We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tumor Marker Numbers

So sissy's tumor marker numbers are in from today. 307. A month ago they were 340. Not the huge 250 drop we had last month but they are still going down and sissy's oncologist is very pleased with the progress Trina is making. She is very low, emotionally. Yesterday she came over for dinner and couldn't eat anything. Everything tastes nasty and very few things are edible to her. I feel so helpless and just frustrated with the whole situation. But every time I start to get angry I think of Rose. It just goes to show that money really doesn't solve everything.

After chemo today Beya, Papa, Valentina, sissy and I went out to eat. Trina seems to do better when she eats in restaurants. Plus spicy food seems to be a tiny bit better but it's a very fine line between spicy enough to taste it and too spicy where it upsets her stomach. So we went to our regular Chinese place. Our regular server wasn't there until the end so we had to make do with a new one who doesn't know us. As we were leaving, the server who doesn't know us, kept looking at mom, then me, then Valentina, then mom again. She did this several times. I was waiting for the inevitable "is she adopted?" question. I get it more often from Asian people since at times Valentina looks Asian. She does have Asian (and German, go figure!) in her from her birth family. Anyway, so our Asian server keeps comparing Valentina to mom and me and finally asked mom, "is she your granddaughter?" Mom said yes, Valentina is her granddaughter. In order to clarify, I said "she is my daughter." The server laughed at me and said "oh! I know she's your daughter! She looks just like you! The face, the mouth, I know she's yours!" Mom and I just looked at each other and smiled.

The situation we had last week was a complete 180 of what happened today. We went to Olive Garden (see? We try to go out to eat as much as our wallets will allow..... for Trina's sake, lol) and our waitress was chatting us up. This time it was just us girls and Asa. Anyway, our waitress came right out and asked if Valentina was adopted. She wasn't rude or anything and I just said yes, she was. The waitress then said how she had a cousin who was adopted from Guatemala and another one who was adopted from China (I think, I can't remember) so we talked about it a bit when Asa waved his hand to grab her attention and blurted out, "I'M A U.S. CITIZEN!" All of us just started cracking up. The week before Asa had asked me what a citizen was. I tried explaining that it's kind of like where you live, that we all live in the United States so we are citizens of the US. I told him that even though Valentina was born in Guatemala she is a US citizen also. I really had no other idea of how to explain it but I guess it made an impact on him! The things that come out of that boys mouth.

And Valentina. Oh my dear, dear, Valentina. Last week Asa was playing soccer with Papa outside. He decided that he need his orange soccer cones to set up his goals. Asa was running everywhere asking "where are my cones? Where are my cones?" He was looking in the back yard, going through the toys in the family room and as he made his way through the house to the front yard I heard Valentina shouting at him, "ASA! I FOUND YOUR CONES! ASA! I HAVE YOUR CONES!" He turned around and said "no Valentina, I need my soccer cones." Turns out Valentina had opened the cupboard and pulled out the ice cream cones! Again, our miracle children truly do make things not just bearable in an unbearable situation, but they make life joyous.

One year ago today Trina and Josh were married in their intimate, beautiful wedding. It makes me so sad to see how different her life is now from that day. If I could, I would do anything to make things "normal" again, but I can't and all we can do is "not be licked by tragedy". My heart just hurts so much for my sissy. But one thing that we have always done is appreciate each day for what it is. We learned that lesson 16 1/2 years ago when cancer first attacked sissy and we never forgot it. People tell us "well now you know to appreciate the good days" and the thing is, we always have. Nobody knew that better than we did and we lived that way for 16 years. Cancer and other diseases make no sense. There is no sense to them. Some people have said "oh, there's a reason for it" or "you'll find out what the reason is for this someday", to which I say bullshit. Sometimes shit happens. There is NO REASON for Liam to not have made it. There is NO REASON for children to suffer. There is NO REASON for sissy to have cancer, twice. So yes, we do appreciate each day, but the bad ones are just a little harder to like.

"I am not going to be licked by tragedy, as life is a challenge and we must carry on and work for the living as well as mourn for the dead."

Thank you Rose.


Mandy said...

I am horribly behind in blog reading, but Happy Anniversary to Trina and Josh! I love that quote by Rose Kennedy. I have always thought that Valentina looks like you. The kids are adorable as always. Sending a big ol' hug to all of you!!

auntrene said...

I hope that Trina is feeling well today and was able to enjoy the family on Labor Day. My mom is battling cancer also.. She actually is off treatments as her cancer was growing with it as fast as it was without any treatment.
I just wondered since you said that Trina says everything tastes nasty if you have tried the eating off of plastic utensils trick. That is what we did for my mom and the difference was huge for her.. The silverware leaves a metal taste, yet the plastic just seems to make everything taste and smell better.
Good luck, I hope she is able to enjoy some good food.
Take Care

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