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Cam

Life in hospice is going well. I can’t say enough about how nice the hospice nurses and other hospice workers are. The social worker has been a Godsend in helping Dude and in helping us tell the girls what’s going on.

Telling Cam and Teeny the truth, that I’m not going to get better, was the most heart breaking things I’ve ever had to do. It is NOT easy to tell your children that you are dying. Listening to them cry was one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. Not being able to fix it is the worst feeling in the world.

Dude and I decided to deliver the news to the girls last Saturday afternoon, a few hours before they had to go to church. Teeny has been consistently lighting a candle for me every week and she finds a lot of comfort in going to mass with Dude. Cam doesn’t complain about going nor does she get real excited. Dude and I thought they might find some extra comfort in going to church after talking to us earlier in the afternoon.

I’ve been too sick to go to mass for a while so Dude takes the girls by himself. He said that each girl was snuggled up as close and as tight to his side as they could be during mass. And of course, Teeny lit a candle as she always does. When she got home she told me that she still believes in the hope that I’m going to get better. God, how I wish that little ray of sunshine was right.

It’s not that I’ve given up hope but I’ve accepted my situation. I still take it day by day because I don’t know how I’m going to feel day by day. Take today for example. I might sleep all day long like I did on Tuesday OR I might feel fantastic and full of energy like I did on Friday. Every day is a crap shoot and I’ve just got to roll with it.

During the week the kids asked questions and spent more time “taking care” of me. In fact there were arguments over who was going to take care of me so I had to schedule their time out. They’ve also been busy cleaning and helping around the house.

My kids are strong but they have been dealing with cancer in their lives for five years. I hope the lessons they’ve learned and continue to learn make them stronger and don’t scar them. Although how do you tell an 8 and 11 year old there’s a lesson to be learned when their mom dies?

Well, I’ve got them surrounded by great people and a good support system that I hope pulls through for them. That’s how you do it.

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A Note For Santa

by Lisa on December 24, 2008

in Cancer Sucks, Dude, Kidz

My youngest daughter is eight years old and in the third grade.  Going by those statistics I’d wage a bet that this is the last year she’s going to believe in Santa Claus.  In order to prove that he exists she tests him every year by throwing  in a monkey wrench on her list.  This year is no different.

I dragged my sick body out of bed and just spent the past hour and a half on her monkey wrench of 2008.

This year she crafted a list of gifts for Dude and I to give her and a separate list of gifts for Santa to give her…along with “A Note For Santa”.

Santa, please may I have a picture of your reindeer, the North Pole, you, Mrs. Claus, and all the Elfs.

Can you please take me on a trip to the North Pole before you leave?

You can wake me up, I promise I won’t tell anyone except my dad, mom and my sister!!  I will just show the pictures to them, no one else!!

I took care of the pictures by using Google and printing them out and putting them in frames.  I wrote a letter to her like I was Santa and explained that I just didn’t have the time to take her to the North Pole with all the gifts I have to deliver.  Of course I let her know that it didn’t mean I, Santa, didn’t love her…maybe we could do the ride another night.

I hope she buys that.

I’ve never seen her so excited about Christmas as she is this year.  At 7:00 am this morning she couldn’t sit still and said, “Mom I’m just too excited to sit still…this is going to be the longest day ever!!!”

As sick as I feeling right now, I’m just as excited about this Christmas as she is.  If I had to write a note to Santa I’d just thank him for giving me a child like Teenie and Cam, and a husband like Dude to spend the holiday with.

Happy Holidays,

Lisa

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Girls With Glasses

by Lisa on September 22, 2008

in Cam, Cancer Sucks

While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.

~Angela Schwindt

My oldest daughter recently started junior high school. She’s made the transition pretty well or at least much better than I had expected.  The hardest adjustment she had was conquering her locker but from what I understand, she wasn’t alone.  Most of her peers had difficulty with the locker.

However, I worry about her everyday.

Cam has always been a shy child making it difficult for her to make friends.  Up until the last week of summer vacation we thought her best friend was going to attend the Catholic school.  Since Cam didn’t really make that many friends in elementary school we feared she was going to enter junior high completely on her own.

The thing that makes Cam remarkable though is that she doesn’t mind that she doesn’t have a lot of friends.  It truly doesn’t bother her.  She’s at school to learn and so far, her grades reflect it.  We are able to check her grades online and she’s got straight A’s in every class.

