Thursday, March 18, 2010

From Sarah's Caring Bridge Site Journal + Note From Mom

I couldn't get to sleep last night. Despite the pain pills. I think it's because Mom shut off the lights unusually early. Like 10:30 p.m.!

So I laid there in the dark. And every 2 hours I got up to take more pills.

And I thought about how lucky I am. And the many, many blessings I have received since this diagnosis.For one, my mom. Mom and I have had some really wonderful time together. She is with me all the time. She helps me with everything. But my favorite part is when we go to bed, and lay there together, holding hands and talking. Like it's a slumber party. This is one of the biggest blessings I've gotten out of this whole thing.

Another blessing is being able to spend so much time with Joe. He came from Ireland, for me. To be with ME! He's been there for every little thing. Including pre-op, post-op, the hospital stay, and all the time we've had together since I've come home to Mom's house. It's nice to just "be" with Joe. When we're not rushing, chasing after the boys, or at Perkin's. :) There is so much to love about Joe, and I get to learn more every day.

I've also fallen in love with Dave in a new way. I almost feel like we're meeting again for the first time. My love for him is grounded and yet so fresh. It's nice for me to see him every day when he brings the boys over. Dave is being his regular, wonderful self. I've just got a fresh appreciation for all that he does and all that he is. I am so lucky. He is the best husband in the world. :)

I miss my kids. That, itself, is a blessing . As a stay at home mom, I don't get the opportunity to miss them. ;) I actually MISS them. And I'm excited to see them every day after school. What a blessing. I love my boys. I really do.

Another blessing for me has been my friends. Some friendships have been strengthened and some new friendships have been made. I have been on the receiving end of the best side of people.

I feel so lucky and blessed.Those are some of the best blessings I've received so far. There are more. I'll talk about those later. :)

Today I see Dr. Migliori. I don't know why he's seeing me, but I've got a list of questions for him. I'm sure he will be part of my blessing list later today.

Thank you ALL. Thank you ALL for everything that you do for me. Big and small. Loud and quiet. Signed and initialed.You all are blessings to me.

Let's do this!

We're doing this!

*****Note to Sarah from mom******

I love you sarah. We all, me, dad, joe, dave, the kids and your friends didn't know what to expect. You didn't know what to expect. This whole thing has been and continues to be a whirlwind of emotions and needs of multiple dimensions. It and you have touched us all physically, emotionally and spiritutally.

You have written from the beginning.......LET'S DO THIS!

You have done this! We have done this! We will continue to do this! All of us!

And, my sweet child, I can feel your hand in mine as I sit here and wait to hear your breathing change so I will know you are finally sleeping and getting some needed rest.

I love you...shhhh...nite nite! xo

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Best Birthday Present

Yes.....today is my birthday! And, I got the best birthday present a mother could get. My daughter is cancer free!

Cancer free!

C A N C E R F R E E

A birthday present I didn't know I would enjoy so much is my beautiful cancer free daughter on drugs............

Here is what she said to me a few minutes ago.....

"Mom, so many people on facebook are wishing you a Merry Christmas...I mean Happy Birthday whatever your name is."

Thank you Sarah! I love you!

Love
Mom
xo

Monday, March 15, 2010

God Is Good.......


I am writing this post from the couch in my fireplace room. As I look out the back window I see some blue sky ... mostly clouds .. but as I look into the front room I see my daughter. I see Sarah sitting in the bed I made for her.

There is some soft music playing....she is sitting up doing something on her laptop....the lights are on.....and in a half hour I will be giving her the next dose of meds .. 11:30 a.m. she will get her muscle relaxant and her antibiotic.

Yes........we are home. Sarah had her surgery last Friday.

I don't even know where or how to begin to tell you. As I try to think of the words sitting here on my couch.......I guess I haven't really talked about it much yet...it has been so busy.....

All I want to do is cry....my throat is thick...my chest is overwhelmed with gratitude for so many things.

Sarah is ok...Sarah is good....Sarah as far as we know, barring the final pathology report, is cancer free. They did the bilateral mastectomy and removed the sentinel node (main gateway to the lymphatic system) and one other node. Both came back negative. When the surgeon told us that that is when I melted. I didn't know I had stopped breathing for so many hours.

I will write more as we settle into a routine. The only routine we have had is to be doing whatever was needed and with my apologies I am so sorry I didn't have the time to do a post. I also know this post will reach understanding hearts.

Sarah is good. Sarah is home at my house right now. Sarah is healing. Sarah is beautiful. Sarah is cancer free.

