Monday, February 16, 2009
It's been over 2 months since she passed away and for me personally, I don't think I handle death very well. Everyone keeps telling me it will get easier...well I'm still waiting for the easy. Yes, I still live my life. Yes, I still laugh and play with my kids. Yes, I still love everyone I love. Yes, I go to work every day. Life does go on. But every day, I wake up thinking about her and quickly "change the subject" in my head. If I think about her, I get all weepy and for anyone who knows me, I NEVER cry. The only day I have ever cried in probably years, was the day she died. I didn't cry before, and I haven't cried since.
Everyone thinks I am handling things just fine. My boyfriend Josh...he has caught on to me and has me figured out. And he pointed it out to me the other day. I'm really not handling things just fine. In fact, I'm not handling them at all. That's why I can appear to be fine. Like I said...in my head, I "change the subject". It keeps me sane. Keeps me straight. Keeps me in check and in line with what I need to do from day to day. It's just the way I am. And I'm so tired of hearing people tell me they are worried about me because I haven't expressed emotion about it all. Everyone deals with death in their own way. And maybe my way isn't the very best way for everyone, but for me, it works. For anyone who was there on that last day and saw my mom you have to understand what seeing her like that has done to me. I still wake up from nightmares about that day. If you were there, you understand why.
Why when someone dies does everyone put on a fake personality and tell everyone that I should be happy that she is in a better place. Or that she would have wanted it this way. Or God has a purpose for her. Or that she isn't suffering anymore. These are all the niceties that people say to someone who has had someone die that they were close to. And I'm sure when they are said, maybe they are sincere and they do mean them. But to the person you are saying them to....What purpose? No suffering...of course not, she's gone!...no she wouldn't want to die if she wasn't sick. Nothing about what happened to her is fair. I realize that. But I'm not sure I can take one person who really didn't even know her very well tells me that I should look on the brightside of things. I am still looking for that brightside. I really don't think it exists.
I am sorry to all of my family that I have completely ignored for the past 2 months. Especially my dad. My dad knows I love him. He is my favorite person, 2nd only to my mom, in the whole world. He is always there to give me a great big bear hug when I need one. Or to tell me how proud he is of me. Or how pretty he thinks I am. Or to bail me out when I financially mess myself up because Im bad with money. But no, I haven't called him lately. I did in the beginning. But when I talk to him, all I can think about is my mom. Even my sister, I don't call. Why? My family reminds me...no...my family IS my mother. She held us all together. And without her Im very worried we will all fall apart. But even worse, I can't talk to anyone even on the phone because I know it will only begin a constant flow of crying because something they say will remind me of my mom. So again, I'm sorry to everyone in my family who I haven't returned phone calls to. I will one day call you I promise. I just can't do it right now. Im truly sorry, please understand.
I think on that note, I will wrap this up because it's just going to continue with more ramblings. I most likely will post this and immediately delete it once I regret it. Who knows. And if anyone is offended by this, I'm sorry for that too. Understand, I am just trying my hand at dealing with this and I'm trying to take my own feelings into consideration first. I do appeciate everyone in my life and in my moms.
Monday, December 01, 2008
As many of you are already aware my mother passed away on November 21st and I know if she could ask me to, the first thing she would ask was that I post something on her blog to let everyone know. She was always worried about what everyone else was doing, keeping them updated and making sure nobody was left out of the loop. Her whole family was there with her when she passed away and I know she would have loved that.
My mom was my best friend, my ground and the most beautiful person I have ever known. I am going to miss her and each day try to get through not being able to call her just to see how she is feeling or to tell her what a mess I was in that day. :)
If anyone would like to read about her life, who her family was, you can go to http://www.legacy.com/Charleston/DeathNotices.asp?Page=Notice&PersonID=120509792 and even leave comments to share with our family. I read them so please feel free.
Today marks the start of the Christmas season. It was my mom's favorite holiday. Even at her service, our minister talked about how her home was an open home to anyone around the holidays. Her Christmas parties were a huge hit and presents were stacked up waist high! She really loved the month of December and everyone knew it.
