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Remembering Dave

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  1. hey, I'm with you on wanting to call your Mom. I REALLY REALLY miss my mom. My husband Dave died in June and at the time Mom was recovering from a major liver surgery (colon mets to the liver). She cried on the phone when I called from the hospital to tell my parents Dave died - she cried because she couldn't come down to be with me. But she was always there for me to talk to between that time and when she lost her battle in January. I could always call her and TALK to her and she would be my mom. I really miss talking to her. sometimes I think it was harder to lose my mom than Dave but I think what it was, after he was gone I had HER, now I have no one. if she had died first, I would have had Dave to talk to and it would have been harder to lose him last. does that make sense? maybe. Mom never suffered. she just got weaker and weaker. Dave was in so much pain the last few months of his life and because of the pain, I started losing him. in a way that prepared me for his death I think. anyway, yeah, you just want to call your mom. I think I'm ramblig again.
  2. gosh, that's REALLY sad. especially with how fast she died, with your Dad right there trying to save her. I know you miss her - I lost my mom in january to colon cancer (after losing my husband to LC last June) and life is tough without a mom! But, your mom was a fighter and sounds like she had alot of spirit and spunk, and that is something to be proud of. Yeah, this website really kept my husband going. of course nothing kept him going like his precious little daughter, but this website gave him lots of extra encouragement. When I meet people with a loved one with LC I always tell them to come here. Lately, it seems like it's been nurses that I've come across dealing with my own post-cancer fight induced stress related illnesses. I hope they do come here. God Bless, Karen
  3. HA! I think I know that Katie, it's always facing a new challenge that makes me nervous - especially logistics with Faith. People that complain about their spouse (and yeah, I probably was one of them at one time) really get to me now. I have a friend of a friend - all chinese adoptive parents - this one lady is married to a minister who is a wonderful human being and they adopted their daughter about when we did. According to our mutual friend, all she does is complain about her husband. if her life is not JUST RIGHT every single day she becomes The Drama Queen. I say, gosh, get a life, lady! Look at what you got! Then I have another friend from this same group, with a bio son Faith's age. It takes both her and her husband to get the little boy ready for kindergarten every morning. She makes it sound like a military exercise. Alot of drama. She had a sinus infection or a cold or something one week, so she stayed in bed and sent us emails with blow by blows of how tough it was for the Dad to do it all by himself every morning. I'm thinking, either get up and help, or why is it so difficult for two grown people to get one small child ready for school? What would EITHER one of them do if they were ME? then it seems like about once a month she has to go out of town by herself (with her sister or something not completely alone) because she just needs to get away and can't take it . . . (take what?). Again, what would she do if she were me? I have to be "ON" all the time. And the biggest thing is, she has the nerve to whine about all of this to ME. I'm not sure if she knows I took care of myself AND Faith two hours after a 1.5 hour long procedure involving general anesthesia AND got her ready and drive her to school the next morning BY MYSELF. I'm actually kind of proud - and we will all see each other at a birthday party this weekend so I may have to throw some of those factoids about my last week out there just to see her reaction. OK, I ramble, but sometimes a hard time makes us stronger and gives us some bragging rights, right? Karen
  4. Thanks, Katie, that must be new since my infertility treatment, which I guess ended about 6 or 7 years ago. I looked hard at the time. I had a ton of expensive injectibles left over (I can't even remember why I got so much in advance now) and hated to throw it out, but I did.
