Monday, December 28, 2009

My Birthday, and Yet Another Loss

I have definitely been thinking while my dad has been ill that I absolutely did not want him to die on my birthday. I knew I would lose him, but I begged God to not let that day be the 29th. It may seem selfish but I wanted my dad to have his own day. I didn't want to always be sad or mourn on my birthday. I realize now that I will anyway. My dad passed away on December 27th. Tomorrow, on December 29th I will be 34. It doesn't feel like a happy birthday.

The visitation is Wednesday and the funeral is Thursday. Somehow my birthday is free of any of that stuff and for that I am thankful. I want to not really celebrate, but rather relax. I have been remembering my dad constantly. I think of him and his smiling face. I love him so much and always will. I told him repeatedly in his last day.

I don't talk much about this. It's still hard for me. This is my second major loss this time of year. This is the closest to me, but I lost a best friend December 28th 1992. Raquel was just 16 when she lost her life. I won't go into any details. Just know that up until this year that was the worst birthday of my life. I loved her. We had our petty teenage arguments (as my dear aunt Celeste knows) but they were foolish. I miss her and love her. I learned some hard lessons from what happened that year. I have been thinking of it constantly because I knew that it might end up being on the same day. The ironic thing is after my friend Raquel passed away her sister also a good friend Celeste married my uncle Joe. That uncle is my dad's brother. Now he has lost a brother on December 27 and she lost a sister on December 28th. I really and truly wondered if my dad would pass away on the 28th. In a way I am glad he didn't. I think it's best to have those dates separate.

My pain is deep and my thoughts are jumbled but I don't care to edit. I think you all get the point today. I am worried that I'll always fear my birthday. Getting older is not the problem! Bring on the age. Bring on the years. Bring on the wrinkles. I have earned them all!!!

The World Just Lost a Great Man

My dad passed away tonight. He lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at 10:23 p.m. on December 27, 2009. The obituary will say 11:30 because that is how Hospice logged it....but I held his hand as he took his last breath.

I got to his house at about 11:30 this morning. He moan and sort of yelled out at around 5 or 6 p.m. and did not breathe for a few seconds. This happened again a few minutes later. I knew it was going to be soon. Still, the whole thing has been surreal. It happened so fast. Even 2 weeks ago I still had hope he would make it, somehow. We had the surgery all lined up then they dealt us the horrible blow that he had pancreatic cancer. We brought him home, where he wanted to be.

I knelt by his bed, cried and held his hand as he left this world. The world has lost a great man, but heaven has gained a great soul. I love you dad. I miss you.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's Getting Close, Prayers

The hospice nurse told use yesterday my dad has maybe 72 hours at most. I was with him until about 2 a.m. and decided to come get some rest. I am heading back now in a few moments. We doubt he'll last much longer. I can't help but hate that the holidays have been so bad for us. I remember how much my dad loved this time of year. My birthday is in 2 days as well. I lost one of my best friends 17 years ago on the 28th. All of these things are making this time of year harder and harder. I love the holidays too. I have to learn to separate the bad from the good. It's difficult.

Anyway, we need prayers. It gets scary sometimes listening to him breathe. I left when it sounded better. There is also a TON of snow on the ground. We got a big snow storm yesterday and it's going again now. I hope the roads aren't bad. I only have about 10 miles, but the drifting out there can get bad. I need some inner strength to get through this whole thing as well. I believe as it draws closer and closer to the very end, it will be really hard to hold it together at all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snowball Fight!

Made this for my girls. They really got a kick out of it.


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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sad Thoughts Today

More On My Father, Pancreatic Cancer

It has been confirmed. It is pancreatic cancer and it has metastasized all over his body. In other words, it's too late. Right now we are working on bringing home. That's where he wants to be. We will need Hospice to come in and nurses to help but somehow we'll make this work. I want my dad in his own home.

It's been a discouraging year and an even worse Christmas season for me. How can one feel any Christmas spirit when the whole month is about whether or not my dad will live or die? It's hard. I can't focus on Christmas. I have had so much to worry about.

Today I will meet my sister at the hospital to discuss the next move.

My dad is just 57 years old. Don't forget to hug your daddy this Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Dad Has Cancer

I am exhausted. It's been a long day. They canceled my dad's surgery. They had done a biopsy prior to the surgery and saw that there was absolutely a malignancy and it had spread. At this point we don't know what kind. We don't know by the sample where it started, just that it is cancer. Of course the belief is that it is pancreatic. I have been at the hospital all day. He is weak and can hardly speak. He sleeps most of the time. This has been a very hard and difficult time for my whole family. My mother is barely keeping it together. I will write more later. It's time to rest for now.

Oh and because it spread the surgery was basically pointless. It couldn't save him anymore. So it's been a discouraging day, to say the least.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Success!





The benefit for my dad went really well. We had a lot of people come eat and a lot of people that bought raffle tickets and baked goods. It warmed my heart to see how much everyone cares. I appreciate all the help that we received at the benefit from my aunts Celeste, Mary and Meg. You are all awesome and we love you. Uncle David, Joe and Kevin, we appreciate all you did. I couldn't be happier with how things turned out.

The scary news is that my dad is having a major surgery on Monday. Without this procedure he will definitely die. He is not really strong enough to have this surgery, but it's his only hope. It is called the Whipple Procedure. You can google it and get a whole lot of info. Be careful though, some images aren't for the squeamish. I saw at least one image of the actual surgery.

We need prayers. I am not sure dad will make it through this surgery. The doctors have said he might not. We can only pray that this surgery is the solution and hopefully we'll finally know what it is that is making him so sick. We know for a fact now there is a mass on his pancreas. We just do not know for sure what it is.

Thanks for all the love, support and prayers, donations and just everything....thank you.





Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gabbi and Her Toddler Bed


If you remember, a couple of months back Gabbi started jumping out of her crib. She was not yet two, though close to it and we had no choice but to buy her a toddler bed. That bed was mostly a waste until now. She would not sleep in her room at all. She cried, screamed, hyperventilated, etc. So she inevitably ended up in my bed. My poor hubby was kicked to the couch for quite awhile.

Nights happen to be the favorite time of day for my hubby and myself. We are so used to going to bed at the same time and using that time at the end of the day when the kids are all in bed for each other. We look forward to that. Gabbi took it. She would even come into the bedroom with me and when daddy started to walk in to kiss us goodnight or whatever she would close the door on him and say "Bye daddy!"

So it was time to change things. I love my girly. I love having her as my little cuddle bug. However I wanted my hubby time back too. So I decided to start small. Nap time. That's where we would start. I put her in her little toddler bed and yes she cried. I rubbed her head and sang her some lullabies then told her firmly to stay. I told her I would be back and repeated the word nap. (Which she has learned at daycare) Surprisingly she fell asleep within 10 minutes. Now, 3 days later she is napping in her bed and sleeping in her own room. We temporarily have put a cot in there for her big sister Lexi. This helps tremendously. She isn't so scared and Lexi likes doing it anyway. She even has crawled into bed with Lexi a couple of times. I don't mind so much. I just want Gabbi used to her room, used to her bed and eventually going to sleep with no trouble. We are well on our way.

Now about that potty training thing......to be continued.



