Thursday, December 12, 2013

I knew those lights were meant to be hung...

I just reread my last blog post.  Over and over again making sure I have forward progress in my grieving, but I think that's going to have to be put on hold for a titch.  The holiday season is just too difficult.  I don't even know if I can explain it to you.  I see her everywhere I go, I dream about her when I sleep.  I pretend she is holding my hand through the rough patches of life.  I try and channel her energy and smiles and tenderness onto the way I treat my kids.  I feel her presence all of the day long.  I know she has her hand on my shoulder always.  I got my first subtle sign that Momma is watching out for me.  I hung some Christmas lights in her memorial garden that I inherited from her.  A large string of snowflake lights that have eight different settings and flash brilliantly through the cold winter air.  They are very cute!  I first tested them inside to make sure they worked and was bummed when I saw that every third snowflake lit up.  Oh well....these were her lights and they need to go in her garden.  So on two of the balmier days in November, I went out and decorated.  As I plugged them all in, the string lights worked, but every third snowflake was out.  Something I could live with....  I guess Momma had different opinions on that one.  She always decorated to the nines at her home for the holidays and would never fathom hanging lights that were not all lit.  Not her.  No way.  This is the cool part, I promise there's a reason for the boring lights story.  Two nights later I come walking up to the house at 10pm after work only to notice EVERY SINGLE SNOWFLAKE LIGHT WAS LIT.  I was taken aback for a second and literally rubbed my eyes to see if I was seeing things.  Nope, not a vision.  The full fledged truth was staring right back at me.  Putting those lights in Mom's garden half lit was something she was NOT interested in, and she fixed it.  I am certain of that.  It was her.  It was a sign.  It's so typical of her atypical perfectionist behavior.  It made me giggle out loud in my back yard at 10pm all by myself.  It made me look up to the heaven and stars and say thank you.  Thank you for making your presence known.  Thank you for looking out for me.  Thank you for all you did, all you do, and all you will continue to do for me.  She's a freakin angel in more ways than one....I love you Momma!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It never really ends...

Mourning the loss of my mother is something that will never go away.  I thought by now, almost six months since she went to be with the Lord, that it would be a little bit easier.  Wow, was I wrong.  I have had the roughest two weeks or so.  Bad weeks.  I think about her all the time.  I instinctively think about texting her.    I want so desperately to hear the excitement in her voice when I called to tell her that I got a promotion at work.  But alas, she is gone.  She is happy.  She is pain free, and I am quite certain that if she knew just how sad I have been lately, she would kick me right in the a$$ and tell me to move on, be cheerful, and carry on her memory with dignity and with pride.  

I know the holidays are going to be hard.  It wasn't blatantly obvious to me that I would struggle so much with the holidays until my doctor mentioned it.  I was thinking in the now.  Grieving in the present.  But now I am thinking of all the things we will not be celebrating together.  That part hurts the most.  After she passed away and I gathered up enough courage, I re-visited her home, and sorted through her things.  One of the most important things that she wanted me to have were all of her Christmas decorations.  Let me tell you...she had a small walk in closet FULL to the ceiling stacked with items.  I sat on the floor of her home while her puppy jumped and barked and brought me his toys to play with.  I sorted and reminisced and shed a few tears.  I was dumbfounded at the abundance of 'things' she had accumulated over the years.  These things will help us remember her over the holidays and have a little piece of her with us in every room.  I'm not kidding when I say EVERY room.  This woman was a hoarder of holiday trinkets, lights, snowmen, Father Christmas's, and tinsel.  She loved the holiday season.  It was most definitely her favorite time of year.  It was mine, too.  Christmas Eve was always 'her' holiday.  With families and in laws and brother and sister in laws, we always have several Christmas gatherings to attend.  The rest of our family always understood that Christmas Eve for us was never an option to have their gatherings.  Now as the time grows closer, I literally get goosebumps every time I think about not having her here.  What are we going to do on Christmas Eve?  How will I make sure her traditions shine through in what we decide to do that night with our kids?  I want to create something meaningful for our family.  Celebrate like we did at her house...homemade chicken noodle soup, chili, and you could always count on shrimp cocktail and loads of snack foods.  Should I continue on with her traditions or start my own?  It is the same thought for me over and over and over again.  Whatever we decide to do, I know she will be here with us in spirit, in our prayers and forever in our hearts.

