Western education 2013

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

..... stir crazy

..... when you are an A-type personality - being told to lay low and heal is like asking a two year old to sit still when the Wiggles come on the Family network after they have ingested a bowl of sugar soaked Fruit Loops.......

The pain is slowly subsiding although the nerve is still protruding out the armpit and of course the healing incisions are still an angry purple color..... so when do I get to return to the life I know and miss so well? Apparently not for a while!! It is taking longer to heal from the second surgery and I am not bouncing back as quickly as I had initially expected... that would explain the time it took to wax my car with one hand and the extreme exhaustion that ensued. Good thing it was a sub compact!! Uncle Paul just went about sanding, priming and painting our Adirondack chairs in the garage while keeping an eye out - he didn't say much, didn't have to - his expression pretty much said it all. He expresses concern later at the dinner table about not pushing myself too hard and stressing the need to just take it easy. Max sits at the table staring at me and quietly asks me if I am OK. He agrees I need to keep busy because he knows I am going stir crazy but he also verbalizes his concern about taking longer to heal. I know they are both right but still.... I am home alone now since the kids have returned to school.

Saturday is FAIR DAY!!! I am not sure how long I will last but agree to attend the long anticipated event. Lydia is ecstatic and runs along the sidewalk to the entrance squealing as the excitement builds. Uncle Paul is smiling, he is looking forward to the family adventure and teases Lydia about the rides. She is up for the adventure and surprises all of us with the streak of fearlessness in her face as she goes from one adult ride to another!! Max goes on some of the tamer rides with them but brave Uncle Paul goes on the more daunting ones. She jumps down and is off running to the next one without so much as a stumble. The day is hot and sunny and I am wearing down fast.... Uncle Paul is not an avid sun worshipper and also seeks the shade along side me. I run into a number of people I know including close friends Tonya and her daughter Anita and a few minutes later with Brenda, Robin and their two daughters. We promise to meet later but I am unable to stay long enough to do so.... we will see each other another day. I run into a good friend later in the afternoon and she beams and waves when she sees me. 'Thank you!' she says. I ask why and it turns out that she was afraid to go to her doctor but when I told her about my journey, she made arrangements to see her doctor and they discovered 3 cysts in her breast... she was terrified she had cancer but resolved to go ahead and bravely face the news. What a relief!! Her smile is infectious and so are the hugs that follow!! More hugs and kisses and it's time to go. I am glad that my girlfriends are so smart - this is the second one to go to the doctor's after my diagnosis. Peace of mind is so important and fear should never stand in the way.... delaying can be devastating!! There are more people I run into on my way to the washrooms. Mitchel is not feeling well and we search the area for the closest ones. We finally find the washrooms and Mitchel makes his way into the men's room. A few minutes later, a young woman pushing a handicap young man guides the stroller to the side. He has blood on his face and out of his nose - it has pooled onto his shirt and has soaked in. She looks around and is met by a group of women who offer some help in the form of napkins. I have assessed the situation and find myself in the women's washroom wetting down one towel and carrying the dry one in the other hand as I make my way over to her. She is grateful that someone has taken control of the situation. She thanks me again as I escort Mitchel out of the building. My parents were always ones to take over in any situation and help out - Mom was a Guide Leader and my Dad an Electrical Engineer - I clearly remember a situation out at Percy Rock in the east coast - the tide was out and an elderly woman had collapsed on the rocky shoal and began to shake violently. My father rushed to her side and put her in the recovery position when the seizure ceased and although her son was beside himself and couldn't speak english my parents managed to calm him down and assist her.... I remember seeing the foam leak out the corner of her mouth. Years later in my grade 8 class, I came to the assistance of a classmate who went into a Grand Mal seizure - I knew exactly what to do and was able to prevent serious physical injury when I moved the desks out of the way - the ear piercing scream emanating from him in the chair behind me made me spin around as his eyes rolled up leaving them an eerie white, his body went rigid and then fell from his chair onto the floor where a second ago was a desk. He finished his seizure without injury.... there was so much panic around us with kids screaming and crying and running from the room. Roy was a young east Indian fellow who was always being picked on from some relentless classmates but I had befriended him months before.... that's when he told me he had epilepsy... just like the lady at Percy Rock. If he had not told me, I would not have quickly recognized the symptoms when they happened. I will always try to help others and am not afraid to take a lead role in assisting when others stand by... thanks to my Mom and Dad for always showing leadership and good examples to us when situations arose. I have passed that on to my children. The sunshine feels good as we step out of the shadows and back to Max, Paul and Lydia who are heading in our direction. I am very tired and after a few games, Max has decided it is time to grab our favorite Fair food on our way out - this has become our tradition and of course Miss Lydia chooses cotton candy, there is a candy apple and caramel corn for Max and myself and unfortunately Mitchel forgoes the treats this year due to his braces. It has been a fun day.