Reminder if you want to donate to my dad's benefit costs (which is too much for my sisters and myself at this time of year) please click the paypal button here:









or if you are a facebook friend who cannot see the button just click here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=10552638

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Benefit Costs

This Saturday is the Benefit for my dad. We still do not have all the supplies needed. We are not sure how big or small the turnout will be. What I do know is we do not yet have everything needed. We desperately need a few items and time is running short. If you would like to donate even a couple of dollars toward the cost of the benefit ONLY please click the paypal button below:









This will help reduce the cost of the benefit itself for my sisters and myself. Right now especially with Christmas money is very tight. My dad needs this benefit though. He will most likely need constant medical care for the rest of his life at this point. I think we are all coming to terms with this. He has copays and deductibles and a lot of other regular bills that my mom is now having to deal with paying. He cannot help anymore. So we want to just let them worry about ONE thing and that is getting dad better. I'll make sure to get a lot of pictures from the benefit and post them. I am pretty excited. If you want to donate TO my dad directly please send your donation to The John Hamilton Benefit Fund at the State Bank of Speer in Speer, Illinois. E-mail me directly for a specific address.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finals Week!


It is a crazy week for me. It's finals this week. I have a Statistics final, Criminology, Philosophy, English/Composition II final, and I already finished my Psychology final. Wednesday I have two of them, Thursday is my final one and guess what? I am DONE with this semester and DONE with every single prerequisite.

I really have come a long way. It seems I have been at the prerequisites for a long time. I started back at college in the fall of 2005. I went all the way until the end of my spring 2007 semester. I was sick and that's when I got diagnosed. I did not go back and finish up until this Fall. I did not think I would get accepted into the nursing college I applied to on my first try. I had heard about being on a waiting list for long periods of time. I was shocked when I got my acceptance letter. I knew there was a ton to do. When I went to set up my classes, I took summer classes and fall classes to get it all done. The counselor at the college did not think I could handle the work load. Guess what? It was hard but I've done it.

Even with my dad being sick and all that's gone I have managed. I got a B in my Psychology class but you know, I'll take it. It's not the A I wanted but with all that has gone on I don't think it's too bad. I had to miss a few classes to be at the hospital with dad. Not to mention a few test dates I missed and had to make up. It threw me way off. I know my dad would not want me to fail out of college because he got sick. I think my dad was always proud of me for going back to school and working hard to becoming a nurse. He has always been proud of my sister who is also a nurse.

I am excited. I have much to do though! I am very anxious about it all. I am ready for this week to end and finals to be over. I get ONE MONTH off!!! My birthday is coming up too. I have one of those Christmas birthdays. December 29th to be exact. I am ready for a relaxing holiday with my family.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dad Update

I spent some time with my dad tonight. He's pretty sick obviously. Tonight he wasn't feeling well at all. His stomach has been really hurting him. He's been pretty confused. He was leaning really hard to the right today for some reason so we became concerned. He seems better now though. I spent some time talking to him and though he is very quiet he is making sense to me. He thinks the staples in his head from his surgery though is an injury from the civil war. He does not think it all the time. He only does this when he gets really confused.

I talked to him and he was even joking around with me. He would honestly pretend to die. Ok I know this sounds sick but you have to know my dad. He thinks it's hilarious. He'll make himself twitch a little, shake, and then stick his tongue out....totally acting like a goof ball. I love it though. He's being his goofy old self. He put his hand on my face and held it there. He did it to my sister Donna too. He was being so loving. I'll be back to see him tomorrow. He's back at the hospital right now for those who want to know. He went back tonight.

The benefit is still on for Saturday the 19th. So to those readers who live around here and can make it, we would love to see you there!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas is in the Air


It's Christmas time. Have you noticed? It's hard to miss right? *chuckle* I finally got some Christmas shopping done. I am not done shopping yet but it sure has taken a load off my mind. It's really stressful. The Holidays for us have been tight. Our bills at this point pretty much match what is coming in. We set up auto pay on our bills so by the time we see any money it's practically gone already. The holidays only make you realize just how broke you really are.

However I love Christmas. I love the friends, family, fun, food, lights, music and more! There is nothing like turning the lights off in my living room and turning the Christmas tree lights on. I'll lay on the couch and cuddle up with the hubby and watch a movie like It's a Wonderful Life. I live for those moments.

I really want to feel the Christmas spirit this year. Yes I really do, as corny as it may sound. I want to feel that joy I felt as a child. I remember the innocence and the simple pleasure in the idea of gifts and family get togethers. The whole time was magical. I want to give it to my kids. I think of Frosty the Snowman and the old Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer specials. I smell the pine trees and see the big, fluffy flakes of snow. Yeah I do love this time of year.

I am worried about my dad and it puts a damper on everything. I saw him today. He is very confused. He said he was being treated like a refugee in the civil war. I am not even positive what he meant. He constantly wondered what was going on and where he was. I miss my dad. I love him a lot and want him back with us. We told him Christmas was coming and he said "when?" We told him and he seemed surprised. I then asked him what he would like for Christmas. He seemed confused and looked at me and I said what present does he want. He looked at me again and said "To come home."

I hope his Christmas wish can come true. At least for one day.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

For Those That Want To





I have had a few people come to me and ask where they can donate. I do have a paypal account but I have decided I don't want to take any donations there. I want to keep any funds for my dads medical expenses separate. My husband went out to the bank here and opened a benefit fund for my dad. The flyer here posts all the details for anyone interested. My dad has a lot of medical expenses due to his mysterious illness. We have gotten no answers. It could a.) be a serious infectious disease or b.) It could be cancer.

The problem is he is NOT strong enough for any kind of surgery at this point to examine the spots they have seen on his liver. The spots are not growing or spreading in any way. At this point he needs to get stronger. So there isn't really an end in sight. The benefit is the 19th. Many things are needed such as take home containers, 2 liter bottles and cans of soda, any other beverage.

I am posting this flyer with the information on it to make a donation if you wish. I am holding the benefit to help my dad and mom not have to worry about anything but my dad getting better. I don't think my mom should carry the weight of worrying about bills medical or otherwise. My dad is retired and there isn't a lot of money coming in right now.

I really hope this benefit has a good turnout!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Dad's Benefit

I am hosting a benefit for my father coming up on December 19th. This is the flyer I have been posting. I created it with Microsoft Word then wanted to get it online so I converted it to a PDF file and uploaded it to the Adobe Acrobat site. It comes in better there, but takes a while to load. Unfortunately I have not been able to upload the new updated flyer there. The site isn't working properly. So I found this other site and uploaded it there. I am really anxious about this benefit. I want there to be a good turnout. My dad means so much to me. I know he would hate to be the center of attention. However we cannot sit idly by while he gets sicker and sicker and his medical bills get higher and higher. My dad has always run the home so this situation leaves my mother very confused about what to do or even how to do it. My sisters and I are hoping to take that burden off her shoulders during this very hard time. Please for John! We still do not know what is wrong with him.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just Thinking


It's hard to believe it's almost Christmas. Time sure flies. I know you hear the saying so many times and the older you get the more you say it! It really is true though. My Gabbi is now 2 and my birthday is this month! I will be.....um.....30 something on December 29th. haha Ok fine. 34. I cannot believe I am almost 34. Honestly I don't feel that old. Even with all I have gone through. Actually I feel pretty good. When I was sick and didn't know it I felt awful. It's funny how you remember things later and you realize the cancer explains everything. I am not positive how far back the first symptoms go, but it was at the very least 2004.

I remember standing in the magazine isle at the store. I could not stand there for more than 30 seconds to browse magazines. My body would start to hurt. My whole body. I would start to ache from head to foot. I can't even really explain it. I thought "Man am I getting old or something?" I was around 28-29 at the time. Still I had no other explanation for feeling the instant need to sit down. I thought to myself if I didn't, I would fall down. So, instead of browsing through magazines, or looking through books I would quickly get out of the store. Those feelings are long gone. Now? I could browse for hours. I have no pain. I used to wake up in the morning feeling like my bones were healing from a break or something. It's so hard to explain but it didn't feel like a fresh injury, but rather the type of pain you feel when an injury is healing. It gets sore and tender. My whole body would hurt. I hated waking up in the morning. I knew I'd have a headache. I knew lifting my head off the pillow would feel like a bowling ball. I knew that my eyelids would most likely be swollen. All of these symptoms? Gone.

