But peace wasn’t in her future, and — having been told that it would be perhaps 4 months or so before mom would be going into hospice — I left mom living with my brother Jimmy and his wife, Karen and went home for my own medical journey. I had all the support I needed, it was important that mom wasn’t part of that support. But I was scared, of course, and I don’t know if I was fully prepared for the ways a hysto would change a 40-year old woman’s life. But that’s a different story for a different blog post.
Just about 4 months to the day from returning home I received a call from my brother’s line. As I answered I just assumed, “Oh, that’s Jimmy calling to tell me that Mom’s condition has worsened and it’s time to begin thinking about palliative care.”
But it wasn’t. It was mom telling me that the previous evening Jimmy had passed away from a heart attack. At age 45. And it was exactly as heartbreaking for everyone as you would expect.
Before I left the hospital I joked with one of the nurses about the intimate things I was threatening to put on the Caring Bridge task page, but it was whistling past the graveyard as I was FLAT OUT TERRIFIED.
Once I was home, faced with the reality of what life may be like with so much exhaustion layering every aspect of my life, that little ‘wipe me’ joke wasn’t funny at all.
On the day I returned from the hospital I could barely make it up the stairs into my house. “I need to get a cane.” was all I could say to Gerry. I’d already lost so much energy that my goal was simply to walk up the stairs to use the bathroom. And I didn’t make it.
And it’s only going to get harder. And I am terrified. And I hate our stair carpeting.
A belief is SUCH a personal thing. You cannot CHOOSE a belief, it is — by definition — what you BELIEVE. I think because of societal pressures, ease of social mobility, the need to just get along in a family and community, some folks DO choose to believe what their family has all believed before them. I choose not to.
My belief is simple; whatever god there is can be found in the action of a human helping another human, or helping make the world a better place. Period.
So pray for me, or don’t, but please don’t feel badly if I would rather put my trust in Minerva McGonagall over Mother Mary. Professor McGonagall is definitely more my jam.
[caption id="attachment_5983" align="alignright" width="300"] A Single Heart. Delicious.[/caption]
The Portland Interview was really fun, no baking but lots of talking. They REALLY asked tough questions, it was a very serious interview. Then after that they did a short, 7 minute videotaped interview and I bonded with “my” producer and left feeling like I’d had a blast!
Traveling back to MN I remember thinking, “If this ends now, I would be happy just to have been part of this process so far!”
About a week into this nonsense we asked for the help of our State Attorney General, Lori Swanson. I hadn’t realized that one of the duties of the SAG is to protect consumers in their state, and BOY did Erin, from Lori’s office, work to protect us!
[caption id="attachment_5952" align="alignleft" width="273"] Our Lovely Stove. Take THAT, Kathleen![/caption]
Patiently, slowly, her staff kept after SEARS. She took the case seriously, giving it the amount of time it needed, but also letting it roll on it’s own. I was impressed with their restraint and strength.
The Cost Of Pain It’s a terrible thing when a friendship or marriage ends. I think, quite often, there’s been some deep pain episode which supersedes either parties ability to rally and connect with each other. Gerry and I have talked about how lucky we are that, at the advent of his cancer, he was covered by his UNION insurance (Thank You IATSE Local #1)and that made all the difference in our ability to even KEEP our home for the first 5 years.
I’ve had a lot of folks writing to me — thank you! And many comments on this blog and on FaceBook with supportive messages. One of the most common lines of interest is, “How did you get through so much pain and NOT realize something was terribly wrong?” Pushing Through The pain I’d been experiencing…
I’m still having half-hallucinations, echoes of movement when I turn my head quickly, not certain if it’s a product of the opioids that I’m on, or a whisper in my head from the original dosage.
Pain management is KEY is my ability to keep my strength and focus to accept and allow my body to utilize the radiation and chemo I will receive, so it’s important that I’m able to take my array of 30 pills per day without fear.