Saturday, January 14, 2012

A different kind of grief...

Holy cow! I can't believe it's been over a year since I've blogged. Here at least...

I'm still around, in case you were wondering. I've received some comments and emails asking if I was and thought it was awful nice of you to care enough to ask, so the least I could do is respond.

Early last year, January 1st to be exact, stuff happened. My mom suffered a really bad stroke that left her unable to speak and move very well. On top of that, an x-ray done in the ER revealed a large mass in her lung - Stage IV lung cancer.

My mom was in the hospital for two months, just trying to get her well enough to get to a rehabilitation center. Halfway through, we were hopeful as she had started to walk with the aid of a walker and assisted by medical staff.

Hospitals are funny places. Not funny as in "ha-ha" you made me laugh. Not funny like that at all. Funny in the way that you are in great danger the sicker you are and the longer you stay in one. "Super Bugs", resistant to antibiotics and other treatments, are life threatening to patients with weakened immune systems. My mom was one of these patients. While in the hospital she contracted at least two separate cases of pneumonia. The stroke had severely impacted her ability to speak... and also to swallow. When you added in the obstruction from the tumor in her lungs, it was a bleak scenario. She just couldn't cough out the bad stuff and never recovered.

Cancer. Hit me harder than it ever had before. I lost my mom on February 26th, 2011 - just two days before what would have been her 41st anniversary with my dad.

For anyone who knows me, you know I stayed very positive through my diagnosis, my treatment and through my check-ups and remission. Sure, I get anxious for test results and maybe I am more nervous than I was before - but I'm not sad, angry or physically down about my own bout with cancer. For those of you who don't know me, you might have commented that you gather that from reading my blog.

I've had some fucked up things happen in my life. Three of my nieces, ages 7, 8 & 10 were murdered in 1999. I was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Colon Cancer at age 36 in 2008. I lost my house due to Cancer and all the fun parts of dealing with a medical condition like this in 2009. But I always knew that these kind of things didn't just happen to me. Everyone suffers. Everyone has dealt with their own tragedies, or if not, they probably will at some time. And if they don't ever, then Praise God! I'd never wish harm on anyone. My point is, somehow I managed to keep that positive attitude to all of my own... until mom.

It was a whole different kind of grief and eventually loss and more grief. I tried to do everything I could do to be there for her and help make decisions for her care, but in the end, we still lost her. No positive outcome. No more hope. I was angry. I was sad. I was lost.

It's been just over a year since my mom had her stroke. I honestly don't feel as angry and hopeless as I did back then. I'm still grieving and I miss her, but I'm able to look for some positive through it now; The best thing - we got to say goodbye. I don't know why my mom started to get better for the one month before it got so bad, but she did. And even though she couldn't speak to us, she communicated. She told me that she loved me in her own way and I'll always have that as one of the last feelings to have shared with her. And if I allow myself to look, I often find bits and pieces of other good too. Like the way mom always taught us that life goes on. We cannot stop living due to our grief. And how better to honor that lesson than to not only go on living, but live life to the fullest and appreciate that we still have time her with our loved ones.

So where does this all come from? Besides being what my life has been about for the last year? Well, for one - I was blogging, just not here. I found this blog to be so great for documenting not only what I was going through at the time but also a great way of communication for anyone who cared to know what I was going through, that I ended up creating a separate blog for my mom. Although, I haven't posted on that since her funeral last March. For two - It's another instance of how cancer is affecting my life and of how fucked up it can be. And how I said at one point "I reserve the right to breakdown in the future..." I brokedown. Just not exactly how I expected it to come about. Three - if you smoke - QUIT! That shit is nasty and it KILLS! I can't believe my mom hadn't had a chest x-ray sooner. I can't believe I never urged her too. It's too late for her, but if you know someone who smokes, maybe you can at least encourage them to ask their doctor's for one. It could very possibly save their life.

That said... I am fine, healthwise in relation to cancer. I missed my 3 1/2 year check up so had a 3 3/4 year CT scan on November 13th. Results were good. NED. No evidence of disease.

Sorry for being away so long. I guess just 'cause I'm super pissed at cancer, it doesn't mean I need to take it out on my blog...

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