The story will go on for a long time. We are at the beginning. We will write more chapters and with all my heart I thank everyone for their love, care, support, prayers, pink hair, pink clothes, pink thoughts and all the hugs and kisses...real and virtual.

From my heart,
Judy

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Please Wear Pink

Hi everyone..............it is a small thing to ask....some of you have already said you would do this...you said you would wear pink to support my daughter, Sarah, as she faces her day of surgery tomorrow.

If I can sit in the surgery waiting room.....the family lounge.....it will be six hours or so.....and think of all of you wearing something pink.........it would be wonderful!

If you don't have anything pink to wear.........maybe you could just think pink? Maybe even say a prayer or two.

If you want to visit Sarah's caring bridge site......just go to www.caringbridge.org

Sarah's website is ........ sarahww

Just type sarahww into where it says website to visit and then put in your email address and a password. You will be able to read her journal and truly understand what she is facing tomorrow. The guestbook responses have been incredible and so meaningful.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart!


Me with my three pink hair extensions


Session With Myself...Sometimes I Feel Big..Sometimes I Feel Little

I am a big person. I mean like a grown-up. I can do things. I can think things through. I am capable. I work....drive a car....figure things out...solve problems...make things happen....I am efficient....strong.....I am a lot of things. I can do.....if you want something done.....call me....if I can I will....

This has been a time, in the last few weeks, of being all of those things.

Makes me smile. I am an in charge person. Yep...that would be me....a lot of the time.

And, then, this morning.....

I felt overwhelmed........tired.....weary......and I said to myelf......"No...no...no...you can't...you have too much coming up...you have to do things..."

And, then I cried....covered my face with my hands....stopped to breathe...and then cried again...and stopped to breathe....

And, then I said...."Ohhhhhhhhhhhh....ok......ok........ok......."

And, then I knew I would be able to do all that I had to do. I listened to myself. I knew the tears were coming from another part of me.

She is little and scared and vulnerable. And, she just needed me to remember that she was there. And, I could say......"Ok.......I hear you and I won't forget." And, then I breathed. Clear down. And, the tears quieted.

She is pretty sweet and she isn't big at all....but she gives me so much strength and helps me get and stay clear and remain soft.

I am ready now for what is coming. Yes, I am. And, I end all sessions with myself with the same words.

I love you Judy!


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Picture Speaks A Million Words

Sometimes it is hard. The boys feel it. The boys feel something. They just don't have words.


We were all having supper at Perkins tonight after picking Joe up from the airport. Davey said his tummy hurt. But, then he said he burped and he felt better. I know that he has been wanting to snuggle with his mom. If only a burp could make everything better.

If only............

Sunday March 7 Taking Care Of The Boys

(Walking In The Sunshine) Please click to play.

It was a day of sunshine with Davey, Derek and Jackson even though the clouds hung overhead.

After church I went back to their house and watched the boys while Sarah napped. Jackson slept for a long time and I sat outside while Davey and Derek rode their bikes and Davey practiced moves on his scooter.

Here are some pictures from our nice afternoon.


Derek being really scary


Derek making a funny face


Derek being his sweet self


Derek surrounded by snow thanks to gramma's handiwork


Up and down the driveway



Derek on his bike and Davey on his coveted scooter

Davey practicing on his scooter

Davey in action

Davey loves his new helmet

Jackson woke up from his nap to yummy pepperoni pizza

Jackson really really liked his pizza

Man oh man.......was that good!
And, that was the day the boys and I had while mommy napped!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Cute Little Video After Bed Shopping

After shopping for beds, Sarah, Jackson and I went to Perkins for lunch. During lunch Sarah called Joe in Ireland and Jackson had to talk to him. Just imagine....a little 20 month old boy in Minnesota talking to his Godfather in Ireland. The wonders of technology! Jackson is so cute! And, he loves the phone!

video

Bed Shopping And Room Setup For Sarah's Recovery

What could be more exciting than deciding to put a king size adjustable bed in your living room? Not a lot. Not a lot if you are me. Well, if I stop to think about it I could maybe think of some other things....but this last week that was exactly my mission.

I invited Sarah to join me for the bed shopping. I knew where I wanted to go. I was headed, on Wednesday morning last (that phrasing is so Irish...thank you Joe) , to the factory direct store Comforest, U.S.A. The owner introduced adjustable beds thirty five years ago and they make the beds right there. They have designed their mattress specifically to work on the adjustable base and will custom design the base to specifications to fit the buyer's body within certain parameters.

I ended up purchasing a bed which I knew I would do. Once I tried it I was SOLD!