"Death ends a life but it doesn’t end a relationship that lives on in the mind of the survivor."  As I read this sentence in an article about grieving the loss of your parent, it screamed out to this is what I am feeling right now.  I am still holding on that relationship with my mother in my mind.  I play it out every day.  What would she think of how I was living my life?  Would she approve of the way I am raising my children?  Would she smack me up the back side of my head when I crawl in bed some nights and cry myself to sleep because I miss her?  That mother/daughter bond I have with her will never ever ever go away.  I don't want it to go away.  But I am surrounded by people who don't realize I haven't ever stopped loving my mother and talking to her through prayer.  They think that things are okey dokey and that because she has been passed away for a number of months that the pain I feel is lessened.  That I am normal.  That I am living my life without my relationship with my mother.  And then there are the friends that are closest to me that know the truth.  They KNOW that I have been struggling as of lately.  That I am still holding on to that mother/daughter relationship and I will never ever ever let that go.  It all makes sense to me....but to outsiders its normal.  It's real.  It's over because she is gone.  Well it's not.  That's why my family and my closest friends are so important to me right now.  I know if I reach out to one of them to talk about my feelings, they know I still hold that "relationship" with my Mom very near and dear to my heart.

From here on out, I vow to start the healing process.  The anger from the cancer stealing my mother is subsiding and I am working on what is most important...carrying on her legacy for all to remember and to love.  I will start new traditions and keep some of the old.  I will bring her memory into every room in our homes so that she can feel the love.  I will continue to have my chats with her each and every single night in her memorial garden outside my back door.  I will love her and honor her wishes and cherish her forever.  I refuse to let the holidays get the best of me, but know I may be asking a select few of you to hold my hand through it, pat me on the shoulder and tell me it's ok to feel sad at this time.  To pick up your phone when I call even if you are short on time, just so I can vent.  I will get through the holiday season with a smile on my face and a love for my Momma and my family <3

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

She is responsible for my life here on Earth....

My mother obviously is the one who decided to bring me into this world kicking and screaming.  She raised me with morals, values, manners, and a generous heart.  She taught me to give more than I receive.  She handed me tough love when I needed it, and a thoughtful hug when I deserved it.  She was always there for me.  Through every scraped knee, bike wreck, baseball bat to the head (twice in my life), softball injury, first date jitters.  Through all three births of her grandchildren, every milestone they hit, I was on the phone to her.  She never EVER let me down and made it perfectly clear that her love for me was unconditional.  As I woke up this morning to the day my mother gave birth to me, that hole in my heart that was left when she passed away was a bit bigger.  I felt the loss of my mother more throughout today than I have in the past four months she has been gone.  Typical I am sure....painful, nonetheless.

I miss her so much it hurts.  Every birthday since I can remember having a cell phone, she has ALWAYS called me after 7pm.  Usually 7:09pm...right after she finished talking to her hubby when he was on his second shift work break.  I would answer the phone and would her her tiny little voice singing happy birthday to me the only way she knew how.  Hilarious.  She always had her special way of singing the song, too.  I can still recite it in my head.  I.miss.this.  I miss her.  I miss her voice and her hugs and her soft tone of voice.  I miss seeing her spoiling my kids on weekend visits and I miss her spoiling me. 

I won't lie, turning 40 has not been on my "favorite things to do in the year 2013" list.  But it's done and over with and it's my first birthday without her.  The day she passed started a cycle of 'firsts' for me.  None of them which I am very fond of, but I will make it through.  Just as my 14 year old son told me tonight as he poked his finger towards my heart.... "That's where your Momma your heart."  He couldn't be more right.  I feel her with me all the day and night.  I am thankful she is at peace and I am working towards my own.  My own family spoiled the hell out of me this evening and it was perfect.  It was priceless.  They joked on how the cake could not hold 40 candles and catered me with an amazing supper.  I am blessed beyond measure.  Keeping that in mind.....turning 40 ain't all that bad ;) 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peace of mind....

