Announcement of Life

Friday, August 31, 2012

One day this week

I truly believed that I would be home safe and sound while launching this blog. One broken leg and cancer throughout my body has changed my entire life. Last week on the 24th of August I was brought to the hospital by ambulance. My doctor thought that I might have a blood clot in my right thigh. Wow, this also happened to be the one day my dear friend Ginger flew out from Florida for a quick a special visit. But that 'one' day ended up in the Emergency Room at Torrance Memorial Hospital. The blood clot turned in to a broken leg brought about by the cancer having spread throughout my body and eating straight through the bone in my right thigh.

The cancer is old news for my family, at least four weeks old. With all of my life moving rapidly, I've accepted all news via lightning speed and morbid haste. My family is taking this within my usual thought that "it isn't good, it isn't bad, it just is". Rarely has anything changed my thinking as quickly as facing an 'end of life' tour. The best plan is to have no plan. Take each thought, each event, and each bit of news with one bit of salt.

I couldn't go to the Neil Diamond Concert last night, I gave those tickets to Shelby. I couldn't visit that 'one day' with Ginger except to invite her to a very exciting day at the hospital. Her entire day was to obtain the full information program of my medical distress. She flew back to Florida Saturday morning with her mission complete without a special visit and lunch. Just taking life as it "is".

I'll move right along to September 31, 2012 as this is the day I hoped to launch this blog. I figured it would be a promise worth keeping. Since I doubt if anyone imagined this news at this time in this way I honor my unique personality. With this writing I will be able to begin regular and irregular postings. I am only communicating via the blog through your comments. My staying quiet and much to myself I know you will all understand.

Be well, stay well and stay close.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

“Shelby, it's probably time to bring in your brother and sister home. Your mother might not make it through the night. Your mother appears very ill and her fever is not subsiding. It’s just to be safe.” The doctors agreed that medically we might be near an end of life event.

I couldn't understand one word. I just wanted to go back to sleep. "Janice, Mom - wake up!" No - Sleep! I just want that warm soft sleep. And could someone turn off those bright lights. Dave was just as shocked, what could they be talking about? Janice just has a high fever, an upset stomach and couldn’t wake up.

Mom, David is in Arrowhead, and Paige and Roger will here tomorrow along with Brianne. What? I’m just sleepy, why are coming here? Just let me go to sleep.

Mom, here is the doctor. "Janice, how're you feeling? Your fever seems to be remaining high. We have to do a biopsy on some spots on your liver. Will that be okay?"

All my mind could hear was "La la la la - sure!" "Mom, you must try to listen and try to understand. You have some unusual spots on your liver and it's probably cancer.  We must know for sure and you must understand this process completely for the doctors. Can you understand and sign this authorization form?”

All this time I'm looking over Shelby’s shoulder to the nodding head of Dave, whose word and approval I always took when I had no idea of what to do or say, even when partly unconscious. His full brain had the ability to run all of my essential subroutines. When I'm this off-track I just surrender by default. Thirty-six years of marriage does allow that form of mind meld. And I didn’t care about anything - sure a biopsy that’s a new one. I’ll sign the authorization and yes I’d need another pain injection.

The whole room, hall, surgical center, bed, stomach felt warm and rough. I just went from one place to always returning to a family face of Dave or Shelby.

Eventually, I would be moved out of the ER into a private room. A private Cancer Room on the 2nd floor, just down the hall from the cafeteria. Then struck with, “What?  Chest xray and brain MRI would follo. Shelby went home for the night and Dave could sleep in my room.

I still had no recognition of any of my regular doctors. The morning of day two brought the family. Two daughters, one son, two sons-in-law, one granddaughter and two grandsons. Oh My GOD -this is serious.  It’s Friday the 13th of July. The first cognition of serious distress was the “Friday” part, my son and sons-in-law needed to be at work.

My grandchildren need not be at the hospital. Such a sad and somber group. I still had no clue that they had been informed that I might be dying. I felt fine - of course I was getting ample pain medication through my new picc line, a rather permanent IV port. As they needed that access path for my chemotherapy. I’m still not locked into a cancer diagnosis.

At one point I became the mom again and told everyone to “stand-down” and go back to work.  I’ll be fine. So they all began to look puzzled and readied to say good- bye. When my quiet 12 year-old number one grandson leaned over to whisper directly into my ear, “Grandma, I really love you!”  I got it - I got it ALL. I still lock up with that memory. Neither a grandson or a grandmother ought ever have that living and loving experience. The verbal words continued around the room as will this tale next week. “I love you”, can end any story for that moment. The next ‘Ticket to ride’ will be out of the hamlet of denial.