We are finally back from our weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area. My in-laws do not have wireless. I don’t know how to exist in a world without wireless! I turned to my blackberry in desperation, but all it did was ruin my eyesight and annoy Mike. This was my first trip away from home in a year. Until this last weekend, I hadn’t gone more than 40 miles from our house. It was great to get out of the bubble, but it’s even better to be home.

IMG_1435Traveling with Maddie wasn’t bad. On our drive up, we stopped about four times, including a long stop for dinner. That seemed to work well for her, so we tried to follow the same pattern on our drive back. It worked for a while…until Maddie decided she was over the whole car seat thing, cried for the last two hours of the drive, and projectile vomited not once, but twice. I wish I could say she was carsick, but I’m pretty sure she did it on purpose so we’d take her out of her car seat. She’s crafty. I don’t really blame her, though. I absolutely HATE making that drive. Every time we make it, I say we’ll never do it again. With gas prices the way they are, we probably won’t, unless we have to take Maddie up there.

I think we did a fairly good job of packing for two adults and a baby for three days out of town:

We didn’t have to bring the oxygen rocket! Instead, my parents foundOxygen Robot this awesome machine that looks a bit like a robot. It somehow takes the regular crappy air that the rest of us breathe, and turns it into super awesome air for Maddie. Crazy, right? Who knew there was oxygen in the air? We just hook her nasal cannula to it and she’s good to go. Having the Oxygen Robot makes traveling a lot easier. If only we could take it everywhere. Unfortunately it weighs a ton and it also costs a ton to rent. It’s worth it for driving trips, but considering how much it costs to check baggage – let alone overweight baggage – it isn’t an option for flying. Grrr.

The best part of my weekend was spending time with Jackie! We ate and drank and shopped our way around San Francisco, and we napped and hugged and talked and, of course, laughed. She snuggled Maddie and you know what? I was happy. She is Jackie!, the same Jackie! she’s always been, just like I knew she would be.

It’s hard for me to put into words how great it was to spend time with her. I’m not really one who believes in odds or probabilities. I’ve been told a lot of things about myself and Madeline that didn’t go the way the doctors predicted. So it’s a bit hard for me to accept the gravity of the situation. It’s not that I’m in denial that one of my best friends has a cancerous brain tumor – far from it. I’ve just learned that, for lack of better words, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. Medicine is progressing at such a rate that I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that a cure for cancer could be discovered before Jackie!’s supposed life expectancy runs out. There are, of course, some hard realities that all of Jackie!’s fans and loved ones have to process, but it’s nothing compared to what Jackie! has to face. It’s not about us, it’s about her. I wasn’t really expecting to have another loved one face the fight of her life, but I am so ready and willing to be there for her that my chest is about to burst. I’m always going to be there, Jackie. Always.