Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Time is a precious thing.
Mom and I have had some special times while she stayed with me and Steve in Clarksville for almost two weeks. I wondered if I would be able to keep her with me that long. She is very much a home body, but she stayed with me for 12 days. We had it timed out that I would bring her home the day before her next doctor appointment, which is also the day before Steve and I leave for our New York City trip.
Angela came home the first weekend she was with us and Ben came home on Monday. It was precious to see them share a sweet time with their grandmother. She would tell them how much she loved them and how proud she was of them. They in turn shared with her about the activities in their lives.
We had a good time while she was with us. She loved looking out our big picture window. She was able to see deer, turkeys, birds, butterflies, squirrels, rabbits and the beautiful view of trees. She would sit there for hours just admiring the beauty of God's creation. She mentioned several times that she was so thankful that she was His child and thanking Him for that and the beauty of nature.
We watched the Cubs play baseball. (She is a die hard Cubs fan, she can tell you their win-loss record, the names of the players, the school they played for, etc.) She has always enjoyed watching her Cubs. We watched the Braves too but she didn't get nearly so excited to see them!
We had lots of good food and I was able to cook extra so I could fix her some plates that we would freeze and then take home with her. I think we ended up with enough for fourteen meals that all she would have to do is warm up in the microwave. We even had deer steak twice! She loves that so much, it is one of her very favorite meals. Steve was wonderful to cook this and other things for her too.
We went to town and ran errands, she stayed in the car while I shopped at Wal-Mart but we parked in the shade and she was fine reading while I quickly stocked up on supplies. She also got to meet all the repairmen that I had to call while she was there. The air conditioner, the clothes dryer and my Internet service all went out with in a 24 hour period. We also had to have a window replaced and that was done while she was there too!
The weather was pretty while she was there and again, one of her favorite things to do was to just look out the window. She continued to talk about the peacefulness and tranquility she felt at our house. I guess I had begun to take it for granted so I am thankful to her for reminding me how blessed I am living in the country.
One afternoon Steve took mom for a ride in Little Red. Little Red is our convertable that we bought last year. We have so much fun going for rides in our little car. I thought I would have to talk mom into going but when Steve asked, she got right up and got ready to go. They were gone about thirty minutes and she had a great time. I started calling her "Hot Rod Momma".
When I call her this, she just smiles.
I think one of my favorite days with mom during this time was the day we looked at old pictures. We had found a box of pictures a while back and I had them at my house so I asked her if she wanted to look at them and I would write on the back of the pictures who the people were. (with an acid free pen of course!) This project took us almost all day and we felt very successful with our accomplishment. There were sad moments but most of the day was spent reminiscing over sweet memories of her past, most I had heard about before but some were new and I am glad to have these new insights on mom. We came across several pictures of my grandmother of when she was a little girl and the house where she lived in up in Milwaukee.
We also found some of my uncle and his family as well as friends and places she had traveled.
It was a fun day.
We had several sweet talks and a few little squabbles, (too much togetherness!!!). I will never forget this visit. Time is precious and I am learning how important it is say what you need to say and do what you need to do for those special people in your life. You never know when it could be the last time.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The past weeks have been filled with many things in my life and as I sit and reflect on them, I am amazed at the variety of things that life has given me since the first part of May.
This time began with the farewell dinner for a precious friend who is moving from Clarksville and as we celebrated with her I received word from Memphis that my mom would be admitted to the hospital. She had been trying to recover from a bug and never really got her strength back so my sister took her to the doctor and then to the hospital.
Since Angela and Ben were both coming in for the weekend to celebrate mother’s day, my mom insisted that I stay here in Clarksville and enjoy my children instead of rushing to Memphis the next day. So I did and indeed the time with Angela, Zach and Ben was very special. Steve, Angela and I went to see mom on Sunday, Mother’s Day, we teased that were other ways of getting us to come see her for mother’s day rather than to visit her in the hospital. Angela was able to take a few days off work to stay with her until I could get back on Tuesday that helped me a lot to know that she would be there to help out and that my sister would have someone to relieve her at the hospital. I went to work the next day and was able to close up my room at school, just in case I didn’t get back before school was out. I am so amazed out how God worked that out.
I went back on Tuesday, at this time they were calling mom a “diagnostic dilemma” and were still running tests. On Monday, they were able to remove some fluid that had accumulated around her lungs so she was able to breathe better. On Monday they told mom that she had an abdominal aortic aneurism and that she would need surgery, but they had to figure out where the fluid was coming from first. Needless to say we were all very concerned, as I drove to Memphis on Tuesday morning, Angela called me and said that another test had been done and what was there, was no longer there. Some would call that coincidence or that a mistake had been made but I know that it was a miracle from God!!! We were all so excited.
This excitement changed to disbelief when the doctor came in on Thursday with some bad news. The fluid that had been drawn off her lungs showed cancer. CANCER, this is a word that no one wants to hear. He gave us the names of several oncologists and helped us get in touch with one. He would be passing off mom’s care to this dr. This news came on May 16. They did however release her from the hospital, which she was so grateful for because her bed was extremely uncomfortable to her. I came home with her and stayed until Sat.
The oncologist met with us in the hospital and wanted to do a few more tests before meeting with us. I would take her to one the next week and Cathie would take her to one the week after that and then we would have a consultation on May 30th. God was so kind to me in this area because my sweet niece was graduating from high school in Mississippi and then afterwards we had planned to go to Florida for a few days with her family. Mom was doing well enough for me to go and enjoy these days with Steve’s family. Florida was a much-needed break in these days of uncertainty and even though I still felt overwhelmed, I was able to enjoy the beach!!!
We drove home on the 29th and then I got up at 5 the next morning so I could drive to Memphis for the appointment at 10:15. The results were not what we wanted to hear. The doctor told us that mom had adenocarsinoma and that the prognosis is not good and that there is no cure. The numbers she gave us were 3-12 months. Needless to say we were all numb and really had no questions for her because we were not expecting this news.
How do you react when you are told that your mom may only have a short amount of time left to live? I am still working through things myself. But, I have to admire my mom so much because at the word cancer at the hospital the first words out of her mouth were “my God is bigger than cancer”. Her faith is so strong and her belief in God’s healing power is a testimony to all she comes in contact with. She refuses to believe that this is going to beat her and I stand with her all the way!!!
She has had fluid removed from both of her lungs and is breathing much better. She is not using oxygen and at this time she is with me here in Clarksville. We are having a special time and I thank God that He is allowing us this time here with Steve and me. Angela was able to come in for the weekend and Ben was here yesterday and left this morning.
I have begun to look at life in a very different way over the past month. Things that I thought to be so important aren’t. I have been looking for the strength and grace from God each day, instead of taking it for granted.
I have faced other trials during this time, such as:
• The loss of my precious Pepper.
• I hit and killed a deer, the first one ever for me.
• The sudden loss of a special friend.
• Steve’s mom has been in the hospital too.
• My Internet service, my air conditioner and my clothes dryer have all gone out in the past 24 hours.
But one thing I have to say about all these things is that MY GOD LOVES ME and HE IS IN CONTROL!!!!!
I have had some good times too:
- Going to the beach
- Spending time with family
- Vacation Bible School
- Knowing that I have special friends that love me and are praying for me and my family
- Seeing my children
As I reflect on these past days I am realizing once again that life is too short and precious to fret over the little things. I am learning to live life each day and to take advantage of the things that matter most.