On Sunday Miss Lydia and I attended Tina's baby shower - little Miss Gabriella is now 7 weeks old and growing fast. Tina looks amazing and has already dropped the baby weight and smiles easily from her chair. We are celebrating a new precious life and it brings back wonderful memories of my own pregnancies and all those months of nursing - the cancerous tumor was tucked neatly into a milk duct and probably the one that caused me so much grief with the last baby when it became infected - I wonder if that was a sign or maybe the halter top I wore all last summer by the pool with a pink ribbon pin with a lovely jewel that sat pinned just over where the tumor was discovered nine months later - about the time it takes to make a baby..... I cuddle Gabriella and breathe in her lovely baby fresh smells and my thoughts take me back to times with my own little miracles. Life is wonderful!! I am still so tired and need to sit down often, something foreign in my world.

Sunday comes quickly and we are all not looking forward to Oma and Grand Dad taking Uncle Paul back home. He has been mediator and protector, game player and story teller. He is patient and soft spoken and is a wonderful companion on the days that I just need to sit and watch TV. We laugh and comment on the crazy shows we watch together. I will miss his company when he returns home but know that he will be back. No matter how crazy a household can get with three kids, we know he will miss us just as much. Thank you for everything - our door is always open to you!! My in-laws are spectacular people and I am the better for having them in our lives. Love you all so very much. I miss my parents.... they are getting elderly and are set in their ways - they do not want to leave their farm. I know they are worried about me and I gaze down at the angel pin my mother has sent me - it is pinned next to the pink ribbon (the one from my halter top) - and I think of her. I have not seen them for the better part of two years and now will not see them for a while yet to come. I have not lived at home since I was shy of 17. Life was tumultuous growing up but I am blessed by the lessons and the values they did pass on to us - ones I have chosen to pass on to my own children..... everything else got sorted and some got thrown out. I sometimes reflect back on my early years and am relieved to find that my children are happy and well-adjusted. I am grateful and feel incredibly blessed that they were gifted to us. We make sure that dinners are always spent together - it gives us a time to touch base and to talk about our day. Our lives are so busy but never too busy to have that precious few hours every evening together. I am learning to appreciate the time I now get to spend with them after school - Lydia gets her homework done with Mommy and we have fun before bed doing stickers or reading. The boys find their way in and usually join us in the big bed to laugh or just talk.

Monday was a quiet day....

Tuesday I went in to work with a few things to do..... got sidetracked and never did accomplish all that I set out to do - I call that a brain half-full!! It was great seeing everyone and thanks to Mark for the coffee and chat. It is hard to be there as a visitor and not there to work. Shahid looks great as we shake hands in the hallway - always one to crack a grin!! Thanks Keri for being there for me, it is always appreciated. Mandi and Annarita - thanks for being such wonderful friends and for dropping in at my home to say hello. I can feel the fatigue pick up as I leave to go home. I am there for my kids just as they walk in from school. Lydia has her planner to show me - I have left a note for her teacher informing her of our lives at home and her return note is supportive and kind. It is always best to let those around your children know what is going on - this allows them the insight so critical to raising healthy children. My return note acknowledges her kindness and I look forward to meeting with her on Thursday at 'meet the teacher' night.

Wednesday - Today I am not accomplishing much except to write my blog and do the endless stream of dishes and laundry. Tonya has dropped by and I help her get the paperwork together for her to apply to College in the winter term..... ah the college.... she is terrified that she will lose her way and might not like it - I assure her that within a few weeks, she won't want to leave. I miss everyone there too!! This afternoon I have a doctor's appointment with my wonderful GP and I will talk about the next steps... I have two appointments to see a Medical Oncologist (chemo) in early October and a Radiation Oncologist a few weeks after that..... let the games begin!!

I would like to thank Jeff R. for being such a great and supportive friend through this journey. I know it is difficult for you and I deeply appreciate your kind words and the valuable experiences you share with me - I think of you often. xox We will get together soon.

Everyone you meet has a story and like the woman I had the pleasure of talking to at the nail salon who has had a mastectomy, is still in chemo and knows she will lose another breast soon. Her positive attitude and outlook is a marvel considering her awareness that her cancer is extremely invasive and having to cope also with the debilitating shakes of what looks like Parkinson's - I did not ask about that - but here she was getting her beautiful nails repaired because the chemo caused them to fall out. Another woman sitting near us joined the conversation - her husband had been going through cancer treatments a while back and she had her own scare 20 years ago with breast lumps that turned out benign. Three women having their nails done.... who would have guessed? The lady with the cancer turned to me and thanked me and then offered me her name and number on a sheet of paper that I immediately tucked into my wallet - anytime you need any questions answered, just give me a call. I am humbled once again by someone who can reach outside themselves to help others..... we all smile at each other and kind words are exchanged between three strangers that have now something in common. I wish it was something else... but this journey has shown me that there are more out there than I would have ever thought or imagined - my God, we all need to remember that EVERYONE has a journey of some sort or is going through something with someone else - be kind to each other, you just never know.

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