Friday, April 3, 2009

My mom is an ass kicker

I'm not talking about the "you're momma wears Army boots" kind either!

Several years ago Mom fell and broke her back. Her bones in her spine were too brittle to do surgery, so she spent many weeks in a rigid plastic brace. Barb came up from Florida to help with Mom's care. It was during that time Barb discovered lumps in the armpit area under Mom's left arm.

The clinic system in the neighboring town was using rent-a-doctors. The one that told Mom she had cancer was leaving the next day to go back to Florida. The doctor told us Mom had breast cancer, and showed us an x-ray with several white dots on it. The doctor said she would make arrangements for Mom to see an oncologist at a clinic about a 40 mile drive away, then she would be back to answer questions. The doctor never came back!

Mom had a wonderful oncologist. A young German doctor, that was tall and thin. When Mom walked next to him, she looked like a little girl. The correct diagnosis was very advanced lung cancer. The tumor was inoperable in Mom's right lung, and the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes on her left side, including those in her neck. That meant a chance the cancer had spread to her brain. After several tests and surgery to remove the cancerous lymph nodes, it was determined Mom's cancer had not spread to her brain or other vital organs. Finally a sort of sigh of relief.

During the consultations with the oncologist, he talked to Mom about what kind of treatments she would undergo. Mom agreed to chemo, and told the doctor she was going to "kick cancer's ass." She did too!

Three years later, Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in her left breast. Doctors made it clear that this was a new cancer, not the lung cancer coming back. Again, Mom was determined to win the battle. Only this time, she would have to fight along side a new oncologist (the German doctor had moved on).

Mom was told she had to have chemo (again), because they didn't have a way of knowing if the breast cancer had spread. You see, because they had removed the lymph nodes when she had lung cancer, they had no nodes to test.

If I wondered the first time Mom went through chemo, I wondered it even more the second does someone make the decision to poison themselves? That what chemo is. I watched in awe as the nurse put a chemical into Mom's veins that was so caustic if it touched human skin it would cause severe burns. Again I wondered, how does someone make that decision.

At one point, Mom got so sick from the chemo that she was hospitalized. The next time we went to the oncologist, while we waited for the doctor to come into the room, I told her that if she didn't want to take the treatments, she didn't have to. It was her call. Mom's answer was to the point, "Why would I stop, I've come this far?" For a second time, Mom kicked cancer's ass!

Both of my folks have amazing attitudes when it comes to fighting diseases like cancer. They take it in stride, almost as if they don't know anything but to put one foot in front of the other. What amazing parents to have.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A never ending love story

Through the wonders of the Internet, tonight I talked with the events coordinator at Truman's Little White House in Key West, Florida. During our conversation, he suggested that someone video tape my parents telling stories of the olden days. Of their youth. Of their time together.

My parents met when my mom was 15 1/2 and dad was 17. Mom had been out with a friend of hers, that was my dad's cousin, Vi. My dad's oldest brother was with the group. My dad went to find them. If I remember correctly, drinking was involved. Dad gave Mom a ride home. He said he kissed her goodnight, and watched her stagger to the door. He was in love.

When Dad got home that night, he told his mother he had met the girl he was going to marry. Grandma asked who the girl was, and when Dad told her Mom's name her reaction was, "The Hell you are!" Seems years earlier Grandpa had been a witness at a wedding, where the bride was very pregnant. The couple getting married had the same last name as Mom. Grandma thought that very pregnant bride was Mom's mother.

Only after Grandma interrogated Mom about her lineage were Mom and Dad allowed to go on their first date, partridge hunting. Grandma's mind was eased, because Grandpa had been witness to one of Mom's aunt and uncle's weddings. The unborn child in attendance was Mom's cousin. Grandma loved Mom too.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Dad lied his age to join the Navy. He was stationed in Hawaii, as a mechanic. He has told me he wrote letters to Mom everyday, as a way of being able to talk to her. Mom was still in high school, and she proudly wore Dad's pin in her school picture. It was in one of those many letters that Dad says he proposed to Mom, then eagerly awaited her answer. He knew she would have to talk to her father first.

On September 1st, 1945, my parents were married. Dad wore his Navy uniform, and because of silk rationing, Mom wore a gray flannel suit. The older brother Mom had been with the night my folks met was the best man, and one of Mom's good friends was maid of honor. Dad didn't get discharged from the Navy right away. Mom has reminisced about taking the bus to California, to live with her new husband.

Over a span of 18 years, Mom and Dad had 5 children. When my youngest brother was born, during the Viet Nam war, my oldest brother was in the Navy, on an aircraft carrier. I can still remember him coming home to a baby brudder.

My brothers and sisters have given Mom and Dad 11 grandchildren. Some of those grandchildren, to date, have given Mom and Dad seven great-grandchildren. The tribe, I'm sure, will continue to grow. The oldest great-grandchild is a young woman of 16, the youngest a little over a month old.

Mom and Dad's story is not a unique one, it was repeated thousands of times by their generation. What awes me still is their never ending love for each other. Dad still gets tears in his eyes when he talks of his love for Mom. And she, when the lights are out and no one else can hear, will tell him how much she loves him.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I've always had

an irrational fear of thin lips. Not on any one else, but on me. I believe most people have an irrational fear of something, so it's not unusual, right?

My parents used to have full lips. Over the years of raising five kids, and many challenges, their lips have become thin and drawn....tight. I believe that is where my fear comes from. I don't want that to happen to me.

Lately, on the internet there is a bombardment of ads for lip plumpers, volumizers, enchancers, glosses, etc. Many celebrities are getting their lips "plumped". Perhaps they have the same irrational fear I have. They have inspired me to do something, to make sure my irrational fear does not come true. So, I checked my savings, counted my piggy bank and saw how much I had in my checking account. You know, kind of pooled my resources, to get the best that I could afford.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eye candy

I joined a health and fitness club a couple of weeks ago. I hadn't seriously worked out since I moved to Montana. That is quite a change from the 1 1/2 hours four times a week I used to do. I love to work out. My main focus has always been resistance training, with aerobics being second. I do two days of upper body and two days of lower body, followed by aerobics, and one day of just aerobics. Gives my muscles time to rest and repair themselves. To date, the routine has not made me a muscle bound babe.

The "club" I joined has some serious equipment for muscle work. Ladies, let me tell you some of the muscle bound cowboys I have seen! Goodness!! The other day after a good lower body work out, I got on a Tread Climber for my aerobics. I'd like to think it was how tired my legs were that made my knees buckle, but that would be a fib. It had to be the hunk of an Adonis that walked by at just that moment.

When I was on eHarmony, it seemed every match I communicated with asked me what I found physically attractive in a man. I guess number one would be a pulse! Nah, that's not it. I always gave the same answer, "When I look at a man I look at his hands, hair and teeth first. If they look good, then I'll look at the rest of the person. Of course, he could have strong muscular hands, nice thick hair (or, lately even a shaved head is appealing) and nice teeth, but if he has a bad personality then none of what I am looking at is attractive. The entire package is part of the attraction, not just the physical." Then I would add that it doesn't hurt if he looks good walking away in a pair of Levi's.

Really though, I am not into eye candy. I'm more into substance. A good sense of humor, intelligence, common sense, honesty, being true to oneself so you can be true to others, and being down to earth are among the things I look for.

Although I am not ready to jump yet, I always like to look. Like I said it doesn't hurt if he looks good walking away in a pair of Levi's, dreamy sigh!