It’s been awhile since my last excerpt. 2014 has been the most challenging year I have ever had. A roller coaster. 3 major life changing events occurring all at once…….a new job, my son graduating from high school and sending him off to college, and being a co-primary caretaker (with my dad) of my mom, and then mom’s death on June 23rd of this year.
I thought I’d come back on because I am going to eat clean again starting tomorrow. I figured I would post my meals again. You see, I decided to take care of myself once again since I had to put me to the side and take care of my beautiful mom instead. Now I am thinking I may write about my mom too. So, this will be about clean eating, being a care taker, dealing with cancer, and taking care of myself……whatever I feel like writing at the moment.
I’ve been writing with pen and paper the last month, and it helps. Sometimes though, it’s good to get things out to an audience of strangers, if there’s any audience at all.
So where to begin…..?
Mom wasn’t feeling well for a few months last fall. In fact, she told me the last time she felt good was in September 2013 when we celebrated my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was such a great and happy day. We were all together and it was a day full of love. I remember toasting and telling my parents that they were such an example of love and family after everything they had gone through together. There was more than one reason other couples would have called it quits. Not Joe and Jane. They were committed. They worked and fought to stay together. It worked. I toasted how even in my forties, they were still teaching me life lessons and how despite every thing our family had been through, we were tighter than ever. But I had no idea just how much tighter we were going to get in the next short 9 months.
On Thanksgiving I noticed Mom looked different, and I didn’t like what I saw. She looked like she was losing weight and just appeared…….different, I don’t know, but I didn’t like it. She wasn’t herself. I pulled dad aside and told him I was concerned and worried. He said, “I am worried too”.
Mom went to the doctors in December, just after Christmas I believe, and got some blood work done. In January we learned she was a little bit anemic. Ok, I thought. There are a number of reasons she could be anemic. But I also knew that aside from being tired, she was losing weight and had no appetite. For some reason I was thinking colon cancer. I don’t know why. I never told her that. Mom was worried though. I tried to reassure her it was probably just diet related or something that could be reversed. So, she was sent to a hematologist/oncologist for a work up with CT scans and more blood work. I’ll never forget the call she made to me. She called me as soon as she found out. There was a tumor in her lung. Now of course the doctor wouldn’t say definitely cancer until it was biopsied, but I knew. I just knew. Follow up PET scans showed lymph node involvement and a tumor on her adrenal gland. When all was completed, we were told it was lung cancer. Stage 4. There is nothing you can do at Stage 4 except hope to slow things down with some chemo and pray to get more time. More time to do what you’ve always wanted to do. More lunches and shopping with your daughter, more trips to Cape May with your husband, more time spent with grandchildren. More time feeling good. I knew then and there as soon as I found out she had Stage 4 lung cancer, that I was going to spend as much time with her as possible. So, I did. This cancer would not be cured at a Stage 4 and who knew how much time we would have. I spent days with her every single week since she was diagnosed with the exception of 1 week. I am so, so grateful and thankful I was able to do that. We spent hours together. Mostly just sitting together talking, and sometimes going out to lunch, watching old movies (we shared a love for old movies!), having martinis, sharing meals, and sometimes even a little shopping. Those are days I treasure in my heart so deeply. I am so lucky I was able to spend so much time with her and take care of her for those last few months. Words can’t even express my gratefulness. We talked about so much. Those conversations I hold dearly in my heart forever.
There is so much more, but I am done for now. Maybe another day.