There’s a really stupid rule in the lunch room where once the kids sit down they aren’t allowed to move from their seat.  Sometimes Cam’s class is the first class in the lunch room and she finds herself a seat.  If her best friend doesn’t see her or chooses to sit with some other kids, then Cam eats lunch all alone.

This kills me as a parent because I can’t stand to know that my child is facing lunch, the social setting of school, all alone.

Yet I ask Cam if it bothers her, we discuss it and every time her answer is always the same, “Mom, I’m fine with it and I don’t care.”  Always with a smile on her face.  That smile that tells me she really is O.K.

It makes me angry that other kids won’t take the time to get to know Cam because if they would they would find out how smart and how funny she is.  What they see is a girl much smaller than they are, with glasses who is really quiet.

One of these days those kids will give her the time of day and see all of the great things I see, that I know about my daughter.  And if I know my kid, she’ll be very particular about who she will call her real friends.

Until then the best I can do is to be here for her every day, tell her all of the great things I see in her and make sure she knows how proud I am of her. Of course I worry about the day I might not be here…that’s the toughest thing to think about.

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So today we started another school year. Teenie started third grade. Cam started sixth grade. Cam was the tough one to let go of today. The image of her face is still burning in my mind.

I know, I know…I talked about this yesterday but I sent my baby off to Junior High with teenagers and she’s just 11 years old. If I wasn’t sick, then I’m sure I’d be drinking vodka martinis at 11:00 am in the morning. Well, maybe that’s extreme but I’m worried sick over how she’s doing. Don’t tell me she’s fine either…it’s my job to worry about her.

This morning Teenie was throwing a fit over what to wear as it was time for Cam to leave for the bus. Earlier I had agreed to drive her up the street to the bus stop and hang out in my car until the bus came. I asked Cam if Dude could take her so that I could avert Teenie’s fashion crisis and she said, “No, I want you to take me.” She wanted her mom…she wanted me.

We drove up the street to the bus stop and Cam got out of the car. She looked across the street. She started walking over to the bus stop and then turned around. She came back to the car so, I unrolled my window. I looked at her face and there were tears in her eyes. I could see how scared she was too. She didn’t know any of the older kids at the bus stop.

Just as I was reassuring her that it was O.K. one of the girls in her grade was walking up the street. Cam turned around and ran across the street to be with her. Still, I can’t get the image of her teary eyes out of my mind.

For me it’s bigger than just the first day of school. It’s about being sick and the real possibility that I won’t be here when Cam graduates from high school in six years. Or that I won’t be here to see her off to college. What if she has those same doubts and fears? Dude can’t fix it like I can.

I realize that I’m making it a bigger issue than it needs to be but I’ve been walking around the house with a huge lump in my throat all morning. So to me it is a big issue.

I don’t want to have cancer anymore. I just want it to go away. I’m sorry that I’m not very inspirational today. I think getting up at 5:30 am in order to get two children ready for school has me a little cranky.

Send candy corn.

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It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn’t. ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Around this time twelve years ago I was walking around this house with a five pound baby in one arm and an apnea monitor strapped over my shoulder. The high pitched alarm of that apnea monitor going off at 3:00 am made my heart stop because it was telling me that my baby wasn’t breathing. Really she was breathing, it was just too shallow for the monitor to detect. Little did I know it was just the beginning of how she would test my patience.

The early days of her life were filled with visits from occupational and physical therapists eager to give her the best start possible. My days were filled following their directions to avoid the chance she would have cerebral palsy and developmental delays.

It was like I held my breath for the first year of her life waiting…waiting…waiting to see what would happen. Would she have mental retardation as the neonatologist predicted? Would she have cerebral palsy as he predicted? Would she have severe developmental delays as he told me over and over again? It was an agonizing game of wait and see.

I gave up my career dreams for her and not once have I ever regretted it. I gave her everything I had and more so that she could have the best start in life. Sure my start into motherhood wasn’t typical. Most new mothers don’t start out motherhood visiting the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 125 days before they bring their baby home but that’s just the way it was…you know…it is what it is.

What I never thought would happen is that she’d make it this far. Tomorrow she embarks on a whole new chapter in her life. My little 15 ounce preemie starts junior high school without any developmental delays and with the rest of her peers. She finished last year with almost straight A’s (there was one B). I couldn’t be any prouder of her than I am at this moment.

