Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Long, Hard Day

Mom had her surgery today. It was scheduled for 11 am, so we arrived at 9:30 am as instructed. The surgeon unfortunately ran into a complicated emergency surgery just before Mom's and wasn't able to operate on her until 2:30 pm. Bless Mom's heart. Her sweet little throat was so dry, but she couldn't have as much as a drop to drink. I wanted to sneak her one, but thought better of it. Dad & I waited out the 2.5 hours in the surgery waiting room fluctuating between worry and hope. The doctor who is apparently an excellent surgeon, but not the best at bedside manner, came in at 5 to tell us the news.

Mom's mass proved to be malignant based upon the frozen section they took mid-stream. He also found some very suspicious lymph nodes that were hardened and appeared to be malignant as well. They did only have to remove the bottom half of the right lung, not the whole lung. The diaphragm seemed ok. The liver wasn't accessed. Now we wait for the pathology report in a few days time to tell us type of cancer, stage, and course of action.

We were able to visit with Mom in the ICU and one of the saddest parts was that she looked great and seemed to be recovering in leaps and bounds (which of course is a great thing, don't get me wrong), but it just made me wish that she was recovering to find it was benign or just an infection and that life would go right back to normal, or be better even, feeling healthier than ever.

Now, we face the unknown. So many variables. I am so terribly sad right now that I am just beside myself. I can't even believe I have sat this still to write this much. I feel like I will have a panic attack any moment or hyper-ventilate. I want to call Mom and confide in her just how I feel, as if this is happening to other people, but I can't. Because this is us and she is resting in jolts between bouts of pain with tubes all over the place. And it's eerie to not be able to reach out to her and it scares me of what it will be like one day if she is no longer here.

My Dad cried, not once, but many times. I have only seen him cry once before. It pained me deeply to see him so sad.
I am trying to get all my crying out tonight, so I can just go and be strong and fully there for Mom starting tomorrow. But, it is hard. It hurts so much in my heart.

I prayed a lot and this happened, but I will keep my faith and pray more. And help Mom heal. And show Mom just how much I love her. And help her do all those things that make her happy. I just have one hope and that is for time to be on our side.

Thank you to everyone for your support. Please keep those good thoughts and prayers coming. We will need them now more than ever. As always, can't thank you enough.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Dear Mom

Sorry to have disappeared. It was not my intention, but sometimes life dictates the priorities and unfortunately, doesn't rate blogging "up there". :-)
The reason for my absence? Just trying to get prepared. Prepared for Mom to head into surgery Thursday (5/29) to have a lobectomy (& perhaps more, if what they find calls for it) where they will remove the bottom half of her lung. They still don't know what they will find. Possibly an infection? Possibly a tumor (benign or malignant)? They will also check the liver and the hemidiaphragm as well as higher up on the lung as there are some additional suspicions in all of these areas that they want to rule out, or take care of, if need be. If there does prove to be a malignancy, they will go back in and re-look at the brain, as there was some activity on the PET that they were concerned with, pending the lung findings, but were not tell-tale based upon the PET alone. I am trying to stay calm and supportive, but I must say I worry.

For my part, I have been busying myself trying to get organized as much as possible, so I can be at Mom's (& my Dad's) beck and call over the next several weeks. Running errands, sitting bedside, cooking, cleaning, laundry...all that good stuff, both there and here. Dad will be there of course, but he'll need help, and I of course, want to be there doing all that I can.

Mom will be in the hospital somewhere between 5-8 days they estimate. She will be in ICU for the first day or two. This is good. She will have round the clock care for hopefully much of that first week, when it will be the toughest, I would think.

In trying to think what else I could do for Mom, I decided to ask for random acts of kindness on a couple of web forums such as to send Mom a postcard or a quick little note or card. Mom is all about the simple things and I really think mail makes her happiest. She has always collected postcards since she was a child and still pen pals via snail mail with cousins and friends, never having learned how to operate a computer, as much as I have coaxed her .
If you would like to send Mom a greeting, I am sure she will just be beside herself.
The cards will hopefully trickle in surprising her while she recovers, bringing her joy each day she recuperates. Just email me using my blogger email link and I'll send you her address.
In advance, I can't possibly thank you enough!!

To all of you who have been so sweet, kind & supportive through all of this so far, I want to send you a huge, heartfelt, very sincere thank you. Your thoughts, positive energy, well wishes, hopeful stories, experience & wisdom have proved immensely helpful. Just know that you're wonderful & I think you are the cat's meow!

My posting will probably be sporadic for a fair while, but I will try my best to post asap on Thursday post-surgery to update you on Mom's condition.

