Thursday, February 25, 2021


Erin and I spent a very long night together in the hospital Friday. Her pain was difficult to manage. She remained strong and determined, just shocked by her pain level. She has navigated several surgeries and procedures these last two years and always shook off the impact. There was no denying this hurt. 

We spent Saturday trying to get on top of her pain. Fortunately by the evening, she was determined to go home where we put her on Tylenol and Motrin in a four hour rotation and slept in my cozy bed together. We both felt human Sunday; still tired but good. Erin was uncomfortable but not in significant pain by Sunday. The girl is as tough as nails. Friends visited and delivered flowers, treats and an adorable tee shirt. It says, "I've got 99 problems and a uterus ain't one".

Kate woke Sunday morning vomiting. She spent the day unable to keep anything down and sleeping away discomfort. Greg assumed care giving responsibility for her in the back of the house and I maintained my nursing role for Erin in our bedroom and bath. Erin could not get a stomach bug. It would be excruciating for her. So far, Kate is the only one who caught it. Thank God. 

But Erin was still Erin. In pre-op after explaining her final meal was Taco Bell, "nutrition is my passion." She later explained she is a "vision of health with the exception of some gynecologic misfortunes" when answering medical history questions. The anesthesiologist had blood clot prevention cuffs placed on Erin's legs and commented on her pedicure. Erin accepted the compliment and leg massage treatment,"I am fully indulging in all the spa treatments with my 60% disability." 

We had pots of soup delivered to our door. My parents brought pizza from Donato's in Lexington and so many snacks were sent in care packages. Apparently our "vision of health" is well understood. She is loved best with a full belly. She received so many gorgeous flowers I asked to spread them around the house because my bedroom was looking like a funeral home. 

Tuesday evening I pointed out the first few nights after surgery were reminiscent of Erin's newborn months as we lacked quality sleep and had several interruptions. Monday night, I was only up once with her so we decided that represented her toddler years. Greg quipped, "bring on the empty nest phase so I can get my roommate back." Erin is in no hurry to surrender his side of the bed. 

Our family decided an after dinner treat was a welcomed excuse to get Erin out for a short drive Wednesday evening. The DQ drive thru was more than enough to overwhelm her but she was glad she pushed herself to get out for a few minutes. In truth, we later learned, our stubborn first born had over estimated her progress and was considering going home and back to work by Monday. She needed the reality check. She will likely need to have limitations highlighted frequently before her six week disability ends. 

We got her pathology report and confirming she was free of uterine cancer was an enormous relief. My eyes leaked each time I told someone. This battle is finally over. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Curve Balls


Last weekend, Greg and I slipped away to order his suit for an upcoming wedding. Greg as a groomsman after all these years is somewhat unexpected. He just hopes he can keep up with the younger bachelors in the coming months. The suit will be sharp and my forever Valentine was quite overdue for an update. And since we were out and so close to our favorite Cuban restaurant for lunch, a real date was in order. We didn't make it to Home Depot though; we spent all our money at Joseph A. Banks.

The winter weather was once again exaggerated and blown out of proportion. Greg had to work an overnight shift to keep ramps clear for UPS even though the overnight accumulations never arrived. Ty went to bed with his snow suit ready, anticipating the foot of snow he was going to play in. The dusting that finally arrived that afternoon was pretty disappointing for those who were eager to see the first wave of what was supposed to be record breaking amounts of snow.

It's as though scientific predictions aren't perfect and the media exploits worst case scenarios. Weird.

But we tried some new recipes, watched documentaries, and spent time with the animals who are wondering if we are still employed because we have now had nine snow days. I resumed some long forgotten knitting and lamented not having an unread book in the house. Powering through two novels last week left me at a deficit. 
Tuesday afternoon the hospital called to reschedule Erin's hysterectomy for Friday instead of March 16. She was eager and I was left once again reeling from the latest curve ball. But the extended snow days allowed me time to prepare for her to spend her recovery with us. Neighbors delivered flowers to cheer me up, a gift bag of comfort items was dropped at our door, and a pot of soup was promised for surgery day. We have been bombarded with support and we are grateful.

Ty, being updated on the changes immediately requested we get pancake mix and chocolate chips because he makes her breakfast after procedures. It's his thing. The boy doesn't often let us see his sweet side but he steps up when it matters.

This morning, I sent my girl into the OR, ready for her total hysterectomy. The anesthesiologist prayed with us prior to taking her back. She was in good hands.

A friend picked me up for lunch to help pass the time. Surgical waiting is banned during the pandemic and the parking garage was a balmy twenty-five degrees. Tonight, another friend sent dinner to the hospital. My people are incredible.

As I sit at her beside tonight, I am relieved. The pain indicates this on-going situation is finally ending. She deserves the peace this surgery promises. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Ice Storms and Heartbreak

On Monday I traded school car rider lines with Ava's mom and loved the change of pace. I asked about her day and she very dramatically declared it the longest, most boring day ever because her teacher wouldn't stop talking and said too many words. I failed to contain my laughter, imagining my five year old friends likely feel the same way about me. I mentioned how much I have missed her and she said, "duh! I was quarantining!" Her mom, needing a moment's peace has decided she is picking up the big kids on Mondays so my chats with Ava will be my Monday highlight from now on. I win.

