Saturday, January 26, 2019

May 2014.

Wow, my life has changed a lot since then.

Our lives pretty much turned upside down around that time...

My father passed away on Dec 23, 2014. Even as a grown ass adult with children of my own, becoming an orphan was overwhelming, and I was still grieving, deeply, that my father sold our family home the year prior.

First week of January 2015 - my husband met his medical insurance deductible for the first of 5 consecutive years - all in January. Seriously, he has met his medical deductible during the first month of every year for the past 5 years. That is a HUGE disruption to how we live our lives now.

That first year was a broken leg, I think (in memory) it was two days before my father's funeral. He was a champ, going to my father's funeral in a temporary splint and a wheelchair, not having had surgery yet. Then months filled with surgeries, recovery etc. My husband suffered a good part of the year with abdominal pain, gastric upset, and for purposes of this recap - let's call it gastric inconsistency (is this constipation, is this diarrhea, is this dehydration, is this painkiller side effects, is this lack of activity caused [broken leg], is this related to diabetes meds, etc.) Sometime that fall, he changed PCP because he wasn't getting good answers about the gastric/abdominal crap. The new doctor immediately sent him for a colonoscopy.

December 2015 - He was 55 years old, and had never had a colonoscopy. The results were not great. He was diagnosed with colon cancer. Isn't that fucking outstanding. That was the last week of December.

January 2016 - he had surgery to remove the hardware in his leg that was causing him discomfort (he broke some of the screws off and they were wiggling their way out toward his skin). He had surgery to put in a port for chemotherapy. And so began our family relationship with the C word. I had a relatively new job - and my daughter was a manager at a Starbuck's in Wyoming. She was able to come home every two weeks and take her dad to his chemotherapy appointments. One round of chemo - I'm guessing around 8 months (my memory is not necessarily my best friend) and he was declared "Cancer Free" - we had a little party at chemo with a cake. It was great fun, and we were super happy that he had kicked it's ass. We scheduled surgery to remove the affected part of his colon. He had the colon resection and we "moved forward". He had his chemotherapy port removed.

December 2016 - a scan revealed - MORE FUCKING CANCER - how fucking joyful.

January 2017 - a surgery to get a new port. More fucking chemo. Katie couldn't go every time this time - he was adamant that it was unnecessary to have company, so I accompanied him about every third or fourth one. Things looked pretty good. And we rolled into 2018.

January 2018 - oh hey, new tumors, in the liver. FUCK. But wait, the coolest new treatment - [] - basically, inject a gazillion +/- little spheres that have been irradiated, directly into the liver, with the purpose of treating the tumors with radiation. Scheduled for March (I think... memory again). That was cool, and we were so excited. We'll continue some maintenance chemo while waiting for that to work - so lighter dose chemo, every three weeks. And radiation - but not in the classic sense. So that had some shit with it.

So - merp - you'd think the memory would be even better on things more recent, but... I'm literally throwing a dart here - June or July - another scan. And the tumors were smaller, things looked good, but not gone. Let's go back to every two weeks chemo, and check it out toward the end of the year. Life was pretty good - we were confident we were almost at the end of the tunnel and seeing the light at the end.

But... October 31st happened.

I've had genetic periodontal disease, well technically all my life, you know because it's genetic. And I've been really battling bone loss the last several years, probably really started to be concerned about next steps the year my dad died, but it got back-burnered again and again for these other things. Finally, with the light at the end of the tunnel (and a few teeth falling out), I made the decision that it could not be postponed anymore and I had to have a permanent solution. On October 31st I had every tooth in my head pulled out. My youngest daughter came home from Wyoming to take care of me. Thank G-d.

