Where I'm Too Tired to Talk About Cancer and Hospitals Anymore

Here’s a fun little graphic that amused me.

Things are… well, things are going here.  The basic rundown is that Victoria got a cancer diagnosis that has been both optimistic and pessimistic (current state: optimistic?) and has had two surgeries this month, several ER visits and a stay at a Sioux Falls hospital pediatric unit.  She’s in pain and not in the best spirits, though things are better than a few days ago when she was sobbing and shaking from the pain and we were just trying to make it through the night and get some answers.

Alex has been to the ER once and I’m pretty sure he has Celiac Disease but I’ve screwed up his chances for diagnosis by taking him off gluten a couple of months ago in order to help make him healthy.  A nice nurse gave him macaroni and cheese the other day and he had instant intense stomach pain and headaches that lasted for days.  He is currently feeling pretty crappy and sick, and I feel completely overwhelmed in taking care of him and have zero confidence in any doctors to give me direction.

Then there was the night Jack woke up delirious and feverish, ranting about his head being upside down and tunneling through our second floor.  I got him into a bath, gave him Tylenol and mothered him through the night because I just couldn’t bear the thought of another trip to the ER.

Fiona is fighting a cold and cough. She has been in my arms nearly nonstop through the latest medical ordeal, keeping me company in Victoria’s hospital room and in the empty waiting room while Victoria had her latest surgery and Daryl was home taking care of the other kids.  Sometimes it helps to have a small toothless girl to just squeeze really tight.

I’ve been sick for 3 weeks and have a hard time standing upright. I can’t stop coughing, occasionally coughing until I throw up.

Daryl has been fighting off an illness because frankly we just don’t have the time or energy for one more person to be sick.  He and I just pretend we’re not sick and keep going.

We got a new steel roof this month and it took just about every spare cent we had, and then we ended up needing lots more spare cents for the crises that kept occurring.  This was just not the month to have that worry on top of everything else.  And since I haven’t had time to write my usual amount for Examiner.com, my earnings are way down and I’ll have a much lower paycheck than usual this month, when I need extra to help take care of everybody’s needs and try to make a little magic for all of us who need it so much right now.

We are all feeling isolated, overwhelmed and just plain terribly sad.

But right now I have a baby flailing in my lap, Victoria needs her pain meds and I need to find a way to make easy, healthy, tasty, gluten free, dairy free food to please 6 people when our cupboards are full of things like red lentils and Amish sour kraut.

And I mostly just want to curl into a ball and cry for several years.  And I wish I had a mother or a father or a sister or someone here to lean on who didn’t need to lean on me.

It turns out I wasn’t too tired to talk about hospitals and cancer.  I was just tired of not being able to say how I’m really feeling.

Time to put on my Mary Poppins hat.  I’m just taking things one breath at a time.

Sick School (on learning anyway)

Various members of our family are currently sick as dogs. Or sicker, actually, since Layla is perfectly fine.  I’m still battling it and it’s a proud moment that I’m even blogging at the computer right now.  I’m off to the couch again presently (after making food for Toria, who’s also still recovering from surgery).

We’re getting a lot accomplished despite our maladies, though.  Alex and I did speech practice on the couch.  I wrote out words for Jack to copy for handwriting and spelling practice.  And so on.

So my plans for the next day or two, sick or not, from the couch or not, are as follows…

  • Assemble a list of inspirational people for each child to read about or research. They can decide how they’d like to start logging them, but I’d like to start doing character study as a part of our homeschooling.  There are just too many amazing people in the world whom we all should know about.  🙂
  • Find great quotes for Jack to copy for handwriting, spelling and character study (classic Charlotte Mason teaching there).
  • Do some readers’ theater scripts on things like how bills are made into laws from the couches.
  • Strew lots of books, fiction and not.
  • Do poetry exercises with Anna on the couch each day. (Here’s my series of free lessons if you want to join in.)
  • Have the kids do math apps on my iPod.
  • Watch “Forks Over Knives” as assigned by a great homeschooling mom we know (whose partner was given a prescription to watch it by her surgery after heart surgery!).
  • Rest, read, draw, talk, cuddle, laugh.

If you’re sick or on bedrest or that sort of thing, I have other ideas on how to homeschool anyway here.

Now I’m off to take care of Toria and perhaps sneak a bit of danish that made its way into the house.  I promise to chase it with something healthy.  😉

Test Your History Knowledge!

Here’s a fun way to test your history knowledge (and the kids’!) and start some discussions on the topics that come up.   Play the History Channel’s Ultimate History Quiz.   It’s 10 questions each on a variety of American history (from Charles Manson to Robert E. Lee).  The faster you answer the right answer, the higher your score.  You can even play against others!  Keep loading for more quizzes.


Last Week, Next Week…


Egads, we’ve been busy! Here’s how last week looked for us…

MondayJack turned 9, Victoria graduated from archery class. We had a small birthday party, I baked a gluten free chocolate cake and made a special meal, Victoria had horse class and we all watched her archery tournament (she came in second in the class!).


TuesdayVictoria turned 14. We had a small birthday party and I made a special-order cake (brown sugar cake with lemon curd filling and cream cheese frosting with a hint of grape juice from local vineyard grapes we gathered, pressed and canned ourselves in 2009 — best cake I’ve ever eaten if I do say so myself!).  I also made a special-order meal.

WednesdayVictoria had surgery. We had to bring her in to the hospital at 6 a.m. and she needed an IV (which they could not get in and finally gave up on until after she was unconscious, poor girl) and a breathing tube.  The surgery took longer than expected but went well.  She emerged with a lot of stitches going down her jawline from her ear and a drainage tube that she had to keep for two days (and remove herself).  Recovery has been intense, scary and painful, though the worst seems to finally be past.


ThursdayAlex turned 5. I made a gluten free white cake with dairy free white frosting and his special meal. We drove to Marshall (an hour each way) and went shopping, played at a park and shot off foam rockets.


FridayWe drove 3 hours to the Minneapolis area to check into a hotel.  Friends took in Layla (our new pooch) for the stay.

SaturdayDaryl taught a historic telegraph presentation at a wonderful Civil War living history site known as The Landing.  We had a great time riding horse drawn trollies, exploring the site, talking to fabulous reenactors and playing.  Victoria’s friend Carmela met us there to come back home with us for a week.  We withstood torrential rains that ended the event early and drove 3 hours home.


SundayWe drove an hour each way to Hanksa and  New Ulm (a wonderful German area).  We climbed to the top of the Herman the German statue and learned about Varus, the Romans, Herman and German-Roman history.  We played at the park, we gathered caterpillars, the girls found four and five leaf clovers and we had ice cream treats on the way home.

Today — I’m looking out my upstairs window at Victoria and Carmela dancing in the street.  They’ve also been lighting unknown things on fire.  😉  Smoke bombs perhaps?  Daryl was out talking with them as they did it and I couldn’t see what the fun was.  Victoria has her horse class but I’m pretty sure they won’t let her ride because of her surgical ordeal.  Today is the last day and she’s been really looking forward to it, so I hope they work something out.  Who knows what other adventures we’ll work into the day!

This week — We’re going to Sioux Falls tomorrow (for the zoo and/or science museum).  Wednesday we’re hoping to visit the Petroglyphs.  Thursday Victoria gets her stitches out and we’ll probably go to a local state park and perhaps bring the girls’ bikes.  Friday, the kids will be attending the Science and Nature conference at SMSU.  Saturday, Daryl, Jack, Anna and Victoria will have photos taken for the new year of the Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant (roles to be blogged later!) and then we’ll drive up to Mankato to drop Carmela off with her folks.

Right now I have a sleeping baby in my lap and I have to go find out if I really killed the washing machine last night.  I seem to have overloaded it and it was trying to run away!  😉  It smelled slightly of smoke so I’m worried I killed a belt.  Fingers crossed!  Then I really should make some mix and match quick bread and read to the boys and find some outside fun and clean the kitchen and figure out laundry and set up some homeschooling and post 10 ways to make the day magical and catch up on my columns…

Perhaps I’ll holding the sleeping baby a little bit longer...