The correct definition of "peace of mind" is absence of mental stress or anxiety.  I often give thought to what having peace of mind means.  It could mean many things to many different people.  It means one thing to me right now.  I have been struggling for four long months trying to find peace of mind on my mother's passing into Heaven.  The mental stress of worrying about her endlessly, every minute of every day is gone.  I no longer carry my phone with me to the bathroom 'just in case' there is an emergency.  I don't fret and sweat when my phone rings.  That sort of mental stress is gone and there is peace of mind knowing she is no longer suffering.  The anxiety still lurks.  It rears its ugly head around me daily.  The correct definition of anxiety is uneasiness or feeling of worry, nervousness, particularly about a specific imminent event or something with an uncertain ending.  Doesn't that definition seem to fit the bill that I should no longer be suffering from anxiety?  Seems to me the book definition makes it sound like I am still batsh*t crazy with anxiety.  The peace of mind that I am eternally looking for is here, but in pieces.  Little by little, bit by bit, day by day. I gain a little more peace of mind knowing my Mom is not here on this Earth with me, but watches over my every move from her little slice of Heaven.  I will continue to work towards that elusive peace of mind over the whole ordeal of cancer stealing my Mother.  I yearn for that peace of mind.  It's something I will inevitably struggle with for a very long time, but it's a goal.  I need that goal.  I need that lack of mental stress and anxiety.

The anxiety I have been experiencing lately comes in all different forms.  The holidays are literally right around the corner and this will be the first holidays spent without my best friend.  We have numerous traditions that I will miss dearly but you bet your a$$ I will be carrying those traditions on with my kids and reminding them of why we are doing them.  EVERY Christmas Eve, we went to Maga Moon's house.  Loaded up the kids in the vehicle, packed up the presents, and made the trek to her welcoming home.  She always had shrimp cocktail, homemade chili and chicken noodle soup.  She spoiled my kids with unhealthy snacks, lots of soda, and candy.  We loved Christmas Eve.  It was my favorite day of the year.  This year will be different.  This year will be difficult.  This year I would prefer to pull the covers over my head on or around December 23rd, and someone wake me before the New Year.  I have massive anxiety over the holidays and how I will deal.  I can't catch my breath, I panic wondering how holidays will ever be the same.  I.have.anxiety.  Tenfold.  BUT I have peace of mind knowing that if I was able to help my mother in her transition to Heaven, that I WILL be able to make it through the holidays. I know I have said that part before, but I believe it to be true.  She put me to the test her last ten days, and in my opinion I passed.  I hope she feels the same.  I can do the holiday season.  I will do the holiday season.  Not without anxiety, not with all the peace of mind that I want.  But I will...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day by Day

I am working on me....learning this new life without the woman that has always been there for me.  It's always been me and her against the world.  She never left my corner.  She was the one I called when one of my kids hit a new milestone, and she got a full report from me every single quarter in school about their grades.  She was the one I turned to when I wrecked my bike in our old house in Amana to make me feel better.  She was the one at the hospital with me for the delivery of all three kids.  And she's gone, just like that in an instant.  So it's taking some getting used to for me.  There are still times EVERY single week that I grab my phone to text her and see how her day is going, only to remember she won't answer.  I think about her every night and I say goodnight to her right outside my back door in her memorial garden I built.

This 4th of July was especially difficult.  I was praying that somehow someway I went to bed on the 3rd after some fine festivities in Marengo only to notice that we skipped July 4th and went straight on to the 5th.  The 4th has always been about celebrating at Maga Moon's house.  We would load up the fam, head over to her house, and hang out there with her the entire day.  Just us and her and her hubby.  Lots of food, lots of snacks, a little fireworks, and Mom frequently let the kids drink way too much pop that day.  It was always their special treat when going to Maga's.  She made sure they were well taken care of, all hyped up on sugar, and made sure they went home with me so I could deal with the sugar melt downs.  I missed all of that this year.  My Julys' will never ever be the same.  Ever.  Not only was Mother's Day bittersweet since she passed away the day before, but now July is equally as hard. Her birthday is also in July.  July 23rd to be precise.  I called her or visited or brought presents or sent flowers to her job every birthday.  I made sure she felt special.  Just as she did to me.  I remember her cursing me out when I went into labor on her birthday with my third child...and you know WHAT she was cursing about ?!?  She says "Don't you dare have my grandbaby on my birthday, the baby needs their own special day, and not share it with me!!!"  Well Kamryn Michelle was not born until July 24th.  Hmmm....she seemed to be right.

