erbie: (fairy)
I got another nickel today. Thanks Gramma!

And my mom got on last Saturday.
erbie: (me)
Remember this?

The last one went this afternoon.

Hell of a year for me, huh?
erbie: (Default)
About a month after my Gramma died last year, I was watching some talk show where a psychic, Sylvia Browne, was talking to the audience. One woman told her about how her mom keeps finding pennies and saving them, and she has a whole jar of them, and she beleives they are from her mother, "Pennies from Heaven". Sylvia told her that they were indeed from her mother, and this made the woman very happy.

So a few days later, I opened the closet door to get clothes for my daughter, and a penny dropped out of the closet and made a nice thump on the floor at my feet. I figured it was from my Gramma. A few days later, it occurred to me that she should send me nickels because she always said "I'll bet you a nickel". So I told her that.

Today, I was at Noah's, looking in the bagel case, and I stepped back, and heard a clinking sound from something under my foot. I moved it back and forth a bit to make sure there was something there, and then I lifted my foot and saw a coin. I wasn't going to pick it up, but then I realized it was a nickel.

Thanks Gramma! That made my day!
erbie: (me)
My dad died on Saturday night, of lung cancer that had metastasized all over his body. He had tumors in his bones in his arm, in his ribs, in his remaining lung. His remaining kidney had shut down. He looked 85, not 58. I spent several hours sitting with him and holding his hand on Saturday afternoon. He had to struggle for every breath. It was horrible to watch.

Fifty eight. That's way too young to die. Especially since it was completely preventable.

People who smoke are stupid and inconsiderate and short-sighted and selfish. They obviously don't care enough about anyone else and what we have to go through, watching the person we love waste away, in horrible pain, and watching them die. It's hard enough to have someone you love die, but for them to die in this way, and for you to have to watch, just rips you to shreds. Any time I see someone smoking, I just want to grab the cigarette from their hand and scream at them. If they cared about anyone but themselves, they'd stop. I've heard all the excuses, and as far as I'm concerned it's all bullshit. What's more important? The cigarette or your loved ones not having to go through what my family is going through right now? My step-mom, having been with the love of her life for 23 years, now has to live the rest of her life without him. My brother and I have to live without our father. My daughter has to live without her grandfather. Any more kids I have won't' even get to meet him. My uncle and aunts have to live without their big brother. When I told my aunt, she started crying. I've never heard her cry in my life. My uncle was practically crying when I talked to him.

So, Dad, are all those fucking cigarettes worth this?

Metastasis

Jan. 24th, 2004 06:48 pm
erbie: (Default)
metastasis

n 1: the spreading of a disease to another part of the body 2: the organic processes (in a cell or organism) that are necessary for life [syn: metabolism, metabolic process]

meta- or met-
pref.
Later in time: metestrus.
At a later stage of development: metanephros.


sta·sis
n. pl. sta·ses (stsz, stsz)
A condition of balance among various forces; motionlessness

Interesting how the parts that make up the word seem to indicate a completely opposite meaning to the meaning of the word as a whole. Meta, meaning later in time or later in development, and Stasis, meaning balance or stillness. So, a later stage of stopping? Kinda weird.

What the whole word, Metastasis, means to me, is that my father is going to die in the next couple of weeks.

He's supposed to be in a wedding next Saturday, but he may not make it that far. His cancer has spread to his ribs, his elbow, all over the place. I imagine he will start to get pretty out of it soon, as it goes into his brain. I think that will be a blessing, as he is already starting to say he doesn't want to live like this. I don't blame him. He's on oxygen, doesn't feel like eating, he's down to 125 or so lbs, and in pain. I can't imagine it's at all pleasant to live like that.

My brother and I are going to visit him, (he lives in a different state), next Friday. I hope he makes it that long.
erbie: (Default)
He wanted to know what I want. My brother is getting his old 50's truck, so he wanted to make sure it was fair. There have been other situations where certain family members have taken everything when the others didn't get there in time, so he wants to make sure that doesn't happen with my brother and me.

I told him I don't care about any of that stuff. The truth is that anything I would have wanted would have been my grandmother's and my aunt and cousin pretty much took everything when Grandma was moved to a home.

I would have wanted her old Kitchen Aid mixer, that made bread and cookies and cinnamon rolls my entire childhood. I would have wanted the mat that she rolled out sugar cookies on, her cookie cutters, her little rolling cutter thing that she used to make jagged edges on cookies. But my cousin got all her kitchen stuff when he moved into her house after she left. And he got married this year, to someone who I don't think would be the type to keep old stuff. So I wonder if Grandma's Kitchen Aid mixer is sitting in some thrift shop somewhere.

This is so surreal. He's asking me what of his stuff I want, and all I can think is that I don't want any of it and how uncomfortable and depressing it is to even have to think about.

He said he wants some of the Native American art that was my great great aunt's to go to Willow and any future kids of mine. He asked me what we will name future kids that he will never see.
erbie: (shallot)
So my step-mom called me yesterday. My dad had a bone scan because he had some pain in his back and arm. He also had a CT scan. His back and arm are fine, but the cancer is in one of his ribs, in the center of his chest, and in the other lung. They start hospice care today, which means they will make him comfortable, they will come out to the house and give him meds that will alleviate his pain and any anxiety he may have from not being able to get enough air. He's on oxygen. His pulse ox is dangerously low. He asked how long he has, and they said weeks to months.

