Sunday, September 7, 2014

Even a HERO, isn't immortal

My heart official broke last April for Grama,
when I found out about the pancreatic cancer....
well now..
now it just hurts, and feels heavy in my chest......

she had some blood work done around two weeks ago, and it came back that the tumor markers had spiked from about 300 to 1400.
They did 3 CT scans on her abdomen last week, and Friday she went to the oncologist to listen to the results/prognosis/new plan of action.
Turns out, she's got a new lesion on her liver, the tumor has grown rapidly, all happening  WITH chemotherapy, furthermore she's now NOT a candidate for surgery, and

WITH chemo treatment they are giving her maybe SIX MONTHS,,, 
without,, maybe TWO to FOUR MONTHS...

Remember, when I said, I'd stay hopeful about everything,,, but I have to stay close to reality, too?
I guess this is why everyone told me to do just exactly that.
The other part is,
no matter what the "numbers are"
the simple fact is,,, at this point she could get a flu virus or a bad cold, and that could be IT... all she wrote.
with a diminished immune system, and no "strength" really left to fight off anything.... it's just sad to think I may not have very long left with her, at all.

On the other hand... I have gotten a LOT of time with her.... It's selfish to ask for more, when I've gotten to make so many GOOD MEMORIES with her the last couple of years... She's gotten to meet and love Sullivan,,, her and Sam have gotten to spend a lot of time together, too... he's now old enough where I'm sure he will remember her.. Or at least I certainly hope so.

I hope, wish, pray with all my heart,
she doesn't suffer, or lose her dignity, laying in a hospital bed for weeks or months on end.
I only hope for WHEN life finally does leave her body,
for it to be FAST and painless, and her not to be alone... and definitely not to FEEL ALONE.

I'm terrified for what the future months may bring my family....
But again, I know it's selfish to want more time to save myself from the inevitable heartache that lays before me.
I tell Sam,
that "death" is a fact of life, a natural part of life, and one of the only things that is FOR SURE, in our natural lives..... I do that to try and prepare him for my inevitable demise I guess.... Because it really IS a part of life, and although it's tragic, sad and really hard to get thru sometimes, I hope it doesn't always have to be SUCH a painful experience. It's hard to see someone you have always seen as so STRONG.. not be....
to be growing older, weaker, and more fragile all the time.... Life is a precious gift and we all get lost in day to day things where we sometimes forget that....


Grama is going to start this new chemo, next week..... it is more aggressive than what she has been getting though, and while she thinks she'll be able to "tolerate treatment" who really knows what will happen, or how it will affect her. She may ultimately decide to let nature take it's course, and that she doesn't want to spend her last few months, sick...... Sick from chemo that will not cure her cancer, but only slow down the progression, at best case scenario.

It NOW makes perfect sense to me, why I got pregnant when I did....
Because if I wasn't carrying another life inside me when I found out about Grama's cancer, things may have gone much differently.... and NOW.. now that we KNOW there isn't much time left,,, I have a good reason, like the BEST reason to hold myself together, and really BE HERE 100%,,,, in body, mind, soul, spirituality, ALL OF IT...
And,,, I'm grateful and thankful Grama has gotten to meet Sully, love him, hold him and hug him.... there's nothing else like looking into a child's eyes.... I've always felt like THEY,,, maybe only your own kids? Can see into your eyes, and straight into your soul... they really can see past all your own bullshit... and whether you REALLY MEAN IT OR NOT.

The day Grama got the call about the bloodwork , and they told her she was having some CT scans done the following Tuesday..... And that they had cancelled her upcoming surgical consult,,,
it looked like someone kicked the wind right out of her.
I said,
it's okay... whatever happens,,, it's OKAY and I LOVE YOU....
she said,
I just thought I was on the right side of this thing, like I was beating this thing. guess I'm not at all.

All I could do was hug her and tell her that I love her.. I have no idea what ELSE TO DO...

I confessed to her yesterday,
I'm worried about where Mike is going to live, until he gets off Probation... because even living at her house, took a judge's order to get "permission" to do so...
The only other option for him while on probation would be something like a camper or 5th wheel on his boss's property..... After his probation intake the PO pretty much ruled out ALL family and friends' residences we brought up, that did NOT have kids living at home..... even the homeless shelter is forbidden because of it's geographic location.
And I know that is small potatoes compared to what we are talking about here... however it's a huge issue when you think about how much the kids & I rely on him financially right now.
I have no idea what her plans or thoughts are about the house,
but this issue is forever present in the back of my mind now...
Prior to Friday's appointment,,, I thought I had AT LEAST a year with her... and thought Mike has  a good chance, if not great chance of being off supervision within that time.... But now, four or six months put things in a whole different light.
His court date was rescheduled for the 19th of September... so he will likely be doing 30 days on GPS starting that date. Hopefully that's what the outcome is, anyway... So far it seems that it will be. Let's hope that at least, stays the same...