They can make a list of symptoms for Hodgkin Lymphoma but I can tell you now I didn't have half of them. I never had one single night sweat which is a common symptom. I never felt or saw a swollen lump sticking out of my neck (lymph node) which is also common. I only had difficulty breathing, increasing shortness of breath, wheezing, a little more phlegm than usual, usually rattling in my chest. As it progressed I became more pale (which is bad for me, an already pale woman). It was when a little blood came up when I coughed that I knew without a doubt it was really really bad. I couldn't blame it on allergies or maybe developing asthma any longer. I still stayed in denial regardless. It's funny how we worry about the slightest symptom on our loved ones but when it comes to ourselves we just deny deny deny!

Anyway, I am thankful to be free of those symptoms. There are more. At the time I had no reason to blame my symptoms on cancer. I just didn't know. The things developed over time so I just got used to it. Now I feel so free.

I am looking forward to being 2 years in remission in February. It's like another birthday. It's the day I got my life back. It's when I knew I could look to the future again. I knew I could dream, hope....and live again.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Gabbi, Homework and Dad

I am going to be hosting a benefit for my dad along with my sisters this month. Things are so out of control with his medical bills. Not to mention he is a retired man. We'd like to help with his costs and take the burden off of my mother. Dad was always the one who ran the show so having all of this responsibility all of the sudden is really difficult for her.

This benefit will be on the 19th of this month. We are having a spaghetti supper and plan on doing a bake sale as well. I am hoping for a good turnout. My sisters and I also discussed a benefit account which hopefully we'll have going by tomorrow. There is so much to work out and deal with but we are working hard to get it all done.

On a good note, I got to talk to my dad today! I called his room at his new hospital and for the first time in a week he is not very confused. He isn't 100% yet by any means but he is so much better. I mean, he was very out of it before so this was such a wonderful gift. He'll never know the worry or fear in our hearts but we love this man so much. I am just not ready for him to go or to even change. I am a selfish girl because all I can think of is wanting him back entirely. I want that fishing, hunting, goofy man back. We of course still have the issue of knowing what is causing everything. We hope to get some answers soon.

I am supposed to be working on my Statistics homework right now. That's the homework bit of this blog post. I am procrastinating! Now as for Gabbi she is a very amusing girl. She recently grabbed a clean diaper, stuck it on her head and said clearly "Mom, look, poop hat."
So like any good mom, I snapped a pic!

Haha Off to do my homework now.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Homework Sunday

I have a ton of Homework I must finish today. I'll get it done if it's the last thing I do. I had an ok weekend. It was stressful but ok. My mom stayed here with us. I enjoyed having her and it makes me feel that much closer to my dad.

My mom left last night and stayed with my sister because they drove to see dad at the new hospital. Dad is still confused but a little better. They did a lumbar valve on him to drain the fluid out. He had the meningitis before and that created pockets near his spine and brain that filled back up again with fluid. That is what causes the confusion. They knew as soon as we sent him to this hospital that the fluid needed to be drained. They acted immediately and we have been in constant touch with doctors and nurses there. Dad is talking but still confused. However when asked where he was he knew. So I believe it's just a matter of time before he comes back to us.

Of course the most important thing is to find the underlying cause of the whole thing. This has been the hardest part of the whole deal. I am not convinced the doctors at the local hospitals knew. I think they thought cancer was the only possible answer and this is just not true. Medically speaking it could be a multitude of things. Dad has so many symptoms it would be easy to throw out a diagnosis. We need definitive answers.

So, my questions is this. How in the world do I focus on my homework? *SIGH*

Friday, November 27, 2009

More On My Dad

I know I talk about him a lot lately. He has been the top thing on my mind though. There isn't a second of my life I don't have a knot in the pit of my stomach, so worried about him. I miss my dad. I miss him so much. I want that guy back. I want him to go hunting. I want him to go fishing. I want him to tease my girls and encourage Gabbi to sing the Spongebob tune.

I am saddened. Some of my family doesn't understand my blog. I want to stress to those who read my blog through Facebook that the place my blog originates is NOT through Facebook. It is through a blogging website and it is automatically posted to Facebook. I started my blog before my own diagnosis when my doctors thought I had cancer. It was a place for me to pour my heart out. By definition blogs are online diaries. My own doctor suggested it. Go to http://www.pregnantcancer.blogspot.com and read. I feel a lot of people don't understand. I did express my anger on this blog and I do not apologize. I am not a temperamental person. My fuse is long. I don't get mad easily and I am non confrontational. I am just saying right now it's gone. My fuse has burned out. The only thing that matters now is my dad.

No one cares for my dad like his children. We are stressed and tired. We wonder why nothing has been found. We cannot understand how he can be so sick and they can continue to send him home to get worse. We are trying so hard to make things better and we are just so unsure of how to do it. Hopefully the new hospital will help. Now I just await word from my mom. Hopefully we'll have answers soon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Depressed

My dad has been taken back to the hospital. He hasn't been doing well and we knew it. His weight has been dropping rapidly. He's a shell of the man he used to be. We were hoping for answers. We still haven't gotten them. We keep being told they are almost sure it's pancreatic cancer. My issue with this is that if it WAS pancreatic cancer he could not possibly be so sick without them being able to see it. That type of cancer usually is not even noticed until it's later stages. The symptoms don't show up until it's fairly progressed. So, with how sick my dad has been, how could it be possible that they could not find it?

I have been working out the details to have a benefit for my dad to send him to Mayo. I have the place and date lined up finally but with the Holiday was going to wait until Monday to make copies of the flyers I made and then hopefully get some donation tubs etc. We are doing a spaghetti supper and were going to sell advance tickets and tickets at the door. We have ideas for a bake sale too. My sisters and I have worked nonstop racking our brains while also caring for our families. My sister is trying to work and balance all of this and her children. I am trying to balance it while caring for 4 children, my home and school work. My classes are really getting crazy now that it's only a few weeks from the end of this semester. I have tests and TONS of papers to write. My stress level is at the top right now.

Dad wanted us to all come to his house for Thanksgiving. He was as excited as I have seen him in a long time about it. We had planned what we were bringing and we were all so ready to go. Then this morning I got the call. Dad is confused again. It's like it was before. They think the blood infection could be back. Now I sit here, waiting for news from the E.R. I know my mom is there upset. The trouble being I am here with my four girls and my hubby is at work. My hubby can't just leave because HIS boss is out this week which leaves my hubby in charge of everything. So I wait. I can't really do anything at this point anyway. He isn't in a room yet and we aren't sure if he'll even be staying there. My sister has been feverishly working to get him transferred to a different hospital because frankly this one is not able to help him anymore. They can't give us the answers we need so it's time for something different. We have to also figure out where my mom will stay, how she will afford it, etc. She needs meals too. My dad is retired and they don't have a lot of money.

Then to top it all off the family is back at us again telling us we aren't doing enough. We should be there with mom. I love my family but I just don't think they understand what we are doing. They hear my mom crying and I get that. She is stressed. We are too. I want to just throw everything out the window and go be with my dad. But at the end of the day I still have to pass my classes and my kids still need their mommy here to care for them. I will go be with my dad every second I can, but at this very second I sit here agonizing over what is going on just like everyone else.

I wanted to be with my family this year. I knew it could be our last because who knows how healthy dad would even be next year? If it IS pancreatic cancer, or if it's not, we don't know how he'll be doing so this year meant everything and now it's gone. I have no food. We thought we were going to mom and dad's so I have bought no turkey or anything. I will have to try to see my dad, be with my mom tonight and somehow manage to whip up some sort of Thanksgiving dinner for my own family. I want my children to still enjoy their holiday.

