seventy years…

…old. Trump is an old man who is showing his age.

Nearing seventy myself, I can speak with some authority on the dilemma of old-age. It’s not only a daily struggle to keep everything on my body from “going south,” it’s equally challenging to keep my mind from closing in on itself.

What we seem to be witnessing in warp speed is Trump’s mental capabilities disintegrating right before our eyes. His campaign rhetoric gave us clues as to his mental state, but very few took him at his word. We were told by his surrogates, like Kelly-Anne Conway, that his supporters knew not to take their candidate literally. On January 9, she advised us to “Judge Trump by what’s in his heart, not what comes out of his mouth.”

Trump has shown his heart to have all but stopped beating.

This president has split America to its core as Lyndon Johnson did during the Vietnam War. Folks, especially vets and their families, are still suffering the psychological, physical and economic effects of that political fiasco. Trump is on the path to paying a steep price for warring against Americans who refuse to engage in his brand of politics…”an eye for an eye.”

We’ve all known someone with pent up hostility and anger toward those who have crossed them. The elderly are more likely to have accumulated decades of such riffs. If these are not addressed and resolved in a timely manner, then the anger and determination to “get even” is that much greater.

The flip side to this dilemma is that those who remain in good standing will reap the rewards. This encourages all kinds of “hangers-on.” Relatives, self promoting crack-pots, wily master-minds, and perpetual money-grubbers. Of course there are the well-intentioned loyalists who are unable to back out of the situation in which they find themselves. One that further entraps them the longer they commit themselves to the Mad Hatter in the midst of a firestorm of his, and their, creation.

Having lived in Trump Tower most of his adult life, neither the president nor his family know the plight of real people. Unfortunately, this did not dissuade voters from deciding that a billionaire who regularly stiffed ordinary folks like themselves, should wield immeasurable power over their lives in big and small ways.

Trump has bragged about sleeping 4 hours or less each night. Scientific evidence supports the fact that sleep deprivation has a devastating effect on persons who regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep each night. Without the optimum period of time within which to rest and recuperate, our bodies begin to lose the battle against diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. There’s only so much our bodies can do when running on “empty.”

While seventy-year-old Trump’s finger hovers over the nuclear button, he has already detonated his own mental and physical implosion. The executive orders he has executed with lightning speed this week, have brought a volcanic eruption of Americans rising up in protest. He may have won the electoral votes, but only a week into his presidency, Trump is losing more and more of those he swore to lead.

It might be different were Trump winding down his presidency, but that’s not the case. Instead, we must face at least 4 years of increasing senility. Trump’s inability to distinguish between fact and fiction; his inability to move beyond past transgressions; his demand for absolute loyalty; his need to silence any opposition; his insatiable appetite for approval.

Were the Trump family dealing with their patriarch on their own turf, celebrating his “ups” while softening the impact of his “downs” the billionaire would have been left to his own devices. His impact would’ve been minimal, perhaps affecting only a segment of the community. As president of the most powerful country in the world, however, Trump’s impact is global.

Trump has the potential to be the greatest catastrophe America has ever seen. Singlehandedly, he is undoing the very fabric of our country. With the stroke of a pen and an off-hand remark this president has thrown a bag over the Statue of Liberty. For as long as Trump presides over our country, these words ring hollow…

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

As I grow older, 68 this year, I can only wonder at Trump’s increasing older age. Someone in his predicament cannot have the wherewithal to keep himself in prime physical and mental form. All presidents before him have undergone a transformation from when they first sat in the Oval Office to when they left. As much as Trump likes to brag that he only feels he’s in his 30’s, I would hazard to guess that he’s already dreaming of long, relaxing interludes on one of his many golf courses.

Let’s see how long it takes before the man gets his wish. How about we all donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation on behalf of Trump?

…won’t you contribute?

………hugmamma

 

Advertisements

on the edge…

Getting older has its pitfalls; some being more evident than others. I don’t think we notice them in ourselves until we see them reflected in others. With his erratic behavior growing ever more so each day, Donald Trump should be a warning to those of us on the brink of going there ourselves.

If we disconnect with the changing world around us and become more and more insulated inside our own “bubbles,” we run the risk of becoming like Trump. We begin to see the world as hostile; people unfamiliar to us as “the enemy.”

As he has demonstrated time and time again, Trump sees another conspiracy lurking just around the bend. Beginning with the “birther” movement for which he enthusiastically assumed the leadership role, he has progressed to his current vendetta against the media, global bankers, his sexual accusers and the Clintons  as being in cahoots to take him and the country down.

