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The calm before the 5 week storm.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The news last week was kind of worst case scenario. My Dad 's bone marrow cancer worsened and he now also has Leukemia. The prognosis is not good, but there is some hope. I am trying not to focus on statistics too much and just stay positive.
As of Tuesday he comes to Siteman Cancer Center to begin a 5 week intensive chemo treatment. It's going to be really rough on him. Mom is moving in with us to be with him (we live 10 minutes from Siteman). There is more of a mortality risk than I want to deal with, and the success statistics are not great, either. And this is all to try to get him into remission temporarily so he can have a stem cell transplant, where all of the statistics get even worse.
That's just the news, not me being pessimistic. His mortality keeps surprising me. I was relieved when a friend who has lost both parents told me recently, "this is harder than the actual death in most ways". It has been such a hard few years. You would think that I would be used to the other shoe dropping by now. But it always hits me right in the gut and sucks the life right out of me.

In addition, having my Mom around this much is going to be trying. We have a really, really good relationship; I am luckier than a lot of folks in this regard. I like my Mom. But the past years with my Dad's illness has shown that her living with us makes me go a little crazy. It's not even her fault, I just start to put all this pressure on myself about meeting her every need (prior to her even realizing it herself). I feel terribly guilty when I am not sitting at the hospital with her. And she starts to drive me crazy after a few days. And that's not even getting into what it does to my marriage. Jenny and I don't have a perfect relationship, but it's pretty awesome, because we spend a lot of time and energy taking care of each other. When my Mom is here, all my care goes to her, Jenny gets very neglected, and then (understandably) starts to distance herself a little bit emotionally. It's a rough cycle. We are talking about it a LOT to try to get some perspective before it happens. But it's like I go a little crazy.

But already this time there are signs that this time might be different:
I am blogging right now
I am tracking still
I am working out most days
I am really watching my food
I am still choosing not to drink
we are getting together with friends today so they can help brainstorm ways we can stay healthy, and then they will keep us accountable.

I feel really positive so far about the choices we are making, despite this monster of grief that is no riding shotgun with me all the time. It takes a lot of my energy (and makes me yell at my sweet if not maladjusted dogs).

I'm going to try to keep checking in here as much as possible.

Thanks for all the support, for real!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hang in there Annjie!

    With all that is on your plate it sounds like you are a true hero...both for yourself and your family!

    1857 days ago
    Oh my gosh, so much going on. You've gotten a lot of great advice and support in the previous blogs. Please let me say that I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers and I'm always SO glad when people can get great care at Siteman and try to take care of you!! emoticon
    1858 days ago
    annjie, I am so sorry for what your dad and your family are going through. Having been there, done that with both parents myself, I have so much empathy for you right now. Just having your mom in your home is the best gift you can give to your dad. It's a huge relief off his mind and will help with his healing. It's also a gift for your mom, as she has someone to care for her so she can reserve her care for your dad right now!

    The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. –Thich Nhat Hanh

    Sending prayers for all of you! emoticon
    1859 days ago
    This is a hard time for you, but Siteman has some really amazing doctors. I was scared for my father, but they brought him back from stage 3 colorectal cancer, and its been six years. His odds were bad, but there are times where everyone is surprised and it turns out well. Stay strong and remember not to lose yourself at this time. Its easy to turn to food, and sometimes you just need it to get through the rough parts.

    The fact that you see all of this before it has started is really healthy. *hugs and prayers.
    1859 days ago
    I'm so sorry you're faced with your dad's mortality yet again. It's a hard thing to have to do over and over, and you're strong for facing it head on this time. I think you've made some really great choices for how to handle everything, and I wish you all the best. I hope your dad is able to have some good through all this bad. Actually, between you and your mom, it sounds like he already has a LOT of good despite the bad.

    Hugs to you all. I wish you all the best during this trying time. Thinking of you and sending prayers your way!
    1859 days ago
    The whole thing sucks. I went through this a little more than a year ago with my mother in law.Best thing I can say is to be your Dad's advocate. Give him his voice because he might want to say what he thinks the rest of you want to hear. And Jenny is going to have to buck up. This is not about her right now. (Sorry but I am brutally honest.). You will need space to process everything, especially if your Mom is staying with you. I was lucky to have had a great relationship with my mother in law. I was able to stand up for her as the woman I knew her to be. Cancer does not allow for much dignity and it comes with a helluva lot of fear. So hang on, it is going to be a ride. Advocate for yourself. Advocate for him. Ask for help and support. Allow people to help and support you. I wish you the best.
    1859 days ago
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