Ice was the unwelcome theme for the week. Our first snow day of the year was needed. The second was accepted. The third and fourth were annoying. I'm ready for spring. But my house was cleaned, the taxes were filed, the air track resumed its position in the living room and some baking took place around e-learning school work. I enjoyed a nap with the cat who rarely chooses to sit with me. Perhaps it's because I rarely rest long enough for him to get comfortable. But Greg mentioned predictions of massive snow storms expected next week and I snapped. The same media that has pushed "scientific" based predictions for the last year has enjoyed also pushing weather drama and I am over all of it. It's not science. It's guess work based on the need for ratings. Rational? Probably not. But I am decidedly ready to tune out all of it. Ya'll pray for Greg. His wife is losing her mind. 

She is special.

The kids weren't able to play outside much as we literally only had ice. Snow is much more enticing. This; however, is not a request for more.

Video chats with Austin are delighting us all. He has been bear hunting as a dinosaur wearing his mommy's shoes. Based on how little I have worked these last weeks and the weather forecast for next week, I wish I'd headed to Georgia where they are complaining it's ONLY in the fifties. Bless their hearts. Hands down, I would take fifty degrees with my favorite two year old over ice storms any day. 

His bear hunt body language is amazing.

Becky spent the week slowly dying. It was a brutal process for her children to endure. As each update poured in, I prayed for peace. But I lacked it myself; wanting her joy to continue filling her family's world. I will miss my friend and her entertaining life mottos like, "well, I have divorced one husband and buried another. One isn't bothering me anymore." She had a way of rolling with the punches and laughing along the way. It goes without saying, she is leaving a void. I am specifically heartbroken for her son who spent his twenty-seventh birthday watching his mom slowly concede to death after losing his dad suddenly when he was two. Life simply isn't fair. I love you Becky and will always miss your beautiful smile, laugh and direct truth telling. Rest easy, my friend. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Cancer, Covid and a Snow Day

Erin and I met with an incredible doctor at the Norton Cancer Institute this week. She was thorough, compassionate, smart and exactly who Erin needed. The cells have not only attached to the cervix again but they are migrating up into the uterus. Dr. Parker was relieved Erin wanted the hysterectomy because she is out of other options. As it stands right now, she will be having a partial hysterectomy on March 16. She needs to have some additional testing completed to analyze ovary function before determining if a total hysterectomy will be the final decision. I am obviously praying the ovaries can remain for her overall long term health but am slowly reaching the point of accepting this is well beyond my control. The entire situation is. Erin is relieved. My heart is quite heavy. 

There were some big feelings. Chocolate was required. 

Lauren and Austin both have mild cases of covid. Lauren also had it in September but was much sicker then. Her current symptoms were dismissed as sinuses and allergies for days until another child in Austin's class tested positive. Taylor has had one vaccine and is due for his second but will be tested on Monday as he too is mildly symptomatic. But Lauren sent me a meme Friday that indicated quarantine may be wearing her out.

I miss them all. I hope despite Erin's surgery, we are able to see each other over spring break. That baby is good for my soul. The whole family being together is too, even if it can get rather chaotic. Listening to phone calls between sisters about Erin's appointments and hearing them laugh and love well indicates we didn't get it all right parenting them, but they show up for each other.

Remnants of a snow fort after a slight warm-up in the sunshine 

Ty finally returned to the classroom on Tuesday after scoring a snow day on Monday. He was ready to see his teacher and friends again. E-learning was lonely. Wednesday he returned to his reading support program and left school that day completely defeated and overwhelmed. The program was designed to be a service for kids who struggle but a new face in that classroom has grossly misunderstood her role. Given how little head space I had for conflict, I withdrew him rather than attempt to problem solve. The impact of my knee-jerk reaction didn't register until the following morning where Greg, the stoic one in this marriage, confirmed it was the right call despite the way I handled it. Ty has made entirely to much growth in confidence this year to allow it to be sabotaged by a misguided teacher we happen to know won't back down from her methods despite what would best serve her students. Apparently my respond vs. react mantra has limits. Or room for improvement. 

She still sits on my lap regularly; the fact she doesn't actually fit a mute point.

Kate finally had some girlfriend time this week. Sister spends the vast majority of her days alone and it concerns me. She has one best friend and is selective about who she allows to get close. In the long-run, this will serve her well but for the time being, it can be rather isolating. Covid restrictions won't likely permit her back into the high school this year. She believes this is amazing but I have serious reservations. 

Makenna is working three part time jobs and attending four classes this semester. We catch glimpses of her around dinner time most days. But it's fascinating to brainstorm with her about students who struggle in the classroom; as she works with special needs learners. What I am gleaning is that we all have special needs at times and my kid has some excellent advice for the smallest of friends.