  5. Hey, had the D&C - my Dad got increasingly uncomfortable over the details - like I said in another post, I could tell he wanted to be nowhere near that women's pavilion - so I got one guy friend to take me (chidhood friend, was my "maid of honor" in our wedding - no he's not gay - he introduced Dave and I and I've known him since 6th grade) - and another guy friend (yes, that one was gay) picked me up and took me home. he was great, he had to come into the post-op room and sign my discharge instructions while I laid there, but he didn't mind. My dad picked Faith up and brought her home, 45 mins after I got home! She was really good, and even the next day, and on the third day asked if she could start pushing on my tummy again - I said, you never pushed on my tummy to begin with, why now? LOL. but I will tell you it's taken me one full week to get over the whole thing. I have felt crummy in one way or the other since last Tuesday. today I woke up feeling fine for a change. So I got through it. and the doc didn't find the bad thing that might have been there, so I'm fine. one more thing to put behind me. Karen
  6. Hey, I know how you feel. I lost my husband to LC in June 2005. I lost my mom this past January to colon cancer. all I have is my 77 year old Dad, and alot of stuff makes him very uncomfortable. I had a D&C last week and I had to have someone drive me and take me home. The hospital even said I had to have someone stay with me at least overnight. an adult that is - not my five year old. Well, Dad was going to take me but I could tell he wanted to be nowwhere near the hospital women's pavilion, so I had one friend (a guy) take me, another friend (a gay guy) pick me up. Dad picked up Faith from daycare and brought her home - 45 min. after I got home from the hospital. I wasn't even supposed to drive the entire next day because I had anesthesia so late in the day, but I HAVE to drive Faith to kindergarten in the mornings, so I couldn't think of anyone to inconvenience at 7:30 am, so I drove her myself, fortified with alot of coffee. (my dad lives on another side of town from me) I have to put TWO emergency contacts for Faith's kindergarten and daycare, OTHER than me. I could think of no one other than my Dad. I finally asked my dead husband's boss's wife (who is a stay at home mom to three) if I could put her down. They are very generous minded folks and she didn't mind a bit. So far I've only had to put one emergency contact for myself and I use my Dad, but he's always out playing golf or going on date or working his part time job, so who knows if anyone would ever actually track him down. he has a pay as you go cell phone which he doesn't turn on because it's "just for emergencies." so talk about feeling alone - I know what you mean. You just sort of learn to deal with it, and ask friends for help, even though you know they're busy. Keep asking and SOMEONE will do it, that's what I find. Hang in there, Karen
  7. I took Dave's bedside commode that he actually never used to Goodwill. Alot of the stuff no one will take. You can't do a thing with drugs, I tried that when we did infertility treatments - I ended up with alot of expensive drugs I didn't use. I'd definitely check with hospice first, but you might have to suck it up and just toss some stuff. I felt the same way - wanted someone to be able to use things, but because of "health" reasons alot of personal items aren't donat-able.
  8. Oh, ya'll, I KNOW I'm doing well, but sometimes it's just so HARD. And sometimes I just want some time to myself! I'm having a D&C next week - having all kinds of fun female problems. I had my pre-op "checkup" at the hospital with an RN yesterday. I've had general anesthesia four times including two D&C's (but for miscarriages) so I know what to expect. But when the nurse asked me who would be taking me home from the hospital AND STAYING WITH ME I broke down sobbing. Because when I had these things in the past - one big surgery to remove uterine fibroids, two D&C's, Dave was ALWAYS there for me. (the 4th time was to remove my melanoma, and my parents took me because Dave was getting chemo that day - it was weird, his Dad took him to chemo, my parents took me for outpatient surgery.) Dave was always so comforting and sympathetic and took good care of me when we got home, and now, well, my Dad is nothimg more than a driver . . . and then she said someone had to stay with me that night in case I had problems - I hadn't thought about that - but I'm not going to have problems and if I do I'll pick up the phone and call 911. It all just reminded me how "on my own" I am, no mom, no Dave, just grumpy old dad. well, I'm glad as heck I have him, I am, but it's not the same! Pity party is over, I'll be fine! I just dread trying to explain to Faith why she can't sit in my lap or be picked up that evening. when I'm sick she gets scared to death I'm going to heaven, too! I guess the visit with the RN just reminded me just how much I am "winging it" right now. Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I have no clue what I'm doing!