The day after I had my surgery, my husband started to feel absolutely lousy with abdominal pain. After a few days, and the decision that this was not an illness he checked in to the ER. They said it was not his gall bladder, not probably ulcers, not his pancreas, liver, or appendix. Check with your oncologist. Nope, not cancer related, the cancer markers are still coming down and the last CT scan shows that the lesions are shrinking. Check with this general surgeon. Oh hmmm, seems like it could be gall bladder. Let's do an ultrasound. Yep, Gall bladder or rather, common bile duct. We'll clean that out. "If it worked, you'll feel great tomorrow, if it feels the same, that wasn't the problem, if it's worse, you've acquired pancreatitis." It was wonderful the next day - in fact, I should look up that day. That was our last really good day. That night we were back in the ER. They took out his gall bladder about a week later. They said his gall bladder looked terrible, had clearly been "angry" for a long time. The pain was better, but not gone. He had been on daily narcotic pain killers for a couple of months. I was starting to become increasingly concerned about the long term use of the pain pills. He had hallucinated on the dilaudid and scared the hell out of us with that as well. Another couple of weeks have gone by, go back to the general surgeon. They ordered another CT scan and some blood work. Nothing remarkable about either one. Back to the oncologist, he ordered a PET scan. Hubby was getting better at managing his pain and his blood sugar with some reminders and assistance with food, etc. I left for a required annual work trip to San Diego. My daughter was coming down to go to the oncologist with him while I was away.

The phone rang as I was walking into my big huge company meeting, surrounded by hundreds of people. He said "You need to get somewhere private."

My life is completely upside down - not a little twisted around - not all disrupted - not a new routine - He has a lot of lesions in his liver, and they gave him 6 months to live.

I need somewhere to free write about my feelings - I need to vent and worry and question things - I don't think anyone really reads this anymore, so... I will always be those things that I was so many years ago when this blog was a fun way to comment on kids and marriage and baseball and life. But apparently, I'm going to be more of a warrior than I ever imagined I could be, because the Universe has had a funny way of reminding me every few weeks these last few years that I am stronger than I could ever believe in being.

There were good things in these last years too - My oldest daughter is in her dream job, and owns a house. She has a great dog that she (and really everyone else) loves and she is still funny and smart and wise. My Son graduated from college, he played baseball all the way through all of his eligibility. He loves a wonderful girl and they just got engaged. He really likes his job (not using his degree, but he really likes what he does). My youngest daughter is married to a great guy, he is just like another kid to me, and they are thinking about having a baby. She really loves her job, and she's going back to school to finish a different degree than she originally was going for. My new job is great - and we have lots of cool things that we are able to do often. Hubby and I shared partial season tickets to the Colorado Rockies last year, and will again this year. The boy and I share partial season tickets to the Colorado Avalanche, it's a great way to spend time with him. I get to several events in Wyoming every year with one or both girls, University of Wyoming football, rodeo, brew fest. I share season tickets to the Broncos with my siblings, and get to enjoy several football games with my hubby and kids every year. Our house is almost paid for, we have a great old dog and a great new dog. My husband had one of his best teams ever coaching for several years. I had a wonderful time leading a youth organization for young women during those same years. We both made an important impact on those kids, and that feels great.

But... this fucking news. Fuck.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I visited my own blog today...

... and I discovered that it's woefully out of date. I thought about updating all the little details, but then reason took over (thank you third cup of coffee) and I realized that is pointless unless I have some content for some people to read.

I have several friends with blogs. Talented writers, who have themes for their blogs, and insightful interesting things to write about. I'll be surprised if this becomes that.

It's springtime in the Rockies. This means several things for me.
1. It's baseball season
2. It's the beginning of hiking/fishing/getting outdoors season.
3. It's time to refresh things, clean up old clutter around the house, change my schedule, etc.
4. It's baseball season

So... I have a tremendous amount of stuff in my life. I need to eliminate a lot of it. This isn't easy for me, I grew up with a mom who hoarded things (though generally in a neat and tidy way) and always gave things a lot of value based on sentimentality. I feel both a sincere sentimental attachment to many of my things and an obligation to hold them and love them and protect them for future generations. This is what I was trained to do.

As soon as I'm done typing this, and I've stirred my spaghetti sauce, I will begin to get ready for work. I'm going to try to get ready quickly enough to then take 15 minutes to run around this house and find things to throw away. Then I'm going to drive to work with the windows down, jealous of my son who just took a cute girl on a hike, because the weather is glorious and a hike is just about the most relaxing thing I can think of doing right now.

G-d, I love baseball, and the mountains, and sunshine.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The F word again?

Just had a run in with this:

"It offends the strong woman in me to explain to a girl that she has to be given something by a man for her to join"

Yeah -- you can imagine my take on that.

This is not supposed to be a blog about the F-word, and yet it keeps rearing it's UGLY UGLY head.

In other news, my daughters both told me they don't know how to mow the lawn. Ooops.

We had to put our daughter's cat down last week, I now have a lovely new rosebush in the garden under her window.

I still love bourbon, I had some bourbon cheesecake the other day after seeing a wonderful Degas exhibit at a small local gallery. I'm going to go with - I am strong enough to know more about baseball then the drunk behind me at the game, I can drink more beer than he can too (just in case you were wondering), and I'm strong enough to order bourbon cheesecake.

Oh yeah, and I mowed the lawn today - with the reel mower. (look it up, that's not a typo, that's a type of mower)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Feminism - my ass.

A couple of my friends have been blogging anew, and I feel a bit inspired. I also feel inspired by something that I haven't fully defined for myself, and I hope writing about it will help me evaluate my feelings a little more.


Strangely, this has always seemed a little like a dirty word to me - but not for ANY of the reasons that a person would initially think of when someone says something like that.

I'm not at all religious, well that's not quite correct because I have a totally individual view of religion and spirituality. I am horrendously offended by anyone who takes religion lightly - either take it seriously or don't take it, but religion is just not something you should be half-assed about. I consider myself to be very spiritual, I have a GREAT relationship with G-d, and I firmly believe in Spirit and G-d and a lot that goes with that. I also believe that Religion can serve a very powerful purpose in assisting people to build a strong and supportive relationship with their own spirituality. I am so unbelievably okay with people having a completely different spiritual path than me that it's almost comical - I seriously do not care if you blather on about Krishna or Jesus or the Equinox. Only two things are offensive to me - blatant hypocrisy (not accidental, but actually choosing to be a giant douche hypocrite) and proselytizing.

I'm in my 40's - so I'm not so old that feminism is an alien idea.

My mother worked. In fact, my grandmothers and my great-grandmothers worked. Women in my family have for many generations gone to college (or the equivalent). There is not a woman that I am related to that I would think of in any way as being weak or incapable of any task that she set her mind to.

I think it may be part of being "A Woman of the West" - a phrase I have found myself using a lot the past several years. You see, here, in Colorado, (before the Californication of our communities) we don't really judge people based on race, religion, gender, ancestry, etc. In fact, I really only remember people being genuinely looked down upon for a couple of things - not working hard, and judging others. Oh sure, there will be people who disagree - they are probably armed with tales of how they knew someone right here in Colorado who experienced discrimination because of some factor or other. So to be clear - in MY experience, growing up to become, and as the daughter of generations of, a "Woman of the West" - I experienced very little discrimination. My parents had friends of all different classes, faiths, colors, and even gay friends. I can't speak for my siblings, but it never occurred to me that the two gay guys on my dad's bowling team were anything but gay, it also didn't occur to me that it mattered or was actually any different. Eventually, I realized it was pretty cool that my dad hung out with gay guys and my mom had lesbian friends way before most of my other friends' parents would even acknowledge that homosexuality existed. (ps. My parents never spent one breath explaining it - it just was, much like there was just milk in the refrigerator or you had to vacuum carpet). We did grow up in a predominately white, middle class neighborhood - but my parents never batted an eye about going to eat at Daddy Bruce's barbecue or Patsy's Italian Inn or having beers at the Globeville Inn. Again, it just was.

