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.

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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.

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: #48…let’s do this!

That’s what Pat’s been saying for some time now.

“Let’s do this.”

And so she is.

Hi [hugmamma.]  We are doing good.

The first day here was a whole bunch of tests…the worst of it being the bone marrow biopsy. No pain afterwards just a little discomfort. We were at the clinic all day from 7:30 until 4:30 and that was after arriving at the Transplant House at about 2:30 a.m. Needless to say we were both dead tired.

The 2nd day started at 7:30 again and ended at about 5 with visit with an oral surgeon. I get to have teeth pulled! [hugmamma here…Pat’s molars have not been properly aligned for some time now which has impeded her chewing food properly, which has contributed to her rapid weight loss.] Because they are loose and roots exposed, there is a great risk of infection after the transplant so they got to go. I was thinking what else can I get fixed while I’m here? We also got a little tour of the area where they do the stem cell collection and got an education on that whole process and on diet and nutrition after the transplant.

Today was a short day…a meeting with the transplant coordinator and with Dr. Hertz. Everything still looks good and we are moving forward. We have nothing scheduled for the next 5 days (paperwork between Kaiser and Mayo) so we’ll have time to just relax, get used to living in the transplant house and give Brad a crash course on how to turn on a stove! So far so good…Applebee’s is not too far away.

It’d be great if you continued the blog…when you have time. I’m also going to set up a web page where everyone can check on what’s going on. I’ll send you the link before I invite everyone else. 

Living in the house so far has been good. Others here are very helpful…it takes a little getting used to sharing the kitchen space with others. We have to get over feeling like we are guests in some one else’s kitchen. We made our own breakfast for the first time today. Only down side is I can’t just grab a cookie and sit on the couch…no food outside of dining areas…drinks are okay. Brad is doing okay with chores so far because I’m able to help. Gotta get him comfortable in the kitchen…shouldn’t be too hard. Will be heading to Trader Joe’s later today.

Spoke to the boys a few times. They seem to be doing okay. Planning to “face time” with them on Sunday. Maybe I can get them to show me what the house looks like, or maybe I don’t want to know. 

…love and prayers, pat and brad…from all of us.

………hugmamma.

living her best life…#37: wabi sabi

Wabi Sabi. A phrase I’ve now heard 3 times within the last couple of months. A phrase I’d never heard before.

Pat’s husband Brad first mentioned Wabi Sabi just about the time she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis. Then Pat’s sister Mary spoke of it again in an email. I’d been meaning to bring it up in a post, but never did. And so…the “third time’s the charm.”

A Blog for Humans at   https://tomrains.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/sehnsucht/  defined Wabi Sabi as “a Japanese philosophy concerning the beauty of imperfection.”

The beauty of imperfection. 

Describes Pat’s life at the moment…at least insofar as how Pat is living her life…in light of her health issues.

Life really is as the Japanese perceive it…Wabi Sabi. 

Beautiful in its imperfection.

Following is an email from Pat updating her “imperfectly beautiful life.”

*****************************************************************************************************************************************

Hi [hugmamma…]

How is Sitka doing? I felt so sad reading your post about him. It was really hard when Lady died. It took a while but I’m finally ready for another dog, but the timing is just not right. And how is the renovation going? Smoothly, I hope! I’m not sure if my text messages from my phone are going through, so wanted to give you another update, as things are starting to move forward…

First things first, though. Had an enjoyable, busy weekend. Saturday was a bridal shower for John’s (my nephew) fiancee, Estee. Then we got together on Sunday at Johnny’s (my brother) because Carol and her family are in town for the week. Any time family’s together is a good time…

I’m still working 3 days a week and will start doing half days on most Thursdays. Basically, I’m running out of sick leave and vacation time! There’s a “shared leave” program at work where co-workers can donate leave. My boss says there’s a lot of interest from people at work who want to donate, so I’ve put in a request and hopefully will get some additional time. I’ve also put in for leave without pay for June – August. I will be able to keep my medical benefits as long as I pay my premiums, so I wanted to make sure to set that up.