  9. Don, my deepest condolences. You were a sweet couple and a great example of marriage - both you and Lucie were an inspiration, in her fight, your support and both of your determination to enjoy life. God Bless, Karen
  10. I just felt like checking in again. Faith is doing so well in kindergarten. Her teacher is wonderful. We've sort of become friends. She's keeping a close watchful eye on Faith - sends me emails when she notices anything amiss with my little angel. She is quite taken with Faith. I've told her that when Faith hasn't gotten enough sleep or is hungry the demon comes out in her. She saw it one day - I was out a little late going to a class at church of all things so Faith didn't get to bed until almost 10 pm. Lori emailed me the next day to tell me that Faith wasn't so nice to her friends. She thought it was because she wouldn't eat her snack. I knew it was the sleep issue and told her so. She's making sure Faith eats her snack and her lunch and I'm making sure she gets to bed on time. It's just so wonderful to find a teacher that understands the situation. I never could get any daycare personnel to get it. I think they just didn't care. This teacher recognizes how bright and smart Faith is and is committed to helping her develop that. I went to the school and had lunch with Faith and her little friends yesterday (the school actually encourages that). Faith was so proud to see me and so proud to show me her lunch that she bought. Her little girlfriends were so sweet and well behaved and so was she. It ws great to see her so grownup and proud. and again, it was something Dave would have just loved. I remember when he was in between jobs he was a substitute teacher for a short while and one week had a kindergarten class. I can just imagine him, the gentle giant, supervising 20 kindergartners. the funny thing is that not long after that I met a young lady at an aerobics class who was also a kindergarten teacher at that school and she got such a kick out of me being Dave's wife. she said he was quite the talk of the school that week! OK, I'm rambling. Faith is going to be Snow White for halloween and I'm going to be the evil stepmother. I'll have to take a picture. I haven't dressed up for halloween in ages. it will be so much fun! Faith said I could be the evil stepmother as long as I ACTED nice. Darn! hopefully I will remember to download photos this evening and I can post an updated avatar of Faith. God Bless, Karen and Faith
  11. Ok, so open house/orientation for kindergarten was last Thursday. After 30 minutes of speeches and introductions in the cafeteria we got our room and teacher assignments and off we went, shopping bags of supplies in hand, to find Faith's room and meet her teacher. We were walking down the hall and I just started crying. Dave wasn't there to experience that and he LOVED that kind of stuff. Most kids had a mom and dad with them. I can go on without Dave because he taught me how to be a strong person, but whenever there is such a strong and PRACTICAL reminder that Faith is missing out by not having him there it really gets to me. I told the teacher the situation - she hadn't read all the kid's registration sheets yet - and she was really nice - I gave her the reader's digest version of Faith's little tragedy filled life, ending with losing her grandmother. She assured me that she'd take great care of her and Faith would do well in her class. So today was the big day, the first day of school. Faith was so excited and so was I! I walked her to the front door and there were staff there to greet the kindergarteners and show them where to go. One lady asked if this was Faith and said she was going to be Faith's speech teacher, said, come on, Faith, I'll take you, we're going to be good friends, and Faith turned around, smiled and said bye bye mommy, I love you! I was SO HAPPY because I just pictured her clinging to me and me having a hot flash and sweating my butt off(been having those for some time) as I tried to peel her off me and physically hand her over to some asst. principal. didn't happen! I was gloriously happy - oh, and I got her to pose for a couple of photos by the front door, I had the presence of mind to do that! I only hope Dave can watch and is smiling and is as happy as I am right now. and my Mom. My Mom cried when she was dying because she was going to miss watching her grandchildren grow up. that was her only regret. she would have loved this moment. she would have driven over early in the morning just to take Faith's picture walking into the front door. but hopefully she's watching from heaven, too, and is happy and proud of Faith. God Bless, Karen this was quite a rant!