In honor of my mother, I will be holding a fundraiser to raise funds for the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer research organization for the whole month of December, her favorite time of year. I am contacting all of my friends, my mothers friends, my family and anyone else who would like to help get us a step closer to breast cancer and other cancer cures. On December 25th, because it was my moms favorite holiday I will make an online donation with all funds raised to the Susan G Komen Center under my mother's name in the total amount donated by anyone who wishes to help.
If you would like to contribute anything at all to this you can Paypal it using the button below.
Or if you are more comfortable you are welcome to go online and make a donation directly to Susan G Komen. Any donations sent directly to me I will be able to total up and share with you all how much we donated on Christmas day here on the blog and will be made under my moms name.
And as it is around the holidays, if you can't contribute to it, think about my mom in the spring time, and help when you can. And please pass this around to any friends or family who might want to help as well.
And if anyone else is involved in any breast cancer fundraisers, please send me emails when they are to email@example.com as I would like to be involved in them if I can.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I got a call from the doctor and they want me to have a procedure with a cyber knife. I have to have an MRI and CAT scan this week because they want to do the procedure sometime next week and it's a 3 day process. What it actually does is pinpoint the lesion in my brain and they shoot concentrated radioactivity into the lesion from different angles.
I have a lot of shaking in my arms and sometimes in my legs and the doctors feels this will help with those problems.
I have no prognosis. My doctor's not into that. So I guess I'm here til God says otherwise.
The good news also is that I've lost 30 pounds and am looking pretty damn fine...if ya like bald women. LOL
I want to thank you all again for your prayers and support. I am keeping the faith in knowing that God will take care of me.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I know it’s been a long time, but I’ve been through a lot in the past 3 months and I wasn’t strong enough or ready to write in my blog. In fact, I’ll write a little at a time because there is so much I want to say. You may see postings from my sister Angela (my secretary today) and daughter Misty because they volunteered to help me put it down.
I’m not sure what Misty has posted about the times I’ve been in the hospital recently, but I’ll fill you in a bit. The first time was by ambulance. The chemo had attacked my body, taking my blood counts down so low they thought I might die. They don’t put you on morphine and every drug you can think of if they think you are going to live. They were just trying to make me comfortable. They DID make me very comfortable, so much so that I didn’t know where I was or who I was and my family was very concerned about me. At that time, I received two whole units of blood, platelets, potassium and a myriad of other things to keep me going.
I have to say that I am very grateful to my husband for having the doctors take me off the pain medication. After that, I started to become coherent but the pain remained. That’s when they discovered that my gall bladder needed to be removed and I had surgery for that. It was during this whole thing that I let some people down. I’m sorry, I’m human and well… shit happens. I can honestly say that I gave up on everything and all I wanted to do was to go to sleep and wake up and look at the face of Jesus. But God had other ideas and helped me crawl out of the deep dark hole I was in.
I finally went home and got ready for my next chemo. As soon as I got it, I was back in the hospital again. The chemo attacked my blood cells and there was nothing else they could do. It just seemed like one more thing to take away my faith and hope.
Through this all, it seems like I’ve lost my balance. That second time in the hospital, I managed to fall and break my wrist. Needless to say, I still have this ugly cast on my arm – but rumor has it that I’ll have this off in two weeks, which means that I’ve been blessed with this for seven weeks. So the last time I was released I was left with a walker and wheel chair to use around the house. I’ve been doing o.k. but have fallen twice and had three near misses – but I am getting stronger.
Through these two stays at the hospital, I had a phenomenal group of family and friends who were there to support me. They weren’t giving up on me and I couldn’t give up on them.
I just had my 2nd chemo (in this latest round of chemo) last Thursday and will have another this coming Thursday. It does make me weak and I get sores in my mouth. I also fight fever and any other side effects that come along, but so far I can take it.
My sister Angela came in last Thursday and she has been taking such good care of me that I think I might keep her here. There are so many things I can’t do for myself and she’s like an angel of mercy who just swooped in. For example, last night she was up every half hour checking my temperature to make sure I was o.k.
Of course, you know we have our funny moments too. I was taking a shower this morning and well, you know you are naked when you take a shower. With that, the soap and my balance issue, it was like a giant slip and slide. I started to slip and my sister grabbed me and we both almost went down together! Luckily, she was able to catch us before I broke my other arm and she broke one of hers. Thank God for shower angels!
