The Face of Leukemia

 

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The face of Leukemia is slowly starting to smile again. Her radiance glowing from under the shroud of another long stay. Its been another 8 long grueling days of high fevers, infections, blood work with crazy numbers, CT scans, swollen lymph nodes and skin so irritated that touching it or an accidental rub or scratch would leave strange marks.

This week Jacy endured another week long headache from hell, nausea, and a colossal loss of appetite. She lost more weight, became so fatigued that walking from the bed to the bathroom left her exhausted. She hallucinated under the spell of multiple pain medications and tried her best not to throw up when anyone was around.  The face of Leukemia has been drug through the trenches, fought the war, wiped the sweat from her brow then laid still wondering if there was more.  and there was…

Under the covers on top of the bed, warm or cold, drenched in sweat or so hot and dry the desert looks cool.  All this woman can think of is coming home to see her babies, her children, to be normal, a mom like any other.  The face of Leukemia is yearning to tell her kids to clean up their rooms, help them with homework, watch them ride their horses or simply walk by an open door at night, only to peek in and watch them sleeping peacefully.

No longer do the simple things in life feel mundane.  Nothing is taken for granted; for you see when the better part of 5 months has left you strapped to a hospital bed going through the metabolic changes her body has endured, something so simple as making school lunches for the ones you love feels like striking gold.  When you have nothing but time, and are trapped in a room with no hopes of escape the world begins to look different and so by her own admission, it has changed.

As for me. I can’t wait until she comes home. My children are the most awesome individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  They screw up and make mistakes like any other children but they are mine.  But no matter how hard I try a child needs it mom.  There are only so many things I can do or say to make-believe everything is all right. But children are not stupid, they see the distress upon my face, the furrow in my brow, they feel when my temper has shortened and patience worn thin.  They adjust, they try, but stability still needs to reign for normalcy to occur.

It has been a good long stretch since I have seen her million dollar smile; understandably so, yet it is what I long for. To see her strong, to see her laugh, to see her ride a horse again, to see her walk a set of stairs without becoming winded and then saddened for the memory of what she used to be. To see her triumph.

As for me? As for me, I have decided my problems shouldnt matter. My complaints are small, may pains irrelevant, my loss of sleep inconsequential, my stress load manageable. For as for me, I don’t have cancer, I have a healthy body, therefore I have no complaints.

Today she smiled, I surprised her while dropping a patient off at the ER. Popping in for a just a minute! Walking down the corridor I came to her room, slowly turned the handle and walked in, she was propped up, texting. I said in an altered deep voice: Excuse me mam we are going to need to palpate your abdominal area, can you please undress for me. With a startle she jumped, seeing it was me, she smiled. A big giant smile! The most beautiful smile I had seen in a very long time. It made my day, it made her day as she was happy and surprised to see me.  It was only for a few minutes as my Engine company needed to go, but she smiled. It was radiant, it was warm, she was beautiful.

The face of Leukemia is smiling…

Which must mean Cancer is losing….

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http://www.myjavita.com/javabetty

 

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Three sons

 

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There once lived a man who had three sons.

A smart one

A big one

and a, well a, very talented, exceptionally gifted, with a wonderful crazy sense of humor one.

These three boys were as different as different could be.

The smart one wanted to spread his wings and fly, see the world, make his mark all while bringing his form of justice to the unjust.  The smart one holds a higher sense of moral responsibility combined with a sly dry whit that usually becomes apparent for those who don’t understand by a wicked smile, etched upon his face.  He’s a charmer when need be, mean when cornered and generous when the moment suits him.  His eyes are piercing, mannerisms awkward at times, he is almost ready to walk forward into adulthood. Handsome and fit, he is everything he believes himself to be. Ready to mount up and ride off into the sunset. This son will go very, very far in this world and I know deep inside no matter what he does it will be a success and he will make it look to have been easy..

The big one- Well lets talk about the big one. When I speak of his size it is in reference not only to his outer appearance but his inner one too.  Big hands, big feet, big arms and legs. Big heart.  He loves a good laugh and is gullible as hell! His smile is infectious, his eyes bright and unassuming.  He will lift a tree off you if you promise to be his friend. He is neither dimwitted nor overly intelligent. Yet his mind works in ways that most with high IQ’s would never understand. If you need help he is usually the first to arrive and the last to leave, that is unless his feelings are hurt, then he mopes for a while, kicks some dirt, forgives you and gets back to the task at hand. He is every-bit the young man I hoped for and someday he will hopefully be every bit the man some mother had hoped her daughter would find.

The crazy sense of humor one- Sweet and cute, silly and timid, sly and outspoken, wild and at times overly emotional, this lad encompasses them all. There isn’t a young woman or mother who hasn’t doted over this charming, good looking young man.  He loves a good practical joke and will do or say just about anything to make you smile. Witticisms roll of his tongue like a barrel through Niagara falls.  He is a mammas boy and you better not hurt him or the smart one and the big one will make your life miserable.  Besides the last time those two checked this lad was brought into the world for their amusement.  He loves all things big and small, and has a deep sense of responsibility when it comes to the lives of animals.  Don’t let that cute smile fool you either, cross him and like the Tasmanian devil you will end up on the wrong side of a knuckle sandwich! Don’t say you haven’t been warned. This boy will always be a charmer and those around him will find him hard to resist.

