Fox and Broom

A mom's adventures in keeping healthy, keeping her sanity, and making stuff.

Archive for the category “death”

It’s Just So Much

I needed time to process everything. In a way, I was forced to as Jesse required my iPad for his schoolwork. It was really the best thing for me.

An unimaginably awful amount of happenings came about within two months. My family is hurting. We will hurt for a long time.

Cathy died on January 26. She was an amazing and beautiful person. I have known her for more than half of my life.

She read books faster than most people eat dinner. She created the most magical things out of yarn. That is a witchery beyond me. Cathy was not afraid to try new crafts. She was inspiring.

Her catch phrase was “oh, well shit.” It’s classier than my “fuck, or fuckity fuck.” Not that I will stop.

Cathy & Gary

I hurt for myself. I hurt more for Gary, her sister, children, grands, the people that will always be part of our family. So many people loved her.

This is where I am indebted to the school board for depriving me of technology.

I am thankful.

With the crap that happened in December, I am still here. I was told I would need to contact palliative care. I did not need them nor did I go to hospice.

My father-in-law, John, and I were hospitalized with Covid-19. We are still recovering. We are getting better. Recovering from something like this is hard. Our lungs and muscles are still weak. The fatigue is pretty awful. We are slowly overcoming the bastard.

I will always be thankful to have a mother-in-law like Cathy. I truly have the best in-laws. All four of them.

I am grateful for my mom. She has been helping with my boys when I can not do the laundry or wash the dishes. Covid zaps the energy out of you.

(L to R) Papa John, Nana Bobi, Nana Jan, Me, Dad, Grandpa Gary, Grandma Cathy
Boys: (L to R) Jes, Sam, Max, Sol

My heart will continue to mourn.

I will continue to savor the small things and celebrate the big things.

I love all of you.

I Lost Tuesday

I guess December 8, 2020 will be memorable to everyone but me. I have no recollection of that day existing. It was Monday, then Wednesday.

I have been told about the events that occurred. I have been told of the events after. I have had to ask people to speak with my husband. He knew what happened. I don’t.

The day started with a text I had the good sense to send, but I don’t recall sending.

I sent the text to my husband. He was at work. He tried to call me back and I wasn’t making sense. We live with his parents, so he called his mom to have her check on me.

I don’t know what happened. I have been told that an ambulance was called and Gabriel came home from work. I scared my family. I would probably be more upset. I think I should be more upset.

The EMTs helped me up the stairs and into my car. On the passenger side. Gabriel drove me to the ER.

I know that I had tests. Blood work, MRI, probably a CT. I had new tumors growing in my brain. My blood pressure was low. My heart function would show as lower from an echocardiogram the next day.

I have used up my brain radiation. I am not allowed another whole brain, which would be the treatment for all those little fuckers. I think I am still allowed targeted, but there are too many.

The chemo was working really well for the rest of my lesions and tumors. It is just making my heart not so good.

I was suffering from a seizure in my brain. This would be why I was having so much trouble talking and can not remember Tuesday. I am now taking anti-seizure medication.

The very low blood pressure would be the cause of not being able to stand up.

I was taking heart medication with the intent of keeping my heart function above 50%. I am not taking that any longer and my chemo has been lowered in hopes of helping my heart get back into the 50’s. There is also some hope that it will break the brain barrier and get the brain tumors.

With the possible seizures, I am no longer allowed to drive. I just got a new car. I love my car. At least this gives me a chance to give my oldest hours for his driving class. In my new (used) Rogue.

Palliative care has been brought up. I had a team when I was first diagnosed. I was very sick at that time. I am so mad. I have plans. I need to prepare things for my family.

Fuck Cancer

It has now been a few weeks. I have been the recipient of the generous side of humans. We have had food delivered. People went a little crazy with gifting my kids. Someone picks up my kids clothes, washes them, then returns them.

The Warrior Sisterhood left a gift in my yard. I cried.

I can’t think of how to properly express my gratitude. I wake up most mornings with a headache or a back ache bad enough for pain meds. I have trouble walking a good portion of the time and I now have a loathing for stairs.

Having help with food and clothes is fantastic. If any of you read this, please know your actions have been absolutely appreciated.

I don’t know what my future will bring. December 8 scared all of us. My doctors and care team are working hard to keep me going. My family and friends are working hard to keep me going. I love all of you.