  12. I wanted to title this: "What Dave is missing - is it a good thing I don't have time to think about it?" but there wasn't room Faith is starting kindergarten next week. Frankly I am so consumed with getting through each day and just sort of surviving, I never stop to think about these milestones. Obviously I am now, having a quiet moment at work. It's just a little weird to think about and somehow I am glad I don't take the time hardly ever. And practically no one in the world realizes what my life is really like. I know others are in my boat but I don't know them. It's just Faith and I. I have my Dad, but he's 77, and he's trying to have his own life (dating! you go Dad!) and I'm glad he is - but I feel like the whole world consists of Faith and I, in our own balloon. We're all each other has. Sure we have other relatives, but they're not HERE, they're all off living their own lives, and we're living ours - even my brother and his wife and 3 kids, and they're only an hour away. I miss my Mom, because she was a big part of our lives especially right after Dave died and her cancer hadn't spread yet - she was even well enough to pick Faith up from daycare and take her home. We're doing OK, but with no one to help in a practical way, it is CONSUMING. To the point that I find myself no longer caring if I have a social life at all. For awhile I missed going to dinner with adults, going to movies, going to see live music, but I just don't miss it any more. I got so excited when I saw that "our" church is having a picnic on Sunday the 10th and that is something I could go to with both Faith and my Dad - something to do, that we can all go to! Just sharing some weird random thoughts and wondering if anyone else feels the same way - just sort of orbiting out there on their own? One of these days I gotta change my avatar to an updated picture of Faith. She's so grown up! Karen
  13. We had a busy weekend. I forgot to mention that Faith and I were going with my brother's family to the American Idol concert (go Elliott!). Elliott is from Richmond, where we live, and I really wanted to hear him sing in public, to see just how good his voice is unfiltered through the TV production. I love Taylor, but my fav has been Chris. Well, Elliot was by far the best vocalist, Chris, too. Elliott should have won, darn it all, but I do like Taylor . . . but Elliott, by far more than any other contestant, did something to improve himself every week. He took the judges suggestions to heart and acted on them. And that right there at least makes him the best sport, if not the best singer. OK, 'nuff of that totally off topic subject. So by Sunday I was pooped and so was Faith. We went to mass with my Dad and then hopped in his car and drove two hours to Norfolk, VA to take my older bro' out to lunch for his birthday. and it was actually Mom's birthday, and I'd sort of forgotten that until we were sitting at lunch and my Dad made an announcement (there were nine of us there) about remembering my mother, and I just started crying. But I got over it and we had a nice time. so we got through the day OK. Faith and I are always looking at photos of my Mom and of Dave, and talking about them. I don't have much, if any, video of my mom, my parents never owned a video camera and I didn't take alot of video of her. But Faith remembers her well. And Dave. It is amazing to me how clearly he stays in her brain. The bad stuff, and the good stuff. all of it. She's an amazing kid. It's really hard to lose your mom when you have a daughter, isn't it? My mom loved Faith to the core of her heart. Faith was truly her miracle grandaughter, and I'm glad Faith still feels it. God bless, karen
  14. of course, I miss the hell out of Dave. I miss having him to talk to every evening, more than anything. Sometimes I can't get past the last 2.5 years of his life when he was sick, my memory of our relationship is just of him being sick, never before that, which is kind of weird, but then again, the entire time he was sick was also the starting period of our life as a family with a child, so maybe I'm just remembering us as a family. But, a couple of things have hit me in the chest about my mom, who died from colon cancer in January. For one thing, she had these four blueberry bushes. Huge, healthy, thriving blueberry bushes. she planted them I think when she retired. she loved those things, and when the berries started to grow she always covered them with netting to keep the birds off. My dad even wrote in her obit "she was very proud of her blueberries and they were enjoyed by many in her community" - which is true - Mom picked blueberries constantly when they were ripe - even when she was barely strong enough to stand out there - and then gave most of them away. well, the blueberries are ripe now and my dad kept