Thursday, March 11, 2010

You look mahvelous dahling! How HAVE you been?

My last post to this blog was 676 days ago. How do you even come up for an excuse for that kind of neglect? And how do you begin to describe what has happened to your life in those 676 days? It smacks of those awkward high school/university/community reunions that seem to be the current rage thanks to social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The look across the room toward someone who looks familiar and you're thinking perhaps from the hall at school, but really its from a picture on someone else's profile page and you've both convinced yourself that you were really great friends 30 years ago in high school. You hug enthusiastically, ask the perfunctory "where are you living" questions, and try to describe your past 30 years in four sentences or less.

But try I will. So, since May 4, 2008:
  • I completed that master's degree and am no smarter but I have a wickedly framed piece of paper hanging on the wall of my honking big new office where I work at a job that is with another department all together. Before I even graduated, I thanked the Department that would not promote me back in 2006, applied for and won a competition for a senior position, packed up my boxes and left them. Felt great!

  • Mom kicked breast cancer's ass! She had the mastectomy in May, returned home and determined to get healthy at 78. She chose radiation over chemo as a treatment. She and Dad travelled here to the city where I live, and became involved with the amazing Lodge that Gives while she underwent a long series of treatments. They chose to stay there instead of with us and embraced this part of their journey as an adventure. I visited regularly and enjoyed seeing my Dad who took everything on with such gusto, tour me around and introduce me to volunteers...other patients....the kitchen staff. He would transport my mom to her treatments, and took care of her with such unconditional love. What an example of love he is to me.

  • Mom finished her radiation treatments, and then promptly had a heart attack! In November 2008, she was admitted to the ICU and diagnosed with four blocked arteries. Because of her history of diabetes, the proximity to the cancer diagnosis, poor lung capacity and oxygen circulation and other reasons, surgery is not an option. She recovered, and was sent home with oxygen which has become a 18 out of 24 hour per day companion to her.

  • On April 14 of last year, my amazing dad died of cancer. It snuck up and bit us all on the arse. We had no idea he had it until three weeks before he died. He had been so focused on nursing my mom back to health from her breast cancer, mastectomy and subsequent heart attack that he wasn't paying attention to his own health situation. And although we saw that he was losing weight, that's not always seen as a bad thing in my family, so we probably didn't pay as much attention to it as we could/should/would have. You may remember that HB is a younger version of my Dad, so as long as HB is around, we haven't totally lost sight of who Dad is to us. Dad's death and our journey with him on those last days deserves a post all on its own, and I am committed to doing just that. I love him and miss him every moment of every day, and I wouldn't trade a moment of our crazy life together - even that last day in his hospice room, holding his foot because my mom and sister got his hands - and accompanying HB in song as we sang him home. Yes...Dad deserves a post all of his own.

  • In the midst of all that, Knothead calls on her cell phone one day to say "by the way, I want to move to Europe in July and take Frodo and Mini-Me with me. You down with that?" What followed was weeks of consultation with lawyers, counsellors, friends and mega soul searching to determine whether it was the right thing to let her take the boys out of the country. HB is indeed so much like my unconditionally loving Dad, and I learned so much about sacrifical love from watching him make this decision. He knew that this experience was something that the kids would never have a chance at again, although it meant that we would not see them in person for at least 12 months, and that they would be living completely under her daily influence. We drove them to the airport on July 1, 2009. They call, skype or email every single day ... and we all miss each other like crazy. We are looking forward to them being home for the entire month of July with us, and are planning a two week trip there for February 2011. Despite the fighting and challenges we faced when they were living here, we have determined that much of it had to do with Knothead, and her misery in her life here. She seems to be in a much better space these days, and I think has realized that the kids were not little arses because of HB's influence on them....that they are just that - kids! She was quite surprised that many of the issues she used to blame on HB mysteriously found their way across the pond in their baggage and reappeared! So...painful as it has been, perhaps this has been good for all of us. The weird thing is that Frodo will turn 15 this summer and Mini-Me 13. I still see them in their little matched sweaters, nose to nose with our dogs in the kitchen. In fact, Barkley towered over Mini-Me! Now they pat the top of my head as they walk by - or at least that's what they were doing before they left. Since I know I've shrunk in height while they were gone, it doesn't bode well for me upon their return this summer! I can't wait.

  • And finally, but absolutely not the least of what's been happening, is that HB and I continue to grow closer together and more in love. I cannot believe how blessed I am to have this man as my life partner. He always said we could have fun in a ditch together, and these past few years have underscored the truth of that statement. We have journeyed together through the crap and the mud and still managed to find diamonds in those puddles. I love him. Plain and simple.

There is so much more but God love ya for reading this far. I suspect there's not a soul out there that still checks this old blog, but if any of my old blog buds are still out there, please let me know. I have continued to keep up on some of my reading and will be updating my blog list soon. I had forgotten how therapeutic blogging can be!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Quarterly Report

I guess I'm turning into a quarterly poster! I have to admit to a little distraction called Facebook these days. Plus I've been really focused on finishing up the degree, and we've had some serious health issues in my family that have been taking a significant amount of energy and time.

In January, my father was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. This brought good news and bad news. The good news was that it could be slow moving, and may have only been picked up because of a case of pneumonia that he had been battling. The bad news was that it could also be fast moving, in which case the prognosis was five years at most. He went for a battery of tests, and was scheduled to go back for the comparison tests on May 1st.

In March, my mother discovered a teensy infection in her right breast. She decided to go have it checked out, and thankfully, her doctor sent her for a mammogram. At 77, Mom has long ago given up having mammograms, paps, and the like. The mammogram showed some lumps in the left breast. The infection was nothing...well, actually it was a blessing. Anyhow, the doctor ordered an ultrasound, which showed more irregularities, so was followed up by a biopsy. By mid April she was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer, and last week underwent a mastectomy. She came home from hospital on the day my father was headed into the specialist for his next round of tests.

Needless to say it was a stressful week - and oh yeah - I had to write an exam in the midst of it all.

I'm happy to report that Mom is recuperating well ... she has a great attitude about it all. Says she's 77, doesn't use 'em anymore and neither does Dad, so take 'em away!

And as for Dad....the doctor said he has seen 28 year olds who couldn't go as long on the treadmill as Dad did last week. Says it's definitely slow moving, if at all moving .... so that's great news!

And me? I got an A- on the exam I wrote, once again proving that I am able to pull useless bits of trivial information to the forefront in a crunch.

And how was your week???

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

One thing in common

Lately it seems that I am more aware of mortality. Last night, we attended the wake for a friend's mom, and in the last few months, both of my parents have begun to experience more serious health issues.
I have a friend who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last January, and although barely lucid, is still alive some twelve months later. His illness has given me lots of time to consider that we are all here for such a short time, and that no matter what, death is the one thing we all have in common.
And then just this week, a woman who I have only ever known through an online community lost her battle with cancer. I have been amazed by the outpouring of posts at several sites, and on her blog, about how she impacted people around the world through the internet! She was in constant contact with people by email, telephone, blog posts and message boards - sharing her struggle, her faith, her positive attitude. She was an amazing example of courage, hope and grace.
What mark will I have left on my world? I have never aspired to do big things, but I hope I have done many small things on a daily basis that have made people smile, or feel loved. Most importantly, I guess, is that I am alive today. What can I do with this one day I know I have to make a difference in my world?
Something to think about.