I love her and I miss her and my heart flutters each and every time I see her photos or I read one of the cards that so many of you sent to her.  I lose my breath each time someone asks me how I am doing.  I know they are referring most times to how I am dealing with the loss of my bestest friend.  The fluttering of the heart takes me by surprise.  I was not expecting to physically feel pain in my heart, but I do.  The fluttering is a sort of hurt that occurs whenever her name is brought up, whenever the kids say they miss her, every day.  My heart does still hurt, but I believe my soul is healing.  I am becoming who I am supposed to be even if I am not sure who that is right now.  I am one thousand times stronger now as opposed to when my mother was riddled with cancer and fighting for her last days.  I have learned so much.  This battle has taught me things I wouldn't be able to put into words.  SHE taught me these things.  She taught me through her battles to be strong, never lose faith, and keep fighting.  That woman fought until her last breath, and I will, too.  She passed on her will for life to me.  Now I have to make sure that she is proud of who I am becoming.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wherever you fly....

this isn't goodbye, My love will follow you, stay with you, baby you're never alone.

Its taken me 17 days to get the courage to come onto my blog and post about my mother's passing.  Most everyone knows that God gained another angel the day before Mother's Day, Saturday, May 11th, 2013.  She passed away without being in pain and honestly it was beautiful.  The days leading up to that, however, were anything but.  I don't know how many times I have said out loud and on Facebook that "this is the hardest thing I have ever done".  Anything prior to Mom's last twelve days literally pales in comparison.  I found out just how strong I was and at some times just how weak as well.  There were two different times that I had to just step out of the room because it was all too intense in my head, and there's NO WAY I was going to let her see me fall apart even though she was 'sleeping'.  I held it together, I gave her the morphine liquids, I gave her the shots after she could no longer swallow, every hour.  On the hour.  I stayed up for three nights straight because that's what she would have done for me.  She would have done more.  Sh has done more.  She has made me who I am today and passed along the strength and the will for me to get through her last days.  No doubt in my mind that she built a foundation for me that I am forever grateful for.

This post could get to be very long, boring, tedious, and just downright depressing if I decided to divulge all the details.  I think out of respect of our family, only the necessary details will be given.  I am happy to tell our story of how cancer stole my mother to anyone who would like to listen up close and personal, though.  Maybe it will help someone cope, or to prepare for one of their loved one's impending illnesses.  I will guarantee you my Mother's story is a powerful one, not to be easily forgotten.  When previously I said she was a fighter, that was an understatement compared to her last days.  There came a point about 48 hours before she passed that the Hospice nurses threw up their hands and said "I don't know what to tell you except she has THE strongest heart and fight in her that we have ever seen".  And they have seen a lot.

Mom put a roast in the oven on Wednesday, May 1st, got sleepy and decided to lay down after we had exhausted her with a family visit that day, and she never again got up to walk.  She had a couple lucid moments where she knew who she was and who was surrounding her, but for the most part, sleep.  She just slept.  Friday she woke up to her hospice nurse, told her she loved her, and asked to see her brothers, her grandkids, and the pastor.  We flew into action, getting everyone there, pulling the kids out of school, and she was lucid and speaking three or four words.  For about three amazing hours, she was awake.  Smiling.  Being loved.  She knew where she was headed and she wanted to say goodbye, she wanted to say hello, she was preparing for where she was going.  After about three hours, she closed her eyes again to sleep.  Never again would she be awake long enough to carry on full conversations, but she would open her eyes every once in awhile when new visitors came and would speak their names.