Sarah will be sleeping on it during her recovery and then it will be moved up to my bedroom. I bet there just might be some nights that I sleep with her so I can take care of her throughout the night.

Dave might spend some nights at home with the boys and get them off to school if they want to keep a little more normal routine....at least some of the time. (Our meeting with Dr. Migliori was so positive that Sarah's recovery seems like it will be shorter and easier than we once thought).

The bed was delivered yesterday. Below are some pictures that show the initial setup and the finished room from different angles.

There is enough room for people to sit and visit and to walk on either side of the bed. The colors are soft and Sarah will be able to have it as dark or light as she wants and with as much privacy as she wants. I was so pleased with how it turned out.



The king size bed has dual x long twin mattresses. The wheels lock and the beds stay together yet can be moved apart easily to make the bed.

The edges of the mattress are designed so even though they meet in the middle you can't feel the split or where they meet. This allows each mattress to be adjusted individually.

Each base can be built to fit partners of different heights and weights. So a 6 ft person living with a 5 ft person would have different bases. I think that is so slick. Each side has a wireless remote so each person can raise and/or lower the head and foot as desired.


We put sheer panels on the glass french doors so Sarah can have privacy even if people are in the adjoining fireplace room. They look so airy and soft and do just what I wanted them to do.

This is the view into the new room from the front door hallway. It is nice because there are solid french doors that can be closed for privacy.


This is how the new sheers look from the fireplace room. They give a nice sense of privacy without feeling like you are being closed off from where people will be when Sarah is resting.

You might wonder what I did with some of the furniture that is usually in my living room. Two wingback chairs and an antique chest were moved into my formal dining room.

I found places for them that make the dining room look ok too. I really didn't want any of the rooms in the house to look like they were storage rooms. I don't think they do.

The two wingback chairs fit perfectly in beside the buffet. That made me really happy.


And, the antique chest went right where it always goes at Christmas time. That was a perfect fit.

Maybe it seems funny to have such a focus right now.

My daughter has cancer.

Saying those words creates feelings of fear and helplessness. When I knew I could bring her and her family home it gave me hope, joy and strength. I felt somehow empowered.

There was something I could control. It felt good. It still does.

The thought of hearing Sarah's sounds in my house, whatever they may be, helps me breathe. Sarah has good sounds. She has a great laugh and I know I will hear it beyond the pain that I know is going to accompany us on this journey.

Creating Sarah's recovery room gave me something to do. I am a doer when I experience a loss or have a fear of a loss. And, boy, did I do! I can now walk toward next week with a sense that everything is going to be ok. And, I know it is. Dr. Migliori has every confidence it will be too.

Every time I read that last sentence I breathe.

Dr. Migliori has confidence it will be ok.

Surgery is Friday, March 12th. And, tomorrow I will go to Sarah's church and hear her read scripture and go home with her and help with the boys.

It will be the beginning of the week that I am entrusting my child to the people who will take care of her when I can't.

God knows too. God will be taking care of all of us. Into Thy hands we commend ourselves.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Getting Ready

I know it is already late and I am on my way to bed. I know I haven't written anything for a day...maybe two...I don't remember.

I worked hard today. I am getting the front room ready for Sarah to come home to recover. I am going to put a bed in the front room. I bought a new bed. It is a Kingsize Comforest Adjustable bed. It has two twin mattresses. Dave will be able to sleep beside her and not disturb her. The boys will, in time, be able to be on one mattress...close to their mom, and not disturb her.

I have bought room darkening shades...sort of .. that I can block out the light in the room. The room can be shut off with french doors.

This is what I can do. I can create a quiet, dark when needed, serene recovery room for my child. I will put a baby monitor in that room so I will be able to hear her if she needs anything.

I can do things. I wish I could take it away. I can't.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Gonna Bring Them Home

It is 12:37 p.m. Just after noon. I am smiling. I am happy. I am relieved. The sun is shining. I talked to Sarah.

I made a suggestion. I said, "I would like you to think about coming here after the hospital for your recovery.....all of you."

She talked to Dave. Dave said, "What a blessing and a gift."

We will figure it out....how to get the boys to school...where everyone will sleep....food...someone will always be here with her.....we will make sure of that.....the problems to solve feel simple now...at least to me.

Now, I am in my element. I am Sarah's mom and I am bringing my daughter and her family home. I can hardly breathe. I am bringing them all home. They are my family and I am bringing them home.

