Did I mention that Cancer bites?

So, as you know if you have been reading along that Dad had his kidney removed recently due to more cancer.   He came home about 2 weeks ago and has been recovering wonderfully. Ever since that time, Mom has been really sick.  Stomach ache, followed by some other things.  I begged her to go to the doctor, my sister did the same thing.  Let me back up…

I call my mom everyday at 2:30pm during the week to check in with her.  Everyday for the past two weeks I would end up waking her up as she was in bed.  I would ask her to please go to the doctor.  “I don’t want to” blah blah blah…  One day I didn’t call and hours later I get this call from her laying on a guilt trip that she thought I was sick.  Kinda funny… Long story short, Mom is now in the hospital with what they think might be Liver cancer.  I can’t even believe it. 

Quick recap, mostly for me:

  • June 2008 – Joyce breaks leg, surgery for plate and pins.
  • August 2008 – Joyce finds out she needs her leg amputated as I find Jerry Sr. unconscious in the shower.  He had a massive stroke and died 4 days later.
  • January 2009 – Dad has his bladder, prostate, appendix removed due to cancer.
  • July 2009 – Dad goes into septic shock because of a bowel blockage.  Survives after they push his recurring hernia into place and correct the blockage.
  • September 2009 -December 2009 – Joyce in and out of hospital due to Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and other various illnesses.
  • December 2009 – Joyce dies after several boughts of CHF during the Fall. (and I believe a broken heart)
  • January 2010 – Dad, back in hospital.  Kidneys full of cancer.  Right kidney removed.  He’s home for about 2 weeks and…
  • February 2010 – Mom in hospital with what the doctors think might be cancer.  Will know more later.

Listing it like this really doesn’t show the many hours of trying to figure out how to care for our parents though.  I know this isn’t unusually, that all families go through this.   I guess I’m just trying to put it all into perspective.  That’s why I blog.  Documentation so that I can remember things and a cathartic outlet for my frustrations and insecurities. 

Other news: 

Work is…good.   I love what I do.  I often get frustrated with the kids.  They are lazy at times.  They get frustrated with me as I try to ween them from a co-dependant relationship with their interpreters.  By high school I believe they need to start being responsible themselves.  Maybe my standards are too high for them. *shrug*  They might not always like me but I do it out of love and hope for them.  I think this is my mantra for work:  It’s not my job to be liked. It’s my job to interpret the information accurately, clearly, and with the proper affect.They aren’t always going to have an interpreter with them out in the real world.  The interpreter isn’t going to do their report at their job, isn’t going to help stack boxes of things in a stock room, etc.  I can’t imagine what that feels like.  Maybe I need to go to a foreign country and try to survive not speaking their language.   Hey…that actually sounds almost like a vacation.  Heh

Guilt

Dad has been home now for about a week.  I guess he is doing okay.  He doesn’t really talk on the phone because it’s hard for him to hear so I’m not 100% sure on things.  I say this because my Mom has been sick with some kind of flu the past week and is a little vague about things.   If I take the bits and pieces of what she tells me I get freaked out and feel super guilty about not being closer to help out.  I did get her to say she needs to call the doctor but I have my doubts that she’ll actually do it.  They are stubborn! 

Guilt is a terrible feeling.  I’m not getting it just from that front either.  I am feeling guilty because I’m selfish and want to get out of town and have some fun. 

 Emotions are complicated…

I get overwhelmed by them at times.  I often think about sitting in the “rec room” of an asylum and just playing with the other patients.  Like somehow that would be easy. 

Ok..I’m not really crazy, but I would like the easy life sometimes…someone to do all my thinking, cleaning up after me, and just take care of me.  *shrug*

cancer bites

I’m sure everyone would agree with my title.  No one says “whee…I have cancer” ….  Dad found out earlier this week that his cancer has come back and is inhis right kidney and ureter.  This wasn’t really surprising news as we all thought it might be back. We had sat down with the Doctor after the diagnostic scope, he said it would probably be in 2 to 3 weeks before they could do anything, depending on the results.

Dad saw one Urologist this morning who said that the best they could do is monitor him and keep him comfortable until he died.  Dad didn’t like that much.  Don’t blame him.  Finally his own Urologist came to visit and Dad told him he wanted surgery to remove the cancer.   Dad told mom that when he told that to the doctor they kind of “lit up” and got excited.  So for now, the plan is that Dad will have surgery to remove the kidney and that cancer infected ureter on Sunday. 

What a terrible thing to have to do, decide how you want your end of days to be.  I can’t even begin to fathom the range of emotions people go through during those decisions.  Heck..I can’t even decide what I want for dinner most nights. 

I wish I lived closer so that I could be with my Mom and Dad during the surgery.  I know they both could use a chuckle and some familiar faces surrounding them.  *sigh*

Michigan

Here I am in Michigan.  I flew up on Thursday because I thought my dad was going to have some cancer removed.  It turned out that they were just doing more diagnostics and had never actually seen any tumors. 

Friday that changed.  His doctor said that his right kidney and ureter were full of tumors and that they would have to wait for the pathology and then go from there.  He hadn’t talked to Dad yet so he couldn’t tell us exactly what we should do but he though that the tumors needed to come out.  That makes sense to me.  Remove what’s bad so the body can try to compensate. 

