Sunday, April 16, 2006

Freddie, Lyka and Ysabel's Easter visit

My brother, Freddie, and his 2 daughters, Lyka and Ysabel, visited over the Easter weekend. We had a blast!!! They arrived Friday night and Kel had a feast waiting for them. Pizza for the kids and prawns for the adults. YUM!

Burke really took to her cousins. They played all weekend. Saturday morning, all Lyka and Ysabel had to do was stare at Burke to wake her up. Seriously.

We didn't go anywhere since I didn't want to be out the first weekend of my treatment. We stayed home, reconnected. The kids did a lot of playing. We painted 5 dozen eggs! That's a tradition my parents started when Lyka was 3 years old and she visited us in Manila. We revivied it and had a great time.

We hid a dozen eggs in the living room for the kids to find. That lasted barely 30 minutes. They complained that they painted 5 dozen eggs and they only got to look for 4 eggs each. Well... We still had a great time...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Chemo Cycle 3 - Summary

This cycle was much better than the second one. I was pretty much recovered by Friday. Unlike the 2nd cycle, I wasn't really good until Sunday afternoon. I think having my cousins over the weekend before my treatment and having my bother and his daughters over the weekend after my treatment really boosted my spirit and energy. Someone had just told me that that is the sign of a true extrovert - I get my energy by reaching out to others in times of need.

I also started to walk about half an hour everyday. I try to go out under the sun. That really rejuvenates me. Just proves I'm solar powered, I guess.

My appetite was really bad, though. That awful taste in my mouth just made food almost gross. If it were not for the steroids that was making me absolutely ravenous, I would rather not eat. But I have no energy when I don't eat. It's a vicious cycle.

Kel just cooked everything I asked. Despite the times I would not eat what he cooks. Not because it's not good. He says it's worse than feeding a craving pregnant woman (nag-lilihi). God love him. Shucks, I love him.

Not just my husband but also my Mom would wait on me hand and foot. Everything I'd ask for, I'd get. Massage, prayers, food ... etc. Thank God for Mom.

One of the things I asked for that week was prawns in tamarind soup (sinigang na hipon). Of course, we didn't have any prawns and I didn't want Kel to go to the store just for one thing. That weekend, Tito Ben and Tita Esther came by with a couple of pounds of prawns!!! Dream come true! Thanks Tito Ben and Tita Esther!!! We had sinigang and halabos (sauteed in garlic).

This week also happened to be Holy Week. For Catholics, we remember the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. Our family also recalls Dad's major surgery removing the cancer from his spine. Now, my treatment week.

Out of the blue, a friend of mine called and was offering to share the Lady of Fatima with us this week. So, she was with us this week. I believe she was truly watching over us and listening to our petitions.

Let me end this with good news. My cough is gone! I'm not taking my industrial strength cough suppressant. My doctor says the tumor was probably crowding my bronchioles. That could probably be a sign of shrinkage. We'll know for sure mid-May when I get scanned again after the 4th cycle.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Zari and Yaz's visit

Two of my cousins visited from the west coast this last weekend. We had a blast!!! Despite the fact that they brought the rain with them ;-). The two full days they were here, it rained constantly. On the other hand, their mom says that the time they were here, it cleared up in the West. Hmmm.....

I had to be at the office last Friday. But I went home early. Kel and I picked up some groceries for a really nice but healthy (and easy to prepare since he had something to do) dinner. As soon as I got home, we started talking and eating (that's the theme this weekend). We had a great time preparing dinner which was a big salad, crusty whole grain bread which we dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, quezo de bola, roasted red bell peppers, roasted asparagus, baked stuffed salmon (bought them stuffed), and cooked brocolini. Dessert was mascerated strawberries dipped in whipped cream and espresso.

The next day, the rain was on a constant drizzle. At first, I wanted to go driving around DC but due to the weather and the National Cherry Blossom Festival, we decided to just stay home, watch movies and gab all day.

When we started to brew our morning espresso, there was no milk in the fridge. So, I put on my jacket and jeans and said I'd go out to grab some milk. Yaz wanted to come so she changed. She came out of the room really put together. Her hair was fixed and she had makeup on. Then Zari wanted to tag along as well. Waited a little longer and she came out the same way. Now at this point, Burke wanted to come along as well as my mom.

I only planned to go to the close gocery but I felt so bad that we'd be back faster than it took them to get ready. So we went to Trader Joe's which was further. I even gave them a tour of our area first just so that they'd see more of our area.

This is when I realized that here is a big difference me and my cousins. Because, they were raised in a more feminine household, they take the time to look good. They've been like this as long as I'd known them. I, on the other hand, was raised in a house that was more masculine. I'm a no frills kind of girl. I don't even wear lipstick to work let alone just to go to the grocery. I really do not care how I look. But the girl inside me still could not help asking if I should. There was a time when I was like that. Back in college, I did my hair, makeup and even nails everyday. I was really kikay (girly). Although, it did happen on occasion that my nails had not dried yet and I was late or distracted, I'd go to school with only one hand done. I just felt so high maintenance. And now that I'm married and I have a daughter and a full time job in a very casual office, I don't bother. That girl inside me is more cowgirl than girl.

We got home and crashed on the couch to watch chick flicks (The Parent Trap and Ice Princess). We had nothing but chips and fruit and espresso or tea.

We then went to mass that afternoon and went to a restaurant nearby that served Spanish tapas (appetizers - not meat jerky as we Pinoys think). We were there a good couple hours just talking and enjoying the food. Of note was the marinated chicken that suspiciously seemed like duck. But the waitress insisted it was chicken. Good thing it tasted good. Another good thing was Burke liked the sliced pita with spinach and artichoke dip I introduced to her as chips.

We went home around 9pm. More talking. I really mean more talking. Zari, Yaz and I slept at 6am. Good thing they had a late flight.

Later that morning, Mom and Kel whipped up a spectacular blunch (more lunch than breakfast since we ate at noon). Bacon, Longanisa (sweet Pinoy sausages), fried eggs, tomatoes, green mangoes, salted eggs, rice and an assortment of fruit.

Then, they had to pack and run. But I'm glad they visited. We really had a blast. Just re-connecting and laughing at anything and everything. My favorite story is of our Tita's (aunt) niece who was new to the states at the time of Zari's wedding. She had to be told not to shorten Tita to Tits... I love fresh off the boat straight into a train wreck stories ...

I'm surprised at how close we are as cousins. We don't see each other often. We didn't grow up together. They moved to this country when Zari and I were in the first grade. We did not write to each other often. When we did, it was just small talk. But when I came to visit them when I was college, we just clicked. It's very easy for us to open up to each other. It still felt like we grew up together. I guess it helped that our family is very close knit. Even if we don't hear from each other, we hear of each other and everyone else in the family. Whenever we meet, it's like we never were apart.

And it's not just them, even Kathy and Yvonne who I did not meet until that visit after college. John, B-boy and Peachy who left for this side of the world in the 7th grade. In our family, there is just no holding back any love. It's great to have that...