Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Pumpkin Patch . . . This year

Yesterday marked one year since I learned of my diagnosis. Colon cancer metastasis to liver. Tumor in colon small. Tumor in liver . . . actually three tumors . . . covering 80% of my liver. Inside and out. Too much to do surgery on. Too much to take half of liver out. 

Things going for me: youth, nonsmoker, and non alcohol drinker. I was in general good health other than the cancer. 

Things going against me: stress, possible bad genetics, (both my paternal and maternal grandmas had colon cancer, but very late in life), my love of diet soda and just plain bad luck.

Although one rude doctor, who completed my colonoscopy, said I didn't have a chance and wouldn't live until Christmas (2014) I have never been given a prognosis by my oncologist. Someone told me they don't do that anymore, but I don't know if that is true. Instead, he just says he is going to try and give me as much time as possible. 

Time almost ran out in July. My body was beginning system shut downs. My liver was starting to fail. But then we tried to give chemo one more chance. And it has bought me more time. I think I have a chance to see Christmas 2015. 

I know, I can't live off chemo poison forever. I am already feeling effects. The stomach cramps are a nightmare and I finally have begun to lose chunks of hair. I shaved my head to solve that problem. 

But somedays, for a few hours, I feel great. Like this past Sunday. 

Here is the kind of mom I once was:

Before going to a place like the pumpkin patch I would:

1. Make sure my camera battery is fully charged
2. Make a game plan for taking pictures
3. Or hire a photographer (like I did in 2014) so that I can be in pictures too
4. Read exactly 200 books to Brycen about pumpkins. Yes, there are that many,
5. Make or buy a special snack to take along. Last year I even bought candy apples.
6. Carefully plan the cutest outfit for Brycen to wear at patch.
7. Make sure all crafts (we love crafts) leading up to pumpkin patch day are pumpkin orientated.
8. Make sure I invite as many friends and family as possible.

No, lie - I would make sure all of that was completed. Ok, the 200 books might have been an exaggeration. But I do own 5-10 about pumpkins, pumpkin farms, hayrides, etc.

This year my main and only goal was to remember my Nikon.

1. I did not know if the camera battery was charged up or not.
2. I had no clue to what pictures I would take, except I really wanted one of him sitting on the pumpkins the farm traditionally places around a tree. Just because I have a picture of him sitting on said pumpkins when he was 10 months old, when he was 1, and when he was 2. (And now I have one at age 3! See above).
3. I did not hire a professional photographer.
4. I read exactly zero books to him about anything pumpkin related. However! Someone had recently dropped off a package with a book about, you guessed it, the pumpkin patch. Brycen found it and we read it after his pumpkin patch visit, but at least it was the same day.
5. No special snacks. Unless you count the Dunkin Donuts Munchkin Holes that my brother brought along. And I totally count that because Brycen and I did some damage to that box of Holes. We also made our yearly trip to Denny's, to remind us why we only go there once a year. Although B and I were totally full of donut holes to eat the grease.
6. Brycen dressed himself this year:

He is so proud of this outfit, I did not think of trying to convince him to change into anything else. He kept saying to himself, "I am such a cool dude in this outfit."

Mommy, I want this pumpkin!
7. Our biggest craft so far this October has been painting pumpkins. We did a failed attempt to make sun catchers with tissue paper.
8. Of course I invited everyone and anyone to come with us on SATURDAY. And then it rained. So I told people, we will be there Sunday. We will be there early, to avoid the crowds. We did get there early, but everyone else had the same idea, but at least we didn't have to wait in a long line for tractor/hay ride. And at least my brother and his wife, and one friend, came along. Now that I think about it, my brother has been all 4 times to the pumpkin patch.

Pumpkin Patch with Uncle J!
The hayride drops us off at a real patch of growing pumpkins. Wow, they had a really good year for pumpkin production. I thought I was going to have to stay sitting on the hayride, but I actually made it walking over to the fields, without my walker or cane.

The outing was a big success. I didn't have to plan every detail in order to make it a success. Which is good, because I don't have energy for that anyway!


  1. 1. B's outfit rocks! I LOVE his confidence! 2. You are perfect ! Baby boy, blue skies a beautiful day of pumpkins, hay rides and donut holes...blessings all! My continued prayers Karen, I hope this day and days ahead are nothing but kind to you.

  2. That kid is so damned cute! Not that I could even see him in all that camo. Keep the faith sista - You are one tough mama!

  3. such lovely photos
    holding memories and experiences
    of a rich and dear life
    I wish you courage and grace as you take step after step

  4. Your pumpkin to-do list pre-cancer was pretty intense! Your after cancer list is stil more ambitious than anything I could do. Most notably - I remember to bring my camera, might remember a charged battery, but then still end up taking pix with my camera phone. Go, me!

    I know it's been a really rough year for you but so glad you have been defying the odds and am hoping with all my might that you continue to do so well past Christmas 2015. I've really enjoyed getting to know you through your blog, books, and photos this past year!


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