We all know folks like Trump. Folks in their 60’s, 70’s and older, who can’t see beyond yesterday when the world was familiar and they felt safe. Arguing for the past in bellicose tones empowers them, even as reality slips through their fingers.

Years ago while sitting at the table with good friends of ours, dining on a wonderful array of delicious, homemade, Italian dishes, I was keenly aware of the elderly dad sitting quietly unable to participate in the banter of lively conversation. Now and then someone would try to draw him in, with no success. That image remains  etched in my mind, and serves as a reminder against the debilitating effects of isolation in older age.

That’s how I see Donald Trump…a dynastic patriarch lost in a world of his own, unable to set aside his glorious past for a present in which he doesn’t figure as prominently. I’ve known men and women like Trump. Folks who continue to view themselves as THE authoritative voice on all things, unwilling to allow that others might know better. Many a time I’ve been on the other end of such dogmatic arguments.

I don’t want to be like Trump…seeing conspiracies where there are none. Getting older doesn’t mean we automatically slide into a world of paranoia. It happens when we allow negative thoughts to overwhelm our minds, wreaking havoc where there is none, and wallowing in our own isolation to the exclusion of all else.

A couple of nights ago, hubby and I enjoyed a date night. I was looking forward to seeing Adam Levine and Maroon Five perform ever since we received the tickets as a Christmas gift from our daughter. While I thoroughly enjoyed his music, I must admit to feeling older than I expected. As thousands stood for the duration, my arthritic back found comfort in remaining seated. And while everyone else sang along with Adam, I was at a total loss for the lyrics. I felt “left out.”

Early on, I asked a woman standing in front of us to please sit so we could see the performance. She eventually acquiesced, but at the end of the evening I realized rock concerts might no longer be for me. Rather than be a curmudgeon, I’d prefer to remember when nothing could keep me down; when I’d be up and moving before anyone else.

Letting go…happily and with dignity…is a nice feeling when getting older. Although I promised myself that if I could see Bruno Mars perform live, I vow to stand with the best of them…and learn all the words to his songs! My daughter promises to join me at a Mars concert, and I’ll bet one or two of my sisters-in-law would fly in from Hawaii to join us as well.

Being “young at heart” would serve us seniors well. Old age doesn’t have to deprive us of youthful ideas and feelings, or guarantee we’ll suffer the effects of dementia…or worse, Alzheimer’s. It’s never easy to teach an old dog new tricks, but it’s…

…not impossible.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

remembering…

She was like a second mother, my sister Ruby. While it’s difficult to remember all the details of that time, I can distinctly recollect her being warm and understanding where my own mother was sometimes gruff and exacting.

Misc July 2010 00069The event that remains permanently etched in my memory was when Ruby allowed me to help run the wet clothes through the wringing rollers in her old-fashioned washing machine. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, and very conscientious it seems. Wanting to do it correctly, I hung onto the piece of clothing a tad longer than I should have as it made its way through the wringer. In seconds my hand was being dragged along, all the way up my forearm. Screaming bloody murder, I was rescued by my sister who came running to unplug the machine. I’m sure I steered clear of that fandangled contraption after that.

As a youngster I spent a good deal of time with Ruby and her cowboy husband, Steve Autry. I’ve no idea what brought him to Maui back in the ’50s. Perhaps he was lured by the image of roping horses and riding Brahma bulls in the annual rodeo held at the base of Haleakala, the island’s dormant volcano. Or maybe he thought he’d work at what he knew best…being a cowboy and whatever that entailed.

My sister and her husband made an unusual couple in those days…a lanky, 6 footer whose mischievous, blue eyes peered out from beneath strands of blonde hair streaked by the island sun. His tanned face, deeply lined and freckled. Standing alongside him, Ruby was inches shorter. Hair cut short in the natural ebony color of the island women. A jaunty smile compared to her husband’s. A crooked one that partially hid his tobacco-stained teeth.

Watching my brother-in-law roll cigarettes was always captivating. First came the crisp, creamy-hued slip of rectangular paper, followed by the tobacco pouch. With deft agility he’d tug at the strings of the pouch so that a slim rivulet of tobacco dribbled onto the paper. Taking the strings between his front teeth, Steve would draw the pouch’s opening to a close. Returning it to the shirt pocket over his heart, he’d take the nearly finished cigarette between his thumbs and index fingers. Using his pointy, long tongue he’d spread just enough saliva along the length of one side of the paper allowing him to fasten it to the other side. Slipping the newly-minted cigarette between his lips, my brother-in-law would light it with the strike of a match along the underside of his boot.

