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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

700

This marks my 700th post since I began my blog. 700. An odd thought.

On this 700th post I decided to talk about my friend Wendy. I met her about 5 years ago in the chemo room. She was being treated for colon cancer at age 32, and I was being treated for breast cancer at age 29. We formed a quick bond for obvious reasons, not to mention the fact that we had kids close in age. Her daughter is 6 months old than Nadia, one year younger than Claire.

She worked at one of the hair salons in town, and I started going to her. We would chat about our cancers, and the difficulties with being treated for cancer while having young kids. We talked about the stuff that only another cancer patient would understand. And we did.

I would see Wendy around town, at the pool, at Target, and as time passed she told me about her cancer spreading. I cried in Target for her as she told me that things didn't look good right now for her. She was no longer working, struggling just to take care of her kids and meet their needs.

Wendy passed away this past Friday night, after falling into a brief coma. I went to the wake with the girls tonight. I saw Wendy for the last time, paid my respects and thanked God for ending her pain. It had been a long 5 years for her.

So, here's to you, Wendy, a woman with a smile that could light up any room, a woman who helped me sort out a lot of my feelings, a woman who will be missed. Number 700 is dedicated to you. Peace.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sniffle....Sniffle....Sniffle

Wah! I had an appointment today to go to the.........dentist. I had planned on using sedation. In fact, I was pretty pumped about not remembering what there were going to do to me. Until I found out that THEY did not plan on me using sedation (ear piercing scream here). So, what did I have done? A flipping root canal!! With no sedation! AHHHH!!!! That was, oh, going on 8 hours ago, and I can just now feel my tongue. I absolutely love my dentist and his staff. They are like little angels here on earth. With that being said, I hate going to the dentist. I have had way too many bad experiences with dental/orthodontic stuff that I don't think I will ever be okay going to the dentist, which is really unfortunate since I really like to visit with all of them there. Sigh. We can't have it both ways I suppose. Now, where's my Advil?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Need For Speed

Why in the world do I find the need, while passing someone who is going WAY too slow in the fast lane, to look at them? Why must I see who is driving so incredibly slow? In most cases, it's a little old lady or man. Sometimes it is a younger twenty something person who must just be thinking so hard that their car cannot go the speed limit. Either way, I feel the need to look. They never look back. Why? Why don't you people look back so you can see the annoyance in my face? Just once. That's all I ask. And yes, I know I am admitting to passing in a no passing lane, but really, what other choice do I have?

My Mom

When my dad was diagnosed last year, my mom put her own medical issues to the side to help my dad through his. It was very noble of her, if you know what she has been going through. If you don't, I am here to tell you, as she is rather modest.

Two years ago my mom had a bowel re-sectioning due to diverticulitis. The surgery went ok, but she ended up getting a would infection and was placed in a nursing home for I think it was about 3 weeks. She had to endure a lot of painful things while trying to get the wound to heal up. I kid you not when I say that it was at least four inches long, and at least an inch and a half to two inches deep. It had to be packed and eventually they put a wound vac to suck out all of the naughty fluid. Imagine having an open wound and someone putting the hose part of a vacuum on it. She dealt with that for quite some time. In the meantime, she popped another hernia in the area where the wound was. The doctors did not want to touch it until the wound healed. Well, the bigger the hernia got, the more her "new" skin ripped open. It never had a chance to heal with the ever growing hernia. Fast forward two years and here we are. I go to the doctor with her about every 3 weeks to make sure that there is no infection and to check all of the open sores on her belly. She looks as if she is carrying a basketball a little off to the side of her belly. It's huge.

We came to an overpass and she decided that she can no longer continue day to day in this way. She has decided to have surgery to try and repair the hernia. Because she has a high risk of infection, due to the open sores, the doctors are going to use a mesh made from collagen. They will have to piece together a couple of them since they don't come big enough to cover her hernia. There is also another risk dealing with her intestines. If they are pressed up against the wall of her abdomen, they doctors run a risk of tearing them while trying to remove them from the skin. Think of it like Velcro. It's very similar.

Nothing is certain until the doctors can get in there and look around a little. She will have all three surgeons on her case. I have a lot of faith in them and their work as two of the three have worked on me in the past. But the thing to be certain of is this, she is a high risk patient. There's a chance she won't make it through. There's a chance she will be ok. What does one say to that? Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

It will be a major major surgery, and the recovery will be hellish. They are expecting her to be in the hospital for may a week and a half. If things go ok, she will go home to recover. If there are some complications, she will go back to the nursing home. If there are major complications, she will go to the cities to a specialized center. She could be there for months.

So, that is what is going on in our family now a days. Her surgery is scheduled for Feb 17th. Of course, I will update on my blog. Say some strong strong prayers please. As always, thank you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just So You Know

As I am sitting here at my computer, it is -20 degrees outside. Actual temp. I am afraid to think of what the windchill might be. -20! I have to say it again, -20! That seems sick and wrong. It is so cold that school was canceled for tomorrow 4 hours ago! So let's think all of this out......

Monday: We had an early release day. Too much snow.
Tuesday: We had a late start day. Lots of icy patches, along with too much snow.
Wednesday: We had a FULL day of school! Sha-zam!
Thursday: No school. Too cold. Way too cold.

I can hardly see what Friday will bring us. What a crazy week this has been!

***Just checked the windchill. It's only -30. ***

My New Toy











So Dion got me a Canon Rebel XS for Christmas, and I LOVE IT!! I have started up another blog that will consist mostly of photos......










I have gotten some pictures put onto a disk, so now I can upload them to my blog(s). Enjoy!




Thursday, January 08, 2009

Grrrrrrr!

I can't figure out how to get my pictures from my new camera onto the computer! The camera came with some disks, but alas, I can't figure them out!

On the same note, I am trying to find a place where I can get inexpensive photography supplies. If you know of any (besides eBay, which I am constantly looking at), let me know. I am looking for lights and backdrops, mostly.

I haven't been working my second job with disabled adults because classes won't start up again for them until February. I miss it. Which is good. It's something to look forward to.

I got my hair cut. Now there's some exciting news.

I have been going to my mom's doctor appointments with her for her hernia that has grown into what looks like my mom is carrying a baby....off to the side. Next week we are going to meet again with Beth (the surgeon) to get any questions we may have answered and talk more about the upcoming surgery, which is going to be massive. I believe all three surgeons are going to work on her, trying to get her intestines back where they belong. There are a lot of risks to this surgery, mostly due to the fact that she still has open wounds from her last surgery 2 years ago. When she had her bowel resection, she developed a wound infection. Soon after a hernia (the one mentioned above) formed and because it just gets bigger and bigger, it keeps tearing open her skin on her abdomen. Hence her open wounds. She is in a lot of pain, more often than not. All of this got put on hold when my dad was diagnosed a year ago, and now here we are with a lot to think over. If everything were to go perfectly for the surgery, she would be in the hospital 5-7 days. If there are complications, obviously it could be longer. Beth warned that it may well even be months. There is a very high risk of infection, which makes the risk of death higher too. But, the way she is living day to day now, just is not a good quality of life. Enough on that. I will tell more after the next appointment.

Dion and I are going out to eat with Mr & Mrs. Smitten Kitten tomorrow night. Yay for going out to eat with adults and not eating at McDonald's! No offense, Ronald, but one can only stand so much of that food, not to mention the sometimes crappy toys they hand out which I normally just end up stepping on and cursing anyway.

Ok, I am signing out for now.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

2009. Wow. Sometimes there are things that trigger memories, and it really feels like that event happened just months ago. Until I realize that 6 years have passed. Or 10 years. Or even 15. We are always told have fast time goes by, and for some reason, we never really believe it. That is, until we look back and see that in fact, it really does.

There are so many memory triggers that take me back to different times. The other night I went out with some friends to a bar (that in itself can trigger memories). And living in a small town, I have learned that around every corner there is someone I know. And who do I see at the bar, but my ob nurse when Nadia was born with her husband, daughter, and who I assume to be her daughter's boyfriend/husband. I walked over to where she was and grabbed her arm. We hugged and I was thrown back into the memories of when Nadia was born, and everything else that surrounded it. We laughed about how it had been almost 5 years since she helped me through my labor. 5 years. She was meant to be my nurse that night. At one point in her career she worked in oncology. I had been diagnosed with breast cancer the day before I met her. She gave me tips for surviving through chemo. For those few days, she made everything alright. After she found out Nadia's name, she came back into my room with a baby name book in her hand, yelling, "Nadia's name means HOPE!" What a ray of sunshine on my turned upside down world.

When she left the bar that night, she came over to me and said that she was so happy that I was almost to the 5 year mark, and that she would never forget me. I will go to my grave forever grateful to her for all she did for me those few days, and I will never forget her either.

I got my hair cut the other day, and I was talking to the stylist about all of my radical hair changes. My mind went back to a picture I have somewhere of me sitting on the floor with our dog. My hair was bone straight and went down to probably about my naval. I can't imagine having hair that long now. Not because I wouldn't want it, but because, well actually, I don't know why. Weird.

Amalia asked me to post on how I am doing. To be honest, I really don't know. There are days that I just want to be alone, which is hardly ever possible. There are days that are fine. There are times, like last night at our neighbor's house, where I am just living in the moment and having a good time. I have no clue what I am supposed to be doing, or feeling for that matter. I do feel like I am at a standstill. Kind of stuck on Tuesday, when all you want is for it to be Wednesday, hump day. Like I have gotten through some emotions, but can't get moving on others. Blah blah blah. I seem to be going in circles.

January marks the year anniversary of when my dad was diagnosed. A year. I don't know how last year slipped through my fingers so fast. I go back through my memories of the talks that my dad and I had, and how special they are to me now (well, then too). I can look back at doing what I could to help my parents, and I am satisfied. I have no regrets, but of course not having more time. I still had to work and keep up with my family at home, but I know that I did what I could. There are of course so not-so-fond memories....(STOP READING NOW IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW OF ANY DETAILS OF WHAT CANCER DID TO MY DAD!!!!)the bruises and cuts from when he was too stubborn to let people help him and he fell, picking him up and getting him into the hospital bed, the bleeding mouth sores, his pain, seeing his watch go from fitting his wrist to being able to slide down his arm, his skin becoming a different shade, his legs and feet swelling to the point of being shinny and just out of proportion to the rest of him. His hair got greyer as time passed, and had thinned when he did chemo. His belly got huge, but then started to go down, and down, and down. You could count all of his ribs, and his clavicle stuck out like someone from a concentration camp. I watched his cheeks sink in, turning him into someone that I would not have recognized.

When going to Mayo he would have to sit in the back with the seats reclined to take the pressure off of his bloated belly. The last time I held his hand was after he died. The time before that was after his last appointment at Mayo, in the parking ramp. What a horrible day that was. The cancer had returned, there was nothing left to do. I remember starting to tear up in the doctor's office. Then the tears wouldn't stop. The doctor said we could stay back in the room as long as we needed to, but I knew that my reaction was not going to change. I pushed my dad's wheelchair, tears streaming down my face. Of course, when you come out of the back into the waiting room of the oncology department crying, everyone knows. We went over to the elevators and while I was standing behind my dad, I could see his lip quivering. My dad. My powerful, strong dad was facing something he could not win. And there was nothing we could do to change it. I held his hand in the parking lot as we walked to the car. It was so warm and soft. His hand were always soft. After getting home, I just drove around town for over an hour. Getting no where fast.

Some of the things I wrote are things I haven't talked to anyone about before. Just memories buried in my mind, not really wanting to surface. I watched my dad die a slow and painful death. But now, there are times when I feel him around me. And when I have those feelings, he is not the sick man I last saw, he is the captain of his boat, smiling with both his mouth and eyes.

And that, is what gets me through.