The man spent all his time trying his hardest to raise these boys. Give them a definite sense of right and wrong, good and bad, all while recognizing the pure evil some people hold inside.  Manners and behavior, work ethic and rest time, just and unjust, teachings done while taking care of a family struggling through tragedy.  The man loved those boys more than anything in the world and wanted nothing more than to see them succeed in life.  Live to the fullest! Never, ever be afraid to follow your dreams, and never let anyone tell you; you can’t! The man spent endless hours working on them, honing them, shaping them for an unknown future, in hopes the work he put in would pay off in the end.  Oh they didn’t always see eye to eye and many times the man would growl like that of a cornered mountain lion only to get a sharp stab from one of the young juveniles wielding a stick. But in the end out of respect the three boys always came around to the mans way of thinking.

He loves them all and they love him.

There once was a man who had three sons…

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WHO DID YOU THINK I WAS REFERRING TOO???

Just Kidding

my kids

Oh yeah there is one feisty sister too, but thats for another story!

 

 

Keep Calm, its only been five months..

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(I apologize for not having written in a while, and though this isn’t the best, it hopefully will at least allow you all to know where I am at mentally)

Over the last 5 months plenty of time has passed for me to ponder the ramifications associated with cancer.

Endless days and even longer nights leaving me sleepless, cold, worried, angry, happy, sad, confused, and exhausted.  Staring outwards into a twinkling nights sky, or straight down at my feet, lost, strained, asking God why.  Ramifications indeed..

I have held a little boy who doesn’t understand why his mom needs to be gone all the time.  One day at home then vanished into thin air, only to reappear 7-14 days later looking gaunt, pale and exhausted.  This recurring abnormality in domestic motherhood  just doesn’t compute in a 9 year olds brain.  He needs his dad alright but there is nothing like the hug his mom can bestow upon him and the smile that shines on his face afterwards.

I have driven to games, practices, and rodeos alone. Elicited the help of many wonderful caring friends who dropped what they were doing without so much as a whimper to ensure my family was cared for in my absence. Helped (not well, but hey who said I was smart) with homework, read books and had books read to me, washed laundry, cleaned dishes, scrubbed floors, toilets, windows and walls. Watered flowers, cared for dogs, horses, goats and chickens.  Folded laundry until 2 in the morning to ensure everyone had the right clothes for school, baseball, softball, hunting, etc…. And yes in a very strange bedraggled way I have cherished every minute.

Don’t get me wrong I performed all of those tasks prior to Jacy becoming sick as well, but they were shared tasks, and as with all relationships, some portions were performed by a certain partner because that partner excelled in one area over the other. Laundry has always been kind of my thing,(especially the folding portion) where as homework has always been Jacy’s (college grad/teacher and all).

Cancer has brought my children closer to me, helped me understand a little more of who they are as people.  From seeing them handle this situation with their mother, to the inspiring abilities shown by the ones who have stepped up their games around the house during this time.  Their interaction with the hoards of caring people stopping by our house or cornering them in a park, they have all made me proud. It has been a very hard, long frustrating road, but that road has also been filled with love, understanding, caring and commitment.

Cancer also filled my heart with fear.  For every great moment I shared with our children, there was fear that Jacy would never see those moments.  Fear our children would become used to their mom not being around, fear that she would not win this fight and the children would be left devastated, emotionless voids.  Never remembering their childhood has one filled with great adventures, laughter, family and fun, but of the time their mother contracted Leukemia and perished. No child should watch their mother die. My fear is entrenched in losing faith. Something I have always had, a security which has kept me strong my entire life.  Fear I will lose that feeling of always “knowing” what to do, how to behave, which direction to travel. Its faith which has kept me solid in those beliefs, it is my faith in God which has laid a foundation for me to build upon. Yet what if my faith eludes me? What then? More fear.

Up days and down days, days filled with forgetfulness, days filled with unexplainable irritability, days filled with an abundance of love, and days filled with dizziness, nausea and sleep.  These are the emotional stages Jacy travels through.  Highest of highs and lowest of lows.  It’s a hard ride for me at times and it’s always an even harder ride for her. Yet each day is one day closer to the treatments being over, her body trying to heal itself and our lives returning to some form of normalcy.

She came home from her last treatment on Sunday.  It was a day of joy. Only two more weeks of blood transfusions and testing, cumulating into a bone marrow draw somewhere during the third or fourth week.  Many days ahead filled with more fears, watching her body decline time after time until her blood cells, both white and red begin producing normally on their own.  Then waiting..

Fingers crossed, all goes well and Jacy will be able to finally claim to be cancer free! Over the next couple of years she will do her best to lead a relaxed, non stressed lifestyle and we will continue to pray Leukemia never returns.

5 months, five long and lonely months.  I miss my friend, my spouse, the woman I love.  To have her home and whole will indeed be a blessing.  For five months I have slept alone many nights and like the true idiot I am, I never once slept in the middle of the bed! Always on my little 6 inch wide portion, leaving her side (which is 3/4’s the mattress) undisturbed. Out of habit or respect, I do not know, but wow, what an idiot! I really blew an opportunity to really stretch out and sleep like a king! It’s no wonder I never got any sleep! Oh well I digress….

A light is truly at the end of the tunnel, we can see it. Keep a prayer for us please, prayer is a powerful thing and I believe it helps keep my faith alive and her healing powers strong.

More to come, God bless you all…

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