We just got a letter from the Mayo Clinic scheduling my first appointment for May 11. Chemo is scheduled to end Wednesday, May 6, so the following Monday we’ll be in Minnesota. The Kaiser transplant coordinator told us Mayo said to plan on staying for 2-3 days. That doesn’t help us much so we are trying to get more details before we make our travel arrangements. I have 2 appointments the first day we’re there which look like a consultation and possibly a bone marrow biopsy. Kaiser has said all along that the Mayo Clinic will most likely want to do their own tests, etc. So there could be additional appointments while we’re there.

Brad and I still have so many questions, as well as a lot of preparation for the trip and beyond. 

Ethan will still be in school. Need to make arrangements for him to stay with Brad’s sister. Aiden is due to return home on May 10, so we’ll be crossing paths in the air. What’s unknown is how soon after this first trip we’ll be returning to the Mayo Clinic for the actual transplant. We’ve learned that they won’t want to wait too long from the time I end my chemotherapy before starting the transplant process. So we’re guessing we’ll fly home only to fly back soon after. Not so easy when traveling from Hawaii!

It’s still a little ways away, but I get anxious if I think about it too much. Just have to take it one day at a time, because…

…life goes on…things needing to be done this week…a meeting with our tax consultant…chemo treatments…

…and things to look forward to…John and Estee’s wedding in a couple of weeks…the annual Easter brunch at our house.

Maybe we can talk on Wednesday or Thursday morning? Chemo on Wednesday is at 1 p.m. 

Anyway, must be going. Trying to gather all our tax papers for tomorrow’s meeting.

Love to you and the family,

…and all my supporters…

…pat…and hugmamma.

 

living her best life…#21: the big 50

It’s been a decade and a half since I was there…the Big 50. 

Can’t even remember that it was more special than any other birthday. Other than going out for a nice dinner, birthdays have just been another day for which I’m glad to be alive.

Now if I’d been surrounded by special friends with whom I’d shared a history for decades, I might have done as Pat did. She celebrated the Big 50 …a few times. Not that she stopped aging at that point, like some choose to do when they’re 29.

Better than that. Pat rung in the Big 50…with girlfriends she’s known since the 4th and 6th grades. A truly amazing accomplishment!

 

Carla got the party started in March. Her husband and kids had a beautiful, intimate birthday party, with family and a few girlfriends. Sadly, her mom was in the hospital. Conflicted about that, her family assured her it was okay and they needed to celebrate. The party was at Miyako…a Japanese restaurant at the New Otani Hotel in Waikiki. At the Diamond Head end near the Natatorium, it was away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the strip. Wine flowed while the sun was setting. Picture postcard perfect. We had personalized menus from which to choose our entrees. The food, service, atmosphere and company were incredible. We even got grown-up “goody bags”…as though we were still kids…filled with a few of Carla’s favorite things, including cookies and wine.

As the night was winding down, Lei was already thinking…”Hmmm…I’m next…what can my husband do for my 50th???”

I looked at Jeri…pretty sure she and I were thinking the same thing…and asked “Were you planning a party for yourself?” Her reply “No. You?” “No.” We agreed Carla’s husband, Steve, had set the standard…and set it high. Damn him!

So Lei was next…in May. It was the four of us…Lei, Carla, Jeri and me…and Lei’s husband and son. We had a very nice dinner at Stage Restaurant in the Honolulu Design Center…part of the INspiration furniture store. The decor is funky, eclectic and just cool. Kinda like Lei. Each table was different. The chairs were different as were the lighting fixtures over each table. It was as though we were dining at tables staged for selling. (OK. As I was writing that I realized it was probably the idea for the restaurant…a little slow on the uptake here.) It also just struck me that while the restaurant was uber-modern…I ordered meatloaf! Seems “oxymoronic!” (Is that even a word?) Like Carla, Lei had gifts for us, including small cacti in porcelain bowls and blinged-out “Happy Pills” pill containers. What Lei said that night changed my attitude about turning 50. Not only was she celebrating her 50th, but she was also celebrating the fact that she made it to 50. You see, Lei is a cancer survivor. (She had worn a wig when she was one of my bridesmaids more than 20 years ago.)