Faith on Monday because she was sick, and they picked blueberries together, so when I get there to get Faith she couldn't wait to drag me out to the blueberry bushes. frankly, it made me sad, to stand there with her, WITHOUT my Mom, picking those blueberries. I stood there picking and crying. Faith thought I was just sweating. Then, her birthday is this Sunday. I forgot all about it. We are going to lunch on Sunday for my brother's birthday, which is Friday. I was talking to my dad about the arrangements for lunch and he brought up the "what should we do for your mother's birthday" question and I just choked up. Ohmygosh it's her birthday - she LOVED birthdays, MADE us all get together whether we wanted to or not - and we still are - and for no reason at all I felt like I'd been sucker punched. I just miss her, that's all. After Dave was gone no matter how sick was she I could talk to her, now I have no one to talk to - my Dad, some - my shrink. My shrink doesn't think I need her now, at least not weekly, but she is almost my mother's age and I just like talking to her!! Just a vent here. now I feel better, I guess. Karen
  15. Oh, I agree with you Connie, but the parents are in agreement with the boy - I'll explain. They are bound to be "different" - for one thing, they named him "Starchild" Him, not her. Another thing, the area where they live - Chincoteague - it's an island off the eastern shore of Virginia - very isolated area, quaint little island - attracts alot of hippie flower child artsy types along with the old timers and fishermen who's families have lived there for generations. I'm guessing this family falls into the more eccentric of the population. And it's the Dad I think who wants to take the boy to Mexico for his herbal treatment. so they have every right to make that decision as a family. Personally I think they're wrong but it's not up to me, the courts or social services to tell them that. If you listen to talk radio or the news at all around this part of Virginia, you're hearing lots of details on this case. and I don't believe it's a case of the parents letting the boy just do what he wants. I think it is a family decision. The thing that's a real kicker for me is, he has some form of lymphoma that's supposed to be easily cured by chemo. Well, he's had chemo once and it came back. Dave had small cell LC which was supposed to respond well to chemo - especially in the limited stage which he supposedly was initially diagnosed with. Look what happened to him. On the one hand, if his lymphoma is easily cured by chemo then I think it's stupid not to get the chemo. On the other hand, he's already had chemo once - just like Dave. and he says that he felt like it almost killed him the first time and he doesn't want to go through that again. as far as that goes, don't be a weenie! so who's to say what's the right thing? Karen
  16. http://marriott.com/marriott.mi?page=smokefree Yipee. About to have my second stay this summer with Marriott. From now on, all my lodging will be done with them until other chains do the same. Karen
  17. yesterday an appeal judge ruled that the boy does not have to start chemo until his appeal is ruled on, and that the parents do not have to share custody with social services. franky, I think the kid ought to have the chemo, but I also think, more strongly, that he and his parents have the right to choose his treatment - not the courts, the doctors, or social services - so I was really glad to see him get a break. there was a poll on a local radio station, 95% responded the family should be able to do what they want, only 5% supported forcing him to get treatment. Karen
  18. Hey, everyone's got their personal feelings on this issue, and it might hurt others more than it hurts me. it's just something I don't let get to me. and you know, I have heard people ask when someone dies of a heart attack, I have heard questions like "were they overweight?" - stuff like that. I think I just answer the question with such EXUBERANCE that people can't ask another. I give them more information than they really wanted. ha. Let me tell you, there were more than a few times that Dave and I would be entering or exiting a hospital, and there would be a patient outside the door in their hospital gown smoking a cigarette, and especially younger people, he'd walk right up to them and say, you know why I'm here? because I smoked myself into lung cancer and I'm not even 40 yet. he'd get some looks but Dave never cared about what people thought. as he got sicker and weaker and felt lousier and lousier he just didn't bother. I think it's horrible your friend would insult your parents because they smoked. Back "then" smoking was very socially acceptable and in fact "chic" and no one knew how bad it was (or if they did they weren't telling). My good friend told me his elderly mom still smokes and he doesn't care - even if it kills her - because it's one of the few pleasures in her life. she's taking care of her youngest son who is permanently disabled and may not live much longer. I really can't argue with him about that. well, gotta run, but listen, I understand, but it's my way of handling it so I have to be honest about it. karen