To a clueless kid like me, it was pretty cool stuff.

A few years younger than me, my niece and I would often accompany her dad, as he scoured landfills and roadsides for stuff to resell, especially scrap metal. Growing up poor meant not having many toys like friends who did. So climbing over piles of junk in search of hidden treasures was fun. It was kind of exciting to see what I’d find under the rubble. One discovery turned out to be more than I bargained for. Watch for that story in a future post.

They might have made it as a country singing duet. With Steve on the guitar and Ruby singing harmony, they sounded like the real thing. Not that I’d had much opportunity to hear country music, but I knew what I liked and I liked what I heard. My favorite was a haunting lullaby which included some yodeling. My sister yodeled beautifully. Imagine that! An island gal yodeling as naturally as though she’d been born on the range. I’m certain my love of singing blossomed during these impromptu song fests right there on the front steps of their house. 

 Sadly for Ruby and her daughter, the cowboy didn’t remain a permanent fixture. He and my sister divorced when I was a preteen. Since they’d moved to Honolulu, the islands’ designated “big city,” I would spend part of my summers with them. And much later when I returned to attend the University of Hawaii, my sister Ruby’s apartment was where I went the first couple of summers after I vacated the college dorms.

My sister didn’t have an easy life, raising a child on her own. In fact, my young niece lived with my mom and me for a couple of years on Maui while Ruby sought to earn a living. I’m not certain, but it may be that she continued to struggle until the end which came on July 27. She died of lung cancer, a result of decades of cigarette smoking.

I will remember Ruby as a soft-spoken mediator, a comforting presence, humble, self-sacrificing and perhaps easily overcome by stronger personalities, like my mom. I truly believe she would give the shirt off her back if someone needed it more than she. I’m sorry we’d not been in touch later in life, but she seemed content with where she’d finally landed…living with her daughter and her family. Secreted away from the turmoil she’d known, it felt right to let her be, to let her live in peace and quiet, no longer saddled by the burdens of others. At least I’m hoping that’s how it was.

…blessed are the peacemakers…

…for they shall be called children of God.

………hugmamma.Miscellaneous Pictures July 2010 124

 

 

 

 

 

 

talk about old…

…and I know old.

Returning to Cold War rhetoric is like dragging the tyrannosaurus rex out of mothballs. Isn’t it preferable to leave dinosaurs where they belong…in the Smithsonian?

Arianna Huffington recently explained that Donald Trump is sleep deprived. He admitted as much himself, claiming to get by on just 3 hours sleep a night. Obviously he’s not well read on the consequences of long term sleep deprivation. Among them fatal diseases like heart attack, cancer, even Alzheimer’s. At 70, it’s worrisome that a President Trump would have his finger on the nuclear button. He could blast us all to smithereens in the midst of his own personal crisis.

Putting all of one’s faith and hope into a man who lives in the past, wanting to return America to an “us vs. them” mentality is akin to wearing a blindfold for the next 4 years. The world will move forward in spite of us. The U.S. will be the “it” in a global game of “Blind Man’s Bluff,” stumbling around unable to discern what it is the other players are doing.

For better or worse, the world is on a path forward. There’s no hitting the “reset” button and doing a makeover. America can remain an important player, having significant influence every step of the way. Or America can play Trump’s game and cry “wolf” every time he stubs his toe.

Bernie Sanders is 74, an old man with big dreams. I worry he won’t be around to see them all come true. Who will carry his torch? His loving, loyal wife? Good for them. Maybe not so good for America.

Passing the torch is an Olympian fete. It’s a team effort. It’s essential we have a captain who can lead the way, outlining a path toward greatness. It’s also essential to have someone who has “walked the walk” and not just “talked the talk.”

Yes, like everyone else I’m awed by charisma. However if my life depended upon it, I’d want someone who’s not afraid to show us that she’s also an intellectual geek to captain my team.

Slow and steady won the race for the turtle. And that’s who I’m rooting for in the presidential elections…

…mama turtle, herself!

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: those who serve…

Two news pieces reported on MSNBC today, made me pause to reflect upon the sacrifices made by those who keep the rest of us safe.

The first was about firemen who helped in the aftermath of 9/11. As usual, they did not consider the risks to their own safety and well-being. Only years later did that horrific day return to haunt them, many suffering the effects of cancer. Mounting medical bills in addition to an emotional and physical roller coaster ride puts the victims and their loved ones at high risk for depression and serious loss to their quality of life.

