced. It was Mason’s first trip abroad, and I wanted to be with him when he did it. We also took a 4 day itinerary and spaced it over the 8 days. This allowed for slow lazy mornings, afternoon naps, and plenty of rest. With that, we were able to experience a great deal of London. We actually arrived the weekend of the Queen’s Jubilee, so the city was in a very festive mood. We saw the sights, visited the Harry Potter studio, took the London Eye, experienced quite a few pubs, and saw Queen (the band with Adam Lambert) perform. It was a vacation that we won’t soon forget. It was a vacation that Mason will remember, which was the point. I want to permanently press memories of his Mommy in his brain. I don’t want him to ever forget me.
We also spent a weekend in Philadelphia for a a family wedding. The wedding was beautiful, we were able to see family from far away, and we took the time to show Mason around Philly. We visited Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin’s grave, and a few other sites (including a pilgrimage to SAP HQ’s). We also did a family taste test, putting Geno’s against Pat’s for the best Philly cheesesteak. We all agreed unanimously that Geno’s was best.
Recapping the summer brought the memories back to me. As a family, we are focused on making each day count. There were many days when all I could do was rest in my ol’ trusty recliner, but the days that I felt good, we took advantage of it. And some days, I just had to push through. Believe me, there were days in London when I couldn’t take another step. Luckily, there was a bench to sit on or a pub to duck into for air conditioning and a little respite. One thing is for certain, if I live every day in my recliner, I will never get that Bucket List checked off. So, if I can share just one big takeaway, it is to figure out a way to Push Through!
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