Right now? I am just not feeling it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Had My Follow Up

I had my follow up on Friday but haven't had enough time to sit here and type out how it went. The drive was long as usual. I enjoy it every single time. I got there and got in and had my blood drawn immediately. My veins were uncooperative unfortunately so she tried one arm, wiggled the needle around (causing excruciating pain) and finally she gave up and moved to the other arm. It was more cooperative though it still hurt. I have to say it depends on the nurse and the day of the week. Sometimes it's nothing. Other days it hurts a lot.

I got weighed and put in a room to wait for my doctor. He came in and asked several of the usual questions. He feels my lymph nodes. My blood tests came back good. A few more questions were asked but all looked well. I did get in trouble for not having gone to see a thyroid specialist yet. I do have those issues which we believe causes the continued pressure in my throat. So he set that up for me too. I'll be going back to see him and the endocrinologist (thyroid doc) in February.

I gave the doc and the office a pic of Gabbi. They really enjoyed that. As I left I saw the head nursing staring at the pic saying to my doc how unbelievable it was. Yes indeed it is. My Gabbi is pretty amazing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stupid Fruit Flies


OK. Have any of you ever had an issue with fruit flies? It usually happens to us once a year. They are hard to get rid of. I like bananas and they really attract them. I thought they were the culprit again but no. I had a bag of potatoes in my cabinet that was stuck behind a bag of apples. I forgot about the potatoes because I didn't ever see them. Yeah you guessed it. One potato went bad and that was it. The fruit flies made themselves home.

Luckily I discovered the potatoes last night and threw them out. I scrubbed and cleaned every single crumb in my kitchen and found a little trap online for these monsters. I didn't know if it would work but it seemed worth a try.

You take a 2 liter bottle of soda and clean it out. Cut it from the top of the label off. Put some orange juice or wine or other desirable liquid and put it in the bottle. We used wine. Take the top and invert it into the bottle. Take some duct tape or masking tape around the bottle to seal it. For some reason the fruit flies can't get out. They go in after the liquid and become trapped inside. We tried it out and look what we found this morning.



I could go buy bug spray sure.....but it was late at night and this was more fun. lol

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Unmask Parasites. Do you know the dark side of your site?

Unmask Parasites. Do you know the dark side of your site?

My page got flagged by someone's antivirus because I hosted the ad or link of a bad blog on my site. Through careful searching I found that this certain blog was on Entrecard and BlogCatalog. They install bad things on your computer!!! So I searched for ways to find spyware or malware on my blog and found some great tools. This is one of them. I wanted to share it here so you can all test your own blogs for bad things that could keep you from showing up in searches and stuff. I myself didn't realize if I posted someone's link or blog and IT hosted bad things that I could get flagged as well. Now I have run every scan known to man and I have searched my Google Analytics and everything else and it says my page is clean! So hopefully it's no longer an issue. I can't tell you the name of the bad blog here because it would probably flag me again. Even though my own site is NOT installing anything bad, that site is and even mentioning it's name on your site is bad. However if you want to know, send me an e-mail and I'll tell you what it is.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gabbi's Birthday Pictures

I have uploaded some pictures to my village photos account. If you are interested in seeing some, please follow the link!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dairy Free Frosting For My Birthday Girl!


I have been searching like mad for a good recipe or store bought frosting with no milk. I thought I found one and maybe I did, but the problem is it has caramel color. I have done some research and discovered it CAN contain milk. Maybe, maybe not. Now I cannot possibly go on that. How can I just give her that not knowing if it is made with milk or not? I can't. So I had to begin my search all over again and I found this. How simple! I am trying it tonight.


White Icing

Ingredients

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon clear imitation vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, shortening, water and vanilla. Beat on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for a full five minutes. It won't look like Icing at first, but keep the mixer going for a full five minutes, and then you're done!
  2. Note: If you're not using this for decorating, but just for icing the cake, thin the icing by adding 3 tbs. of corn syrup, or water to the icing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Gabbi!



Tomorrow is Gabbi's second birthday. So much time has gone by. It's hard to believe. She's such a big girl. I have another 3 month follow up on Friday as well. She is and has always been a symbol of me getting better and also her age shows how long I have been in remission. February will be 2 years. She is 2 years old tomorrow. It's amazing! I love you Gabbi! Happy Birthday!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Never Did Post Them Here









Halloween pics that is! We had a great party. Gabbi was a cutie pie as Super Girl of course. Isn't it fitting too? She is my super girl. No doubt about that. I know it may seem strange but I have joked to Jason about how she fits all the criteria for a super hero. She was exposed to a toxic chemical and yet grew strong. She beat the odds yet she does have her kryptonite if you will. Milk! Ha! The weakness is always something simple. The wicked witch though not a super hero was foiled by water. So you know, I joke. It's funny to me! haha Here are a few pics.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Flu and a Blog Award

At least one is better than the other. I got a blog award from Wiggy's World. Check out his blog here: Wiggy's World. Here is the beautiful award I received:



There are rules that go along with these things. However I just don't have time to go find 15 blogs and link them all. I have Stats to get started on. haha I just wanted to thank Wiggy's World for giving me this award and also give him a link back to his blog. Go check it out!

As for the flu? Well Lexi definitely got hit the hardest. We have all been pretty sick. Angelina hasn't gotten it yet. I worry and even talked to the doc because she has asthma. Lexi got hit last night and it knocked her down for the count. I just snapped a pic of her with my webcam. This just shows how we've all felt this past week/weekend.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Can You Believe It??


Gabbi will be two on November 17th! It is so hard to believe. We have been through so much. Her life has not been one that lacked excitement. From the very beginning her life was full of it. It's odd how I could have had such an unexpected pregnancy then of course even more unexpectedly found out I had cancer.

For those who have been reading my blog you already know that I was feeling sick for a long time before I found out I had cancer. So finding out I was pregnant was overwhelming. There were many reasons. I had gone back to school. I had spent so much time getting back in shape after my previous 3 kids. Add to that the feeling of not being able to breathe, coughing up blood and not being able to lie flat, I didn't think I could give birth. I was very overwhelmed honestly. I didn't have the energy to walk up the stairs or talk on the phone without panting.

We did it though. We worked with my amazing oncologist and we did it. I had at least one major surgery during the pregnancy. I had two surgeries, both of which I was put out for. The one though that was the most major was my biopsy surgery. They cut me open on the right side of my chest, which is where the tumor was. They ended up having to shave some bone off. Yes...you heard that right. I have a slight dent in my scar. I hate it, but you know it's also my war wound so I don't dwell on it too much.

During that surgery Jason was all alone waiting in this room with other people who were also waiting for loved ones in surgery. My surgeon was a cardiac surgeon. The surgery was close to my heart so I am assuming that's why we had to use him. The tumor had grown tentacles if you will and wrapped itself violently around my major veins that went up into my neck and head. To this day they are still a little fatter than usual. (hate that too)

Anyway during Jason's time waiting in there he received some updates on me. Other people received updates as well and Jason would hear these people getting information on their loved one. So when the surgeon himself came into the waiting room a couple of hours into my surgery and asked Jason to go into this tiny little private room to talk, Jason was scared to death. He has told me that he just knew that I was dead. He didn't know why the surgeon came out himself and also why he was talking to him privately. He waited for the horrendous news. It didn't come. Basically they had cut some of my tumor out but it wasn't a large enough piece if you will. So I was in the operating room with my chest cut open while the surgeon discussed with Jason how they would have to cut me open more. I actually think that's when they had to shave off bone but I am not positive.