The pressure was on. Jeri’s birthday was coming up in August and we had to celebrate it! Her birthday dinner was comfortable and casual, just like her. She invited just the three of us…no husband, no kids…to dinner at Assagio Bistro in Kahala. It serves really good Italian food in a nice setting, where you can choose to dress up or not. Pasta…bread…seafood…bread…wine…and more bread. Can you tell? I really liked the bread! I’m sure we had dessert. We always do. I just can’t remember what it was. Like Carla and Lei, Jeri gave each of us a gift…Godiva chocolates! One of her favorite things.

September rolled around and now it was my turn. I wanted to go somewhere nice, but not too fancy. I didn’t want to hassle with traffic or parking. So I invited my girlfriends to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Le Bistro, in Niu Valley. Again, it was just the four of us. I had half-heartedly invited Brad and Ethan realizing they wouldn’t want to join the girls. (Do you remember this place? That’s where we had dinner the last time you and your family were visiting. Remember how it was elegant, yet casual…with the waiters wearing jeans and white shirts?) I don’t remember what I ate other than induging in the foie gras…as I had when we dined there. I do know whatever I ate was delicious…it always is. The waiters served us complimentary birthday creme brulee and sang “Happy Birthday” to me. My gifts to my friends was a box of chocolate dipped strawberries and apples. Yummmmm…

In early December, I thought it was too bad Lesly wasn’t here to celebrate her birthday. She lives in Sacramento. Then I decided that we could celebrate for her. So we did! It was pretty last minute so it was just three of us…Jeri, Lei and me. Carla wasn’t able to join us. We told Lesly what we were doing and that we would call her. Since she was going to be at a function with her husband that night, we text her and sent pics instead. We raised our wine glasses, toasting Lesly’s 50th at Roy’s in Hawaii Kai. I remember I had fish (sea bass?) As much as I wanted to savor every morsel I had difficulty eating it because of my swollen tongue. Ethan got most of it in a “doggy bag.” I did manage dessert, however! We ordered not one, but two, melting, dark chocolate souffles with vanilla ice cream. One would not have sufficed for the three of us. Our waitress was great. She had the pastry chef write “Happy Birthday, Lesly” in chocolate on the plate. There was even a party hat on the table. Can’t remember who brought it along. (Was it there? Or did Jeri bring it?) Anyway, we took pictures of everything and texted our best wishes to Lesly all the way in Sacramento.

…good friends are like family…pat, carla, jeri, lei, lesly…

This piece is kinda long and personal…meaning no one else will really care…so I don’t know if you’ll blog about it. I wrote it because I don’t want to forget what happened. I’m sending it to you since you are the “keeper of my musings.” I also sent it to my girlfriends because it’s about them. I’ve known them all since either the 4th or 6th grade. These are the friends I include in updates I send to the family…because that’s what they are to me.

…ohana…the aloha spirit in action.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

living her best life…#20

Pat seems to have settled into a routine…more or less…with her life going forward.

Family, friends, even strangers, are weighing in with their love and support.

Living her best life…is what Pat seems to be doing right now.

It’s for sure there’ll be tweaking as time passes, but the basics are in place.

Pat’s medical team is doing what they do…day in, day out.

And when it needs to, it turns to the “big kahuna”…The Mayo Clinic. Can’t get any better than that.

Meanwhile Pat is doing what she can to remain in the moment…both physically and mentally.

Good place to be…no sense living in the past…or racing ahead into the future.

Doing either would miss out on the moments of happiness to be found in the present.

Like a patchwork quilt, the pieces of Pat’s life in the here and now are binding seamlessly together.

A brilliantly colored rainbow…blanketing Pat in warmth and comfort.

Living her best life!!!