People ask me,,,
how are you doing with hearing that news?

well how the hell do you THINK I'm doing???
I'm sad..... and scared,,, and worried.... and hurt,,,,, all at the same time...
It kills me to see grama so sad, too...... she's like devastated.... just like I said before; somebody knocked the air right out of her.....
I'm trying to stay positive, or as positive as humanly possible... I also don't think that I've fully PROCESSED any of this "news" .........
Maybe I am choosing not to, for awhile..... who knows, really....

Grandma asked me not to tell Sam of what the Doctor said.... what their "estimates" are... I agreed that I wouldn't because I've already explained to Sam about the cancer, and grandma's age among other things.... I also told him she could get very sick, any time. . .
He asked me if she was going to die....
I said, well yes , eventually... and eventually we ALL will die...
and the only thing we can do while she's still here, is love her as much as we can, and tell her every day how much we love her.
that seemed to make sense to him, or enough sense, that it stopped the questions. . .

I know kids bounce back from things like death of family member a lot faster than US, adults..... and actually all the adults of the family being sad, might be much more scary for him......
No matter what happens,
I'll do the best I can, and be as honest as I can possibly be with him, all while trying to remain as positive as possible..... not "hiding" my feelings , but TRYING to make it NOT so tragic of an experience...


Well that's about all I have for now....
I will just ask that you keep Grama in your thoughts and prayers,
and share the hope with me, she doesn't suffer too much in the last months (hopefully) of her life. . .

thank you


here's just a FEW of the memories I've been lucky enough to share with her......














Part TWO.... the good, bad & traumatic tale of my 2nd son's birth.


Part two.....
So,
Friday August 15th, for a "re-cap" they were giving baby Sullivan a "NAS" assessment every three hours, the first 48 hours, his scores were in the "medium" range of withdrawal, but not enough to require "Intervention" which means MORPHINE, to put it in simple terms.

I agreed to sign papers saying I would bring him back to Portland, back to the hospital for one more NAS assessment, and to be weighed, just to ensure he wasn't going "downhill" as the Pediatric Dr. put it. So, we got that signed around noon, I called my family by 1215,
and said get us the F OUT OF HERE!!!!!

Well discharge didn't ACTUALLY happen until 3:45pm,
but in the grand scheme of things, that's fine.

Friday on the way back home, things seemed very surreal.
Sam in the back seat with me, Grama and Mike in the front, we had to stop twice so I could feed Sullivan. Sam didn't know WHAT to make of the whole "breastfeeding' thing.
I showed him a video on youtube when we got home, of all sorts of mammals feeding their babies. My plan was to not make a "big deal" out of it, because it's just about the most natural thing ever, and certainly a fact of life.
the breast pump, was even more fun to listen to all the questions he had....

And.......
Sam disappeared Saturday afternoon, I went to use the breast pump,
SOME of the pieces were gone too..
Just about that same time, Sam comes walking around the corner with a puzzled look on his face...

"Mom..... I tried this thing (meaning the breast pump!!)
and, it's just not working out, I'm sorry"

I tried to contain my laughter.... I said, well that makes sense because only mommas can breast feed...
you have to be lactating for that to work hun.

"well guess I'm not GA-LA-CA-TATING"  he says....
that's okay sweetie... I love you... I hugged him and waited for him to be out of "ear shot"
then proceeded to LAUGH MY ASS OFF...
it was just too funny.
I wrote the whole thing in Sullivan's baby book, , , and put at the bottom of the page,
"never a dull moment around here, kiddo"

The first few days at Gramas' flew by,
and Sunday was here...... Mike drove us up to the hospital and Sam stayed home with Grama, she was going to take him shopping for a few things he needed for school, still.

The appointment at the Post-Pardon center wasn't too bad...
 when we weighed him he actually weighed EXACTLY THE SAME as when we left the hospital...so she let me breastfeed him pretty much the entire appointment, and weighed him again at the end... he weighed 2.5 ounces MORE, and that's the weight she wrote down.
they ask you about a bizzilion questions,
have you fill out an "emotions" thing, mostly centered around post pardon depression.....
all in all the appointment was fine.
and homeward bound we were, an hour after arriving.

The next week, on Friday (almost two weeks old)
we had an appointment with a pediatrician at home... everything turned out FINE,, and his weight was SIX OUNCES heavier than it was just the Sunday previous.....
so the doctor had ZERO concerns,
and we just made a follow-up for when he's about a month old.

At three weeks,
I had a doctor's appointment so I asked if we could stick him on the scale.. I didn't take his clothes off or anything, and he was TEN POUNDS, 3 ounces....
with clothes, yes... but I had just changed his diaper, so it was dry....
so he's damn near ten pounds then!!!!!
I wonder how much he'll weigh at his one month check up?
LOL