I awoke from that surgery in a recovery room. I could NOT swallow at all. After months of feeling like you have a basketball lodged in your neck and that your head is going to explode because it feels like someone is choking you, the last thing you need is to feel like you can't swallow. It was from the breathing tube down my throat during surgery. My throat was dry for months. I was only allowed ice chips. I couldn't really see after surgery. I have bad eyes and didn't have my glasses. This made it scary coming out of anesthesia I was in and out of consciousness too. I couldn't stay awake at all.

Finally they got me a room in the ICU and I saw Jason. He was coming around the corner and I felt such joy. I was weak and tired but I wanted him so bad. Then as they were putting me into my bed I got sick. Freshly cut open chest and here I am heaving. Dry heaving since I hadn't eaten. But you know it was enough. I was still so weak and tired though and not really getting better. They decided to give me a blood transfusion. I felt better within 15 minutes of getting that. It was night and day folks. Oh yeah, right here I will tell you to GIVE BLOOD! It definitely saved me. I never had a clue the difference in how it makes a person feel. It was amazing.

I was sick for awhile and I had a chest tube inserted to drain fluid. I had a lot of fluid in my chest. That chest tube hurt more than the staples in my chest from the biopsy surgery.

I had my first sonogram the following morning to check on Gabbi. I had been through so much. How could my baby possibly have tolerated it all? She did. She was great. Her heartbeat was strong. She survived that. It was on to chemo after the results were back in a couple of weeks.

Now that little baby is a wild and crazy 2 year old! I could go on forever. There is so much in between the lines. There is so much it took to get Gabriella here. It took a lot but she's here and she's my miracle girl.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We Are All Sick

Saturday and I am sick! Jason got sick about 1 1/2 weeks ago. It started off mild and got progressively worse. He is feeling a tiny bit better today. I myself started getting a sore throat a couple of days ago. Then last night was the WORST. I started feeling kind of achy and like I had chills. I had no fever though but full body aches. I had been suffering with the sore throat and a stuffy nose but it really hit me hard yesterday. It all got worse while I was at my nursing college doing a Meet and Greet thing. I got to meet a whole lot of my fellow classmates that will be starting with me in January. It really seems like a fun school. The people are so nice. One girl came all the way from Chicago to go to this school. I find that pretty cool. The Dean said that if we are feeling nervous or scared don't....because there were at least 2 or 3 other people that were up for our spot and they chose us. So they know we can do it. How awesome is that?

I got off track here a bit. My point is I wanted to really enjoy this thing but I started feeling honestly flu-ish during the middle of it all. I was putting on a smile and keeping a safe distance from people when I talked to them. I don't want to get anyone sick. Then we had to wait forever in HR at the hospital to get our ID pages made. Well, they took our photo anyway. I am feeling sicker than a dog and they took my pic. I am hoping it isn't horrendous.

I got everything done though. I just wait now. I have to get a few lab coats and some white scrubs and white shoes. I'll be at the hospital occasionally working with patients several weeks into the semester but wow. This is so crazy. They gave us a lecture about how sometimes our families might be pushed to the back burner. They said that our families need to be understanding because this will be hard. I knew it and Jason honestly is ready for it. He knows. I know. If I do this full time (which I am) I will graduate December of 2011. I'l have my BSN. I am excited, nervous, anxious, happy, terrified. haha

Anyway, Gabbi is sick too. She began running a fever last night of 101.8. She is now not running a temp but I have kept the Ibuprofen/Tylenol in her. Her eye looks red. So does Mikayla and Angel. They have awoken with crusty yucky eyes. I am hoping beyond hope it isn't pink eye but honestly it appears to be the beginning of it. So I think it could be several things at once. I had her sleep with me last night. I don't like my baby possibly spiking a fever in the night without my knowledge. No thanks! She did ok though. I awoke to her snuggling with me.

I hope this illness passes fast. I am just ready to have it done and over with so we can get on with our lives!

Oh and don't forget to vote for me. Tweet and retweet ok? Post, share, whatever, Facebook it. Let's see how many votes we can get today!!! Please :) The first place people have several thousand votes. I have just over 300. My chances are not looking good. I however do believe I have enough friends out there in the Internet world to get me the votes.

Explore Modeling - Face of e.l.f. Casting: Sandra Bender

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Canceled Classes and Another Follow Up

After school yesterday morning I came home ready to spend the rest of the day finishing up my Statistics homework before class at 6. Well I got an e-mail from my teacher that afternoon canceling class for that night. I seriously danced a little jig. (No, I won't demonstrate this for anyone.)

I love it when that happens. The hubby hasn't been feeling well so I was able to stay home and keep him company. I myself have a sore throat now. I started to feel it yesterday anyway so I figured it was too late. Gabbi has a runny nose now and Angelina woke up coughing pretty good. Since she has asthma I worry about her getting that flu.

Other than that things are well around here. Gabbi got over her last episode of milk poisoning (Yes that's what I call it now) and is doing well. Honestly I contemplated HARD taking her to the hospital. I know the signs of dehydration though and she didn't have those. I thought it would be harder on her for me to drive the 30-40 minutes to the hospital lethargic and puking then it would be for me to stay home and hold her. I managed to get a little bit of fluid in her too so I just waited.

I know people are aware of nut allergies and bee stings and how serious those can be. I don't know that people have a clue how serious an allergy or digestive rejection of milk can be. I say digestive rejection because actually her allergy tests were ok. I have since learned that is actually pretty normal. So if your tests are normal do not assume you are ok with milk. Gabbi absolutely is not. It's scary.

I have been told though that Jason's uncle actually had the same issues as a baby. He's now a man in his upper 40's I believe. At the time soymilk was rare and they didn't know what was wrong with him. He lost weight and became very ill as a child. This was all until they started giving him soymilk. He then became a healthy, plump little baby. He did grow out of it too. I am thinking it is just something that happens. I don't know why and especially how someone could actually grow out of something so severe. I need to do some research.

I have a follow up on November 20th. It's hard to believe so much time has gone by. I have lost track of how many 3 month follow ups I have had now. I don't have too much to complain about at this checkup other than the horrendous throat pressure that never seems to go away for long. I hate the throat pressure. Some days it's ok. Other days I feel like I need to hack up a soft ball. I don't mean phlegm. I mean, it feels quite literally like there is a softball IN my neck. It's so irritating and makes me feel like I need to gag.

I get pressure in my ears too. My left ear especially always wants to clog up and has done so since the beginning of the whole cancer thing. I absolutely despise this sensation. I get angry too. I want it all to go away. I have to be thankful for my life though and I tell myself I am lucky. I shouldn't complain about the minor things. It could be so much worse. So I'll just be thankful.

I am not going to sit here and smile and say it's all easy because I think it's really ok that it's not. Who says you have to think everything is ok all the time anyway? We all know very well that it's not. I'll complain now and then. I never do much though. I'll go in and get my blood work. As long as that is good and the doc isn't concerned about anything it will be a pretty quick appointment. I love seeing the docs and nurses as usual. I love them all. They were with me through everything. Though they did their job I still felt like they cared very much about me and Gabbi.

Ok. This book is quite long enough! haha

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

School is Crazy

I have just too much to do these days. I take breaks now and again but really don't have time to do that. I am looking forward to the end of this semester. I am so burned out on prerequisites. I want to do something related to Nursing for once. I am ready for January. I have a meet and greet at the college of nursing on the 6th. I am pretty excited about that. I am anxious to start and to meet all the new students that I'll be going to school with. I can't wait.