…something we should all do.

………hugmamma.

Hiking Makapuu to the top...and views of the lighthouse...with her niece, the dancer.

Hiking Makapuu to the top…and views of the lighthouse…with her niece, the dancer.

 

 

journeying towards her best life…#17

Last night I had asked Pat if she preferred I not continue to blog her health journey. I thought it might be too difficult to share her thoughts, thereby baring her soul, as time went on. 

In no time, I received a reply.

Pat explained that if what she was going through could help others, than sharing news about her experience was worth it. She went on to say

“…writing about it helps me.”

Most of what I’ve sent [you] so far has been light, meant to make me (and, hopefully, others) laugh.

It wouldn’t be fair, however, if I led people to think that I’m breezing through this, although, luckily, so far it seems I have.

And although I really like all the doctors and nurses taking care of me, the reality is that after certain appointments, like today, I get just a little depressed.

I’m reminded “Yes. You are sick. And yes. It is serious.”

So when Brad asked if I was going to update the family, I said I would but that I needed to digest it all for myself first.

It takes a little while to get my mojo back.

It’s on its way back now.

I’ll pray. Reread your blog and the comments left. Listen to Hawaiian music and do whatever else I can that allows me to take a step back and ask myself…”How am I feeling right now? Because right now is all I have. And if in this moment, I feel good, then let’s celebrate!”

Worrying about things that may [or may not] occur means experiencing them many more times than necessary. In reality, I’ll only experience them when they actually occur. ( FYI…I’m not as smart as you might think. This came from a bible study passage I’d read on 1/16.)

Anyway, [hugmamma], I think you know where I’m coming from. I trust your judgment when it comes to blogging. 

So let’s blog on! 

I’m feeling better…can you tell?

…yes, pat…i can tell.

As a postscript, Pat added that since she couldn’t get a hold of her sister to wish her a Happy Birthday she did the next best thing. 

During today’s treatment, to take my mind off the shot I was getting, I sang “Happy Birthday” to her in my head. Corny. I know…but it helped.

…hugs and aloha…pat…

………and…hugmamma.

journeying towards her best life…#16

Yesterday was Pat’s second chemotherapy treatment.

Following the IV injection, shot, and meds she is given at the doctor’s, she has to take more meds at home. To which she said yesterday “…waiting for Brad to get home from Costco with more ginger juice, so I can get the stuff down.”

Aaarrrggghhh! Don’t know if I could stomach meds AND ginger juice. Makes me gag at the thought.

In a general email to her siblings, Pat went on to say…

Today’s treatment was the same as last week. Right now I feel okay…a bit fuzzy.

Learned more after talking with the Transplant Coordinator who, by the way, graduated two years ahead of me from the same high school.

Small world…and getting smaller all the time. 

Pat continued on…

Treatment here at home will be done in 4 week cycles.

Each cycle starts one right after another, assuming there are no complications…like me getting sick. The cycles will run through 5/12/15.

I’ll then have a bone marrow biopsy to determine if I’m well enough to travel to the mainland for a stem cell transplant.

The earliest we would travel is probably around June. We’ll likely be there 3-4 months, including recovery time.

Kaiser usually works with the City of Hope Hospital, but because my situation is unique they recommended I go to The Mayo  Clinic. Paperwork  will be completed by Kaiser before they contact The Mayo Clinic. So we’ll get that out of the way and be ready to travel by June.

As for how she’s doing, Pat said…

My blood cell count after the first treatment looked fine…some numbers were slightly lower than when the test was done in December. However they were all within the normal range. 

The numbers will likely go down with subsequent treatments. 

The fact that I felt pretty good after the first treatment is also a good sign. However that too may change as I undergo more treatments. 

Basically, the nurse said that my body may eventually tire of all the meds. 

I’m hopeful the side effects won’t be too bad, but I’ll deal with that if and when the time comes.

And, finally…

Brad’s home. Time to finish taking my meds. I might lie down for a bit. First, I have to call Julie and wish her a Happy Birthday.

