Friday, December 2, 2011

Where did the time go?

Good Grief and Gravy!
I cannot believe an entire year has passed since my last post!
I’ve kept up with all of your posts and while I have, many a time, begun a post, I somehow have not been able to complete one and get it posted!
This has been a hard but busy time for us. My caregiver role has become long-term. Though George is cancer free, his ability to care for himself has lessened. He no longer drives or leaves the house and is, at times, unable to complete routine tasks.
We experienced our first earthquake (such a weird thing to feel my house move on its own) and lived through a hurricane that created havoc for more than a week.
I have attended 11 funerals for friends and family this year and will be attending one again this weekend. My closest friend has just passed and her memorial service will be the week before Christmas. Oh- how I cannot wait for this year to come to an end.
There have been positive sides to these past months. We were able to finally get new attic stairs, some much needed routine home maintenance done and my grandson passed his driver’s test! It was so much more fun than when I taught his mother and uncle!! Now I have my own chauffeur!!!! What a hoot!!!!!!
I’ve started crafting and painting again. It’s been a great way for me to be close by for hubby but still have something to do that is just for me! I put my brushes and saws away after he became ill so it feels really great to be creating again.
We are now blessed with two more cousins in our family – Landon and Kaelynn - and are expecting another one next summer. How wonderful it is to see them grow.
This has definitely been a roller coaster year. I’m hoping that the year ends on a higher note and that the new one brings me time to blog more, paint more and live more.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Madness is upon us!

I started on Friday, getting stuff out of the attic and filling up the entire living room with it. I grabbed my partner in crime (grandson Stephen) and out the door we went to decorate the world. Stephen climbed to the roof and strung lights, climbed very tall ladders to do the very top of the peaks and all the windows and then came down to the ground to throw all the bad bulbs into the street to make popping noises!!!! I must say it did sound neat but he wasn't too happy when I handed him a broom and made him clean up the broken glass!

HE and I got all the ladder work completed on Friday and I finished up the ground work yesterday - just before the really nasty rain storm. I'm waiting for the borough to remove the leaf piles from in front of my house so I can finish the fence posts with lights, ribbon and garland. then the outside will be done. The hard part follows when I have to get the trees out of the attic (We went to a fake one out of deference to George....yuck) and all the inside decorations. ....It means I really have to do a thorough housecleaning and I just don't feel like it!

I guess putting out my good stuff on top of dust and stuff wouldn't work out too well soooooooo guess what I'll be doing this weekend!

The Kid wants anything electronic so his shopping will be easy. My son's gift is already on its way to his duty station and my husband doesn't want me to buy him anything. Well, after much thought, I decided to honor that request....I took a large mason jar, painted a country scene at the base of it, printed out the word NOTHING on cardstock paper and used pinking shears to cut it into a oval and then placed it inside the jar. I placed some cotton batting and cloth around the lid part and twisted the metal ring down tight on that jar. Now He can have "nothing" for christmas - all wrapped up in a pretty, hand painted decorative jar! My daughter had better not utter those words "I don't want anything" or she'll be getting a jar of nothing, too!

Wishing all you bloggie buddies who are doing the ho ho ho decorating a great warm day to do it and no lip from anyone about it!!!
Huggz to all

Thursday, November 25, 2010

As you probably know, last month the PET scans and MRI's came back with a positive result for the return of George's laryngeal cancer. This time they also found some suspicious spots on the liver. The doctors told us it didn't look good and ordered more testing to be done.
So-off to do more scans and biopsies, more waiting and more sleepless nights. His Dr. wanted this set of tests done at the hospital's radiological facility, not at our local center where the original tests were done. Back over the bridge to the city we went.
Even though we've been going there almost 2 years now, and are very familiar with most of the complex, we managed to end up in a section of the hospital we'd never seen before. I felt like a rat in a maze. "Down the corridor to the big corridor, make a left, a quick right and then just follow it around to the end," the receptionist said. "You can't miss it." Yeah....right!
We spent more time making lefts and rights and backtracking than it took to do the actual tests! It was so funny! We got lost again trying to get out of the building. I think we both have lost our internal GPS. Hmmm-could it be we're just (dare I say it )...aging?
After almost a month of playing "The Waiting Game" we got a call Tuesday telling us that all of the tests are negative; the spots that showed up on the scans are from the way he is healing and from using his new voice prosthesis. For the time being the Dr is saying all is well! They're just going to do follow-up testing more often for the next year. I think we'll be doing all of those tests in the city. Besides the better testing, I'm up for the challenge of learning to navigate "THE MAZE.!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How quickly things change

“Sorry, honey- I wish the news was better.” Even though I read the written report, pored over the PET and CT scans, had seen the tell-tale reddish-yellow hot spots and obvious black dots, I still did not want to hear those words. It took my breath away. I so wanted to believe that I had misread the words- had not understood what I saw. I should have known the results weren’t good. It was raining. It rained the day George was first diagnosed, on the day of every surgery he had and on the day my father died. Bad news, rain and the two of us....not a good combination. George's cancer has returned. The round-robin of surgeons, oncologists and tests of every conceivable type has begun. We wait again.

This time the wait is different. This time we have some knowledge of this disease. We’ve been here before and some of the fears have already been faced. But there are new fears to be conquered and new questions to ask. The wait is different…but, still…it is “The Wait.”

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm back...I think !

The last time I posted I had just finished planting the beginnings of my summer flower garden.
Now, summer is gone, the flower beds are prepared for the long, cold winter ahead and I have found some time to finally touch base with all those I’ve kept in my thoughts, prayers and heart all summer long.
After 10 years of dating, my daughter and her fiancĂ© finally decided to “take the plunge” and were married in July. Of course, once this decade long decision was made they made up their minds that the wedding had to be this summer. And the whirlwind began! To make a long story short – we pulled together a wedding (with all the trimmings) for over 200 guests in less than 3 months! It was wonderful, she was beautiful and I am still exhausted!
George handled the wedding day very well. It was so hard for him to put himself in the public eye and he was very apprehensive. While not her biological father, George is Christi’s father in every way a man can be. She wanted him to walk her down the aisle but he was not strong enough. Her brother and her son did the honors. At the reception there was a notecard placed at everyone’s seat telling them that instead of wedding favors a "donation was being made in George’s name to the Head & Neck Cancer Center because without them her Pop would not be here to share this day with her." When she saw that George was getting tired she talked with him and made the decision to forgo the father-daughter dance. To her it was more important that he be there with her and be able to stay for the entire celebration. Her thoughtfulness allowed him to stay for the entire reception- a memory they will have forever.
His physical recovery has been excellent but his mental and emotional recovery is taking a while. We heard about Chemo brain – but I wonder – is there a Radiation brain?
During all of the wedding preparations there was also sad news. Two friends lost their battles with cancer and on July 4th, my cousin was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. She is now facing life’s hardest challenge and with very little insurance coverage her battle is that much more difficult. Her sister is her caregiver, and I hope that, through my experiences this past year, I will be able to help her help her sister.
So, my dear blogger friends , I am off to read your blogs and catch up with you all. I hope the summer has been kind to all of you , and, while I have not been in touch, you all have been in my thoughts and my prayers.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Today was my day to hide from the human world and embrace the plant world.
Once I was out of bed and moving I decided that this was the day I was going to get my yard in order. I’d let it fall behind last year and it was really looking unloved.
I ran down to our local garden center and picked out some flats of white and red impatiens, got a few bags of Miracle Gro dirt and purchased some beautiful hanging plants for the front porch.
Everything made the ride home in my pick-up truck without too much damage and I started right in.
First, I had to scrub down the outside walls of the house – they were so icky. What a treat that was! Soapy water running down my arms, underneath my shirt and settling around the waistband of my jeans. Brrrrrrr…the hose water was like ice! Finally finished with that and started cleaning off the front porch, walkway and driveway. Ah yes, another chance to become soaked to the bone. Sneakers squishing with every step and jeans bottoms that weigh a ton. Now I can get onto the good stuff…
All afternoon I planted impatiens, petunias, zinnias and geraniums. I made some beautiful planters with the zinnias and a gorgeous geranium basket. I arranged the impatiens all around my front bushes and the back garden. I even put some in the baskets that sit on the porch railings! Everything is going to be beautiful in a few weeks!
I got so carried away that before I knew it I was trimming the unruly hedges and pruning the crazy pine tree in the front yard. That lead me to the holly bushes –they really needed a haircut—and finally to the fir trees by the fence. Everything got a haircut or a trim. I even decided to mow down the tiger lilys that grow wild in the back yard. Usually I wait til they finish blooming but, not today!
Now I’m sitting here moaning that everything I own hurts. My wrists, knees, shoulders and ankles are telling me that I am not 20 anymore. Funny- but my brain told me all was well and the rest of my body said – “sure, go ahead no problem!”
I’m headed to the tub to attempt to get the dirt out from under my fingernails and the tree pieces out from my hair. Then – onto a good night’s sleep so I can once more go get more dirt and more flowers and have more fun tomorrow. That is...If my knees , ankles, hips and wrists will let me out of bed!!!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My friend, Laura, died Tuesday after a long, hard, courageous battle with kidney and pancreatic cancer.
Seven years ago the diagnosis was kidney cancer with metastasis to the breast.She bravely had the kidney and the breast removed and began the cancer recovery journey, rarely missing a day of work while she battled the side effects of the surgery, chemo and radiation. After five years we gleefully and thankfully celebrated passing the big 5 mark.
Two years ago she began having unusual pains in her side. With all test results coming back inconclusive the decision to do exploratory surgery was made. After surgery we were told that nothing could be done and she was told to prepare herself and her family. They expected her life to end in about six months.
She never gave up. Once a week her day was spent hooked to an IV filled with chemo drugs. Her outlook was that the rest of the world had a 7 day week, she had a 6 day week…the trade-off was worth it. By this time she was working two jobs so missing a day’s work was not an option. There were concerts to attend (A Dave Matthews Band concert was never to be missed), plays to see and family events to be a part of. Her days were always filled with life and our days were always filled with her love.
About 2 months ago she and I had a long conversation about just letting nature take its course. She was finally tired of the battle and wanted to lay down her burden. That conversation was one of the most painful and, yet, one of the most rewarding, conversations I’ve ever had with her.
Over the past few weeks her grace and dignity has done more to help us come to terms with her decision than I think we helped her. After a week or so of some very difficult days, God granted her wish to lay down her burden and early Tuesday morning He wrapped her in His arms and took her home. This special, special lady lived life to the fullest, loved and was loved, and touched us all with her warmth. I will miss her dearly.