If I wrote a book...

Tonight I returned home after visiting with my parents for a few days. It had been a couple of weeks since I was there and things have changed...not drastically, but there are differences. Mom is weaker and Dad is even more tired. As horrible as it is I still find beauty in my parents relationship... I am truly in awe of how they interact. Dad is taking care of mom...without his care I don't know how mom would still be here.... he is AMAZING... and mom appreciates everything he does...and even in her exhausted state she thanks dad every time he gets her a fresh glass of water, takes her glasses off for her when she goes to sleep, and helps her in so many ways.... she always says thank you... The regard for each other is something I so admire and hope to have one day in a relationship.

I watched news stories this weekend about how our government is going to spend millions of dollars on a new campaign... teaching , or maybe re-teaching, our young Americans what marriage is about and how to make marriage last... The vows... in sickness and in health... is something that my parents could be the poster children for...Dad is loving mom through this sickness...and it's beautiful...as much as I hate it... it is beautiful... I do hope people who are considering marriage really think about those vows and what that means...and how truly sick someone may get...and you are either there for the long haul, or you're not. Either you're in or you're out...there's no middle ground. There are things that you may have to do for your husband or wife that you could never anticipate and may never think you would be capable of....

I watch my father do things for my mother... things that I am sure never entered his mind as possibilities, let alone realities. One of the things he does at least twice a day is emptying the fluid from the bags that are attached to the openings of mom's most recent incision. The fluid is coming out of her incision and doctors are not exactly sure what the fluid is... Its odor is terrible....and is unlike anything I have ever smelled....and using my olfactory analysis I have smelled some horrible things over the last few years....as my grandmother lost her battle with cancer and through mom's hospitalizations... there were many many odors...identifiable...but this is different... dad puts vicks under mom's nostrils when he empties the bags because the smell causes her to vomit if he doesn't. He does this without flinching, without reacting....again... he is amazing. I have a hard time not reacting when I smell it.. because it causes me to gag... That smell... I think it is cancer. I think the fluid is from the tumor.

If I ever write a book about what it is like to lose a parent to cancer... I think its title would be "I know what cancer smells like" and my book would have two heroes... my mom and my dad...

Of course I wish I could do something to change all of this... to take it away...to make it not exist...to make it somehow easier... but I can't...I am so glad I was able to visit them this week...and will head up again soon... I think it means a lot to them...for me to be there... and I know it means a lot to me...


Hitting the road...

This picture is one I stumbled upon when searching for peaceful images... I like it. I am feeling better... I think the antibiotics have helped a lot.... so have the other prescriptions. I feel well enough to travel to see my mom without fearing that I will make her sick. I am still worn down, but am hoping that I will get enough rest this week to be back to 100% before heading back to school next week. So... tomorrow I hit the road... heading north to see my parents. I was hoping to stop on my way up to see my dad's mother and sisters but schedules didn't quite work out that way, so I will stop to see them on my return trip. I am excited to see them... but worry that I will be more emotional on the return trip when I see them. But, we'll see... I am sure it will be good to see them.... whichever part of the trip it is... they are very supportive parts of our lives and I love them for that.

I am welcoming calmness and peace into this trip... and will try to prepare myself and my patience... as I think both will be tested. My mother's brother, my mother's sister and her family, are also going to be there while I am there... at least for a few days. There have been aspects of the family dynamics involved with this that are very stressful. So... I will be strong... and calm... yet not passive... balance will be important.

Very important.


More prescriptions...

I went back to the doc yesterday... I have a sinus infection on top of bronchitis... got some antibiotics.... staying home from work today. Not happy.



I have bronchitis.

I spent $75 on a combination of prescriptions and over the counter stuff today.

If I had more energy I would be swearing like a sailor... or a truck driver....



Yesterday were the regional meets for the track teams I coach. The kids did well. The kids I work with the most on the team are the kids who throw shot put. A couple of the kids have had a consistently good season, but others have struggled to perform as well at the meets as they have at practices. As a coach, it has been frustrating. The last couple of weeks I have tried to be harder on the kids and I think it paid off. Yesterday five of my kids did really well, getting new personal records. It is a good way for them to end the season... Only two of my throwers have qualified to go to the state meet, but that's ok... because the ones who won't go to states, who got their personal records, are still proud of themselves.

I have enjoyed this season of coaching... and in ways the kids don't realize, they have helped me through this rough time. Seeing those kids 6 days a week between practices, team dinners, and meets, has been nice. I look forward to seeing them... that being said... I am happy that the season is ending. We have a final meet a week from tomorrow and the high school season will be over. In the meantime, the middle school season starts tomorrow. (The two seasons overlap for about a week.) We had an informational meeting on Friday and we had about 125-130 kids show up for the meeting. My role this season, for the middle school, will be different this year. A few weeks ago I made the decision that I do not want weekend commitments. I want to be able to go see mom and dad every weekend that I can. So I spoke with the other coach and offered to resign from the position, but he asked me to stay on... doing all the computer pieces and organizing pieces... he wants me to do all that because he hates that aspect of coaching and he also knows my circumstances and wants to make sure I can get the stipend. I appreciate that a lot... and it will take some pressure off of me, but I do feel guilty. I won't have a chane to build rapport with the kids like I usually do... but... it will work.