Well guys, I’m tired now and I still have some physical therapy to do. So until later – God bless you and I love you all.
Angela and Donna
Well now that you have that lovely word image of Donna and me taking shape in your head, I thought it’d be the perfect time to say hello. :) I am here until tomorrow and then have to fly back to Michigan.
I must say that we had some great sister time this week (outside the shower LOL). PJ parties - curling up on her king size bed, sipping merlot (don’t worry – I mean literally a sip for Donna), watching DVDs and talking about everything. We were able to have a barbeque with family and friends Sunday before the thunderstorms started and that was a blessing. I’ve also just enjoyed sitting in the Florida room watching her doze away with a content smile thanks to the crooning of Josh Grobin. Normally, I’d probably pass on his music, but I have to say that I have a new appreciation for it after seeing the smile on my sister’s face. We’ve gotten through some of the more difficult times and still find room for humor… like when she was in pain the other night and I asked her what she was going to do because Matthew McConaughey was on his way for a little “sumpin sumpin !” Her response was “Well then I’m in trouble…” - but she still managed that trademark Donna grin. She told me that people say she smiles with her eyes and that is absolutely true. She is beautiful.
In her blog she mentioned that she let people down. Because I was typing for her, it was very tempting to play editor because I can’t stand the thought of her thinking that. I know though that I can’t speak for her or anyone else, but I can say that she has not let me down. She is a fighter and she is a believer. That is all that matters to me.
Thanks to everyone for your support and outpouring of love and prayer for Donna. She definitely appreciates it. The whole family is grateful.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
I had questions that I wanted answered - well part of me wanted the answers and part did not. I wanted clarification as to the location of the cancer. I have two small spots on my liver, one in my lung and one in my neck. Then I cried. Jane and Deborah hugged me and gave me the comfort that I needed.
I was told that they don't know if I will live six weeks, six months, six years or what. In other words it's all in God's hands.
And, the pain that I have in my right side, is a fractured rib. I have had this bad cough and apparently I coughed so hard that I fractured my rib.
I will have two cycles (months) of chemo and then I will have another CT, then I will do two cycles again and have another CT. Then I guess we will see where we go from there.
Between my first chemo treatment and my second, I had a major, over the edge complete melt down. I sobbed loudly and cried out to the Lord. I haven't cried like that in a long time. One thing I did realize is that I am depressed and not getting any sleep at all. Well all of that has been rectified - I talked to my doctor and they provide medicine to help me sleep and calm down.
I have spent a lot of time in my bible searching and hungering for answers. I have found that God is loving, merciful, and has His arm around me, walking this journey with me. With the help of my friend, John, we have spent time talking and he has helped me to understand how much God loves me. I am His child, He has already fought the battle for me. I have faith that he will bring me through and heal me.
I sat on my deck this morning with the sun warming me and God and I just talked. What a beautiful creation we enjoy - the trees, flowers, ocean, etc. And, the sad part is, we take so much for granted. Don't let the world pass you by - be a participant and not a spectator. You will not regret it.
Have a blessed day.
Friday, March 07, 2008
I have to back up to October because I walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. It was an uplifting and exhilarating experience. The weather was perfect and I had friends and family with me. My two daughters, Misty and Lisa, Jim, Debora, Susan, Bratton, and my friend Jeff flew in from Pittsburgh to support me. It was so awesome.
Sometime during the month of October I tore the meniscus in my knee. I went to physical therapy, took pills, did exercise to no avail. I finally had an MRI after about three months and found the damage. So surgery was scheduled for the end of January.
Between all this time, the holidays were approaching and we were busy, especially with having extra people in the house. I had a wonderful surprise though, my son John and his family drove from Washington state to have Christmas with us. I was so happy. It meant more people but there's nothing like family and we managed.
All too soon the holidays were over and we were entering a new year. I was working, doing my regular checkups, and preparing for my knee surgery on January 24th. During this time Jim came down with pneumonia and I never thought that he would get over it. It seems like right after I had my surgery I started to get sick. It started with a cough and just got worse. I went to my doctor, they x-rayed and I was told that I had bronchitis with underlying pneumonia, then I got a stomach virus and was vomiting all the time, next came laryngitis, and finally it seemed like everything just settled in my muscles.
During this time, my sister Gina came to visit and we spent a wonderful weekend together but I could tell that she was concerned about me. She is a doctor and I know it must be difficult to be sister and healer.
Finally on February 29th I went back to the doctor and told him that I just didn't feel like I was getting any better - I could not lay flat on my back because of the pain and I could not stand to have him touch my back with a stethoscope. He immediately set me up for a CT later that day. When I got home, I waited for the results fully expecting to be told that I had pneumonia. Unfortunately, that was not the news.
I was told that my cancer was back and that it was in my liver, lungs and lymph nodes. All I could say was what, what, what? I almost passed out from the news. I was admitted to the hospital that night for another CT. They were concerned about blood clots in the lungs. I had to wait until Saturday for the second CT and they found no blood clots.
Saturday night, Jim and a dear friend, Rich, wre with me when the oncologist came in to talk to me. He was not my regular doctor but was on call for the weekend. First strike against him, he thought that I was Jim's mother. OK, I know that I look like I was drug through a knot hole backwards but I didn't realize it was that bad. Gotta color my hair!
He told me what they had already confirmed but he told me too that there was hope. He said that he would tell me if there was nothing they could do but, there is a plan B, C, D etc. He told me that I could hang out in the hospital and rest or go home and see my regular oncologist on Monday. Rest in a hospital? Come on! No, I told him that I wanted to go home and spend time with my husband.
My mind was in turmoil, I was afraid, thinking crazy thoughts, feeling helpless and hopeless. I definitely needed an attitude adjustment. Of course for me, it was telling my family. I could not do all of it. Thank God for Jim. I did call my sister Gina, and needless to say, she was in shock. She had no words except of love and that's what I needed.
I called John and Jane and they immediately made arrangements to come stay with me. Jane went through chemo with me previously and was so much support to me. I am so thankful for their friendship and love.
Sunday I had visits and calls from friends. There was laughing and crying. The words that stick with me from Debora was in Mark 4:35-40. Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? I can resist fear by putting my trust in God. When I feel like panicking, I can confess my need for God and then trust him to take care of me. I felt like I was pulling myself back from a deep, dark pit that was trying to devour me and I realized that it was the enemy trying to seed doubts into my mind. I will not let him win.
On Monday I went to see my oncologist, Dr. Holladay. The first thing he did was give me a big hug. He knew instinctively every thought I was having. He is so compassionate and I trust my life in his hands because I know that God works through him. He told me not to worry and that there is a lot of hope. There is so much that they can do for me. I did ask him if I had to make any life changing decisions with anything, including my job. He told me no that he wanted me to keep doing as I am doing and if we ever get to that point, he will let me know.
I was scheduled to have my port implanted on March 6th at 7:30 A.M. and to have my first treatment at 9:00 A.M. They will use two drugs and go in cycles while they monitor the tumors.
So, from Monday to Thursday I spent time talking to friends and family. John and Jane were there to comfort me. John and I stayed up late each night talking about God, reading the bible and praying. What I have come to realize in the past few days is that God has given me a gift. I know that He walks through this valley with me and that he will take me around, over and through it no matter what and heal me. This is my chance to once again witness to His love, mercy, healing and His Gloriousness. He won't give me more than I can handle - He has a greater purpose for me.
I think that after my first round of cancer when I felt strong, confident and competent that I may have drifted from God and forgot who it was that got me here. Well, maybe not forgot but lost sight of what is important. And, the fact is I need God. I cannot do this alone. I never want to lose sight of that again.
Thursday morning came and Jane took me for my surgery. It went well, although I was still a little groggy from the anesthesia. Deborah showed up and it was like old home week. I gotta tell you though that as soon as they hooked me up, I fell asleep, snoring up a storm. When I awoke, everybody (nurses, patients, my friends) were all laughing at me. It seems that while I was snoozing, they took it upon themselves to color my toenails green. Those girls - you gotta love em.'
I will have chemo every week - three weeks on, one week off. The second drug they are going to use has side effects - pray for me. So far, I have had not side affects with the first drug. I will let you know how it goes next week.
I want to share something with you before I close for tonight. It is Psalm 91:1-7