Following that report was a piece about a military family whose husband/father has been deployed to the Middle East multiple times. Of the 19 years they’ve been married, the couple have been separated 9 years. Their two sons, now teenagers, have missed their dad tremendously. While the family understands their sacrifice as a career choice, it doesn’t lessen the impact of losing a member for years on end. Especially knowing that each deployment could mean the death of their loved one.

It’s easy to shed a tear or two for the plight of these folks whose lives are spent protecting us. Having compassion, however, also includes giving back…not “sitting back.”

Rather than pay for “pork belly” projects put forth by representatives in Congress, our tax dollars should be spent accommodating the financial needs of those who risk their lives to save ours.

I think that’s what’s so frustrating about many members of the Republican Party. They want “boots on the ground,” but they ignore the fact that these folks have needs. They’re not wind-up robots. They feel. They break. They bleed. They die…and leave behind loved ones of their own.

President Obama is walking a tightrope between keeping our country safe during these perilous times…and showing compassion for the men and women who must answer the call to lay down their lives for their country. Not an easy decision, although the president’s critics rant and rave that it’s a no-brainer. Scary to think what Obama’s successor would do if he or she is a Republican intent upon spilling blood.

…when did we become a dispassionate people?

………hugmamma.

(Note: For more inspirational writing, visit…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/nurt-thurs-you-are-2/

living her best life: #57…pat’s new normal

Just the other day someone asked how my sister-in-law Pat was doing after her recent stem cell transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. It reminded me that I’d not posted about her ongoing battle with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis in some time.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, it’s just that I’d not been posting anything in quite some time. When I sit down at my laptop for any extended period, I tend to lose track of time and forget about everything else. In deciding to see to other areas of my life, I’ve resisted my passion…to just write.

Pat is doing well. She’s not perfect, but she’s on track…feeling healthy and looking forward to what each day brings. She’s returned to work. Yes! She’s back at work. She’s eating as best she can, given that her molars were extracted. From a photo she texted me a week or so ago, Pat’s smiling broadly. And best of all, her sense of humor is still intact.

When I asked if she wanted to reflect upon her time in Minnesota, Pat replied…

I haven’t really reflected yet on everything I went through at Mayo. Part of me doesn’t want to relive it and the other part thinks “Oh. That’s old news. I’m looking more toward the future…the uncertainty of it is a little scary so it’s still a challenge. I’m thinking of going back to work next month…I wish I could just retire and know that everything will be fine. On the other hand work keeps my mind sharp and occupied.

A week later, she wrote…

We are all doing good here…keeping an eye on the approaching hurricane. I’m feeling stronger every day and am planning to go back to work on Tuesday. I figured out the best time of day to take my meds to optimize how I feel during the day. I just have to remember to be careful in crowds and stay away from sick people. I’m back to “I don’t feel sick” which is good, but I have to remind myself that I’m not in the clear yet.

What’s next for Pat? 

As I understand it, she’s looking forward to the 100th day-post-stem cell transplant…and what it brings. She won’t need to return to the Mayo Clinic, instead she will meet with her own physician in Hawaii. Meanwhile she will be on one medication til then, and at least two others for the next year.

Once she left Rochester and the Mayo Clinic back in August, Pat and Brad spent a few days in Duluth, Minnesota, before heading to Minneapolis where they caught their flight home.

We are enjoying ourselves in Duluth right now. From our room we can watch huge ships roll in night and day…it’s pretty amazing. Lake Superior is pretty cool too. If I didn’t know better I’d think it was the Atlantic Ocean. Being here is therapeutic, nice bright room, lots of sunshine and a body of water that reminds us of home. We’re staying one extra day here.

We are in Minneapolis now…big city…long gone are the fields and fields of corn. Duluth was very therapeutic and I’m glad we went there. Now that we’re in the city we have the opportunity to go to concerts or shows but I don’t think I’m up for that. Theaters and shopping are close by and we are near Target Center (basketball arena?) and where the new stadium for the Vikings is being built. Neither team has anything going on…thought we would catch a ball game or football training camp practice. Well I’m really ready to go home…the sisters and my mom-in-law are going over on Saturday to clean. Julie’s also going to clean out my fridge and do a little shopping for me. I also asked if Dennis could make some pork with squash…yes, my appetite is back full force but my tongue is still swollen so sticking with soft foods and lots of soups.

So “How’s Pat doing?” Well, she could be better. She’d probably prefer it if she could revert back to her old normal. Yet that’s not how my sister-in-law operates. Pat pretty much goes with what’s on her plate. She’s acclimating to what’s been dished up without a whole lot of whining and complaining. It could be her island mentality…her Catholic upbringing…being the youngest of twelve..the mother of two teenage boys…or having awesome parents as role models. It’s more likely a combination of all these factors.

All I know is Pat’s become my role model.

Life is about change, good or bad. Better to accept that as fact and work with what we’re dealt at any given time. None of us can go back to the old normal. It’s always being tweaked…by us or by fate. We can make life good…or we can make life hell. It’s up to us.

I count myself lucky to have someone in my life to show me how it’s done.

…thanks, pat.

………hugmamma.

living her best life:#56…hawaii bound

Yesterday Pat text me some great news …

Wanted to update you…I’m doing really well.

We meet with Dr. Gertz tomorrow and expect him to release me. If that happens then that means we can go home! [whoopee!!!]

Because our flight is not until the 8th we’ll have some time to play tourists again. The plan is to check out of the Transplant House on Monday and drive to Duluth near Lake Superior for a couple of days and eventually be back in Minneapolis near the airport before the weekend.

Can’t wait to go home [!!!!!]

Without a doubt…

…pat’s living her best life…

………hugmamma.

living her best life: #55…can’t wait!!!

I text Pat today…

How are you? Whatcha doing? I am headed to the antiques shop to put some stuff. [I sell antiques/collectibles at an antiques mall.] Armsful of hugs…

And Pat text me right back…

Hi…actually just had lunch and am ready for a nap…can’t take the Hawaiian outta this girl! [tell me about it] I’m eating more of my meals as opposed to drinking them. My numbers are continuing to go up and I’m feeling much better. They stopped a bunch of meds…woohoo! [double woohoo!!!] 

I have a followup appointment with Dr. Gertz on Friday along with the transplant coordinator. This is to go over what to do at home [home…yahoo!!!] for the next 100 days and thereafter. Usually patients return on Day 100, but I’m pretty sure that appointment will be with my oncologist back home.

Not sure when Dr. Gertz will actually clear us to go home but our flight is scheduled for the 8th. [yippee, yay yeah!!!] 

If we have a few days we’ll leave the Transplant House and maybe drive to Duluth. In any case we’ll be in Minneapolis the night before our flight so we won’t have that long drive.

Looking forward to going home!

Quite a woman, my sister-in-law. The way she tells it…it’s just another day in the life of. And yet we all know it’s been anything but. I’m sure Brad would have more to say about the journey he’s traveled with Pat. Knowing the two of them as I do though…

…she’ll go back to work, and he’ll go back to fishing…and their sons will enjoy having mom and dad home again.

…all our love and prayers go with them.

………hugmamma.

…one breath…

A lovely, lovely video created by Livonne…in memory of her dad. 

We can all take away the message of love we hold dear in our hearts…in spite of the heartache that often accompanies it.

You can read the post which accompanies this at… http://livonne.com.au/2015/07/15/with-just-one-breath/

…leaves me…speechless.

………hugmamma.

living her best life: #54…letting go…

…of her “crowning glory.”

As usually occurs when a patient undergoes heavy doses of chemotherapy, Pat lost her thick, beautiful hair today. The upside, if there is any, is that she’s midway through her treatment so she should begin to feel better.

Fingers crossed.

7/22… …Haven’t been eating a whole lot…lost more weight. Have to get calories in some way so most are from liquids. I will eat half a banana or peach, some cereal…but liquids are just easier.

7/23…I’m feeling better today. I might be turning the corner although the antibiotics still knock me out. 

7/24… …As for me, I’m just resting before my evening appointment. It’s typical for me to run a fever in the afternoons so I took some Tylenol. They’ll take blood cultures this evening just to make sure there is no infection.

I’m at the point now where I’m hanging on desperately to what dignity I have left. My hair is starting to fall out in clumps…I’ve got so much hair though that it may take a while. May end up at a salon to just buzz it off…we’ll see.

…I love you too. Thank you for being so supportive.

…We’ve been texting. Aiden’s wondering how I’m doing with Brad’s cooking. Says he’ll cook me something good when I get home.

…weather has been really nice in MN. Today is that magic Day 12 and my counts are headed up! That means I should start feeling better but today I was feverish for most of the day. Tylenol takes a while to kick in and doesn’t really get rid of the fever completely. Wanted to take a drive today but just couldn’t bring myself to go…slept most of the day. Still go in twice a day for antibiotics and anti-nausea meds.