Talk to you all soon and thanks for the continued prayers. We’ll continue to keep you informed.

Love you all…always.

Pat

As you can see, the path will not be a rosy one. Nonetheless, Pat is determined to take it one day at a time. Along the way she continues to display her sense of humor and fun which makes her so lovable.

P.S. During today’s treatment, I couldn’t find anything interesting on the tube. So I settled on watching a repeat of a UH [University of Hawaii] volleyball game. I had my eyes closed but continued listening…vaguely. The voices I heard through the earphones kept changing abruptly, so I opened my eyes. I soon realized that the woman in the next chair was changing my TV channels while she changed hers.

I guess she didn’t get the memo about covering the signal on her remote…

…gotta love pat.

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: journeying towards her best life…#15

I can only imagine what went through Pat’s mind yesterday as she learned how her life will unfold going forward.

We all try to take each day as it comes.

For most of us it’s a simple undertaking. It’s the same old, same old. There may be a few variations on the theme, and some can be major…like changing jobs…retiring…moving to a new home…having a baby.

Life-threatening illnesses, however, takes it to a whole other level. One for which no amount of preparing, mentally and physically, can ever be enough.

Pat’s journey with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis is daunting, to say the least. 

It’s like walking through a tunnel, not knowing what the darkness holds in store along the way.

Holding onto hope and positive thoughts are like the light at the end of the tunnel. And that’s what human survival is all about. Hanging on with all of our might.

That’s what God intended when He gave us life. He meant for us to squeeze every ounce of goodness from His gift. 

Happiness is that warm, fuzzy feeling when something good lights us up…from the inside out. And that feeling occurs in small and large doses throughout our lives. 

Never give up on happiness. It’s there for the taking. We just have to accept it.

And why wouldn’t we? It doesn’t make sense to turn away from it.

Don’t worry! Be happy! As the song tells us.

Easier said than done. Perhaps. And yet what’s the alternative?

Letting life slip away without any say in the matter?

That’s not Pat’s style.

…and it’s never been mine.

………hugmamma.

(Enjoy other inspirational thoughts at
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/nurturing-thurs-boiling-water/

 

 

journeying towards her best life…#14

Helping to foster their sister’s well-being, siblings have lent voices of encouragement as Pat continues to move forward on her journey.

Louise…
Glad to hear you have been doing well.  We continue to have you in our thoughts and prayers.  Let us know if you are “ono” [“craving” in Hawaiian] for anything.  Do you have to follow any special diet?

Mary…
I want to always be there for Pat sending only positive energy her way.   I, like you, want to share in her experience but don’t want to ask too much.  She already has enough.  I am so impressed with her strength……she inspires me. 

Dan…
It’s great to hear about all that is going on…with Pat. I don’t want to bug her about how she’s doing.

Cindy…
Pat…our sister, is truly a special person and it warms my heart to read about her journey and to be allowed entrance into her inner thoughts, fears, concerns, etc. Also your explanation of her medical condition and treatment helps us to understand what she is going through without her having to explain it 12 times! Thanks so much!

John…
Thanks…for the updates. I’m sure Pat appreciates not having to deal with all the personal inquiries. Meanwhile, we can still keep up with her information.

Kathi…
Reading about Pat and knowing how she’s doing is helpful to me and I’m sure the rest of us. It gives us the opportunity to know how she’s doing without all of us bombarding her with repetitive questions. You’ve made me laugh and cry through all of the posts you’ve written. 

I’m proud and happy to have been born into this family. I miss mom and dad. We are their legacy! I know I don’t say it but I want you all to know how much I love you!

 

And again, Kathi…
Thanks for all you’re doing for Pat. Selfishly, for me and many others too. Burdens have been lifted and healing has begun.

I thought you’d like this anecdote. Joey received an email meant for me and comes running in to tell me I got mail from HOT mamma! Whaddaya think? Should I correct him or let him believe you’re really hot???