After the tenth day started, I knew her tiny body was giving in, and even her heart.  I held her hand.  I stayed bedside for ten days waiting for HER and God to decide when the time was right.  I stroked her hair, we gave her shots of morphine and we waited.  And waited.  As soon as she started to slow her breathing, I knew it was time.  It didn't take her long to just slow her breathing and never take another breath.  No gasping for air, no scary noises, just peaceful slow breathing.  I swear to you it was one of the most beautiful acts I have ever witnessed.  After her struggling and sleeping and moaning in pain for TEN days with no food or water, finally her fight was over.  I was not relieved that she passed, I was relieved that she was no longer struggling.  It was her time.  She did it her way.  I believe that she passed on the day before Mother's day so that I could go home to my kids.  She did it for me and for them.  I had not seen my kids for four days prior to her passing and my heart was hearting for her, and hurting missing them.  She knew that.  She felt that.  She knew it was time.

Her last words to me three days before......Love you, too.  Barely mumbling it out, but I knew what she said.  Perfect words from a perfect woman who left behind a legacy no one can touch.  Memories that will be forever in my heart, in photographs, and embedded in our family's minds.  She will not soon be forgotten, nor will I ever stop crying over the loss of my mother.  With days going by, it gets harder, only because I was in 'fight mode', protection mode, mother mode for ten days making sure she was not in pain and rolling her in her bed every two hours to make her comfortable.  I am slowly letting go of the fear I had built up for those ten days, but I think there is a long road ahead of me.

I have so many stories to share and so many memories for another time and another entry on this blog.  I am not done with this blog by any means just because she is gone.  She was and IS my hero and I will love and honor and write about her always.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

No clever title to be had today

I sat here for a minute or two trying to think of a catchy title for this blog post.  I got nothing.  It's been THE longest and shortest three days ever.  Mom is still with us and hanging on.  I would say at this point 98% of her day is spent unresponsive.  Laying peacefully in her hospital bed in her living room surrounded by her possessions, the love and prayers of family and friends.  Most of her day and night her face is peaceful, calm, serene, free of worry lines.  Coming faster and closer in between are the bouts of pain that pop up through the morphine.  She has her own subtle way of telling us she is hurting.  Scrunching up her forehead and creasing her eyebrows.  We can get her to shake her head yes or no most times to tell us whether or not she is in pain.  there are times during the day that her eyes will pop open as much as she can get them open, catch a glance of me or her sister or her hubby, and she cracks a smile.  Makes it all worth it.  Every bedside moment, every smile I catch, every eye opening event puts me a little more at peace.  I don't have time to write an enormous blog post about each and every experience we have had in the last three days, because, well, I would be here forever.  Mom doesn't have forever.  She's not even guaranteed tonight.  So I won't waste a lot of my time babbling about her pain and pressure wounds and blisters and bed sores.  They're all there.  They suck.  She doesn't even realize she has them.  I'm good with that.

As the hours pass, I reminisce about every waking moment I have had with her.  Like the time where she whooped my tail for acting sick and trying to vomit because I did NOT want to go in the deep end during swimming lessons.  I remember the times that she took me camping.  Fishing.  She sat in the stands at my ball games.  She was present for the birth of each and every child of mine.  I remember when she was diagnosed.  I remember the pain I felt then, but it pales in comparison to right now.

I will leave it at that, and go back to be with her.  She needs me and I need her and I will do everything in my power to ease her transition into Heaven.  I have told her it was o.k. to go.  Most difficult thing I have EVER done in my entire 39 years.  I will give more updates when time allows.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fifth straight day...