The nurse I had tonight was nice enough to buzz all of my hair off. We had made arrangements in the morning for him to do it in the evening. We weren’t sure if we could go to just any salon being that we have to be careful of any cuts so when we asked John, he said he could do it for me. Apparently he does it for a lot of patients. Not sure if he’s the only one, but the other nurses said “Welcome to John’s House of Beauty”…it’s one haircut he can’t screw up. Feels better but weird. Better because my scalp was kinda sore…I told Brad I think it was the hair desperately trying to hang on…so that pain is gone. Weird in that when I put on the hood of my jacket it feels like my head has a cap with velcro on it. It’s a new look for me…that’s all I can say.

To which I responded…You’re beautiful…inside and out. I love you for the fantastic person you are. You’re like my guardian angel…without hair. Love it. I’d say I’d join you…but I think I’m headed there anyway…thinning hair. Trying to hang onto the few strands I have.

Pat’s been amazing in allowing me to ruminate with her about my daughter’s wedding next year. In spite of her own situation, she offers support for what’s in store for our family as we count down the months, weeks and days until the big event. She and Brad are planning to fly from Hawaii to be with us and has texted…”let me know if you want anything from Hawaii…not that anything Hawaiian would match, but maybe favors with a Hawaiian twist,” and…”We would love to help out in any way we can!”

Imagine! My sister-in-law has cancer…and she’s offering to help me. A sweetheart. That’s all I can say…

…sending pat and brad…armfuls of hugs…from all of us who thinks…she’s pretty great!

………hugmamma.img_4207.jpg

 

 

living her best life: #53…feeling run over

…by a Mac Truck! 

Hi [hugmamma]…

Don’t know if you’ve gotten any of my text responses…thought I’d just send a quick update.

They say I’m doing well and I’m right where I should be. Even so, I still feel like crap. One doc described it as being hit by a Mac Truck, and then the truck backs over you and finally dumps its load on you.

That about sums it up.

There are moments in between when I feel somewhat normal, but those moments  don’t last very long.

Today is Day 8. I won’t go back and describe the past few days because I’m concentrating on moving forward and I’d rather not relive the past…not yet anyway.

I’m at the point where my body is trying to replace platelets so I can be weaned off the antibiotics, and anti-viral and anti-fungal meds. I think that’s right. I just know my body has to start fighting back on its own now.

That’s all for now…going back to rest.

I love you.

Pat

…and we all love you and brad…and continue to pray for you both.

………hugmamma.

living her best life: #52…in it together

Today I text Pat…

Will post something today. Always thinking of you both, hoping you’re fine. God bless you for your strength and no nonsense ways. How are the boys? How’s Brad? How’s living been with others? I love you…

And  she text back…

I think the boys are fine…haven’t been up to texting them either. Doing okay…not great…passed out this morning in the shower so had to be admitted for observation. Prior to that I was doing pretty good. Just exhausted and constantly foggy. Thank God I have Brad with me.

Living with others has been great…it really does help both the patient and caregiver.

…God bless the mayo clinic…all the folks at gift of life transplant house

…and especially pat and brad.

………hugmamma.img_4416.jpg

living her best life: #51…a little tough

The easy banter has subsided. A more somber tone replaces Pat’s heretofore lightheartedness. Can’t say I blame her. In fact, how she’s remained so cool, calm and collected until now is something I can’t fathom. I’m sure most of us would give in to a little belly-aching now and then. Not Pat. The woman doesn’t know belly-aching. The day they left us on their way to Minnesota, Brad told me that, except for a few brief moments of frustration, Pat never complains. Doesn’t surprise me.

Ask any of the so-called “outlaws.” Our spouses, all siblings, are almost saint-like. We “outlaws” keep our better-halves anchored to earth with our very human failings. We like to think of ourselves as…merry-makers. We’re always…always…making merry.

On 7/17, Pat texted…Hi [hugmamma]…I think I’m doing pretty good…considering. Just tired most of the time, taking things now day by day, moment by moment. Feel pretty groggy for the better part of the day, trying to eat and drink more but it’s hard. Trying to also manage my meds…which is the toughest part. Doc says I’m doing good but they still talk about the low point being 12 days out as my counts continue to drop. So I don’t know if feeling good at one point in the day is a turning point or just a good moment to be embraced while it lasts. All I know is I can’t wait to go home. Love to you and [my brother].

On 7/18, yesterday, Pat texted. 

Hi [hugmamma]…thought I’d send a quick update…haven’t felt much like posting or journaling lately. Today is Day +5. I take a blood test every morning and meet with a nurse and doctor to go over any problems, side effects etc. I also go in morning and night to get anti-nausea meds through my central line.

Luckily Dr. Gertz has this month’s rotation so I see him often. According to him I’m doing as well as can be expected. Although now we have to watch even closer for any signs of infection. I’m basically at the half way point to the bottom…another 5-6 days and I should be at the turning point when my stem cells will start taking over and I’ll start feeling better. I don’t do much but rest when I can.

