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Now let's try this again.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

I'm getting back on the wagon...rebooting the mindset...trying again.

If you've followed my blogs so far, you know I blamed a lot of my poor eating choices over the last year to my dad dying of cancer. That wasn't the whole story, but for my own psyche, I'm going to share it now.

Last June (a little over 13 months ago) dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. At 84, he was an otherwise very healthy guy. This came out of left field. He went through intensive chemotherapy and radiation. By the end of September, we were preparing to say goodbye. It was during those heart-wrenching months that I refused to worry about my weight or what I ate. It was a poor excuse, but an excuse nonetheless. This is all stuff I've referred to in previous blogs.

By mid-October, a miracle had happened. Dad rounded a corner and was on the mend. By Thanksgiving, he was painfully thin, but otherwise completely healthy! He had gone into remission! I can't tell you how over-joyed we all were. It was so unexpected.

My mom and dad have been married for 62 years. When dad was sick, my mom prepared herself to say goodbye. As he got healthy again, my mom stayed very guarded, but happy. We all enjoyed the bonus time so much. Never a day went by without feeling the gratitude for still having dad with us.

In late May of this year, after a day of water volleyball (yes, my 84 year old dad and my 85 year old mom were in the pool fully participating!), I noticed dad's ankle was swollen. After asking a few questions, I rightly guessed a blood clot and took him to the hospital. His leg was clotted from thigh to ankle. He was in overnight and put on thinners. We went home and hopefully back to normal. It was on the ride home with mom while dad was in the hospital overnight that she told me that she thanked God every day for her extra time with dad, but that she knew she would lose him by August. This sounded crazy. I assured her the clot was nothing to get worked up about...that the thinners would do the trick....that dad was otherwise fine. She knew differently.

The month of June saw dad acting mostly healthy, but losing weight rapidly. At first we thought it was a side effect of the blood thinners. By July, we knew it was something else.

During this time, my mom and dad had talked a lot about how they wanted to go out. Absolutely no medical intervention they said. DNR-CC was their agreement. Both of them. The thought of going into the hospital to prolong the inevitable was abhorrent to them.

On July 19, my sister called me to say dad had "taken a turn for the worst." What did that mean, I asked. She said he obviously had a stroke. Numb right side, slurred speech, unable to remember certain words. That was in the morning. He refused 911. He refused to go to his doctor. This was it for him and he was at peace with whatever happened. By that night, he had lost the ability to walk at all. By next morning, he lost almost all speech. And still, refused all medical intervention. We got hospice involved. My 5 siblings were called in.

Dad hung on for 7 days, finally going Home on July 25. I was holding his hand. My mom held the other. My sister and brother there. I can still feel the pain and the relief, all bundled up together.

Dad's cancer had returned and ravaged his insides, he knew. He had no intention of going through chemo again.

I don't think anything will ever be as sad as watching my mom say goodbye to my dad. Theirs was a true love story. They raised 7 kids together. They grieved together when cancer took their oldest daughter. They lived a wonderful and full life together. And now mom was alone.

I asked her how she knew she'd lose him by August. She thought about it and said "I think God told me." I think He did, too. He wanted her to prepare as best she could. Mom is strong...stronger than you can image. She sleeps with dad's sweater under her pillow, I'm sure snuggling it close before she drifts off to sleep.

My sister and her husband moved in with mom the day dad had the stroke. They are the most selfless people I know, and mom is in good hands. She'll stay in the house until she sister won't put her in a nursing home or anything as she declines...she'll stay home like dad did. But mom will be with us much longer. I come from hearty stock.

So I took about 10 days to grieve and eat ridiculous amounts of calories and not walk a single extra step. Then I used a few excuses. Today I'm re-committing to a healthier me and getting back on the wagon. I've logged breakfast AND I paid attention when my fitbit told me to move. Here's hoping I can get back in the zone. Right now, I'm most certainly NOT in the zone, but I figure, fake it till you make it.

One step at a time.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    What a beautiful love story. My father-in-law passed in almost the same way. 65 years of marriage; raised 6 wonderful children together; fought cancer for 8 years; almost lost him in January; was blessed with 10 additional months. In September, my father-in-law hosted a huge pig roast for all his relatives, friends, and caregivers to "celebrate that he was alive." In October, he passed away.

    I don't know what brought me to your page today, but it helped me to remember the LOVE.

    I so connected with your pictures on your page. "I've done it before... successfully" and "how did I gain the weight back". I hope wherever you are that you are happy & healthy.
    669 days ago
    My sympathy to you & your family. It's very hard to take, but I understand & support your father's choices - my mother was similar.
    715 days ago
  • no profile photo INCH_BY_INCH
    emoticon emoticon
    839 days ago
  • no profile photo CD23266885
    My condolences to you and your family. emoticon How wonderful your folks shared such a long love affair.
    839 days ago
  • DINIE123
    prayers go out to you and your family. I am proud of you for getting back on track so fast, now one baby step at a time and you will get there. Remember this is a time you have to take care of yourself. Good luck, you can do this. emoticon
    841 days ago
    Losing a parent is this pits. What a remarkable family you have to be so close and respect your parents wishes I'm sure you can regain(oxymoron) and start losing again. Bless you.
    841 days ago
  • no profile photo CD23403922
    Exactly. Fake it 'til you make it. I'm so sorry for you and your family's loss. May his memory always be a blessing to you.
    841 days ago
    so very sorry for the loss of your dad he would want you to keep stepping forward he will be near every step that you take.
    841 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13354694
    emoticon emoticon
    841 days ago
    So sorry for your family's loss. Best wishes to you and yours during this major transition. Hugs to you as you find your way back to taking care of yourself.

    841 days ago
    Prayers for you and the family. So sorry for your loss.

    I agree with fake it until you make it. I think it works!
    842 days ago
  • no profile photo CHAYOR73
    My prayers to you and your family................ you're so fortunate to have your mom. But, even in the

    greatest pain, life goes on and you need to take care of yourself, please do!! :)
    842 days ago
    Your story brought tears to my eyes and I'm so sorry for the loss of your dad.

    Both my parents are dead, but I feel their spirit through God with me every day. Still, I miss them yet I know one day we'll all be together in Heaven.

    While losing my parents was truly difficult, I know I'll one day probably have to say goodbye to my husband (since women usually live longer) and I don't know how I'm going to cope. I try not to think about it and continue to enjoy just being together. We've been married 45yrs and hope for another 45.

    It was special for your mom, you and the rest to be with your dad when he died. Doesn't always work that way and I'm sure it made him so happy.

    Take care of yourself and your loved ones as you know life is too short. God bless you!
    842 days ago
  • no profile photo CD23074764
    Words can't convey the pain of losing a parent. I am so glad your dad handled it so well, he must have had a close relationship with God to feel so at ease. May the good memories keep you through the journey. Getting healthy is a great way to honor his memory.

    842 days ago
    I am so sorry for your family's loss. But. it sounds like your folks had a wonderful time together. I have to say, I Love Hospice. After working in a hospital 25 years I saw what happens in the time before death and I hated it. It was driven home to my family when my father died, they resuscitated him over a dozen times and the toll on Mom was horrendous, one of her worst days ever. My sister and mom died at home thanks to Hospice and as hard as it was for us, it was peaceful and calm for them.

    And of course when these things are happening, our health takes a backseat. You will succeed in your own time, You have the motivation!
    842 days ago
    I'm so very sorry for your loss. Grief hits us all a little differently. Good for you for pulling yourself up and trying to take better care of yourself. Little steps will get you there.
    842 days ago
    That's so sad but remember he is in a better place now time to take care of you
    842 days ago
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