In short...2014 was a tough one. As was the first half of 2015. When I last posted, I was getting ready to begin chemo and looking back on my last post, wasn't I a feisty one! Chemo sorta kicked the stuffin's right outta me. But I did get the entire Jack Reacher series read, so, bright sides and all that. I started chemo in March of 2014. The very best thing that could happen to anyone, happened the end of April 2014, the hubs and I were awarded the Grandparent award when our daughter and her hubs had their first wee one. A beautiful, hilarious, bundle of energy. For purposes of this blog, I'll call her Twinkles, because she is just the happiest kid in the world! This picture isn't terribly new...it's from last November..but you see what I'm talking about...right??!
My daughter was sad when someone said Twinkles was our consolation prize for such an awful year. I told her that the root of the word "consolation" was console. And Twinkles consoled me in wonderful ways. Because yes, then things really got bad.
A week after Twinkles was born, my youngest son's girlfriend, with whom he had lived for two years, went into the same hospital with a migraine. Issa had been having them for about 5 years. The hospital did a CT and found a mass in her brain. Biopsies, bleeds, intracranial pressure, shunts, MRI's, and days of impossible decisions ensued before she was finally diagnosed. She had a non operable glioblastoma.She was more than a friend, she was a sister to my kids, like a daughter to us, and my son's beautiful soul mate. I wish you all could have known her. She was as loving as she was beautiful. Funny, sassy, generous, loyal, and fiercely protective of those she loved.
When I had cancer surgery, she showed up with food to feed everyone in the family for days. While I was recovering, she brought me albondigas and posole...and giggled when she told me she toned down the heat for my Montana farm girl tastes.
When I started radiation, she brought me...of all things, a "medicinal herb" that she had got from a friend with a "medicinal herb card". I laughed...but it ended up being what got me through both radiation and chemo. When I was in chemo she called me frequently to check up on me and just to talk. She was an extraordinary young woman.
And the crap storm that was 2014 continued...
The end of May of 2014, I had a pulmonary embolism. I don't recommend this. Hurts like a bitch. I always thought I was a tough old broad...had 4 kids with natural childbirth...yeah...I'm tough. And then...BAM...wow...those suckers hurt. And I had to start taking blood thinners for 6 months. No more "medicinal herb" on those bad chemo days. It interacts with the blood thinners. I finally said, to hell with it, and used it on the last couple chemo rounds, got yelled at by docs, but hey...I'm still standing...so there!
Two weeks after I completed chemo, in the beginning of July, we had to move my mom in law out of her assisted living apartment building in a city 60 miles from our home. Her dementia had made even living with that limited amount of assistance untenable. The good news was that we were able to find a nice place much closer to our home, so I no longer had to make the twice weekly trek out to see her that I was doing prior to my cancer diagnosis and treatment. Now it only takes me about 10 minutes. I'll admit I had hoped to delay the move until I was feeling better, but I guess it all worked out in the end. I certainly don't miss those hours spent in traffic!
On July 26th, our son's lease was up, and since as he said, "I didn't move out to live alone, I moved out to live with Issa", he moved back home with us. Two days later, Issa passed away. She had been released from Cedars Sinai a week before to hospice care at her sisters home. My son and her family were all there with her when she died.
She died on July 28th, 2014. And here it is, more than a year later, and I still can't write all this without crying. We miss her so. It's so hard to watch your child try to survive a broken heart.
Then began the year of firsts. Issa's birthday, our first Thanksgiving and Christmas without her, and all those other happy events that we memorialize throughout our years. Those things become sad and painful reminders of things lost.
I've had some problems with the long term side effects of pelvic radiation, I had some internal scar tissue removed from my *ahem, internal lady parts, (knocked out, sound asleep...no big deal...bring on the anesthesia!). In April of this year, I developed a hole in the center of my retina, I blame chemo....retinal surgeon says...ehh...maybe...no proof. But damn....I'm like 30 years too young for that! I had surgery to repair it, and had to spend 5 days in a face down position, with a 5 minute break each hour. I'll probably develop a cataract in that eye within the year and have to have that removed. Aargh. But my vision in the eye is better...the blind spot is wee little now...whereas before I could close my good eye and the entire lane of oncoming traffic would *poof* disappear. And the immense flare up of previously mild osteoarthritis has suuuucked.....again..no proof it's from treatment, but weirdly coincidental....
All in all...I do not recommend radiation and chemo. Unless, of course, it's going to keep you alive and kicking and all that.....
Anyway....I am apparently terrible at 'summing up' .. Inigo Montoya would be disappointed in me. I'm in remission. Hopefully forever. Statistically speaking.. ..40% chance of recurrence, so I try to remain aware. I'm not sure exactly what I try to remain aware of, since I never had any symptoms in the first place. But if anyone asks, yeah, I pay close attention to things....?? The bummer black cloud I had hovering over my head last year and the first part of 2015 is dissipating. I can actually listen to my "Happy Music" playlist on Spotify now without wanting to chuck my phone out of my car window...so that's good! We got an adorable puppy in February, who always makes me smile. And our little Twinkles is hilarious to hang out with. (more about both later!)
Thanks for hanging in with me. Life's a wild pony ride. Sometimes it tries its best to buck your ass off, so you just have to hang on for all your worth.