Every day since Sunday Hospice had been making visits to see my mom.  Obviously there is a reason for that.  Just last week the visits were twice a week.  Oh how far we have come.  I have been there with her every single day, helping her get up and down, learning the needed skills from Hospice to make my Mom's life more comfortable.  We are learning to pick her up using a belt around her waist, learning to crush medications, forced to become comfortable with injectable meds when the time comes that she is no longer able to swallow.  I am becoming accustomed to what time she takes her meds, what meds are critical at certain times, and what meds to add in for break through pain.  I have recently become familiar with what a 'pressure wound' is.  If you would have asked me four days ago, I would have no idea.  I know now.  Mom has a large pressure wound on her right heel.  It has about doubled in size in two days.  For those of you not familiar, a pressure wound is an injury cause by unrelieved pressure that damages the underlying tissues and skin.  Similar to a bed sore.  She has a very large bed sore, too.  On her left hip.  The difference between her pressure wound and bed sore is the sore is more of a large 'ouchie', a really bad skinned knee, road rash, something comparable to that.  The pressure wound on her hell is just a very large blister, no scabbing, just full of fluid.  She honestly didn't know she had EITHER of them, which tells me she certainly isn't feeling too much because these 'ouchies' hurt me just to look at them.  I guess that means the pain meds are doing their job?  Or is it that she is just so unaware of the little things in life that we make a big deal out of?  like blisters and skinned up knees?  Does she see beyond the small stuff and choose not to complain?  Trust me, this woman does NOT complain.  And she's dying.  Not a word.  Only time she ever mentions pain or swelling or stiffness or soreness is if I ask her.  Otherwise, nothing.  Not a word.  She spends her energy asking about the kids and my family.  That's just the way she is built.

Her thought process is seriously compromised right now.  You can talk to her and she will answer in one to two sentences at a time.  Not a lot.  There are some nonsense ramblings out of the blue that she she is talking out loud all these things that are going through her head.  Some of her thoughts are precious.  When she looks at her husband and out of the blue says "Yes Michael you really do have pretty eyes".  Or when he is helping her out of her chair, she looks at him very disconcerting and says "Michael, you're losing weight."  Seriously?  Really?  She's concerned with her hubby losing weight?  Like I said, that's how she's built.  I am cherishing her 'out loud' thinking right now.  She's saying whatever she wants, no filter, no discretion, no warnings.  Brutal honesty.

We all are very aware that she may only have a few more good days of being alert and awake.  Already just in the last couple of days, her sleeping is increasing ten fold.  There will come a time where she will be difficult to get her to communicate with us, let alone get out of bed.  Therefore a hospital bed is being delivered Friday to put in the living room so she doesn't have to be stuck in the bedroom all day.  That marks another turning point for her.  She didn't ever want to get a hospital bed, but she did discuss with me not dying in her own bed.  For her own reasons.

Our Hospice nurse Amber, is a saint in my eyes right now.  I have told her at least three or four times in the last five days that she ALWAYS knows the right things to say to me and to mom and to Michael.  And she does.  She's obviously amazing at what she does and she was born to do what she does.  I would not want any other nurse taking care of my mother.  Amber puts things into perspective and always gives me different and appropriate ways to look at things.  She sheds a light on a subject in a way I would never consider.  It's heart touching to say the least that a nurse can have such a positive influence on my daily thinking.  And my Mother ADORES Amber.  She trusts her.  She loves her.  Just like she loves me.  Their relationship is one that we wish we never had to have and if we never met Amber, it would be because my Mom didn't have cancer and I would be ok with that.  She's in our life for a reason.  She's perfect.

I apologize for the rambling but once I get going, there are times I can't shut off my brain.  As for me, I think I am doing ok.  I don't sleep much, but I have plenty of time for that later.  Today my morning started off at 3:30am bright and early after going to bed around 1am.  One of these days I will crash.  Hard.  But for now we will keep plugging away and being thankful for each breath that she takes, thankful that I have my daughter's softball practices (helping coach) to let me escape for a few hours a week.  Need that.  Oh do I ever need that.  Last night practice was freezing cold, windy, and just downright miserable, but watching my lil redhead do THE best slides into second base was just what the doctor ordered.  I was so proud.  I was beaming.  I was SMILING.  I was happy.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A wise friend once told me...

That title is somewhat the truth...I asked a friend tonight about what I was feeling and if it was 'normal' to have these feelings.  I have never lost a loved one to cancer.  I have lost family members, but only a couple.  I was very young when my Grandpa passed.  He passed on in his sleep.  There was no preparation for his entrance into Heaven.  One day he was there, and took a nap, and the next, just gone.  No suffering, no regimens of pain meds and anti nausea meds and anti anxiety meds and Hospice visits.  Just a peaceful passing.  As we walk down this road God has already paved for my Mother, I am plagued with ill feelings.  With angry feelings, selfish and not so happy feelings.  Feelings of guilt, regret, joy, and sadness.  All of these feelings I can sum up in a sentence, and that sentence is what I asked a friend about.  That sentence is............................  I desperately want my Mother with me, but not like this..........................................

Mom is declining at her own pace every few hours.  More confusion, lots of nodding off while sitting and standing, dead a$$ tired, up for only about four or five hours today.  If you are doing the math, that means she is sleeping for 19-20 hours a day right now.  NOT where we want to be, but sleep is best for her.  While she is awake, she's so tired.  You can see it in her eyes, I can feel it in her smiles.  She's exhausted but that brain of hers just will NOT give in.  So I will propose above mentioned question to you all.  Am I wrong for feeling this way?  That the selfish side of me wants my Momma here with ME for a very very long time, but not like this?  I hurt to know that we will probably never get to have those amazing hour phone calls any longer.  No more texting all day long checking in on her. Gone are the days of taking her to the kids sporting events and watching her smile from ear to ear boasting about her grandkids.  I just don't want the suffering.  We have had all the time in the world to prepare for this.  Three years to be exact.  Now that we are nearing the end, it sucks.  It hurts.  It's like a vise squeezing my heart kind of hurt.  Yes my heart REALLY does hurt.

There's a plus side to all this heartache and pain.  I have a greater knowledge of who my TRUE friends and family are.  I am 150% certain about who I can trust, who I know will always pick up their phone if I call them at any time of day or night, and I know who I can rely on to help me out in time of need.  All of this has become crystal clear to me in the last couple of years.  For that I am Blessed, I am Thankful, I am Lucky.  

As the hours and days go by, I will continue to update as much as I can.  I will include what details I feel are appropriate and leave out the ones that make me feel vulnerable.  Some people have mentioned to me that my writing has helped them realize things in their trials of life, and that's why I will be committed to updating the blog.  Besides, it's therapeutic.  I am not a people person and the best of my friends know this.  This blog helps me relay my Mother's journey one step at a time without having to repeat it to several people several times a day so that they can watch me cry a river of tears.  Thank.Goodness.for.that.  Ugly cries are to be had in private.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Life can show no mercy..

"Things have seemed to change...There's one thing that still the my heart you have remained..."

Michael Buble can sing things I could not put on paper myself even though the thoughts are there.  Babe You're Not Lost is on repeat in my car and on my kindle and in the laundry room while I am folding clothes. Life for Mom has taken such a drastic downturn in two weeks.  Major.  Heartbreaking, overwhelming changes.  She is a shell of herself.  I can see her spirit and her soul in her eyes and feel it through her hugs.  Her body has all but given up.  Her body is lost.  It's a horrible comparison, but it's my comparison.  The only way I can express to you in writing what is going on is this.... two weeks ago, she was texting rapidly, sometimes responding almost quicker than my teenage son.  She was cooking suppers and doing some laundry and sweeping the kitchen floors.  Walking unassisted, staying by herself at home for long periods of time.  Standing upright.  Lifting her own legs on her own will.  Sleeping until only 9am or so.  Two weeks later, none of that is the same.  Each and every thing you and I take for granted everyday (which you SHOULDN'T) comes as a struggle for her.  She walks with a cane. She doesn't wake up until around 11:30 or 12 noon.  It takes her a couple hours to wake up and become mobile enough to walk around the house.   She needs help lifting her legs into bed.  Cooking for her is few and far between, but she did manage to make her husband his weekly dose of taco meat, which is tradition for those two.  Sundays she makes taco meat, just for her hubby.  And that makes her very happy. Her legs and abdominal area are still swollen.  the fluid in her lungs can be heard thru stethescope, but only in the lower area.  Her right hand is very swollen, but her left hand is not?  Don't ask, because I know not why?  And the newest development, which has me worried, is the swelling in her face.  Mainly on the left side.  The vision in her left eye is half way obstructed by the swelling in her upper eyelid.  Her cheek and her lip are puffy, Hell, even her ear.  Hospice is saying it is most likely her kidneys are being affected.  That was the term they used...."affected".  Which in reality I know what that means.  Her kidneys are shutting down.  I am no doctor, but I have googled enough information to know.  Kidney failure is devastating.  We all know what's coming, but my Mother has a way of making her life worth living regardless of her health.  Obviously I am devastated.  Unfortunately, it's her norm.  The swelling will continue to pool in different areas, it will never get better.  I have comfort and peace knowing that Hospice is helping her long her journey keeping her free of discomfort.