Gabbi learned a new skill yesterday. I always give her a lunchable. Those little ones. She loves the ham in them and it's already diced up. There is cheese in those but my older girls always take it. Usually I'll peel open the side with the ham so she can get to it. It's worked forever because she does not have the dexterity to peel the package off....until yesterday that is. Yes. She got the cheese. She took a bite and said ew. I caught her and cleaned out her mouth but it was too late. She got very sick yesterday. I am so tired of this already. I hate her being allergic to milk. It's her life though. Honestly I can't see her outgrowing this with how bad her reactions are. I mean they are BAD. So, I mean, how does something like this just stop? I don't know but it seems not possible.

Well back to studying.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday and Halloween Party

I have a Halloween Party coming up at my house again this Friday. Remember the pictures I took from last years? I can post one here of me and the hubby. He was Captain Jack Sparrow and looking mighty fine at it I might add. I had a great time being a Lady Bug. This year however my costume is ummm a less than angelic nurse? See the spin I used on those words? haha Yeah well with me going through the nursing classes I thought it would be funny. I will take plenty of pictures and have them for all to see on my blog.

At the moment I am procrastinating. I am writing a blog and NOT reading the paper for criminology that is 29 pages long and I have to do a paper of my own on. I have class tonight and a quiz in the morning in criminology too. So what am I doing here? A girl has to take a break sometimes right? Oh I am busy there is no doubt. It is never going to stop though. I'll be busy for the next 2 years. Starting in January I have to buy a lab coat and a white uniform. I always wear my lab coat when I go work with patients at the hospital. Those words make me seriously giddy. Pathetic but totally true.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Picture Post!


My friend recently took this pic of Gabbi and I. Here we are at a recent get together at the house.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gabbi, Studying and a Vote Reminder!

It's kind of a lazy day too. I did some homework and read a little but I am not into it at all. I need to focus.

Gabbi is really talking a lot these days. I have taught her to hold up two fingers and say two. I love it when asked how old they are little kids do that. So I thought better teach her now before she is 2. She absorbs everything like a sponge. I taught her in a few seconds. She says 2 and holds up two fingers on each hand. So I went a step further and taught her it was also 1+1. So now if you ask Gabbi what is 1+1 she holds up two fingers and yells "TWO!"

What a genius baby.

Also please vote for me. This is totally based off popular vote so it's completely possible. The problem is the chick in the first place slot has like over 3000 votes. I have about 249. I have a ways to go. Still, that is a lot of votes and I have you all to thank. Thank you so much!!!

Explore Modeling - Face of e.l.f. Casting: Sandra Bender

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's Not the Flu


Maybe it's not the flu but the whole house is sick! It is odd though how it all began. Last Friday night my sister came over along with a ton of friends for her birthday. We had a great time listening to music and singing some karaoke. Towards the end of the night my oldest daughter who practices being a baby sitter while I am at the house with friends fell asleep.

Bad girl. I do tease her that she is supposed to be proving to me she can babysit. She is almost 13. I think I'll be putting her in some classes this year. She is not very responsible though. She helps out a ton but I try to make her understand that she can in fact NOT fall asleep while babysitting. Gabbi was safe and sound though in our living room with her watching TV. I got Gabbi and since the night was ending let her kind of talk to everyone as they were heading out the door.

Gabbi is quite popular with the adults. She is the most fun baby you'll ever meet. She's happy and friendly. She'll remember how to say your name the first time you tell her. She'll give you a kiss and a hug the first time she meets you! This can be odd but she's just this friendly.

Anyway, she was around a lot of people. It could have been daycare, it could have been from someone else, who knows. The point is she woke up the next morning puking. She only threw up a couple of times, no biggy. She was fine. This week there has been a few episodes of diarrhea. Lovely, I know.

After this my daughter Mikayla calls home with a tummy ache from school. She misses two days but never pukes. The second day Angelina misses and that night pukes literally everywhere. Her tummy is killing her the rest of the night. The next day she is better.

So Tuesday I get sicker than a dog. I have a terrible stomach ache, just twisting and hurting. I also felt tired beyond all belief. I felt drained and delirious. I felt awful for 2 days. Today my stomach is a little sore but better and I don't feel drained and tired anymore. But guess what? Daddy is laying on the couch with a slight fever and a stomach ache and Gabbi is puking everywhere again! I think she has had this fighting to get the best of her all week and today was it. She has succumbed to it. She is tired and can't hold anything down.

So the sick bug is here. I missed my Wednesday night Math test. I am just sick to death because of it now. I can't retake it until December 2nd when the teacher has a makeup test day. I don't know what genius thinks that's a good idea because now I'll learn all kinds of NEW math stuff and then have to try to go back and remember all that old stuff. Ha! At least I have a practice test to study from.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It Has Begun, The Escape Artist


I am not even sure what to do. Gabbi is not yet 2. She's close but not quite there. Well this morning around 4:30 a.m. I heard a sort of thud or bang followed by Gabbi talking. It woke me out of a dead sleep so I am not even positive what I heard, just that woke me up. I thought to myself as I jumped out of bed that perhaps my oldest daughter was up really early or perhaps heard her crying and got her.

This was not to be. No, I got to her room and glanced in her crib. No Gabbi! I ran to the living room and there she was walking towards me, all alone. She had jumped, climbed or somehow escaped from the confines of her crib. None of my other children have done this. I know many kids do but this is a first for me. I don't know that she's ready for a toddler bed because I doubt she'll lay there. I think she'll just get up. We have a basement though with stairs leading down from the kitchen not to mention other dangers that I cannot risk her getting into in the middle of the night!

I have no clue what I'll do tonight. I'll shut her door tightly tonight. Perhaps that will keep her in but still, I don't want her to hurt herself. I was most surprised she never cried. I still think it's a little too early for a toddler bed. What did you all do when your toddlers began jumping out of their cribs?


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Explore Modeling - Please Remember to Vote For Me!

Please Vote for me. My votes have kind of stalled or slowed down, so I thought I'd just send out this reminder. I really need more votes to even have a remote chance. I do appreciate all the votes I have gotten so far. You all rock! You can vote once a day.


Explore Modeling - Face of e.l.f. Casting: Sandra Bender

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blood Clot

After all that dad went through he developed a blood clot in his leg. If you are a nurse or doctor I don't think it would surprise you to know a patient who has a serious blood infection that moved into his brain and caused him to get so sick he went afib, that he would get a clot. He was in bed unconscious for about a week and once he woke up he still has no energy at all to even move. We are thankful for him getting better but the fear is coming back today. They gave him a shot that is a blood thinner. It's not Heparin. I forget the name of it. Anyway the clot has moved to his lung. Now he is on oxygen and a lot of it. He is having difficulty breathing right now. They are giving him things to break up that clot. We need prayer that the meds will do their job! Good thoughts sent out this way are always appreciated. I hate seeing my dad in any discomfort and right now breathing is a chore for him. So this is yet another setback.

On a different note I met with my academic advisor at my college of nursing yesterday. I am in full on panic mode folks. Starting in January it's going to be really really hard on us. I don't know how I am going to have someone watch Gabbi for so long. I love my baby girl and it kills me. It kills me knowing all the homework I'll have and everything. I do know however this will be a good thing for my family in the long run. I know it is something that will be good for us. Gabbi will always know me as a nurse. I am proud of what I am doing. I want prayers that I will have the strength, knowledge and patience to do this.

Friday, October 16, 2009

No School and a Birthday Party

It's so nice when something like this happens. Today...or yesterday I guess it is now, I was browsing on my college website to find my score for my Psychology test. It's a telecourse and so I had no clue how I would know my grade. I came across the school schedule. Somehow I had NO idea we have no classes tomorrow! There is a midterm break. One day for me off but hey I'll take it! I checked my syllabus and sure enough, no class. I am shocked I had no idea but what a gift that is. haha I am meeting tomorrow with my academic adviser at the college of nursing. Things are really going into full swing now. I am ready to start studying the actual nursing part. I have been doing so many years of prereqs. It's been hard on me this year. I have gotten very frustrated at times. It's just so much work. I never get a break and when I do homework I am constantly interrupted. Gabbi climbs on me, hits the laptop, steals my papers, runs off with my pens. She has drawn some interesting artwork on her body while I studied. Oh how fast they are!

