Saturday, December 6, 2014

Were out of remission

Not a very good day and my stress level is on the brink of god only knows what? Today is round 2 of chemo for Mom and I love hearing those numbers go down. However, that wasn't the case today. The cancer doc had some bad news as her markers painted a different picture than our last victory lap. Although the markers doubled, rather than trippled like last time it was disheartening to hear. To make matters worse after receiving her chemo coctail she developed an alergic reaction. Although this is common in chemo therapies it does limit the medications that can now be tried here-on. While I attempted to get my second wind, time proved it doesn't stand still. As I waited for Lexi to get out of swim lessons I was making decissions on a gas leak at our new camper,

Would You Know

It's just after noon when I walk into my parents apartment, just as I've done nearlyeveryday this summer since returning to school. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed as I am preparing for finals. I question why I am even doing this, while caring for Mom. She sits near the edge of the couch appearing pale and clammy. She looks tired and exhausted but then again, so am I. Mom just went through another round of chemo and this round seems to have beaten her down. I walk in and sit down beside her. The past two days have brought dehydration. Im concerned and feeling frustrated since she's not eating or drinking. It only takes me a few moments and its apparent... she;s still dehydrated. I don't waste any time and immediately pick up the phone and call the cancer center. Where, for the first time in three years I suggest we hospitalize.  Moms face is blank as she seems to stare deep in thought right past me. Mom, typically strong and courageous, appears frail, weak and withdrawn. Would you know if  your mother was dying? 

Upon arriving at the hospital the nurse offers a wheel chair and a private waiting room. The area is just off the emergency room. I find it unbelievable that we are forced to wait six long hours to get into a room.None the less, we must wait to be seen just like everyone else. Mom can barely hold her head up as we sit in silence. Mom in the wheel chair, myself on a love seat beside her. I am saddened as she sleeps slumped over in her chair. While Mom drifts in and out of a deep sleep I play games on my cell phone and catch up on Facebook. I am convinced she will be hospitalized a day or two and everything will be fine. 

After being admitted and placed in a room I go home, satisfied and unaware. Over the course of the next twenty four hours Moms condition worsens. A call from the hospital confirms dehydration and pnemonia. I hear mom calling out my name and crying for me in the background. I tell the nurse Im on my way.  

At the hospital, I am informed mom has a blockage and cannot have any fluids. Mom begs me for even an ice chip. My heart skips a beat as I must decline her commands. I attempt to sleep on the couch next to her hospital bed. The room is cold and the cries keep me up. Scared and not sure how to help her, I speak to a nurse several times. I consider sneaking mom even just a few ice chips. However, I fear I could make her worse. I quietly lay back down, despite my mothers pleas for ice. I lie staring at her in bed, the bink of the monitor, the drips as they pool into her IV and I question why the catheter bag remains empty. I listen carefully as I hear the echo of the blood pressure cuff and the occasional laughter coming from the halls. As the oxometer sounds I can't wait to go home. I'm so tired.   

A couple days have passed. It feels as though we've been in this room a month. Yet its been but a few days. Mom has not been awake in two days. Mom has started to spit up black tar. dad and I come and go. The nurces assuring us she will be home in a day or two. I learned today there was never a blockage. The nurses had read the chart wrong. I feel as though I was mislead and have failed my mother. Something is wrong. I can feel it. Yet, Dad and I are told its just the effects of her pain medicine. I am so scared. 

Today I presented my final power point for my gerontology class. It was on death and dying. I can't believe I got an A. I'm so excited to tell mom. My mom worked in nurse education and she will be so proud of me. I rush to the hospital but she seems like shes in a coma. She moans and groans and the tar is all over her face. I'm so happy Dad is with me. I am so scared shes going to die. One by one my grown children come to visit. What a wonderful evening. I almost feel foolish. Mom is awake and doing well. The kids are terribly saddened and that brakes my heart as well. The mood is as if everyone, including her, is saying goodbye.   I don't understand. Mom is now getting better. We laugh and talk, yet there is this deep sadness. After the kids leave, I grab her camcorder and start to record. She is giving her final goodbyes. I am deeply saddened and feel as though Mom is giving up. I feel terrible as I ask Mom what her wishes would be if her heart would stop. After a long pause she quietly requests paperwork and a DNR is signed. I really don't want to think these doctors and nurses are making her sicker. I file a complaint and demand a staff meeting. Its scheduled tomorrow at 1:00am.  
Today the doctors suggested hospice. Mom and I always knew this day would come. They've given her six months to live. I tried to talk with Mom after the meeting but she is tired. She looks so sad and I feel empty inside. What will I do one day without my Mom? I voice my opinion and argue with the hospice team. I do not want this! They can not take away her diabetic pump! I silently begin to pray. 