Warmest wishes, big hugs & much love to you all--

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sharp, Shiny Objects Make Lovely Gifts

So apparently I have a fixation on sharp objects.
For mother's day my husband bought some things directly from my wish list and I got the following:
A Fiskars desktop rotary trimmer
An Olfa rotary cutter with a pinking attachment
and a new Exacto knife.
These purchases make a very clear statement to me.
I mean clearly, it is apparent my husband feels comfortable in our relationship.
Some guys might think twice before arming their wife with such a deadly crafting arsenal. Not my husband. I must say I am quite flattered by this purchase.
Isn't it nice to be so still in love and trusting? Verrrrrrrrrry trusting.
Well, he does sleep with one eye open, but Pshaw!!

P.S. I know some of you are thinking how non-glamorous my gifts are and how you would disown the man and family that bestowed these things upon you. I understand, really, I do. But, truly, these are things I wanted, but hadn't gotten around to getting, so it made my husband's life much easier. Plus, I love that it reflects the fact that he listens to my wants/needs and makes an effort to support my hobbies/interests. And to his credit, he also picked me a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers that he grew from seed and cooked me his favorite breakfast recipe of his grandmother's. I am so lucky, truly.
One year I actually asked for a filing cabinet for Valentine's Day. Yes, I am this close to having the butterfly net used on me to put me in the little white truck with the words "State Hospital" on the side. Hopefully they'll have high speed internet there so I can still blog away. I'll surely be more prolific with all that time on my hands! :-)

P.P.S. Look at my wrapping paper for my Mother's Day gifts. Yes, it is the newspaper. Not the comics, mind you, but the local news & editorial sections. Bless his heart, he did ask me just before bed where I kept the wrapping paper. I thought he wanted me to start wrapping his Mom's gift at midnight, so I grumpily hollered to him in the next room, "Don't be worrying about that now. I'll do it in the morning, I just want to go to bed!" And that's why I celebrated Mother's Day by reading about a local man being sentenced to 46 years for his deadly DUI. Well, Happy Mother's Day to you too!!

P.P.P.S. Damn. I just noticed I threw away that "Free Oil Change" coupon that my smaller gift was wrapped in. Bummer.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!

Just wanted to hop in here for a jiffy and say, Happy Mother's Day!!!

Nothing says "I love you more than words can say, Mom" more than an ever so thoughtful, drunken sailor tattoo gotten just outside the gates of a Naval installation. So there ya go.

On a sincere note, I hope everyone is enjoying some time creating great memories with your loved ones today--
And for those who are moms, I hope you are also enjoying a little time to spend doing that which you love and which is something true to you. Being a mother is a selfless act, and as a result, we can lose our sense of self. It is very important now and again to take time to remind yourself of just who you really are, outside of mom and wife, and what you really like to do that makes you jump for joy, giddy with pangs of happiness. And while Mother's Day is about spending time with family so they can show their appreciation of you (& you in turn can marvel at your little baby birds that qualify you as an honoree this holiday), a great gift for you from them can also be the gift of time. Time to allow you to stop & think and realize and appreciate who you are right now. To reflect upon how far you've come and where you still want to head. We are constantly redefining ourselves as we grow, so a little insightful time is a wonderful thing, as it's not often busy moms get to sort of just sit and daydream a bit or dabble in that new "whatever it may be" which has been on the to do list for a while, or enjoy something we used to love pre-kids. If I could give you any gift, this would be my gift to you. And I hope that someone close to you shares this sentiment and steals my gift idea.

And just know. They wouldn't be here, nor could they do all they do, without you. You are a modern day marvel.

With love & admiration from one mom to another---

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pee Wee & Sun Tea

Many moons ago I had picked up Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Pee Wee's Holiday Special on VHS. I guess it was in middle school that I became a Pee Wee fan. Pee Wee's Playhouse came out while I was in college, but that didn't keep me from watching it and buying collectible merchandise. Of course, who am I kidding. College "keeping me from watching anything". Isn't that an oxymoron? Even Pee-Wee's pervy arrest didn't stop me.When I first pulled out my two old VHS tapes for the kids, I wasn't sure how they'd react. Perhaps Pee Wee had run his course and modern day children would no longer love him like I did. I was delighted to be wrong. My kids were mesmerized. They were particularly interested in the guest stars on the holiday special. Charo, The Del Rubio Triplets, Frankie Avalon and lest we forget...Grace Jones....... who basically looks just like this in the video:

Frightening, yes? Grace sings what my 3 year old Amelia finds to be an irresistible rendition of Little Drummer Boy. "Amelia and Grace often harmonize ..." pa rum pum pum pum!". It's very clubby.