I'm going to try to visit in January. His birthday is the 25th. I wonder if he'll make it.
erbie: (Default)
I miss you.
erbie: (Default)
So I haven't posted in a while because my grandmother that I mentioned below died on November 19th.

My cousin B called me at about noon that day and told me that her SIL had been to see Gramma and had called her and told her she didn't think Gramma would live through the night. I had no idea it was that bad. I got in the car and drove lilke a bat outta hell to her house, about a half hour away.

When I walked in, I couldn't believe my eyes. My mom had told me that she wasn't doing well, and that she didn't recognize people, but she didn't tell me that she was pretty much unconscious, having trouble getting breaths, pulse weakening, literally dying. There were 10 other family members there already. Another uncle and a cousin J got there before she died.

I came in and sat with her for a few minutes, holding her hand. I don't know if she knew I was there. After a couple minutes, I was looking at her face, and her breaths were getting more and more like gasps, and I knew I couldn't stand to sit there and watch her die. So I got up and let my uncle sit down. I went outside with my cousin B, and after we'd been out there for a few minutes, J came out and told us that Gramma had died. I'd been there about a half hour at that point.

Aside from one cousin, who was in Alaska, and my dh and dd, everyone in the family came to the house before the mortuary people came to get her. There was kind of an impromptu wake. Gramma died at 1:15, and they came to get her at about 7:30, after everyone had a chance to say goodbye.

My aunt, who is a nurse, had the forethought to recline Gramma's chair and put her feet up on a stool. I can only imagine that watching the morticians take her would have been all that much harder if she were in a seated position and had to be moved on her side or something. It was brutal as it was. They were very gentle with her. Before they started, they asked if people wanted to step out, since it can be difficult to watch. About half the family went into the back yard, and about half stayed in. I had to stay and watch for it to be real. She looked so different.

She was one month shy of her 102nd birthday, which is tomorrow. She's survived by 9 kids, 19 grandkids, 12 great grandkids, and various spouse of the above. Her husband and one son died before she did.

I can't believe it's been a month already. We're all still so sad. We're getting on with life, but there are about 55 people with broken hearts that will take a long time to heal.
erbie: (Default)
Last night after I talked to my step-mom, I couldn't keep it together enough to talk to my dad. He called me later. He's pretty optimistic, which makes me feel a little better. But I know the odds are against him.

He said he doesn't feel much like eating, but he knows he has to. He's back up to 130. This is someone who has always been very thin, at 6 feet tall, 155 lbs. I can imagine he's pretty emaciated now.

I haven't seen him. He lives two states away. They are going to visit between Thanksgiving and Christmas and they may stay for Christmas.

So on top of this, my Gramma, who is almost 102, has a compression fracture in her back and hasn't gotten off the couch in over a week. My mom and my aunt are telling me that she's not going to be around much longer. They've been saying this for years, because we all know she can't go on forever, but it's different this time. She has lost her spark. I don't think she wants to keep going much longer. And my other Grandma could go at any time too.

So I'm looking at possibly losing both grandmothers and my father within months or weeks of each other. Fun stuff, huh?
erbie: (Default)
Well, maybe I didn't lie so much as change my mind. But then I suddenly have something to talk about.

I guess it's not so sudden overall, but it's suddenly a whole lot more serious.

My dad has cancer. He's 57. He was diagnosed really by chance, after falling off a roof and breaking his foot pretty much off. He had pain in his belly so they did an x-ray. The x-ray caught a bit of his lung, which looked suspicious. Upon further investigation (chest x-ray, blood tests, CT scans, MRI's), it was determined that he had stage 1 kidney cancer and stage 3A lung cancer, both caused by smoking. He had radiation, the kidney was removed in May, chemo, the lung was removed in June, more chemo.

In the middle of the lung removal the surgeon discovered that the cancer was actually stage 3B, and considered inoperable. He almost stopped, but he called the oncologist who told him my dad was otherwise very healthy, and to keep going. So he did. He had to open up the pericardium because the cancer was in a blood vessel supplying it. He had to take several lymph nodes. He also had to take a nerve going ot his vocal cords. His recovery from both the kidney and lung removals was horrendous. He had a terrible time with the pain and panic attacks thinking he couldn't get enough oxygen despite the pulse-ox saying differently. They got it all.

More chemo, his 6 foot body withered down to 138 lbs, from his formerly thin 155. After every chemo treatment he had to have a blood transfusion. They finally stopped after the third round because the chemo was doing more harm than good, and the most recent CT scan showed no cancer. He also had an operation on his throat to help his voice, because one side was paralyzed from the removal of the nerve. He was cured. They got it all. Every time something could go in his favor or against him, it went in his favor.

Or so they thought.

This was in September.

Last night I got this email from my step-mother:

"We got the results of your dad's latest chest CT. It appears that the cancer is active again in the center of his chest. Chemo was so hard on him and it won't be tried again. He will be taking a new medication call Iressa and that may be able to shrink the cancer or stop any progression. But it only works about 10% of the time. We should know in about 8-10 days if it will do any good or just make him feel worse."

She couldn't call everyone because she couldn't stop crying. I called her tonight and she said they have two options at this point. Iressa or hospice care. Iressa works in about 10% of patients, and then only for about 9 months."

It doesn't look good. He's down to 128 lbs. I read that 40% of cancer patients die from malnutrition.

Please, if you smoke, quit. If you don't, please don't start. Don't put your family and friends through this. Don't put yourself through this. Don't make your 2 year old grand-daughter grow up without a Grandpa.

I only hope my mom and step-mom stopped in time.

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erbie

February 2011

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