Fuck cancer.

2020 February Legacy Retreat: In Memoriam

One of the hard parts of meeting people with a disease such as Stage IV Breast Cancer, is death. Thirty-one families were served at my retreat. Four of my sisters have passed since the Retreat. Gabriel has had a hard time with this. I told him it never gets easier.

Cassie Newman, February 16

Leah McDonald, February 21

Andrea Burch, February 22

Crystal Baird, March 4

I am so thankful that their families have the memories from this Retreat.

Fuck cancer.

Addition:

Erin Leland, March 30

The Day

I have been working on blogs about my Paris adventure, but I wanted to put up a quick post for today.

A year ago today, I found out that my pain was definitely not caused by a pulled muscle. A year ago today, my life turned upside-down. A year ago today, Dr. C told me that I had metastatic breast cancer that had spread to my bones. Stage IV. No cure. A death sentence.

It isn’t an anniversary that I want to remember. I was in agony and losing weight. I had gotten to the point where I was having trouble walking. I was exhausted. I was angry.

My first thoughts were for my kids. I couldn’t leave them. Not yet. I very much want to see them grow up. I very much want to see what kind of humans they become. I also, maybe selfishly, very much want them all to remember me. Really remember me. Not just hear about me from other family members or friends.

After my diagnosis, I went downhill fast. I honestly thought I wasn’t going to make it to my birthday in October. I believe my children and my anger brought me through that time. The radiation treatments helped with my pain and my hormone treatments helped to get my cancer somewhat under control, but it was my children who got me through the other things. I thought of them as I forced food down my throat. I thought of them as I forced myself to reclaim my muscles and start walking again. I thought of them as the worst of my symptoms started to fade and now, a year later, I am not the skeletal, sickly, creature that cancer wants to make me.

Now, I enjoy eating again. I have been working on taming my garden that went out of control. I walked miles and miles in Paris. I took my oldest son to Disney World and Universal Studios. I walked a 5K, which I didn’t think I would be able to do again. I have hope that I now have years instead of months. I have met a lot of the goals that I set for myself last year at this time. Every time I cross one off, I get a feeling of vindication. Fuck you cancer.

Living with cancer means fighting everyday. I am a warrior.

Oh Hai

It has been forever since I have written a blog. Well, almost a year. Which is pretty much forever in internet time.

With my last post, I had started the Couch 2 5K program again. Which, to be honest, I did not keep up with very well. I do my best at the gym if I go in the morning. I also like to take it easy in the morning with a cuppa and some Daily Show from the night before. Sooo. Yeah.

Anyway, on to May. My husband and I found out we were expecting our next baby the day before Mother’s Day. We made the decision to keep it quiet due to the miscarriage from the year before. It was really pretty traumatic for me to have to tell everyone about that. I know that for some people, it is a healing thing to be able to share experiences like that. Not so for me. In fact, it took me nearly a full year to even be able to mention the loss.

We told our close family when we were about 8 weeks along and we made it public at about 12 weeks after my first midwife appointment. I am now 31 weeks along. This new baby is due in January. And has caused me issues every. single. step. of the way. I am not sure if it is because I am considered an older mom. Or it might be because this is baby #4. Or it might just be because every pregnancy is different.

Just after we found out we were expecting, I had to set up a doctor appointment to figure out what was going on with an extreme headache. It was so bizarre. I started to call it a head pain because it was not a typical headache for me. The focal point would move around my head and radiate out. I called my general practitioner when the pain moved toward the front of my head and made eating difficult. As I was pregnant, there was not a lot he could do for me. He was concerned enough that he contacted the women’s clinic to see if it was safe enough for me to go in for an MRI. Doing my bit of research, I used my mom to contact an OB from the Mayo Clinic to be sure an MRI would be ok. I went through with it. And I now have proof that my brain is normal.

Along with the head pains, I got to work through some food aversions. My morning sickness was more acute than it usually is, but since I had so many food aversions, my trips to the toilet resulted mostly in dry heaves. I survived mostly on salad and protein shakes. I couldn’t even look at eggs, pizza, cheese, milk, tomatoes, and the list goes on. All sorts of smells would send me running to the bathroom. I lost somewhere around 11 pounds. At 31 weeks, I am still dealing with some of these aversions. Sometimes I can eat scrambled eggs, sometimes I can’t.

