Photo taken yesterday - 4/19/2012
Yesterday morning I woke up and was ready to hit the ground running, but couldn't quite decide which way to run. The house needs a major spring cleaning (MAJOR), but I also had some running about that I needed to do. Thursdays can be a long day in this house because it's the day that Mark doesn't have school or story hour, although story hour is done for the year so now Tuesdays are long too.
With that in mind, I decided that Friday will be cleaning day and Thursday would be running day.
How could that NOT be a favorite activity? My dad and I got hooked on the pies sometime last year, and now we're on a mission to work our way through their entire pie menu. We kind of got hung up on the strawberry/rhubarb for awhile, and then he went through this few month stint where he was trying not to eat gluten, but now he's eating it again and yesterday we knocked another pie off our list. (the Lakeshore Crumb Berry)
We're convinced that they don't make a bad pie, but we feel it necessary to do the proper research and decide for ourselves.
My dad has prostate cancer.
I can share this here now because his family and employer now know and it's just easier for me if you know. After all, it's hard to share stories of hospital waiting rooms and wheelchair awkwardness if I can't share why I'm experiencing them in the first place.
Just wait until you hear my waiting room strategies.
We've actually known about his cancer since last fall, but what we didn't know then how invasive it really was. Now with a new hospital and a new set of doctors, we know that the cancer has metastasized to his liver and his hips and his spinal column and more and that while it is not a treatable cancer, there are ways to push back the symptoms.
The symptoms are different daily.
So it's a one day at a time journey. It's why my mom was here earlier this month because those two weeks were full of tests and being admitted and being discharged and I was wrung out. Having my mother here relieved the stress of those days greatly.
It's why now is the time for us to get a new van, because if the appointments become more frequent I sure don't need my dad complaining from the passenger seat about the lack of a/c on a 100 degree summer day, not to mention the very real possibility of ending up on the side of the road. We were due for a new van anyway. so it's time.
It's why I finally figured out how to set up the voice mail on my cell phone. It's why I check my phone during church - to make sure I'm not missing an urgent call from either my dad or the hospital.
It's why I got my hair cut, because right now I'm in keep it simple mode. It's why there might be some emails I've missed answering - if I've missed answering yours, hit me with it again.
And I'm left grateful, again, for wonderful neighbors who have been a huge help with my kids, and for teachers who are forgiving when I missed a signed slip or homework here or there during those weeks. I'm grateful for my lifelong friends and family who are checking on me and ready to lend a hand if needed. I'm sure at some point over the next couple/few years - I'll be needing them more and more.
It's not easy to need, but I'm grateful that I'm surrounded by so many people that make it easier.
I'm grateful that I have three brothers nearby and a sister who will fly in as needed (she will be coming in May, more for herself than for dad at this point - but as per her wishes, we have left all the house cleaning for when she comes, it wasn't easy - but we're eager to please) and that we are all on the same page and we all share the same humor and coping mechanisms which just makes everything easier. While my brothers work, and sometimes it just makes more sense for me to run dad here or there, my brothers have had no problems taking time off work when needed. I'm grateful for their understanding bosses (and mine) as well, because it would be impossible for me to do it alone.
As of today - things are stable. My dad is at home and able to take care of himself and control his pain. His spirits are good. Now that he's back on gluten, he's starting to put a little weight back on. He has started treatments and the appointments are further apart for the time being.
We'll see what tomorrow brings. Day by day.
Funny from yesterday: As Mark and I were picking up a pie, we also picked up a cookie for Mark. Back in the van and on the way to my dads I mentioned to Mark that we could eat a cookie or pie once we got to grandpas. Mark was dumb-founded. OR??????
Mark had both.