Brad has been great…he does everything from making my meals, to keeping track of my meds, water and food intake plus washing clothes and especially encouraging me by counting down the days and reminding me that i’m doing well.

This is not easy but it’s bearable knowing that everyone is praying for me back home. I hope you can post an update but if not, maybe you can just forward this text to the rest of the family.

I love you…Pat.

…and i love you…we all do.

………hugmamma.

THIS is the real ME! ... I pinky swear...

THIS is the real ME! … I pinky swear…

 

living her best life: #50…more girl talk

On 7/11, Pat texted…Hi [hugmamma]how exciting to be planning [a] wedding. We are looking forward to visiting Nashville next year.

Right now I am lying in bed getting the infusion of chemo…almost done. The bad side effects (IF ANY!) will start after a few days. Just gotta get through the next … Sorry…nurse came in and we are done. Heading back to the house…will text or email later.

Hi[hugmamma]got back to the house and took a nap…ready for some food now…always ready to eat. Have to make the most of the good days…thank God havent’ had any bad ones yet. 

So what is [your daughter’s] color scheme? Will the maid of honor and bridesmaids wear different dresses in the same color palette? I like that trend. So as the bride’s parents are you planning everything or are [the groom]s mom and sister helping? Just don’t get too stressed…did they set a date? I doubt you will get back to Hawaii between now and then so at some point I will get all the aunties and cousins together for a bridal shower…Hawaiian style…we’ll videotape and send it to you.

To which I replied…That is sooo beautiful. Made me cry. Been crying off and on…hormone therapy…oye vay! Also watching Hallmark Xmas tear jerkers…besides which I’m realizing that I’m losing my daughta. No more inside family jokes among the three of us. Have to mind my p’s and q’s…at least til I get really comfortable with [SIL.] He’s very nice…but we’ve only been with him twice now…in close quarters, for sure. Anyway, thank goodness I’ve you to confide in. You know [your brother]…don’t worry, be happy. Thank God, you [and your siblings] are so laid back.

Because [SIL and PIL] plan a trip to Hawaii, with our help, I am sure they’d really appreciate you’re all…whoever wants, of course…to contribute to their honeymoon fund. As you might guess, they have all the household goods they need…and clothes…since [PIL] has lived on her own for 11 years. Again, only a suggestion. 

Continue to pray you stay under the radar as far as the effects of chemo goes. How’s Brad doing with being the “hausfrau”??? hugs…

To which Pat replied…That’s a great idea…we can do a “bring them home” theme. 

Brad says the mistress of the mansion has not yelled at him yet…we do pretty good together…must be that “don’t worry, be happy” thing. For now when I watch movies, they are all comedies…I’m thinking of streaming the old Carol Burnett Show…

Then me…You and Brad haven’t had to put your feet in a kiddie pool yet? [hugmamma here: I had kidded Pat a while ago about visiting with her in Minnesota and the two of us dangling our feet in a plastic kiddie pool to cool off in Minnesota’s hot, humid summer heat.]

Then Pat…No…to pretend we’re on a relaxing vacation or because of the weather? It’s comfortably warm here…cooler when it’s overcast.

Me…Just got that..so there’s a mistress of the mansion? Someone who takes charge??? Hmmm…interesting.

[No reply from Pat.]

Today is the first day it’s not sweltering. TG we had our AC serviced. It was starting to poop out.

Pat…It’s really hot in Hawaii too with several tropical storms back to back blocking the trade winds. Luckily, so far they’ve tracked away from the islands.

People see Brad making dinner and serving me…a few have commented to get used to it and make sure he continues to do it at home!

Me…Too many distractions in Hawaii…like fishing and work, of course.

On 7/13, I texted…Love you both…the flowers are lovely, especially since they’re from two of God’s best people on His earth…armfuls of hugs and smooshies!

On 7/17, I texted…How are you doing? Hope you’re okay. Let me know. Love you two…lots!

…and i do.

………hugmamma.IMG_4128

 

living her best life: #49…hanging in there

It’s been some time since I’ve shared Pat’s journey toward better health.  Chock it up to my daughter’s recent engagement…yyyeeeaaayyy!!!…and the current flurry of emails, phone calls and text messages as we try to plan her 2016 summer wedding. We both agree…it would be so much easier if we were both in the same place, instead of 2,000 miles apart.