so I'm filling out a questionnaire about my "hospital stay" for Providence... and putting in all the bad stuff and THE GOOD STUFF TOO...
there was a couple nurses that I just don't think I would have "made it"
as well as I did, had they NOT been there.....
One of them was Sarah, who worked during the day....she was the one that what seemed like FINALLY helped me get out of bed,,, AND take a shower....
I mean.... I think I mentioned before it takes a SPECIAL kind of person to help you breast feed your brand new baby,,, AND see your POST-pregnancy naked body,,,, EVEN HELP you get off the toilet..... Sarah was my day shift nurse, that I talked to most of the time during my stay.. it was the other nurses, that came in the room during different times, during the day that I had "issues" with.
She was never judgemental towards me though, and tried explaining things in the nicest way to me that were going on. the only day I didn't get to see her was Friday, the day we finally left. She talked to me about Sam a lot, and I went into detail of some of his issues, and how he's been seeing a counselor almost a year now, one of the things we did during therapy was some role play with a baby doll, and I was making it a top priority once we got home to remember to spend one on one time with Sam, so he wouldn't feel less "loved" or left-out because of the baby. . . . That made her VERY supportive of me as a Mom, and understand more I think,,, of where I was coming from, why I decided to deliver in Portland, ETC....Her only wish was that MORE moms were that way, with their older children....

Another one I really loved, was Daria, who worked at night.. She left for a two week vacation during my stay. She was my night nurse for tues and wed night though.... she told me a few times, when she came in to do Sullivan's NAS scores,,, if he was grumpy or fussy, she'd actually wait about five minutes and come back so we could write down a higher score... because as she told me, THIS BABY was nowhere near in "withdrawal" and as far as she was concerned and her experience went she hadn't seen one reason to think otherwise.... I really liked that.... she also tried getting me to sleep without the baby on my bed...when I cried and told her I was scared that I might fall asleep and they'd take him to the NICU or something without my knowledge..... she really said in a way that made me believe her... she would do NO SUCH THING, and wouldn't let anyone try any such "move" either.... I need my rest, and she just wouldn't let that happen. So I did SLEEP, on her "shift"

Danni was the night nurse I had after Daria was gone for vacation, and I got along with her REALLY well too... she finally explained to me in a way I could understand about the birth certificate papers and the other paperwork I had to fill out at the hospital... when I asked the original nurse that gave me the papers,,, she didn't really answer my questions, or didn't answer it in a way that I understood what the hell she was talking about.... Danni didn't make me feel stupid or ignorant for not understanding it... she sat on the side of my bed, held Sullivan, and went thru every LINE with me, until I "got it"
LOL
I know I'm a lot to handle sometimes... and I know not everyone understands my humor, among other things.... So it was nice to have at least one person "on my side" that did.... Danni called me a "rock star" for not taking any pain meds, AND for everything else I was dealing with, to still crack jokes and talk about how much I missed my family rather than to center on all the negative things I could have been talking about...

So I'm making sure to include ALL THAT STUFF, too...
I know from my best friend since about age 14,,,,
that nursing school is no picnic, and doing the job of an RN is definitely hard work, that takes a special person to be able to do, and keep a good attitude..... to CARE for everyone else around you... and I can certainly imagine the maternity floor NOT the easiest place to be a nurse, either....
So if your a nurse, or have a loved one who is,,, well you (or they) get a big huge hug from me, today. Just for doing all they do... and being who they are...

Every challenge I come across,,,
I try to look at as, "it makes me who I am"

Bringing Sullivan home..... I didn't take that for granted... I certainly took bringing Samuel home for granted... Or  I didn't think it was a "big deal" at that time..
It's made me cherish these first few weeks of his life, because had I made other choices,, I would probably not be spending these days and weeks with him by my side.
Had I not experienced what I did during my hospital stay, I probably wouldn't feel that same way. Also, knowing he IS my LAST BABY,,,
has made things different and "special" too.
I don't regret my decision in any way,,, I'm actually relieved I don't have to worry about birth control or having a SURPRISE any time in the future.
30 years ago or so big families were a lot more common,,, and I think it was a totally different world as far as daycare goes, and work/economy,,, well everything really....
I'm more than satisfied with my TWO BOYS.... and I love them with my whole heart.
It doesn't matter to me what they decide to be when they "grow up"
as long as I can raise them to be GOOD PEOPLE,
and they are TRULY HAPPY....
well then I've done my "job" as far as I'm concerned.

Sam used to ask me what a "good person" meant quite a bit. or what the difference was between good and bad people.
My answer to him is,
someone that doesn't hurt others , and tries to help others whenever possible.... someone that DOES THE RIGHT THING WHEN NOBODY IS LOOKING..... that's a good person.
I don't care if you shovel horse shit for a living,
your the best people on the planet, if you continue to do the "right thing" and learn from mistakes you have made... as far as I'm concerned...
I want to teach my kids to be happy with WHAT THEY HAVE...
there's so much " I wish I had that"
in our world today... it tends to make people live on credit and have to file bankruptcy and continue to live beyond their means WAY TOO OFTEN.
When, in all reality, it doesn't take long to find someone a lot worse off than you are, if you look around...


with that.... I'm going to end this one.....
the BOYS are doing great.. Sam started Kindergarten last week, and so far, so good... he loves school and I really hope that attitude continues....

Hug your kids people..... You'll never regret doing it.

"the most precious jewels you'll ever wear around your neck, are your children's arms"
THREE WEEKS

TWO WEEKS OLD
         
TWO WEEKS OLD

Sam's FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL...