Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1218

The night before last, I had trouble falling asleep.  I was restless, I felt edgy and raw, and I just had this feeling that something bad was going to happen.  I have written that same exact thing a few times before right here in my blog.... and each time I've been right.

Yesterday at work Hubby came into my office and showed me his hand:  he had lost his wedding ring.  He never takes it off.  NEVER.  The only time he did was two weeks ago when he had neck surgery.  I kept it safe in my purse, and put it back on his finger myself when he was awake again.  He can't remember when, where or why he took it off after that, and our efforts to find it have been unsuccessful.  I attributed my bad feeling to that.  It's very upsetting, for him and me.

I should have known.  I don't get that feeling over something "upsetting".
This morning I received a text from my BFF.  Her mom had passed away in the early morning hours.  

Before my mom had cancer, before I had cancer, before my BFF had cancer, Barb was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She fought through surgery and chemo and came out on the other side...a little older, a little more tired, a little scarred, but still the same old Barb.  She was not the pity party type.  She was matter of fact, and a fighter.  If you didn't know she was sick, you would never know, because she never complained.  I'm not positive, but I think Barb had reached the 5 year milestone which is the magic number in cancer survivorship.  

I met my BFF in homeroom at the beginning of seventh grade.  We were inseparable for years and years until she met her hubby, moved away and got married.  We have a long history of roller rinks, double dates, New Year's Eve parties and vacations.  My family was hers, and her family was mine.  I probably spent more of my teenage years at her house than my own.  I loved her mom like.... a mom.  On my visits back home each summer, even when my BFF wasn't there at the same time, I would still stop by for a visit, or better yet, meet at Pizza Star for lunch.  This was taken this past summer:

If you didn't laugh when you were around this couple, there is something wrong with you.  They both would talk a mile a minute, often over the top of each other.  Half the time I didn't know which conversation to pay attention to.  You rarely saw one without the other, and it's only fitting that Barb passed away with her hubby by her side.  I'm so sad for him.  I can't even imagine how lost he must be.  They're still young!  How do you spend fifty years with someone and then have to live without them?

I'm sad for my friend T and her sister.  To this group of people, family is everything.  Barb was definitely the glue that held them all together.  T told me when her mom was sent home with hospice that she wasn't ready to say goodbye to her.  How could she be?  

I'm heartbroken for Barb's grandchildren.  My kids lost two grandmothers in 2010 and my heart still mourns the memories they will not get to make.  I think about those four young people who loved Barb and it makes me cry.

A big part of why I'm so sad is because of how much everyone else who loved her has lost.  I'm not the only one who experienced happiness and laughter because of Barb.  Her husband, her family, her nieces and nephews, her friends..... everyone whose world was a little brighter because Barb was in it - they are all covered in darkness tonight.  Sorrow.  

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  (Matthew 5:4)

I know Barb is at peace.  Her body is healed, her spirit is restored and she doesn't have to fight anymore.  And that is a comfort.  If you've ever watched someone die from cancer, you know, you witness just how weary they get of fighting.  As trite as it sounds, I am comforted by the fact that I know she is in a better place.  But...

Not only am I sad because someone who has been a part of my life for thirty years is no longer, I am mad.  MAD.  😡  Why are people still dying of cancer?  Why????

And not only am I mad, but I'm scared.  I'm scared to death, because as selfish as it sounds, I'M NOT READY.  I had breast cancer, just a few years after Barb did.  So am I next?   Barb may not have been the picture of health in recent months, but to my knowledge she didn't know that cancer was once again taking over her body.  Sneaky bastard.  It just happens, and after you've fought the beast once, the second time is often devastatingly final.  I don't have survivor's guilt...... I have survivor's FEAR.  As long as people keep beating this disease, it gives me hope that I can continue to beat it.  But when there is a loss, especially a loss so close to my heart, it brings that fear right back to the surface.

Rest in peace, Barb.  I hope you spend an eternity wandering the shores of the place you loved most.  Thank you for the memories, and thank you for loving me and my family.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1202

Today Hubby and I are finally switching roles after three and a half years.  He's having surgery to get rid of the pain in his neck (NOT ME!!  😎) and I get to be caregiver for the next few weeks.  Since August 1, 2013 I have been the patient and he has been... well.... everything:  husband, friend, shoulder to cry on, hand to hold, calm in the midst of my storm.  He has had to do things most nurses don't even want to do, and he's never once complained.

I have a feeling we're going to find out he's better at taking care of me than letting me take care of him.  Men in general don't make the best patients.  They like to be in control, they don't like to admit weakness and they don't want anyone telling them what they can and can't do.  However, this isn't like going to the dentist and needing to take a Xanax.  Hubby will be out of work for 2 weeks minimum.  He won't be able to drive for 2 weeks minimum.  He will have to wear a neck brace for 6-8 weeks.  And he'll have a nagging wife making sure he follows doctor's orders!

Please say a prayer as Hubby has surgery today.  Pray for a safe surgery, minimal pain and fast healing.  Living in constant pain is incredibly draining, and he's been doing that without complaint for years.  Now it's his turn.  I hope that I can be to him what he's been for me for 1202 days, and I hope and pray that this surgery will eliminate his pain.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1195

December 5th seems to be a happy day for me.

Last year on this day we put up our Christmas tree.  Sitting in the living room with all the lights off with just the glow of the Christmas tree is one of the most peaceful things to me.  Decorating a tree is nothing major to celebrate for most, but when you're tired or hurting or recovering from chemo or a surgery, it's a monumental task. It's something I was unable to accomplish this past weekend because I had zero energy.  Our tree has been sitting on the porch for a week.  I love Christmas, and I love having everything decorated.  I just wish I could snap my fingers and have it done.

Two years ago on this day my dad came home from the nursing home.  He had been in the hospital and rehab since his stroke in August, and on 12/5/14 he was able to go back home.  It saddens me to see how much my dad's life has changed.  He went from working full time (often overtime), being active in church, playing in a bowling league and being an avid golfer, to being unable to walk without a walker.  However, Christmas is the season of miracles.  When I flew home in August 2014, the doctor told me over the phone that I should prepare myself for the worst.  Instead, I still have my dad.  He traded golf clubs and a fishing pole for Judge Judy reruns and physical therapy, but I'll take it.

Three years ago on this day I had my last of eight chemo treatments.  That was just the beginning of what would be a long, long road of treatment and surgeries, but for me it was the biggest hurdle.  I wish I could lose the thirty pounds cancer and its treatment gave me, I wish I wasn't so darn tired all the time, and I wish I didn't hurt.  However, those are minor complaints compared to having to fight for your life.  

I was smiling in this picture and I'm still smiling today.  I'm working, I'm able to be a wife and mom (although not quite the superwife and supermom I was), I'm active in K's softball league and I'm a proud band parent.  This is about as normal as my life has been since d-day.

This December 5th, the most remarkable thing to report is a clean bill of health from my dentist appointment this morning.  Ha!  But as I said, things slowly getting back to normal is not being taken for granted.  

Just for fun, here's my new Christmas favorite: