Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Well, last Monday's scan

was cancelled because insurance denied the my preferred location that I have been going to for 11 years because it was out of network all the sudden.  It is four floors down from Hank and in the Swedish Cancer Center?!?!?!  So, it was rescheduled to Hospital Radiology which is fine - been there before.  They were like, "Do you know where we are?"  "You are next to IR 4th Floor and, let me guess - SW elevators?"  "Yes, just past IR."  The nurse that preregistered for me was like, "Angela, I know you.....just bring your insurance card and id....the rest of this is redundant...."  I laughed to myself.  Really?!?!?  After 11/12 years, someone FINALLY said that out loud!

Good news, everything OUTSIDE my lungs is stable.  Okay news, three spots that have been on watch are a bigger and we need a PET.  Need to know if they are inflamed or active cancer.  The PET will be a fight, after all, I am now 25 over the lifetime max, but it anyone can argue it, it is Hank.  He just wears on you with his nagging quiet perseverance.  In truth, I was particularly nervous about this one.  In perfect time (every 18 months or so), I seem to need treatment.  I asked if he could guess what I would do ablation, cyberknife, or surgery (this one is unlikely).  And, of course, he did not answer, but said, "Well, you have done it all, so it won't be new if it is anything at all.  Talk soon." "Yep, thanks Hank."  That was 6:37am this morning.

So there it is, more tests, to see if we need to do something.  It seems mild in comparison to two of my dear friends.  If you could add Robin to your prayers, he is in chemo now and the chemo is working, BUT he is the great fun of all the side effects.  Also, Barb.  She is the hockey Mom I met.  Not going great and in the hospital for the foreseeable future.  Having trouble with chemo.  Retaining fluid that must be drained off.  So, you see I didn't say, "Bad News" anywhere in my post, because I am not the one with it.  Pray and worry for them.  Now that I know what we are doing, I got this one.  It is like an old winter hat you never liked but your Mom made you wear.  You just WAIT for spring.

Be well, Ang

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New post and a new day.....

Life moves along as it does.  Mom and I finally agreed on an obit and we submitted it.  Things are a lot different these days than before and, sadly, the Spokesman Review is the most technologically  advanced program there is.  LOL.  So, it will run this Sunday in the Spokesman Review, but it is super questionable in the News Tribune or Seattle Times.  The most important stuff is that his service is April 26th at 10am.  There will be an "after party" because that is how my Dad would like to say it, but it will not be given out until at the ceremony.  The service will be at Tahoma, so arrive early.  It is a quick ceremony.  Be late and miss it.  That was actually my Dad to a tee.  We showed up early to every party, funeral, celebration, wedding, baptism, etc. and we were the last to leave.

I clearly did not look at my own schedule.....I have super busy that week....but I will be there fully. Dad knows that.  Everyone has been wonderful.  It is so hard to plan this especially on your own, but Tahoma has been beautiful.  The Army has walked me through what they will do and God Bless them.  I cried, but I wipe the tears and move ahead.

A long time ago, I was almost out the door to go to the bar at Gonzaga.  It was Thursday night after all and the phone rang.  One of my roommates said, "Ang, it is your Dad - you got to take this......."  I did, of course, and I told everyone to go on.  Of course, in Catholic Tradition, one BIG BOY (Basketball Player), stayed behind to escort me to the bar.  My Dad was on the phone.....sobbing.....he had been on a hunting trip and they found an overturned car with a dead body inside.  He went to the closest house and it was their son.  Their only son.  He not only broke horrible news to them, he knew how precious life was.  Mom was in Mexico.  I was at school in Spokane (surrounded by his extended family).  I was 21 and probably didn't handle it well, but I was like, "Daddy, I am good.  I have good friends.  I even have a friend here to escort me to stuff tonight.  I am good."  And I always was.  My Dad had prepared me for many things - this too.  Poor Aunt Donna, she called me the next day and was like, "Is your Dad having a breakdown?!?!"

So, here is how my life is going.  On the way back from skiing in BC, I played out road trip list and when Tim McGraw sang, "Be Humble and Kind" he referenced, "Visit you Grandpa as much as you can"....SERIOUSLY. I sobbed.  No one got it so it was fine, but crap, REALLY.

In any case, Science Fair is going on at Nolan's school.  He has been accepted into the hi-cap program.  Mason is doing well...so smart and independent.

I promised you a Mason story, so here goes........Mason has been thrown in "like" a couple times.  Luckily, he talks to me about it.  I know that will end, but I am so thankful for if it now and so fearful when one of his friends googles my name and finds this......  In any case, I have given him advice which I think is real and good, but he has to live it.  And then there was this one moment that I will not give too much detail, but a girl that Mason likes hugged him.  It wasn't a normal hug.  It was a hug that showed that Mason could care for her and she would trust him.  My Mom was there and we have traveled a fair ways to see this game and I said, "Mom....."  "Yes, Angie, I miss a lot, but I am not missing this.  He is turning to a man."  Part of me died, but part of me was thankful.  I had done it.  There was a good girl that cared for him and he would care for forever.  That is a tough thing to see as a Mom, yet my Dad always said, "Bears runs their cubs up a tree and then walk away.  They hear there cries, but the continue to walk away.  How hard is that?!?!  But, I guess, it is the only way they can learn."

