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 passes...my 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.