The transition is going to be a tough one. There will be a lot of new kids, a locker and changing of classes. I have to have faith in her. I have to let her go and hope that she will be O.K.

If there is any blessing in the fact that I have cancer then it’s that I’m not able to work so I’ll be here for her when she gets home. I’ll be here to help her with her homework. I’ll be here to help her succeed and become the best student she can be. I can give her the patience and understanding that only her mom can give her. That same patience and understanding I gave her as an infant.

She won’t let me walk her to the bus stop tomorrow because she’s too old now. However she will let me drive her there so that I can sit in the car until the bus comes. That way I’ll know that she’s fine and got on the bus without any problems. God, it’s so hard to let her go and to let her grow up.

No matter what Cam…you will always be my special miracle baby and I’ll always be a little protective of you. Now go out there and knock ‘em dead kiddo. The world will love you just as much as I do…I just know it!

In other news I have four bracelets for sale today. Just click on the images to make them bigger. If you have any questions about the bracelets please contact me at [email protected] I’m making more bracelets today so don’t worry if you miss out or don’t see something you like today.

You may also notice some of the prices are higher and that’s because I used much higher quality beads, spacers and clasps. I’m still charging a relatively low price based on the materials I’m using and my profit margin is also relatively low. My bracelets are also come with a guarantee should it break I’ll restring it for free the first time. If you don’t like it you have 14 days to return it for your money back as well.

Enjoy!

[wpsc_category=4,full]

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What A Day

by Lisa on August 4, 2008

in Dude, Kidz

Sunday was more than I could have imagined it to be, more than I could have dreamed and every thing I hoped it would be. There aren’t words to describe what happened to the four of us but it was extremely powerful. I’m still soaking it all up today.

Thank you for all your well wishes. It was truly an amazing experience to renew our wedding vows in the church and to have our children baptized at the same time. At the end of the ceremony the Monsignor said a healing prayer that left me in tears.

So, today I’ve been relaxing and thinking about what a wonderful day our family had.  One that brought us closer to God. One that we will never forget.

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Twelve Years Ago

by Lisa on August 3, 2008

in Uncategorized

What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I’m sitting here drinking my daily morning cup of coffee and Dude is sitting on the couch reading the Sunday paper.  Cam is laying on the floor playing her Ninetendo DS and Teenie is watching Spongebob Squarepants.  Both kids are begging for Dude to make homemade Belgium Waffles and for me to make Cheesy Eggs simultaneously.  Ah, a typical Sunday morning at our house.

In a few hours all four of us will be out of our pajamas and dressed up.  The girls and I will wear very pretty dresses and Dude will wear a suit.  It will probably be the first and only time we will look this special.  Thank God there will be pictures.

As Dude and I are going over last minute details of everything happening today we make Cam practice the Lord’s Prayer just one more time and pray that she remembers how to bless herself at her baptism.  It then occurs to me that this weekend is our anniversary…

Twelve years ago this weekend Dude and I had our first date.  He invited me to his house, the house we live in today with our two children.  I remember going through his CD collection to find out what kind of taste in music had and how he scored MAJOR points for having all of the Rolling Stones albums in his collection.  We had very similar musical taste which was really important to me because there’s nothing worse than being in a relationship with someone who listens to music that you detest.

Dude also scored high points on our first date because he made me dinner and served it on his (well, now it’s ours) backyard deck.  He grilled hamburgers and served them with a mini-fixings bar, potato salad and baked beans.  It wasn’t a gourmet meal but it was the way he made it and the way he served it.

I remember how relaxing it was hanging out with Dude and how much fun he was.  I also remember how big this house seemed 12 years ago when it was only him living here.  Now that there are four of us that fill these walls it seems so tiny but it’s gone from just a house to a home.

Twelve years ago on our first date Dude told me he saw himself as a father.  He told me he couldn’t wait until the day he has his own children so that he could do all the fun things fathers do with their kids.  There’s no doubt that he’s done his share of that with Cam and Teenie.

When I look at Dude today and think about that weekend 12 years ago my heart and stomach still get that fluttery feeling that I had when I pulled up in front of his house that day.  That excited, “Oh my God, I’m going to have my first date with DUDE!” feeling.  I love him more today than I ever could which tells me that having my marriage blessed is the right thing to do.

Having our children baptized today and including them with our marriage blessing just brings us closer together spiritually.

Imagine if I never had those flying toasters

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