Additionally, I will be making the programs for the meets for our league. I am happy about that. It's been a fun distraction and I enjoy putting things together like that.

Anyway... I think I am going ot be totally lazy for a while, I am going to lay on my couch and watch tv...later tonight I am going out with some friends to celebrate one of their birthdays... it will be fun. Maybe I'll take some pictures... haven't taken any pictures in a while.



What the hell, universe?

Just talked to my dad and he has a terrible cold... on top of being exhausted... come on!!! can't he get some kind of a break?!


I'm still kickin'...

Sorry for the delays between posts...

Things are crazy... not necessarily more crazy than what they have been, but crazy. My thoughts have been very scattered so the idea of trying to write something cohesive has been a bit intimidating.... intimidating may be the wrong word, but I guess that my mind is pretty full, yet, I don't know where to begin.

I guess I can just start and see what happens... I went to see my parents last weekend. I drove up after my meets on Saturday and returned Sunday evening. It was a quick trip, but I am so glad I went. It's strange to me in some ways to say that I was happy to go...because there isn't really anything happy about it...seeing things as they are is depressing.... the only thing that I can see about any of this is the way my father is taking care of my mother. That is beautiful... While she rests he watches her and if she stirs he is ready to get up and meet whatever need she may have... which I suppose is nothing different than things were before cancer crept into their marriage. Dad has always been ready to take care of mom... and that has always been reciprocated... Together mom and dad have quite a routine that includes medicines, creams, sleeping, eating, and many other things that are a part of their day which are intimate of which I feel protective. I honestly don't know how my dad is doing all that he is doing....and doing it with patience and grace.

On my way to their house I was thinking about the last time I had been there... it was while mom was still in the hospital after her Dec. surgery. I had gone up there to try to get some things ready for their arrival... I remember when I got to the house I fell apart... don't think I have ever fallen apart that much before. I had heard about people having those moments but I hadn't truly experienced it like that... I cried so hard I threw up... I think maybe that's when my heart offiially broke over all of this. The funny part about a broken heart is that while you know when it breaks... you don't realize that the breaking part continues for a long time... my heart is still breaking about all of this.

Sleeping is difficult... waking up often in the night with thoughts that won't go away...oh, but... I will say that I have acquired a new skill... I can now cry without hyperventalating! This is a success for me because I've always been a hyperventilating cryer... but I can now cry softly, without the squished up, grimaced face... I can have my regular expressioned face and tears simply roll down my face... I used to see photos or movies of people crying calmly and I never understood it, never thought that truly portrayed real life, but it does. There are so many different ways to cry... all of which are exhausting and unfortunately all involve snot.

Speaking of sinus issues.. I have this cold thing that won't go away... I think that maybe it's because I am run down, but geesh... this thing is like hanging on... I haven't been to the gym in over a week... ugh.. not good.

What is good... is that I am staying very busy... I am finishing coaching my high school teams.... starting to coach the middle school teams...and have taken on the role of creating the programs for the middle school meets (which means some extra money, yahoo!), my online class has started... and yea I am still teaching too... and that's just the work side of things... busy is good... it keeps my mind occupied. It's the quiet times that are hard, so I am working hard to keep the volume up.

Through it all, my friends are great... I can't even describe what they all do for me, but I am fortunate. My pride makes it hard to accept some things from people, but...a wise friend has taught me that allowing people to help is giving them a gift.... recently some of my friends decided to rally the troops (friends) and help alleviate some financial burden that I may be feeling with the traveling back and forth to see my mom... I was overwhelmed with the gift... and it was hard for me to accept... because I just hope that nobody felt awkward about it... but.... it helps... it does... and I know people feel bad because they don't know how to help me... and this is something tangible people could do. But people are doing so much... without realizing it... people are supporting me... I love them all for that... and I love the people who were contacted and didn't do what they couldn't do... I love them just as much... because I wouldn't want someone's burden to be increased in order to lessen mine.

I also need to share here... that I am proud of my sister... for reasons I don't need to go into here... but she knows why...

So this post is all over the place... and it's not very uplifting.. but this is where I am at... one moment I am crying, the next I am working on track stuff, the next I am appreciating all my friends, then my nose is running again and a tear is strolling down my cheek... and I work hard to make some noise... so that I don't think... as much... but I am ok... I think... and that's what I will keep telling myself and everyone else who asks...

I'm ok...



I headed north last night after my track meets....got to my parents house about 9:30...we stayed up chatting for a while and then all crashed. Mom has a bad cold on top of everything else and is coughing a lot. She slept a lot today, which she needs. It was a short visit, but it was good to be there. I changed the sheets on their bed... dad is more than capable, but it bothers his back, so I felt like maybe it would help in some small way... I also tried to do a small amount of cleaning... again, nothing significant, but it made me feel like I was doing something to help.

Dad is amazing... the way he caters to her every need... is so aware of her at all times and what she needs... it's tragically beautiful.

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Place