We are having a birthday party for my sister tomorrow night at my house. She decided to do something. I think we are both over the whole "aunt" thing. If you read my previous post, you know what I mean. Dad is improving SO much. It's hard to believe a week ago they thought he might not make it and here we are. His speech is definitely affected. He can't move hardly at all he is so weak. I mean, he cannot even lift his shoulders off the bed. He has been through a lot but I am patient. I just want him to get better. I try not to focus on the fact we still do not know the root of the problem.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It Is Not Right

I am a bit upset right now. I was just informed that a family member has basically talked to my sister on the phone and told her off and told my sister she needed "to get her priorities straight" because she hasn't been up to the hospital to see dad for a couple of days. This just shocks me. My sisters and I have been so insanely worried about my dad. This has been emotionally draining for us. My sister has called me no less than 10 to 15 times today to ask what updates I had. She couldn't get in for multiple reasons. The first being that she works full time and has taken pretty much all the time off she can. Jobs still expect you to work. She has 3 children and they aren't allowed where my dad is. So unless we ask for someone to come watch our kids every single day we can't always be there by my dad's side no matter how much we want to.

I am not one to get on my blog and air out dirty laundry. I am keeping names private. However I do want some opinions here. It's my sister's birthday and she called my mother to get an update on dad. This other family member was with my mom and immediately began yelling at my sister much to her surprise. My sister is very close to my dad. They have a wonderful relationship. He is with her all the time and her kids. This has been especially hard on her. This particular family member honestly has not had much to do with any of us over the years. I didn't know the person well really. I had no reason to think they would ever act this way. I think they jumped the gun and made ridiculous assumptions that they can now never take back.

I want to state for the family members and friends who do read my blog. We grew up with my dad. We have always been by his side. We love that man more than any of his brothers, sisters, or even parents ever could have as we should. He raised us. You may help him in other ways but he's our dad. We stood by him when he wasn't sick. We were there for him when no one else cared. I know most of the family is understanding and most of you out there wouldn't ever act this way. This is pretty much an isolated event as everyone in our family has been compassionate and so helpful. One aunt offered to watch my kids anytime. I really love my family so much. I find it so terribly unacceptable though and so utterly wrong to take the daughter of a seriously ill man and accuse her of not caring. SHAME on that person for causing more emotional pain than was already there.

Lies will be told and stories exaggerated no doubt. It boils down to the fact that we girls want our dad back. That's all.

What would you do if you were dealing with a serious illness in a parent and you had a family member who wasn't even particularly close tell you to get your priorities straight? She doesn't even have all the facts. Insane I tell you. I am doing this for my sister who is spending her birthday in tears over this. I am sure she won't mind my saying. She needs some support right about now.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Much Better Update

Well after a terrible prognosis given from the docs dad is improving. We aren't by any means out of the woods and I don't want to take too much for granted and assume only to be let down again but here is where we are at.

Three days ago I asked my dad's doctor how long my dad had before we would know for sure if he'd make it or not. This was when my dad was practically comatose. He said he was worried...but that maybe in a day or two we would know.

Dad started responding a bit the next day. Not much but an opening here, a hand squeeze there. I went into see my dad Saturday night and he fully opened his eyes and looked at me and around the room. Then the following morning they actually moved him into one of those hospital chair/beds. They turned on the football game and dad was listening on occasion. He was asleep much of the time but when I got in there and said "Hey Dad" he woke right up and looked at me. He tried to talk but couldn't with the breathing tube in.

He was breathing mostly on his own and they said the tube might come out that night and it did. I had left to go home already so missed that part. I am told dad asked for water. He is hard to hear. He is very quiet and raspy but I am also told when asked what his name was he replied correctly and he also knew where he was. So this is all really good stuff. The update went from being the worst possible news to the best! I believe in the power of prayer. I thank you all. He still needs more. They told us it takes weeks to fight this infection and remember the hardest part is we still do not know what is at the core of all this. There is an underlying condition the doctors cannot seem to find at all. What is this? We still don't know and I fear it will come back if we do not figure it out and soon.

We are still discussing sending him to Mayo.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's So Hard!

Last night the docs did a lumbar puncture thinking the infection had either gone to dad's brain or that he had meningitis. We are waiting on the results still. I got there today and he seemed less responsive to me. They were preparing to do an EEG. I had to leave to get Gabbi from Daycare. I have been home about an hour and got a call. The doctor believes my dad has brain damage, and doesn't think he'll make it. It's miracle time folks. We need one. Now.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Needed to See Him Well

I found this.




Dad and Gabbi......when she was maybe a month old.

Update on My Dad

I went back in to see him. He heard me and groaned and rolled as much as he could on his bed. He is totally strapped in because he rips out his IV and tries to get up but can't. He'd just roll off the bed if he did. Anyway I was in the room and watching him, while talking to my mother. He lays there, breathing fast, tubes everywhere and his mouth hanging open. He started to roll and groan so I got up and walked over to his bed. I pet his arm and touched him and told him he would be ok, that it was his infection making him so sick (he's had a blood infection unresponsive to the antibiotics but we don't know why). He started batting at the air with his hand. I moved my hand close to his and he grabbed my hand and squeezed hard. I held his hand for several minutes and he squeezed it until I felt he drifted back off to sleep. My dad is very much trapped in his own brain right now but knows we are there.

The doctor agreed and said he was not in a coma and aware. They did a lumbar puncture and it was cloudy so they are treating him as though he has meningitis until we get the results on the test. There IS an infection there. The doctor thinks it's the same blood infection and it's moved up to his brain. This would explain his confusion, inability to talk or do anything. This however still does not explain what started everything. He has been sick now since he started getting severe stomach aches a few months ago and it's turned into this.

Due to the seriousness of his infection he cannot be transferred to Mayo Clinic now. We'll have to wait until he is stable and make choices from there.

I just want my dad back.

Prayers For My Dad

He looks like he is dying. This is to put it bluntly. We know he has the blood infection and it moved into the heart. They are treating it but he cannot talk, and he is unresponsive. He groans and leans toward me but can't open his eyes all the way anymore. He squeezed my hand though. I know he knew I was there. What is wrong?? This happened from gallbladder surgery to this! I am so upset. I want my dad to get well but he keeps getting worse. We have insisted on a second opinion and said we want him sent to Mayo. They agreed. They are making the transportation arrangements now. Please....if you pray....pray for my dad today.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Heading to the Hospital

Well according to my sister Donna my dad was delirious when she arrived at his house today when they were getting ready to leave for the hospital. The doc wanted to admit him. He was saying things that didn't make sense and was stumbling around and almost fell. Now they say his heart isn't beating right. It's really fast. I believe he is severely dehydrated as he hasn't been eating or drinking due to the pain. Obviously folks this isn't good so some prayers would be good. I think I better get up there because my mom really frankly doesn't understand medical talk too well. I think someone needs to be there to talk for my dad. I hope I get my statistics homework done at least somewhat tonight!

Gabbi's First Picture Day and Studying the Wrong Book

Just check out my other blog for details on the wrong book thing. I am just so devastated and no it was not my fault. Well .00005% my fault. haha But truly I put in a lot of hard work and the school book store had given me the wrong book.

As for Gabbi she had pictures done yesterday. I am so excited to get them back! I will have proofs to choose from later in the week I believe.

We have had a busy week with my inlaws who came up for a visit from North Carolina. The hubby has twin brothers. We are having a wonderful time. I hope to post pics soon.