Daddy this is hard......thank you....I love you....and I miss you......


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Yes, I am still on this side of the grass......

Many people have left me messages - especially those not on Facebook, to say.....You okay?  You still on this side of the grass?  Well, yes, I am......unfortunate for you....

So, life was goin' along and the boys were adjusting to new schools, and I was adjusting to driving and in the car 3 hours a day.  Grant's business was doing better, we were going on a family cruise in December since the Alaska Cruise went so well and then, my Dad started coughing during meals. Mom and I thought it was weird and she scheduled an appointment with the doc.  One thing lead to another and, when one of my appointments canceled I decided to show up to my Dad's appointment.  I had a weird feeling.....my Mom has not had to take care of many old people and I thought.....what if they bring out the DNR form???  She had never dealt with this.  I had a few times.  And there is was, "He cannot take anything by mouth."  DNR form in tact.  Doctors covering the butts and trying to help us at the same time.  My Mom was stunned.  I had to help her through every question and I also challenged all the docs.  I was never putting my Dad in the hospital the day before Thanksgiving with this.  That is crap.  He was able to eat.  So we changed his diet.  Doctors did not comply but they let me.  Dad went home.  In December, he got a feeding tube.  He was treated at Judson Park for a while and then Mom and I got trained on the feeding tube and we took him home.  It was exhausting, but he loved being home with the dog.  Then one Friday night he pulled out his feeding tube.  THIS WAS ACTUALLY weird.  He was so careful with it for a month.  We went to the ER at 6pm on a Friday night.  They saw us at 11:00 pm and started firing off questions to us.  CLEARLY, THEY DO NOT KNOW WHO I AM.......I gave them a look and started to speak and they were all quiet.  CLEARLY, THEY ARE TEACHABLE.  My mom had put the tube back in at the house, but unfortunately it did not go where it needed to.  Talk about a trouper!  At that point, my Dad never left the hospital.  He was too weak to do another feeding tube surgery.  They met with him and that one thing that God gives us all is that one moment of clarity......he had it then and they explained everything to him and he said, in his pre dementia state, "I am done."  He knew I didn't want that to be the answer.  We would have had the same chemo, but his would have been easier.....new developments and all.  I had to respect his decision, but I gave all the doctor's a bit of hell for taking so long...  It would not be me if I did not.  My Dad was cared for at St Joe's in Tacoma until he went to Hospice Care in Tacoma. He passed on the 16th of January.  We got to have a great weekend with him and Nolan watched Ride Along II with him the weekend before he died, in his bed, with all the favorite foods (which he coughed up), and my Dad loved it.  Mom was with him the rest of the weekend and when they said my Dad would probably be gone in the next 24/48 hours, I spoke to him from my Mom Cell phone because Nolan was sick and Mason and Grant were at a Hockey Tournament.  I said things to him I had never said.  I said, "I was proud of him and that is why I kept his name.  It wasn't out of disrespect for Grant, but respect for him."  Mom said, "Ang, he heard you.  He tired to get out of bed.  He heard you."  Nolan, my brave second boy, spoke to him too.  I ended with I would be there in the morning.  Morning never came.  At 5:30am on January 16th, he died.  I am sure he did it because he did not want me to come.  His Mom and him were very into, "This is YOUR life.  You take care of your own."  What they don't get, they were my own.  Life has been interesting since......planning a funeral for him is hard and easy.  I think I have it down.  Mom doesn't want to deal until the day.  I know we need to wait for the roads to be clear to Eastern Washington and all that plays in in my head is, "Prop me up against the jute box, when I die....."  The funniest thing that I think has happened is that when Mom, Donna (Mom's sister), and I were all together after his death we talked about our most vivid memory.  Mine - I was turning 10 and he and I LOVED the San Juans.  We went up to Anacortes and there was a small craft advisory, but my Dad turned to me and said, "Let's go now!  We will get out favorite camping spot!"  I was like, "Sure!"  Let's remember....this is how my family rolled....I knew NO DIFFERENT!  As we were going, I was hanging on to the seat, my dog was barfing in his kennel, we were taking on water and Dad was actually getting the life preservers out.....  I thought, "Nine years, that is a good run.  Didn't think I would make it this long...."  My Aunt made mention of a time on our trip IN THE SAME BOAT TO.  ALASKA where she thought we were all going to die...FYI - I was 2 and potty trained for the trip........there was no toilet.....Mom flew us home when we got to Alaska.......and then my Mom said, "I was never really afraid.  I never though we would die......"  Donna and I were like, "BECAUSE YOU FLEW US HOME FROM ALASKA!!!!"  Dad came home by himself.....

So there it is, I am digging out from ignoring EVERYTHING during my Dad illness.  The boys and Grant are doing well, and Mom is adjusting.  Insurance for the cruise was amazing and kind.  We will rebook in the future, after all, "Dad wanted us to go....."

It sure was nice to get away for skiing to Big White.  My family needed it and we found out again, how amazing life can be.

Next time....Mason and moments....