And this is what Pat had to say to her siblings…
Thank you all for the thoughts, prayers, and words of encouragement. It’s hard to find the words to express how I really feel. Our family is amazing…but you all knew that already. As long as I feel good, I will email to let you know what’s going on. And if I feel crappy, Brad will update you. I love you all…always. 

And what does Pat think about my penning her journey?

I’m glad there’s a venue for everyone to be able to follow what’s going on. Not that I mind phone calls and emails. Day time TV pretty much sucks, so I’m happy receiving and responding to emails. 

As for me…

…at 65…i might like being called…

………”hot” mamma.

journeying towards her best life…#13

Just received a text from Pat…

It is a nice, sunny day again.

Getting ready to leave soon.

Got a busy day ahead.

Mammogram (fun!) at 11:40.

Meet with the transplant coordinator at 1:30.

And then treatment at 3:30.

Trans Coord to go over logistics and what not.

I think one has to qualify…not medically, but in other ways.

Since we could be gone for a couple of months, [the TC will] go over cost…what’s covered and what’s not…review my medical insurance plan…my emotional state of mind…support system…etc., etc. This is just the education portion.

I text back…

…”we are here for you…whatever you need. We are in this with you. The whole family is…hugs and love.”

………hugmamma.

 

journeying towards her best life…#12

Charity begins at home.

Four words that carry so much clout, and yet might not resonate so much these days. Or so it seems.

Americans are wonderfully generous in donating to this, that, or the other charitable cause. We mustn’t stop, that’s for sure. It’s taken us long enough to get where we are in that respect. And the way our federal government may go in the next presidential election, private donations may be all that stand between the impoverished and oblivion.

Busy living our lives, we tend to think tomorrow is another chance to say and do what we don’t say and do today. I’m guilty of it myself. 

We’re bombarded by so much busy-ness that we can hardly dig ourselves out from under most days. Again, I’m guilty of it myself.

Putting the brakes on all the stuff in our daily activities only comes when the “end” is staring us in the face. As if to say “Okay. Time’s up.”

Given the chance, wouldn’t we want to cram as much of our good intentions into the time remaining?

Saying “I love you” as often as we can…in person…or by email…or text message. Sending along some much needed “hugs” as well. 

There’s also the good, old fashioned method…hand writing a letter, or even a card. Once-in-a-while including some “mad money,” encouraging the recipient to go out and blow it on whatever she’d like…just because she’s ripping mad. 

Of course the feeling behind it all should be genuine. At least for me it is. I can’t fake loving someone.

Whether I do a lot or a little, the love I offer is complete. It’s just easier to be more effusive with some than with others because of who they are, and how attached I’ve become to them.

As mentioned earlier, it often takes a slap upside the head before we stop and take notice…and get moving.

…i know it did me.

………hugmamma.

 

 

journeying towards her best life…#11

Tomorrow is Pat’s second chemotherapy treatment. 

Earlier in the week I had asked if she was still feeling okay after her first treatment last Wednesday.

I’ve been feeling incredibly normal, not sick, good appetite, going about my everyday life.

Because of that, I’ve been just a little concerned.

I’m suppose to be sick, right?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely thankful that so far…so good.

I read the daily Bible study passage this morning, from the book Kathi had given me. 

This is the line I got from it today…Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace.

[I just got] “chicken skin”…[Hawaiian speak for…”goose bumps.”]

This evening Pat wrote me.

Tomorrow is Day 2 of my treatment.

I’m hoping the first go ’round is indicative of how all the future treatments go.

I’m feeling good, haven’t lost my appetite, and trying to maintain my weight.

Took a blood test yesterday and I think it looks good.

Results show my numbers are in the “normal” range.

All of my numbers in the CBC…Complete Blood Count…were within normal range.

I must admit, I’m still a little nervous about tomorrow.

So rather than focus on my treatment…I will focus on Julie since tomorrow’s her birthday.

I’ll have to remember to call her!

…me too
…happy birthday, julie!!!
………lots of hugs…pat and hugmamma.