Sunday, June 28, 2009

Has it really been two weeks?

My, how the time flies in America. How do you people ever get your heads above water? It seems like there is never enough time to do the things you need to do here. I have a strong suspicion it is because you Yanks have to do your own laundry.

Needless to say, we have been busy. Last week we traveled to New York, where Jorge was Best Man at his friend Daniel's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding. They had cigar rollers. Jorge says this was over the top - after all, they're Colombians, not Cubans, so he says it would have been a more authentic experience if the guests were sprinkled with cocaine. (Thankfully, we were not). They also had terrific food, including a dessert bar. Unfortunately, I was not able to eat much, because I unwisely wore a beautiful taffeta dress that doubled as a gastric bypass. I literally could not fit the food in my stomach. Next wedding, I'm going with an elastic waistband, fashion be damned.

From New York we took the bus up to Boston, where neither of us have been before. Once in Boston, we two poor souls - who do not even own winter coats - were subjected to what felt like sub-zero temperatures and rain every day. Hasn't New England heard of summertime? We had a great time nonetheless, and I got to catch up with two treasured friends, Suzanne and Jennifer.

Then I had 3 last days in New Orleans of shopping, cleaning up the mess I made of my brother-in-law's house, and packing. As usual, I have twice as much stuff as I thought I had, and am worried about being over the weight limit.

Tomorrow I start the 2-day trek back to Malawi, solo. Jorge and Milo are staying with his family a couple weeks longer, and I am already teary-eyed at the thought of being away from my darling boy for so long. On the bright side, I get to watch movies (and maybe even sleep!) on the airplane this time...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So much news...

Goodness, five days goes by, and there is just so much to write about!

First of all, and most importantly, if you didn't see my Facebook update:

The results are in, and I am officially in remission for five years. This is such good news that I don't even know where to begin with the happy, relieved feelings. It seems like the last 5 years have taken forever to pass. And I think of who I was back then - a recent graduate, unemployed, newly engaged, broke, and totally insecure about the future - to now: a mother, happily married for almost 5 years, with a career I love (and no longer broke, big bonus).

I'm not out of the woods, of course - my doctor tells me that 10% of the people who have Hodgkins relapse after 5 years, but the odds get better and better each year that passes. And I plan on sticking around.

On to other news:
  • Dad and Joan arrive tomorrow for the weekend - I'm so excited for them to get to see how big and fun Milo has gotten.
  • Today Jorge and I got roped into helping his sister prepare and distribute 200 home-cooked meals to raise money for her daughter to be a princess in a Mardi Gras ball next year. Made me feel grateful to have a boy.
  • Sneak peeks of Milo's professional photos are up on the web!!! Check out my super-talented friend Amy's blog at: I can't wait to see the rest! We had a great time wandering around the French Quarter taking pictures.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Deja vu

I went to see me old oncologist this week, and yesterday I had CT scans - I think these must be about my 8th now. It's been almost 5 years now since I completed treatment for Hodgkin's, and so far so good.

It was a strange feeling being back at the hospital though. It brought back all kinds of memories of being a patient, being sick. You know, all those medical dramas on TV always present the story from the doctor's point of view, and I think it must be because the patient's world is so surreal and absurd that it's too difficult to portray accurately... (Not that Grey's Anatomy is committed to medical accuracy or anything. But still.)

For one thing, there's that strange feeling of being an outsider. In your typical hospital, there are people with badges, people in scrubs, official people scurrying all around you. They barely give you a glance. They are clearly up to something important. And then there's you, wandering the halls, seemingly the only patient in the building until you find your way into a waiting room. It's almost as if you are intruding on the doctor's world, even though the whole place couldn't exist without you - the patient.

And then of course, for me, there's the whole perky young blonde thing. I never fit in in the oncology department, in the chemo room, in the radiation waiting area. Everyone else was so old, so frail, and just worn down by it all. I don't know if the other patients felt sad seeing someone as young as me being treated for cancer, or envious of my energy. Likewise, I always wondered how the doctors and nurses viewed me: with pity? Or even worse, did they hardly think of me at all? Even now, married and a mother, I stand out.

I was lucky - I had one doctor (out of the many) who treated me like a human being, who asked about my relationships, who was sympathetic to my financial situation. That is the doctor I still go back to when I'm in New Orleans, even though she has moved twice since Hurricane Katrina. The rest of them...well, they gave me good medical care, which from their point of view seems to be all they felt they were obligated to do. Your view of doctors also changes when you spend a lot of time in hospitals.

So hopefully I am done with the poking, the nasty chemicals I have to drink, the nurses trying to find one of my tiny veins to stick, the holding still for everything...I can get back to just being Gwyneth, not Gwyneth the sicko. Until next year, at least.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Look out ladies

Milo, aka Lil' Romeo, has been unleashed on the female population of New Orleans.

First there was this:

(This is Milo kissing his second cousin Juliana ("Colombian-style," says Jorge. Keeping it in the family, you know.))

Then today we took Milo to a concert downtown. As usual, he had fun pushing his stroller around, flirting with the ladies, and shaking his little booty to the music. Then he met a little girl a couple months younger than her. He showed a lot of interest, but that is typical - Milo loves other kids, and he tends to show his affection gregariously and physically. This normally makes the other kid get scared and cry.

But Milo really liked this particular girl. After the usual shoulder nudges and head pats, he started walking behind her, and I swear, I am not making this up - he stretched out his little arms and felt up her butt. Then he went in for a hug. The girl started to wise up and tried to hide behind her mother's legs, but Milo was too quick for her. He followed right after her, and then planted a big old open-mouthed kiss right on her mouth!

Kind of embarassing for me, actually. I mean, I didn't think I would have to make the "I'm sorry my son molested your daughter" apology for many more years. I guess I better start practicing that speech. Or locking the dang kid up, one or the other.