So, when I decided to spend some Amazon gift certificate loot on some DVDs for the kids, I thought perhaps a good addition to our collection might be Pee Wees Playhouse. Once it arrived, we tore it open, popped it in and were having ourselves a fine & dandy time right up until the start of the episode that states (& I paraphrase as I am too lazy to go start up and freeze the DVD frame to copy the text):
"Warning. This episode includes the preparation of Sun Tea. The CDC advises that there are significant health risks associated with the preparation of sun tea. Please be advised."

What?!?! Sun Tea? Innocent, wholesome, tea made from harnessed sun energy, sun tea!?!?!

I did what any good mother would do.... I told the kids to hurry and chug-a-lug their eleventh glass of sun tea for that day (don't want to let a good pot of tea, water and bacteria go to waste) while I plopped myself down to google "sun tea dangers" and found this article on snopes. It confirms that yes, sun tea is dangerous, due to the risk of bacteria forming in the water which doesn't get heated to high enough temps by the sun to kill it.

Yikes!! Who knew?! Well, maybe everyone. Admittedly, I haven't made sun tea in quite some time, nor been offered it by anyone. (Yes, I was kidding above). I actually sort of forgot it existed. Ironically enough the same day I watched this life-saving sun tea video message I ran into my own old Lipton branded sun tea bacteria bunker with its yellow beer tap spout. There it was sitting dusty, in the back of a cabinet, just waiting to stir the turd. Literally.
I closed the cabinet ever so gently, so as not to wake the sleeping jar. Then I proceed into the pantry to find a canister of peach tea flavored crystal light, all the wiser, and content to drink it while simply sitting in the sun instead.
Thanks, Pee Wee!

Friday, May 2, 2008

My Family Magnified x 2

Us under the lens this past week-

Thursday made stuffed poblanos, this recipe from Everyday Food.

Was quite pleased with both the ease of preparation and the overall results. A nice two-fer. Two-fer? Gosh that sounds so radio station disc jockey-ish. Isn't it weird when a word comes out of you, that is not really, "you"? I guess we all get brain-washed now and again by popular culture. Things just sort of slip in to our psyches unbeknownst to us and one day just sort of creep, crawl then blog their way out.
What else?
Friday morning I did Sunday comic transfers with the kids. Confusing, I know. Maybe I should be doing Sunday comic strip crafts on Sunday. That way I could incorporate a days of the week lesson and turn this little crafty number into another two-fer. High five! Only that would make too much sense. Next thing you know I'd actually be wearing my Tuesday undies on Tuesday rather than Thursday. Then the world would explode.

And yes, I do buy (& make) shirts for my daughter. Cute ones, too! She just never wears them. In case you haven't noticed in all of our crafting sessions she is topless. Maybe in her mind she is eternally crafting on the shores of the French Riviera.

Super easy and even though toddlers may be a teensy bit young for this one, not having the brute strength required to achieve the end result, my two were still fascinated with the magical process.
Comic Strip Transfers
You'll need:
A copy of the Sunday strips in their full, glorious color
1 T dishwashing detergent & 1 T white vinegar mixed together in a plastic bowl.
A stack of printing paper (I used scrap printing paper). Here, here! Let's hear it for recycling!
a metal spoon

Have the kids dab their fingers in the vinegar mixture wetting their fingertips thoroughly and then rub the comic strip frame of their choosing getting it good and wet, but not overly saturated so that the paper is tearing or muddying. Once your little one has completely covered the frame he/she wishes to lift, place a piece of paper over the top of the comic and then rub over the moistened comic strip with the back of the spoon. You'll need to use a little bit of elbow grease. Voila! A transfered comic. Of course, having Silly Putty on hand would be great so you could show them that old trick too, and of course now, lo & behold, we have ourselves another, yes, two-fer. Gah!
Oh. Just a sidenote here. Have you ever been reading a blog and come across someone saying "wala!" or "walah!" when unveiling something? The first time I did I was stumped. I sat there for a good few seconds putting my mind around it. When I tried saying it aloud, that was when I realized what was really going on. Apparently these bloggers had only heard the word "voila", but never seen it spelled. Being that the word's origins are in France, I do have to agree that the spelling is certainly not intuitive to us Americanos.

And last but certainly not least, my Mom Update--- Good news!!! Mom had her PET scan yesterday and they did not detect cancer. Hip, hip, hooray!! I am so very thankful for this news, I can't begin to tell you. I just hope everything continues on this path. They still want to biopsy the lung mass and most likely remove it, so we are still waiting to find out more.

Coop & I will be spending a Mommy & son weekend together starting tomorrow morning as Michael & Amelia are driving out to join Matthew on a Boy Scout campout. First on the agenda for tomorrow? Blowing enormous bubbles.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!!