I am doing great. You know I always feel like I should post an update on me and my health but plain and simple I feel good right now. I get really tired but that could be the lack of sleep, studies and four kids. I have some neck pressure but it comes and goes. My neck vein still bulges, it never stopped. I get some tension headaches but then again I don't know if I can blame that on anything other than ME.

I have a follow up coming next month. I will have more blood work. I am getting close to two years in remission. I am excited about that.

The bad news I regret to post is my dad is not doing well at all. They want to admit him tonight back into the hospital. My mom quickly said his blood work came back bad and something about this bacterial blood infection he had not getting better with the antibiotics they gave him. Plain and simple? I am worried about my dad. He has stayed in pain, not gotten better when the docs say he should. He's not eating. He's not drinking. I am scared. The doctors want to get into his pancreas surgically to check for cancer. I am nervous so prayers would be appreciated. He will have this surgery soon is my best guess.

After such a bad note I ask you to vote for me again. I don't know if you remember but you can vote once a day. Thank you so much! You can click the link below or my pic to the right of my blog.


Explore Modeling - Face of e.l.f. Casting: Sandra Bender

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Being Locked Out of Class


No I didn't get into trouble. I wish I could give some elaborate story as to why I couldn't get into class but it's as simple as this. I got to school today about 5 minutes early. Normally I would go in and sit right down. This time there were a lot of my fellow students in the hallway sitting around and standing, waiting. I realized the door was locked and figured we could wait for a short time when the teacher arrived and we would go in. This was not to be.

My teacher showed up and guess what? He started waiting WITH us. This class is just 50 minutes and really it goes by quickly so every second counts. I didn't mind but I am sure the professor was less than pleased that the school wasn't responsible enough to unlock the door to a classroom that was supposed to be in session. We had to eventually stop a janitor who then used a walkie talkie to call up a security officer to come unlock the door. My class started a good 15 minutes late. I have to say the class sped by after that.

I had to write a 4 page essay on the question of the omnipotence of God. I read a certain philosopher's opinion that any belief in any religion is utterly irrational and give his reasons and personal beliefs why he felt that God and evil could not coexist while at the same time declaring God omnipotent. Got that?

Well I felt it easy enough to ramble on for 4 pages about what this guy's beliefs were and I had some opinions of my own as well. Philosophy really does have a lot to do with questioning God. I am glad I am really beyond the point of questioning my faith is such a way. I am not all that concerned with others philosophies on God and I don't really care to argue anyone else's opinion. I believe what I believe and I could give you 8 billion reasons why but eh, I just don't feel like it. Is that bad? I figure my faith is a personal thing. However when it's homework I can go on and on. haha

Friday, October 2, 2009

Almost 20 Months in Remission

I am pretty sure the official date I found out I was in remission was February 8th, 2008. I am also fairly positive I wrote about it on this blog so I could go back and find it for sure. I like reading back through my old posts for many reasons. I remember so much all that I felt. I remember the fear and uncertainty. I also remember the faith and the hope I had during that time.

It's hard to believe it's been almost 2 years. My blog has become less about me and the cancer so much as more about Gabbi and how she has grown. As I said in the news interview I did, she is a symbol of me getting better. Each day she grows, each new word she speaks, everything she does is just an outward sign of each second that goes by that I am cancer free. I'll judge the length of time by her age truly. She'll be 2 on November 17th if you can believe that. Oh how time flies. haha I'll be 2 years in remission on February 8th. My radiation treatments had started on December 3rd of 2007 and I had the scan once all of those were done. That's when we knew the cancer was gone. It's amazing. I lived in constant fear the first year that it would come back. As time goes by I have learned my body is not exactly the same. I am more tired, I have remaining pressure in my neck and throat though not as severe of course as before. I have adjusted to these changes. They are now me and they don't scare me. I know I'm not out of the woods as my doctor told me Hodgkin's is something that will always be with you. It could always come back and though that's scary he doesn't think mine will. He said it's something you'll watch for the rest of your life, hoping to never find it. I will live with that.

I look at the pictures and videos I have posted of Gabbi in the past month and it just makes me think. I had just finished chemo literally. My last chemo was October 23rd 2007. I delivered her November 17th 2007. I began daily radiation on the 3rd of December. My life was a whirlwind in those days. It was harder when it all stopped so suddenly. I enjoy my checkups now. I like seeing my doctor and the familiar nurses. I like chatting it up and showing off Gabbi. I love the drive and seeing the familiar sites. It's not so bad at all.

Just a little reminder of what my Gabbi looked like on that wonderful day in 2007!




I always loved this pic of Gabbi and Daddy







Please don't forget to vote for me. Remember the contest? I made a clickable picture on the right of my blog!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just a Quick Note....A Car Crashed Into Gabbi's Daycare....


I posted this on my other blog and no, Gabbi was not there when this happened. The owner of the vehicle claimed their brakes went out. I pulled up to the daycare and saw this two days ago. I took the pic from inside my van when I pulled up. Someone just jumped the curb and sidewalk and crashed right into the building. I am just thinking wow. I am glad no one was hurt! There are almost always kids there. People walk up and down that sidewalk. There is an office on the other side.....not a classroom thankfully. Anyway I have been meaning to post about this. I was stunned.

And here is Gabbi after she gleefully stole my diet soda from Subway. Now I must stress I do not let her have soda...but I do on a rare occasion give her a sip. She wanted this so bad and she drinks from a straw so painfully slow that I just let her for the drive. She was so darn cute!



Oh and yes I painted her little fingernails pink to match mommy. haha It's her first time and let me tell you she loves it. She walks around saying "pretty!" while holding out her hands.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

She Was So Happy


Gabbi was very happy in that video I made yesterday. After that I picked up the girls from school and then we had to go to the doc for my oldest daughter Lexi. Due to the fact that Gabbi would not lay down when I wanted her to and the fact that I had to get the kids from school, run to the doc myself for a follow up on my TB test and then take Lexi to the doc, Gabbi did not get a nap.

Well on the way home she fell asleep, for about 10-15 minutes then she awoke with the most painful screech you have ever heard. It was the cry of someone who was not feeling well. I noticed her nose was totally stuffed up. It had not been earlier! I know she has been working on cutting at least FOUR teeth and she has never ever dealt with teething well. My other girls barely noticed it. Poor Gabbi does very poorly with it. Even ibuprofen never helped much. I bought teething tablets and they were heaven sent. It was like almost instant relief for her the first time I tried them so now I keep a constant supply.

Anyway we got home and she was crying pretty good. I tried to give her the teething tablets which she'll normally gladly take but she was so upset she wouldn't eat them. Thankfully they are almost instant dissolving so I just managed to keep her mouth closed long enough for them to dissolve and she couldn't do a thing about it. haha They helped. Within in 10 minutes she was happy again.

I sent her to bed that night after the tablets and some Motrin but she still woke up around 2:30 a.m. She has done this the past two or 3 nights. Now on top of that she cannot breathe through her nose at all. She has been sneezing and sniffling and all that. It came on so fast! My poor baby just fought taking a nap SO hard but I knew she'd be miserable if I didn't make her. So even though she screamed at me from her bed I held out and she did fall asleep. We'll both be thankful come tonight. She sleeps better at night IF she has a good nap. I am prepared for her to wake up in the night. She comes in and just sleeps with me rather than fight to put her back to bed. (which doesn't ever work) I still always put her in her crib first. Eventually the teeth will come through and she'll be back to her old self. I don't know what this cold will turn into though. I went to the daycare today and one kid had GLOBS of green goo coming out of her nose. I figure that is where Gabbi got it. As long as it's a minor cold we'll deal with it!

This is what having children is about folks. One minute everything is happy, lalalala, the next you never know what will happen!