Mom is once again sleeping. She hasn't been awake since our meeting. As I sit in the darkened room my mind wonders. Tomorrow is my last final. I attempt to read once again on death and dying. Suddenly it hits me. Mom is dying!  I wake Dad who is cat napping. Anxious and frightened I begin to outline the past couple months speaking to my Dad while trying to convince myself. The words come out easily but my heart can not begin t grasp the reality. I beg the nurses for some truth but no one will answer me. My cries are not heard. I feel as if they are all lying to me. 

Today is day eight since we arrived at the hospital. Moms kidneys are shutting down. They've asked me whether or not to proceed with dialysis. In my heart I want to say yes. However, I know how mom felt about this and I must honor her wishes. The single, most difficult answer I've ever had to give is saying no. I know what this will now bring. This would not be happening if they would have read her charts correctly. They should have never with held fluids. I should have gave her the ice chips she demanded and begged for!   

We are moving mom to Quiet Oaks Hospice House. I gave my last power point and rushed back to the hospital to move her. Mom is still in a deep sleep and gasping for air. She is agitated and fighting. I cannot take this black tar she is constantly gagging on anymore. Finally, the van arrives to move her. 

11:00am and the sun is shining. 
Quiet Oaks is beautiful. Mom has settled in. We have moved to comfort cares only . No more IV, no more diabetic pump. Mom is resting. The house is filled with aromas of cookies and the birds are singing outside her private window. Music softly plays in moms private room. If only mom could see this. I am no longer moms caregiver. I am only moms daughter. 

August 3rd, 2012 its 9:30 at night. I step outside for a cigarette with family. Mom looks so peaceful. I look forward to staying over night tonight. I am sure this will be my last night with mom but I try not to think about it. I come back in to my six year old crying. A heart stopped beating. Mom has gone to heaven. 

Who are we really?

Have you ever questioned who you were or where you came from? For most people the answer is yes. But for someone who is adopted or who never knew a parent or even confirmed who their parent is, that can bring on an entire different meaning. At 26 years old, I would learn that I had no idea who my birth father was.Upon this discovery, I was quite excited to learn that I actually had brothers and sisters. Growing up an only child, this really excited me. However, in the years to come I've realized I'm more alone now than if Id of never known at all.  While my siblings call me their sister I will never have that bond they do. I wasn't raised with them. I don't know their stories and they don't know mine.  I don't  know the who  half of my relatives are and what hurts the most is knowing I never will. Never will I be looked at like an aunt, a sister-in-law or that bond that I always wanted. Most  days I feel like I'm the outcast that everyone is faced with and now must accept. Half of whom have never tried to get to know me or  my family. And yet I am blessed for those few who do.

When I was caring for my mom I had no siblings to help. No real support. In a world that was very much alone it would have been nice to have family by my side. When I then lost my Mom it was the hardest time in my life. I had no one call or even send me a message. A simple are you ok?
At graduation there was no congratulations, no one in attendance in my big moment in life. It makes me feel unimportant and inadequate.

It made me question. Is this how all adoptees feel? Is there ever a point you can just let go of where you came from and treasure the moments you do have instead? Do you just accept the things you may never know?

I am grateful for my Dad who adopted me at 13 years old. We share a bond that no one can ever replace. He is the man who has raised me and guided me to be the person I am today. I believe family is anyone you chose to call family. But deep inside do we all still need closure in knowing what our heritage is? Is this something others face as well?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Making the List

20 years ago when I left college I was proud of the fact I held a 4.0 for 2 years. As a member of Phi Thetta Kappa I dreamed of not only graduating but having the official endorsement forever etched as a great accomplishment. I ended up dropping out of school with just 15 credits to go. Not bad for a girl who barely graduated high school and was happy to pass with a C.

Then 9 years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I feared I would soon end my career little alone ever finish that degree.

Last summer, my mom really encouraged me to go back and finish. I found out I would have to start all over. Yet mom persisted. Our local college didn't offer human services so I went into elementary education.

In my 3rd semester I'm happy to report that MS hasn't slowed me down a bit. I'm proving to myself once and for all I CAN still do this. Once again, 20 years later I'm on the Presidents list and have carried a straight 4.0

I'm not going to lie. It's been a challenge. I've lost my Mom. Takin care of my Dad. My family. Somehow I've managed to stay focussed and do this for me.

For anyone who thought MS was going to destroy me... They were wrong!
I'm back! I may have MS but it's not going to define me. I will work harder than ever to prevail.

I got this!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Welcome home parakeets

We decided to tell the truth and since the pet store didn't have the same finches it really wasn't our choice anyways. None the less, our daughter Katie, surprised her with two parakeets. Although she cried and was saddened by the loss she is excited that she can teach these birds to talk. Just what we need in a busy house.... More noise.
All is well tonight.

Childhood pet loss

Our daughter, now 7 loves her little finches. Last night my husband found them on the bottom of her cage. We haven't told her yet and since I panicked and rushed her through the morning without her noticing I feel free. Or at least, bought time. The question today is do I tell her the truth after school or cover it up and run to replace the birds? She's recently suffered so much loss. Thoughts?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Homemade finger paint

Something fun to do today.