Everyone is constantly asking me...."Is she in pain?"  The answer to that....the pain never leaves BUT that is not her number one complaint.  Her pain is being managed and that is a blessing!!!  Most pancreatic cancer patients have issues with eating, digestion, pain, nausea, etc.  She seems for now to have dodged that bullet.  Amen Amen Amen.

Hospice is coming again today after an unplanned visit yesterday to check out the swelling in her face after 24 hours.  Looks like we are going down the path of having Hospice visit more than twice a week.  I would prefer at this point that they do, but try and tell her that...she's still so darn stubborn :)  Its her way or no way.  I love that about her.

So for now, we are praying and loving and hugging and living.  She certainly hasn't given up yet, but she's scared.  She's not scared of passing away, but of what she will miss and how she will get to the 'end of life'.  If curse words offend you, I apologize in advance, but my Mom is a BADASS cancer fighter.  She has more than done her part in challenging all that cancer has handed to her.  I am eternally grateful for each and every phone call, text, and visit we have had and all that are to come.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Four Months Later

...I haven't made a blog entry in FOUR months, folks....four months.  That, my friend, is a pretty hefty amount of time when you have been stricken with terminal cancer.  I couldn't be more proud of being a daughter of a cancer fighter than I am right at this very moment.  She has literally defied ALL of the odds, all of the obstacles, met her milestones, and continued on her life journey.  She's a fighter.  Plain.and. Simple.  She's my Momma.  And unfortunately she is very very ill.

I started this blog specifically to help me clear my head of thoughts before I go to bed at night.  I find it quite theraputic most days.  I am not Shakespeare, but I try and maybe someone else out there is going through the exact same thing as me, and they will feel comforted knowing they are not alone.

The not so fun Mom's health.  She is hanging in there, each day brings new challenges.  Some days are so much better than others.  Some days just plain suck.  Her legs all the way from her ankles to her abdomen are full of fluid, and this makes daily life painful.  Very, very painful.  Her legs are red and swollen and blistered and cracking.  Her skin on her legs looks as if it is about to burst.  Most days it takes her a good hour or so to get up and moving around.  She has been sleeping in later and later every day.  Most days she was up by 9am.  This last week she has slept in a lot longer.  Today was almost noon before she got up. She needs her rest and we will let her sleep and we will not disturb her.  But to brutally honest, I have googled enough information to know that an increase in sleeping has its' own ominous definition.  So does the swelling.  I will let you all figure that out on your own.

I talked about morphine on my last post in December.  She has hit that crossroad where the pain is just too unbearable.  Administering morphine into her daily regimen of pills has helped.  I know that for the longest time, the word morphine scared us all.  When I think of morphine, I think comatose, out like a light for days, don't wanna wake up after surgery kind of morphine.  It's not like that.  Go figure....  Thank goodness it's not like that.  She is a bit groggier than when she is not taking it, but it takes the edge off of the pain in her legs.  If it makes her comfortable, then so be it.  The word morphine no longer frightens me because this is what needs to be done for HER.  Her hubby has been taking off work to be with her 24/7, and that is a blessing in itself.  Anything she needs, he gets it.  If she needs help, he's right there.  He loves her with every ounce of his being and he wears his heart on his sleeve for her.  Talk about being blessed with one of the best caregivers in time of need.

There are a couple things more personally that I am noticing that are progressions of the disease, but I will save my questions and my assuming to myself until I have spoken with Hospice this week.  I do myself NO GOOD getting worked up over something trivial to them, but seems urgent to me.

Her time left here on this Earth is short lived, I am sure.   I struggle with that thought daily.  I am a planner.  I like to know when things are going to happen and why and how and with who.  This situation is out of my hands and I am finding it very difficult to let Him deal with it.  Let God make the decision when he sees fit to. My only concern is that we stay AHEAD of her pain, I have no interest in seeing her suffer any more.