Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Ring

It's official.  Tanner has given Cearra an engagement ring. It's my old ring given to me by Tanner's father many years ago that I had tucked away in a safe place. 

I know they are young and have a lot in front of them, but they are so crazy about each other.  I debated long and hard before I gave it to them. I took into consideration their youth, the fact that they've only been together six months, all the obstacles and hurdles they will face - and then I stopped and thought about all the obstacles Tanner has already faced.

Six months of daily chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, and two years of weekly chemotherapy (with no end in sight at this point) - and a future lived with Multiple Myeloma.  I want him to experience life to the fullest.  I want him to have happy moments....

So, it's official.  Tanner and Cearra are engaged.

I am here again, in a familar place feeling something I've felt before, and wondering why... But, I'm glad I have a second chance at it, a third, a fourth... and I know that if I need another chance, I'll get it... You stumble, get up, and go again.  This is life... and I'm still here...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

As a Family

Do you know how much a mother loves her child?

I was fifteen when my oldest brother was killed and I watched what it did to my mother. My other brothers and I lived with what it did to my mother. It hurt my dad terribly also, but the day Dewane was killed altered my mother from that day forward. She was never the same - and the day, many years later, when we had to decide to take her off life support, my brothers and I knew she would be relieved, at that point, to be able to let go and move on. She loved all her children, but losing one of them destroyed something in her. Part of my mother died with Dewane.

I loved my brother so much. He was my hero growing up.  The oldest boy who teased me, picked out my favorite dress for me when I was in the third grade, who stayed home the night of my first date and took pictures with me - and then came and opened the car door and made me get out when that boyfriend brought me home and decided to kiss me in the car before walking me to the door. I loved him so and I mourned him deeply. I still think of him daily (and it's been 35 years since he died) but I never truly grasped the pain my mom must have felt until I had my first son. I talked to her one day after Trevor was born. I told her I didn't understand how deeply it was possible to love until I had my son and that I was sorry for not understanding how much Dewane's death hurt her. I expressed to her that I didn't think that I would ever be able to love someone as much as I loved Trevor. She told me that I would. She told me that if I ever had another child, I would love him as much as my first son. She told me she was sorry for ever making me doubt her love and that she loved all of her children equally.  Losing any one of us would have hurt her to the same degree as losing Dewane.

As usual, my mother was right. Tanner was born and I loved him immediately with the same mother's love I feel for Trevor. So, how much does a mother love her child? Equally and overwhelmingly...

The day Trevor was sent to a locked down drug treatment facility at the young age of 17, I thought the pain would destroy me... But we survived. As a family we all survived.

The day Tanner was diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 17, I thought the pain would destroy me... But it's been two years - seven months... and we are surviving. As a family we are surviving.

I love my sons.  I want them to feel joy, love, happiness... I want them to experience all the best life has to offer. I can't live their lives for them. I can only let them go to live their own lives always confident in their mother's love.

Families are about love overcoming emotional torture... Matt Groening (The Simpsons)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Well, another Valentine's Day has come and gone.  Not one of my favorite holidays, but this one wasn't too bad.  Nice and quiet...

Tanner took Cearra out to the Cheese Cake Factory for lunch and then to the movies last night.  They made a whole romantic day of it!  Young love!!

I've been taking my medicines and my life has calmed down somewhat, so things with me are better right now.  Cross your fingers!

I went to Paris, TX this past weekend.  Aunt Tincey was there and she is nearly all healed from her wreck.  I asked her if she thought she would ever drive again, and she said she's already driving - though she was so stressed the first time behind the wheel that her shoulders hurt.  We all went out to eat with my Uncle Little Boy (Doyle) for his birthday and it was such a nice time seeing everyone once again. It's funny how much time can pass between visits with extended family.

Everything with Tanner's health is sailing along calmly at the moment and he doesn't see a doctor again until March 2nd so right now, he's just having his weekly chemo appointments.  He had his full body scan, but we won't get the results until the visit in March.  I tell myself if anything unusual had shown up, they would have called in him to see the doctor. So, I guess that old saying applies, "no news is good news".

"One forgives to the degree that one loves..." 
Fran├žois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

First Appt with Dr. Short

Well, it was my turn to have a first doctor's visit yesterday.  It's been over two years since I've been to a doctor. Not having health insurance, doctor's visits are almost a "luxury" that I've denied myself for several years now.

Two years ago, I went to see Dr. McDougal and explained to him about Tanner's diagnosis and my struggles in trying to return to a "new normal" life, the thoughts of depression I was dealing with, and my inability to sleep through most nights.  He told me, "You aren't depressed. Look at you. You've lost weight, you're taking care of yourself, you're going to work. You aren't depressed. This is just life and you have to live it."

Well I've been trying to "live it" for a couple of more years now - and I'm still not sleeping through the night.  I take Tylenol PM or Benadryl or Melatonin - and nothing gives me beyond 4-5 hours of continuous sleep.

I "function" for a while and then I start quietly falling apart again... and it's been years.

People talk to me and give me their advice... "You have to let go of what you can't control"... "You have to look on the bright side"... "You just have to put your faith in God"...  All good advice. All things I know. Advice I wish I could follow, but I am who I am and that's a person who has always had depression issues.

My childhood... My childhood had "issues" and I've been plagued with migraines all my life.  I carry my worries and fears inside. I try to lean on my friends, but when "it" starts taking me over, I pull away and I internalize.

I was fifteen when my oldest brother was killed, 27 when my mother went into a coma and slipped away, in my thirties when I lost my dad, around 40 when my youngest brother lost his battle with drug addiction and shot and killed himself, I've watched my own son battle addictions and endured him being locked up for years,  I've loved and lost, I've trusted and been betrayed, I have a son with incurable cancer.

It's true.  This is all just "life"... It's all things many many people live with and endure all around me. I'm not special or different than most people I know... Everyone has issues in their life. No one has a "perfect" existence.

I went to my cousin's house this weekend and had such a wonderful time, and underneath it all is "everything"... Everything pressing down on me. A constant presence in my life. I talked to Kathy about it and she understood. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and she understood... because she too lives with "depression" as a constant companion always following in her footsteps.

I function.  I put on my makeup and I dress up and I go to work. I go out and laugh and have fun - but then I also struggle.

So yesterday, I went to another doctor and I talked with her and she understood and I'm getting some help.

There's been a rash on the back of my right shoulder and it's been there for more than six months. Sometimes it's painful and flares up.  Sometimes I can get it under control by using hydrocortisone cream and Aveeno baths, but it's been there for months and months. The doctor told me she thinks it's shingles and is caused by stress so here in a bit, I'll go to the drugstore and pick up my prescriptions and I'll hope for some relief.

I will be okay.  I know everything isn't hopeless.  I know there are many good and positive things in my life.  My oldest son seems to be winning the war with his addictions at this point in time and has a good job with a hopeful future. Tanner remains in remission and is building a life for himself - and is in love. I have beautiful grandchildren that I love with all my heart. I have friends who are always there for me.

Things will be okay and I'll continue to "live"... I just needed to seek some help.

"What do you do when you first learn to swim? You make mistakes do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you make all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning - and some of them many times over - what do you find? That you can swim"...Alfred Adler