Once the morning sickness started to fade, I guess my body decided I needed some other inconvenience. So, my relaxin hormone production went into overdrive. It took me awhile to figure this out. I had a cold at the end of August, early September (back to school crud, yay!). That incident led to me actually sneezing so hard that I popped a rib out-of-place. It was so painful that I went into the ER. I honestly had no idea what was going on. I just knew that I suddenly couldn’t breathe and was in huge amounts of pain. That was a particularly pricey visit just to have someone tell me that my rib was knocked out and the pain was from muscle spasms. I got it under control with heat, ice, and a chiropractor.

The first rib incident was actually a clue for me about the relaxin. My rib has now popped out 3 times and my hips are trying to disconnect from my leg bones. If you are not totally sure about what relaxin does, it pretty much matches its name. It relaxes the ligaments connecting the bones to allow movement for childbirth. Why my body is prepping so early, I have no idea. It has made it very uncomfortable to walk and I am on a lifting restriction. Sitting, standing, and laying down are all also very uncomfortable.

The good news for this pregnancy is that Baby is doing incredibly well. We found out at my 20 week ultrasound that Baby is a boy, so this will be boy #4 in our family. He will have no lack of clothes. Though they may be a bit worn. He is super active and is constantly pushing out on my belly.

Other good news is that I do NOT have gestational diabetes. Not that it matters since chocolate and some other sweets give me massive heartburn. I joke that this baby is forcing me to eat healthy. Well, I mostly joke. I would kill for a doughnut. This whole eating healthier has been beneficial seeing as how I am not up for pretty much any exercise. I have not gained back much of the weight I lost during my morning sickness. Baby is still growing very well, so he is definitely getting the nutrients he needs. If I did not have the constant pain, I would actually feel really good. I’ve even been enjoying the onset of the Braxton Hicks contractions. Well, except for the one that hit me when I was grocery shopping. Whew. That was came out of nowhere and left a lingering pain. My body is prepping to bring this guy earthside. After all the issues I have had, I am really looking forward to meeting this new person.

Working With Loss

The way that I deal with grief (or any strong emotion) is by writing. This post is one of grief. And deep loss.

Read more…

A Letter To My Grandma.

My Grandma passed away on Christmas Day 2010 at the young age of 96 1/2… I felt the need to write a few random memories.

My brother and I didn’t get to see our Grandma DeVos very much, and even less as we both lived lives which were far from her. She sometimes seemed a little awkward around us and I think she had trouble “getting” us. We always knew that she loved us.

She may not have had a high education. I believe she completed 8th grade. However, no one has her skill in the kitchen. Even I would eat her pork chops, and I cannot stand pork foods. She always put on a full table for every meal, then put on a show when we were unable to devour an entire chicken (per person): “I just don’t cook so good no more.”

She always had ice cream or cookies on hand. Usually great quantities of both. I will always associate her with memories of home baked goodness.

The summer that I stayed with her, she taught me how to use her riding lawn mower to mow her gigantic yard. Then allowed me to mow every week. I thought it was the greatest thing EVER. I am sure she thought me doing yard work was the greatest thing EVER.

She was one of the strongest women I have known. She was not a feminist and was one of the most classical 50’s style housewives you have ever seen. She was a farm-bred girl and could definitely pull her weight. She would spend hours in her garden, do laundry, take care of that huge yard, then manage to pull together the most amazing meal you have ever had.

She was in the July 1998 issue of National Geographic. It had an article about natural disasters and showed the picture of her walking to her mailbox with a mountain of snow behind her. That was the year her house had been buried under about 30 feet of snow. It took 6 hours to dig her out and she was interviewed by all kinds of reporters. She was on the nightly news and was on the front page of the USA Today. Her biggest worry was making sure all the reporters had enough to eat.

It did upset me greatly when I realized that she no longer recognized me. Until I made the decision that I would remember as she was from my childhood. I would have loved to have her know her great-grandchildren better, but I will be able to tell them about their wonderful great-grandma.

She was able to watch the midnight Christmas mass on TV with my aunt Cathy. Cathy was with her as she went on to her heaven. I hope she will always have many people to entertain and that they will all eat great quantities of food.

I told my friends that I would like to be like her when I get old. I never did tell her that. I did tell her that I loved her. I will miss her.

Post Navigation