So if Dad was out of town and some "manly" chore needed doing, my mother would either assign one of my brother's to it -- OR one of us girls -- or do it herself. Don't misunderstand, there was definite division of responsibilities in our house that ran along gender lines. Boys seldom did things like clean china closets and hang new drapes and girls seldom did things like wash out trash barrels or repair roofs. However, there was never any question about our capabilities. I have brothers who sew and cook and my sisters and I can work on cars and gut fish.

My mother was glamorous, and feminine, and very ladylike. She also drove race cars, welded, did some masonry projects, was an expert markswoman and angler. I guess we were lucky to grow up like that, but while we were growing up, it never occurred to us that it was any different than anyone else. My aunt's were bad ass - and feminine. The neighbor ladies shoveled snow and pushed cars out of ditches and cleaned and cooked game meat - and they were all lovely lady like women. Aside from one neighbor up the street - who constantly used her womanly wiles (how's that for old fashioned) to get men to do her bidding - I can't think of a single woman on our street that I thought was any different than my mom.

I think that my problem with the word "Feminism" is just this. Why is there even a need for such a word. Can't we enjoy our gender differences and still know that we are all capable of greatness in anything? I wish you could ask my kids or my family or my friends - I'm not just blowing some sort of lala sunshine here - I don't get it - I don't see the need.

My bigger problem is that the word makes people angry.

There is no reason for women to be posting things like 'Raising Daughters in a World that Devalues Them'. You know what devalues our daughters -- constantly fucking focusing on stupid shit like that. Society doesn't give a person their value - that comes from within and is cultivated in the way we treat them as they grow and develop. Stop looking for reasons to hate 'the other' person - and please, please, please stop hating hate. You just give it energy. Just fucking ignore the hate and move on. Don't give it any power or energy by butting up against it. No one ever won a fight with a bear by trying to fight it - they won by getting the fuck away from it and leaving it there wondering what happened. Stop teaching our daughters to feel that they need to "stand up for their rights" - you don't need to stand up for something you already have - just use it. Stop preaching at our sons that "women are their equals" - just fucking act equal - they'll follow along just fine. The only way a three year old boy would ever tell you his mommy "can't" do something is if he already heard it somewhere.

I am a woman, I expect men to hold the door open for me, to walk on the outside of the sidewalk, to stand up when I come to the table, to hold my chair for me, to assist me with my coat, and to make sure I'm safe. I also expect the men in my house to take care of manly chores - the lawn, the car, the structure of the house, the trash, the pest killing, etc.

I can and will change the oil in the car, fix the fence or the roof when needed, kill anything that needs killing, mow the lawn, gut fish, drive fast, drink whiskey, and cuss (probably more than my husband does) - and I might do any of the above wearing a skirt and heels.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Not because I'm a writer, but because of this new blog post from my friend Kim I am also going to challenge myself to post every day this month. For my own crazy reasons - not unlike my friend - working too much; kids; silly ass crazy family obligations -- this is a BIG challenge for me. Unlike Kim, my girls just out from my chest and do nothing to inspire me - however - the need to vent has occasionally been quite the muse for me; as is my incurable fascination with commenting on all that I observe in this silly corner of the world that I live in.

I have one wonderfully generous and mostly supportive and helpful husband - that drives me quite crazy at times. I work two jobs now; one in the not-for-profit world and one in the traditional for-profit small mom & pop (or in this case brother & brother) business world. I have three children in college, yes all at the same time; each of them with their own special challenges - #1, not doing fabulously, not because she isn't bright, but because she allows emotions to cripple her at times; #2 finishing up at a JC and looking for a 4 year school where he can finish up - and continue to play baseball - he keeps choosing locations far from my doorstep that I've never heard of - I don't like it; #3 is trying to make decisions about a place to live next year, playing rugby and regularly getting quite beat up by it - and I think, not being perfectly candid with me about all the aspects of her life - ugh, I hate that. I have four family members moving away -- breaking my heart in the process, even if I am happy for the opportunity and growth for them. I have five pets - three dogs, a cat, and a frog, who are constantly needing "extra" care -- trips to the veterinarian, special diets, special grooming, etc. -- and bless them, they've recarpeted the house in hair weekly for the last several months and it's just getting worse now that it's warming up. I have six relatives with special challenges right now (more on that later). I'm sure I could keep going with a little thought, but I have somewhere around 7,000 ants currently parading through my kitchen thinking that the cat's very expensive special kidney diet food is their own Del Coronado brunch buffet. I've put down grits, and now it's time to go vacuum the little bastards up.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Are you kidding me?

