hitting a wall

I had meant to post something fun today, seeing as I’ve managed to go a whole 2 weeks since last posting. (That may be a record for me–I don’t remember going longer.) But I got some distressing news today. My nephew Diego had his 4-month-post-treatment scan yesterday, and the results were not as we’d anticipated. There will need to be more surgery. I feel a bit like we’ve hit a wall.

(I found this photo when looking through my photo library for clouds, since my sister picked that as a theme for her post. This felt fitting. I’m quite fond of the photo, though. It’s a mural in San Francisco, I think near the Bay Bridge.)

Welcome, 2011! (Please suck less than 2010 did.)

Here we are, welcoming in another new year. Which is, quite frankly, a big relief. Because, chances are, this new year will be better than last year. If not, please allow me to enter a coma. Right now.

2010 was The Year of Big Suck.

I know I whine, and I know things could have been worse. (Believe me, I’ve imagined ways in which things could have been worse.) But let’s face it, this has been a Really Bad Year™ for my family. It wasn’t All Bad, certainly, but the ratio of Good to Bad was dramatically lower than in most years. Especially given the size of the Bad. When a loved one in the family has cancer, it is hard to imagine the size of the Good to offset it. When that loved one is a small child, even daily deliveries of home-baked cookies, fuzzy puppies, and attractive massage therapists would barely provide a distraction. And not only did I not get any such deliveries, the year instead delivered international catastrophes as well as other more localized family- related, friend-related and personal woes.

I’m not a big one for New Year’s resolutions, but I have often enjoyed looking back in nostalgia at the events of the previous year. “Nostalgia” is not quite the right word the way I feel about this past year. In addition to the aforementioned Bad Stuff, I remember being sick. A lot. I was sick something like 9 times in the first few months of the year, and then got a severe case of poison ivy that lasted for weeks. And while I haven’t really wanted to mention it here, I’ve been feeling pretty awful, as in physically unwell, for a while. Like probably 2 years. I had attributed a lot of that to lack of sleep, but then even once I started getting sleep, I still haven’t felt well. There’s certainly been a lot of worry, and so I thought that (and the ensuing stress-related dietary tendencies) was to blame. But things have been ongoing in spite of various adjustments. (I finally got around to making an appointment to start to address the problem.)

I finally decided to make a push to make progress with my degree, but due to complications of life, health and family, the progress (while not imperceptible) was slower than I’d hoped. The year ended up on a disappointing note after I gave up on a deadline I’d been pushing for.

2010 wasn’t all bad, certainly, and maybe I’ll try to write about its better moments. But not today. Today I’m still holding a grudge.

I am optimistic that 2011 will be a better year. My nephew has finished his treatments, and hopefully he will recover soon from the treatments and the complications so that he can get back to the important business of being a little kid. I am hopeful that I can get my own health in order, and can speed up my own progress with my degree. It looks like this year will involve potentially a lot of travel, and that’s a good thing in my book. In addition to some trips for family-related things (I’m heading to California in a few days!), I am hoping to go to at least one conference in some exciting place. Maybe even Hong Kong.

So, welcome, 2011! I look forward to seeing what you can do.

With 2010 coming to an end, things are looking up for 2011…

…unless this guy is right. In which case things are just coming to an end in 2011.


My nephew, Diego, is back in the hospital again. I don’t remember when the last time I wrote about him was. I know some people who visit here have kept up with the updates on my sister’s blog.¹ For anyone who hasn’t followed there, I’m happy to say that Diego successfully reached the end of his treatments about 3 weeks ago. It was a long hard road, with chemo and radiation treatments following the successful removal of the tumor back in May. The last chemo treatment meant that Diego was going to finally get to start healing and get back to normal life. And the last week or so, it sounded like he was really getting some energy back.

But cancer treatments are really hard on a body, especially on such a little one. Now he is in the hospital with what appears to be a bowel obstruction. He had one a few months ago that needed to be addressed surgically. It sounds like there is reason to be somewhat optimistic that the obstruction can resolve itself without surgery. We are really hopeful that this will turn out to be the case, as another major abdominal surgery will surely impede his progress getting back to normal soon. Any positive thoughts and prayers you want to send his way would be appreciated.

This somewhat unrelated photo was one I took in May.


¹ My sister has done some really powerful writing on that blog, while documenting Diego’s treatment and the emotional rollercoaster they’ve been riding. Her posts on finding meaning and how they found out about Diego’s cancer are two recent ones that I’ve found especially moving.