  19. WOW! That's awesome. I like how it tells you what to expect, what is normal, and what specific things you should seek help for. excellent. I also feel sort of good because I think most of that stuff in the first year has more or less been the line I've been following. I may print this out from the original website and pin it up in my cube at work right next to The Mourners Bill of Rights (directed at my weenie boss who thought I should come back to work after Dave died and be completely normal. what a loser). THANKS PEGGY Karen
  20. Carleen - hang in there. One day at a time. I hate it that you had to go back to work. I think you should get some short-term disability or something and take a break. I didn't work for two months after Dave died - I took a month off to deal with it, and then another month to move. It would have been extra hard if I hadn't. Your family member (was it your sister) who hijacked you and took you to counseling at church only did it because she cares and is worried. I'd like to see you go, on your own, and to a clinical psychologist. And maybe you need a little time before you do that. This is a huge shock. Just take care of yourself and go slow. Don't know what else to say. I just hate this for you. God Bless, Karen
  21. You know I never get interrogated beyond the initial question and my blunt answer. I guess 'cause I answered the question. No one ever asks me anything like "would he have quit if he'd known he'd get sick" duh, of course he would have. He fought like hell to live for his little daughter. When he smoked he never dreamed he'd get lung cancer - that always happens to someone else. I answer the question, hope it makes an impact, and move on. Anything beyond that is A Stupid Question and I think most people realize that. Sorry, I just feel pretty strongly about this. I'm sorry if nonsmokers get stigmatized by smokers getting lung cancer. I'm also quick to point out to people when they ask the question that alot of nonsmokers die from lung cancer (look at Dana Reeves - but she work for YEARS as a lounge singer in smokey clubs . . . ). That doesn't meant she DESERVED it, NO ONE deserves it, it just means that smoking may have indeed caused her LC. Karen
  22. Here I go with my standard extremely unpopular answer. If I get asked that question, especially by a young person, or ANY smoker, I answer emphatically YES. Because Dave's smoking - at least two packs a day since he was 16 or so - definitely caused his small cell lung cancer. Playing music for years in smoky bars was bound to contribute significantly - but that's still the effects of smoking. My hope is that SOMEONE will be affected by his death enough TO QUIT. And I know one young man WHO QUIT BECAUSE DAVE GOT LUNG CANCER FROM SMOKING. he quit way before Dave died, he quit when he heard it from me, and he barely knew Dave - he's a co-worker. I don't take it personally. I don't take it as an insinuation that he deserved to die. I don't take it as an insinuation that I should hurt less or miss him less. I take it for what it is. Information seeking. If we are defensive about smoking killing our loved ones, is anyone else going to ever quit? are you going to ever prevent another lung cancer related death? THINK ABOUT IT. Karen
  23. Carleen - I just sent you a PM. please get in touch with me if I can help more. Karen
  24. http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Sa ... 9189068529 I was getting ready to post this article myself and see that you already did. but here's a link to the article in my local newspaper. its funny, but a friend of mine and I were talking about how many men in China smoke - like most of them, literally (I know first hand having spent two weeks there adopting our daughter) - and I said I wondered how many lung cancer deaths a year they have, and he said, well, you'll never know, do you think the Chinese government will ever 'fess up to something like that to the world? but this article addresses it. smoking killed my husband. by giving him lung cancer. I know alot of people have never smoked and get LC, but alot of people would never get it if they didn't smoke. maybe if all the smoking-caused lung cancer was eliminated (by no one smoking) then it would make it easier to find a cure for the non-smoking caused lung cancers. does that make sense? I just know that I hate hate hate cigarettes. Karen
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