This doesn't seem like a big deal to most of you. I however have been boycotting the news for years, I only read specific news articles that I go seek based on what I hear from the rest of the world is going on. For example, if everyone in the neighborhood is talking about the bat infestation, I will go look up several articles from several sources on the bat infestation.

I startled myself this morning, just casually reading the news. It only took a moment to remember why I don't read the news anymore, however, I kept clicking on various headlines that captured my attention.

A parent is whining that their child was "grabbed" by the driver of his school bus and made to sit in the front row near the driver. A review of the video from the bus revealed that the student had been behaving uncontrollably and screaming in the back of the bus. At the next stop the driver called the student to the front of the bus and gently guided him to a seat near the driver.

You have not taught your child to respect authority, adults, their peers, rules, or just basic good behaviour in a moving vehicle, and you are going to be pissed when an adult that you have CHOSEN to have authority over your little brat handles it as they see fit.
If you don't like the way other people handle your stinking rude little brat, then you shouldn't put anyone else in charge of them... EVER. Of course for those of us who have dealt with the kiss and go lane at any school (or as Marie likes to call it, the stop, drop and roll lane), we know that if these parents drive their child to school, all those parents in the kiss and go lane will probably pay the price; it's clear the parents probably have no manners or courtesy or respect either. UGH

Also on the news page -- PETA has put up billboards of puppies trussed up like turkeys and asks "Kids: If you wouldn't eat your dog why eat a turkey?" -- well isn't that just a delightful expression of gratitude for the season, warms my heart that someone actually thinks my meat loving kids would eat crap that tastes bad because PETA is still a bunch of idiots.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We made it to fall break...

All three kids were deposited at their various institutions of higher learning in August, trips to Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco and the grocery stores all completed with relative ease. Technically the oldest didn't come home this summer, so she was simply moved from an apartment to a townhouse in July.

Side Note: Bed Bath & Beyond has an awesome program for those who are going to a school far from home (ahem, and that is in a city large enough to have a BB&B) - you can shop at your local store, and then, just as if you were registering for a wedding, they will scan all your products, look up the store closest to your university/college, and send the list to them. You drive your darling, his/her clothes, books, etc. to the new town, empty the car into the dorm room, then rock on over to BB&B and pick up the rest of the stuff at the local store!

The precious darlings were all of course asserting their adulthood and independence, the part you know you should be proud and happy about but that cuts to the core because they don't think they need you anymore. Let me just reiterate they don't THINK they need you anymore.

It didn't take long for the oldest to have a reason to come home, a very short time later the youngest needed things shipped to her (we have shipped 4 boxes to her as of this writing!), and only a couple weeks into the school year the boy messed up his elbow again -- Ulner Nerve Subluxation if you are really interested in the nitty gritty details, go google it, and maybe include the term 'post Tommy John surgery'. The boy needed to come home for his previous elbow surgeon to fix his elbow, he was home about a week. The oldest got a pretty bad strep infection that also infected her partially erupted wisdom teeth and begged Mommy to come and care for her, then a visit to the ER, then she came home to have us care for her, then she came home again to get the teeth extracted. Somewhere in the mix of the two older kiddos having their medical crises, the youngest began to finally feel homesick, thankfully this past weekend her brother had a fall break and a teammate from Flagstaff took him down to visit his sister. Oh we also lost the cat for a few days, thankfully we found it. Actually hoping for them to be independent for the next few weeks so that things are uneventful until Thanksgiving!

So the question we keep hearing "How does it feel to have your next empty" -- we haven't noticed it too much yet.