I think that’s pretty much what Dad is thinking too.   The doctor is worried about the quality of life at this point.  Dad is too.  He has seen his friends/family go down both roads and have ended up passing after the same amount of time. 

Dad’s doctor said that it would probably be a couple of weeks before the surgery but they would know more on Monday.   Hurry up and wait..that what health care seems to be lately. 

All in all, I’m glad I made the trip up here.  It’s cold and I miss my Jerry and Tabitha.  My mind is a little more at ease.   I’m hoping the next few weeks I will be able to remember how I’m feeling right now and use that to give me strength.

Knowing is half the battle

Last week I was saying to Jerry that I was more happy than I was sad during the day.  I thought this was a great accomplishment.  I only had one crying jag and was feeling pretty good. 

That’s when yet another shoe dropped later that day.  Dad ended up being sent to the ER because of high potassium levels again.  Thankfully they got to it quickly so I don’t think it was nearly as bad as it was a month ago.  He was still able to have his scope on Saturday and they did find a blockage.  This was supposed to be an out patient procedure but they decided to keep him and are doing another procedure today.  Jerry has been wonderful during this all.  I know I’ve been a pain to live with and honestly it’s not really fair to him.   It was his family that passed away…not mine…

We distracted ourselves on Saturday by making a road trip down to Del Taco to pick up Star Trek Online collector cups from the Macho Menu.  Now that we have acquired these cups, we can have “Shuttle Pets” during the game.  RAWR!  I wasn’t feeling the best on the trip.  I was stressing about my dad although,  I started to feel better on the way home which coincided with Dad getting out of surgery.  I think it was the healing properties of the York Peppermint Patti that made me feel better.

I’m trying to come up with small goals to help me move into a healthy frame of mind.  I did get up early and had the dishs in the dishwasher before 7am…so Yay me!  I wish that was all that needed to be done around the house but I’m afraid it’s a whole lot worse.  At least I recognize the problem..that’s half the problem right? Haha.

Slowly but surely…

As most of you know it’s been a rough 18 months.  Jerry and I are trying to get back to some normalcy (whatever that means).

One of the ways it not to eat out as much.   This week, so far, we have cooked dinner in.  Jerry grilled, we had some spaghetti and tonight we are having ultimate comfort food,  Meatloaf and Mac ‘n Cheese.  I don’t mind cooking at all.  In fact, I think I’m a pretty darn good cook.  I don’t usually use recipes but just kind of think of things that would taste yummy together and viola…a meal.  It was one of the first things to go by the wayside when we were heading up to the nursing home all the time.  Yes, I know..I get out of work at 2:30pm and had plenty of time but I could never motivate myself.  Needless to say, Jerry and I have both gained some weight.  That’s what happens when you eat out all the time.  Sure, we played the “we’ll order a salad and it will be okay” game.  Unfortunately the salads usually accompanied an order of something not so good for us.  While I’m still not anywhere near to feeling top notch, I do think that cooking at home is helping.

Now if I could just find the motivation to start cleaning again….

2010

Happy New Year!

As I reflect on the past year, and decade I am reminded that while recently it’s been tough that again I’m am truly lucky.  Jerry and I bought our house this past decade.  Enjoyed many trips early in the decade.  I went back to college, got my degree in Sign Language Interpreting and landed a job with the school system.  We also had some sad moments, especially Jerry’s parents passing away.  They will be missed.

I was recently reminded to live each day to it’s fullest and I’m going to try to do that.  Although for today we are going to just relax and enjoy that new year feeling with all it’s hope and potential.

May your New Year bring you good healthy, prosperity and many blessings.

Funeral Arrangements

Today was long.  All the arrangements are done.

Hewell & Son Funeral Homes
4747 N Main St
Jacksonville, FL 32206
(904) 355-9545

Wednesday – Visitation – December 30, 2009  6pm-8pm
Thursday – Funeral Service  – December 31, 2009  10am-11pm
Commitment Service – 2:30 Grave Side   Oaky Grove Cemetery Tifton, GA

Update 12/30: Obituary

“I don’t gotta do nothin’.”

So today my little Fit lite it’s fuel gauge light and informed me it was time to get gas.  Ok, we’ll head to our neighborhood Shell Station @ 940 Post Street because I want to support local merchants.  I pull up and swipe my card, the screen lights up and nada.  So I head into the store, already disgruntled that the pay at the pump isn’t working and flash my debit card and said “Here is my card, I would want to fill up my car but the pay at the pump isn’t working on pump number 4”.  I immediately get “Oh yeah…umm..pump 4 is actin’ up…”.  So I admit that I was a little terse and said “Then you should really put a sign on it so people do try it and then have to come all the way in here just to get gas….  Here’s where a good Shell Oil representative would have said “I’m sorry for you inconvenience but I can swipe your card in here and you can fill up, etc.”  BUT instead I got, “I don’t gotta do nothin’.”  Which at that point I turned around, walked out and said “You’re right, you don’t”, drove off and headed to another gas station for service.  Which ended up being 2 cents a gallon cheaper.  I know it seems petty that I let that get to me.  Why should I pay for attitude?