Meanwhile, my thoughts are never far from my dear sister-in-law and her devoted husband. Wish I were with them to offer quiet support, uproarious laughter, and lots of hugs. Since I can’t be there…posting Pat’s journey is the next best thing I can offer.

Pat’s communication has been sporadic given her full time job taking care of business at The Mayo Clinic. 

On 6/30, Pat texted…I’ll still be sending you stuff that I don’t post myself. There’s so much stuff that I just need to write down so I don’t forget…blogging is hard work. [hugmamma here: Tell me about it! Blogging’s not for the faint of heart. I can’t even keep up these days.] It took forever to write one journal entry and that’s not even getting into the heavy stuff. I’ll send the link again. The website is Caring Bridge. There is a link called “tributes” which can be misleading. It’s donations for Caring Bridge itself and not specifically for me and Brad. It allows people like us to create a free website. Just want to make sure everyone is aware of that. 

We are acclimating…trying to get into some sort of routine. Brad is working, just finished a couple of loads of laundry and making the beds. I like it here…it’s very clean but still homey. [hugmamma here: They are staying at Gift Of Life Transplant House…a home that helps and heals. Mayo Clinic cancer patients live there during their course of treatment. Reservations are on a…first come, first serve basis. Bedrooms and bathrooms are private at a rate of $30/day. The public spaces are shared…including the refrigerator. It’s like summer camp…]

People are very nice and helpful…some have been here for quite a while.

How are things going with you and the family? Has Gary [hugmamma here: Gary’s my future SIL…son-in-law. In fact that’s what we call him. He started calling me MIL…mother-in-law…first…almost as soon as we returned from caring for our daughter during her recovery from the second surgery to repair her bowel wall. Then the running joke expanded to calling my husband FIL…father-in-law. Of course my sweet daughter needed a name, so I called her PIL. So here we are one soon-to-be happy foursome…FIL…MIL…PIL…and, of course, SIL…the guy who started it all.] gotten [my brother] to sit down and talk story yet? What have you been doing and more importantly…what have you been eating? [hugmamma here: Pat knows me too well. And no, I’ve not stuck to my diet. And no, I’ve not been exercising either. So…blah!]

We are trying to see a bit of Rochester [Minnesota] while I’m up to it and able…so we go out every day. Tomorrow we’re going to tour the Plummer House. Dr. Plummer was the first surgeon the Drs. Mayo brought in. Grand old homes where a lot of the first Mayo doctors still live today. It’s called Pill Hill. [hugmamma here: Big chuckle. My daughter’s got a hill named after her…]

Very interesting history surrounding the Mayo Clinic. Well, we’re off to Trader Joe’s…2:30 and we’re just getting out of the house.

Pat provided the Caring Bridge link… http://www.caringbridge.org

On 7/2, Pat texted…Hi [hugmamma] …how are things going? We’re doing good over here…vacation is officially over…got 4 teeth pulled today…told my girlfriend it hurt like hell, but I got a prescription for ice cream! Waiting now to meet with the transplant coordinator. Will have the weekend off…Monday morning I’ll have a central line put in…basically surgery to put in a catheter then a class in the afternoon to educate us on how to care for it. Tuesday will be the start of collecting stem cells. That will go thru Fiday if I need that many days. That’s all that’s on the schedule for now. [Are your daughter and her boyfriend still with you?]

Just found out I don’t get off that easy…nuprogen shots start tomorrow…one shot every day throughout the collection period…the sooner we get started…the sooner we can go home! [hugmamma here: Amen to that, girlfriend!!!]

[hugmamma here: Among other things, I told Pat “Love you. Hope you’re ok. Love Brad too…and the boys…and the dog. Is he still alive?]

Yes the dog and the rabbit are both still alive…the boys are doing fine. Not sure how clean the house is though. We are okay. Love you too…pass it on to your family.

[hugmamma here: So then I told Pat about SIL asking us, FIL and MIL, for PIL’s hand in marriage.]

Congratulations! I can imagine him trying to get a word in before you guys move on to the next thing…does he still have to formally propose to [your daughter]? [hugmamma here: Then we went back and forth about wedding dresses and all that good stuff, which I’ll fill you in on later.]

On 7/7, Pat texted…Weather is warm here too, but I’m usually cold cause we’re always indoors. Our room is on the basement level so it’s a lot cooler…cold. Things are going well here. Did the stem cell collection this morning…collected enough in one day where it normally takes 2-4 days…so we might have a few free days again. Next step is to meet with Dr. Hertz and schedule chemo and transplant.

…lots of hugs and prayers, pat and brad…

…you’re always on my mind.

………hugmamma.Butterfly-Header