Life's Curbs

What was yesterday? Oh, yes. It was Monday. I can't remember. I thought I didn't talk to Sarah yesterday. Except for late last night. But, I did. She called in the morning to tell me Dr. Migliori's office called. We are going to see Dr. Migliori this Friday. Friday, March 2, 2010.

It was the call we were waiting for. It was a wait that lasted from Friday to Monday. Time has no meaning. Yes, it does. Time means everything right now.

The meeting with Dr. Migliori is the beginning of the next.....how many weeks and maybe months?

Dr. Migliori is the plastic surgeon. Sarah, Dave and I will talk with him about the choice Sarah wants for her reconstruction surgery. He will talk with Dr. Bretzke and then the hospital operating room will be scheduled for her bilateral mastectomy.

It is what we are waiting for. It is what we don't want to be waiting for.

The breast center called Sarah yesterday too. They have scheduled her to meet with the oncologist on Friday, March 26. His name is Dr. Zander. I think that is what Sarah told me late last night. Maybe he isn't a he but a she. We have been told that meeting usually comes two weeks after surgery. That would mean surgery will probably be next week or early in the next week.

Facts...guesses...it is what we have for today...

Except for curbs...I have curbs....life curbs.........

The things that keep me from going over the edge....you know like the curbs along a narrow two lane road in the old days...now the curbs have been replaced with those bumpy things that make noise when you veer too far to the side of the road.....or are coming up to a stop.

My curbs..........family, friends, faith, hope, belief, age, wisdom, laughter, my funny way of seeing things...........curbs........the things that keep me mostly in the center of the road......and the sunshine...and when the sun isn't shining....the sky......


The sky giving me a kiss and a hug.......I love the sky

As I write I am getting back inside myself. I was outside myself when I started. I write and I heal. I think. I feel. And, then I can do. And, I am doing this with my daughter.

She calls me. She has a thought and the phone rings. We talk.

I am back now. I can say that with a smile. It is time to do what I can do for today.

Monday, March 01, 2010

It Has Been One Week...Picture And Sound Track At Bottom

It has been a week...one week...one week...one incredible week..since we learned Sarah has cancer.

I went to the grocery store yesterday. Now, I have been to the grocery store hundreds...maybe even thousands of times..I know my way around a grocery store.

But, yesterday I found myself walking down the aisles, getting to the end and wondering if I needed anything from that aisle. I don't know how many times I backtracked. I had to close my eyes and reopen them to see the items on the shelves. I had to make myself focus. It just goes to show that something we have done successfully hundreds, and maybe even thousands of times, doesn't always come naturally.

So, today is Monday. It is the day we have been waiting for. Today is the day we hope to hear from Dr. Migliori, the plastic surgeon. He is the man we want to hear from. How things proceed depend on his call. He is the next step. He is the next step in our journey to our destination.

The destination............getting it gone...getting it out....being without it...it...it..it..the cancer.

It has been one week...one incredible week...

Here is how it happened..here is what led up to our one incredible week...I don't even know if that sentence makes any sense...keep reading...it might...

2/11 - routine mammogram

2/17 - call to come in and get a 2nd mammogram

2/18 - 2nd mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy

2/22 - diagnosed with breast cancer (the start of our one incredible week)

2/23 - breast MRI

2/25 - met with surgeon, had chest Xray and blood work done

3/1 - monday is finally here and we will be expecting to...
get a call from the plastic surgeon...Dr. Migliori

meet with Dr. Migliori

Dr. Migliori will consult with Dr. Bretzke...the surgeon

they will coordinate their schedules with the operating room availability at Abbott Northwestern Hospital....Sarah's total time in the operating room will be about four hours

Sarah will undergo a sentinel node biopsy to check for any nodes that are affected...a simple mastectomy (bilateral) and reconstruction surgery

prior to surgery Sarah will schedule a pre-op

Sarah will have surgery...time in the hospital will depend on the kind of reconstruction chosen as will the recovery time

Sarah will then have an appointment to meet with an oncologist

Further treatment will depend on what is learned in the surgery

It has been one week...yes...one incredible week and the journey hasn't even really begun yet..amazing......it is like we have just been looking at the map...the map of where we are going and deciding the route we will take...it has been one week!

But, yesterday Kara, Sarah, Dave, Davey, Derek and Jackson came over to the house. I had food. Yep..I had food. Buy food and they will come : )

And, before they went home Davey wanted us all to go up to the Thomas the Train room with the magic lights and be together. (Kara had already gone home by then)

We made a love pile on the bed. All of us, except Grandpa who had the camera, made a love pile.

We laughed and talked and laughed. Then we laughed some more. And, we were together. That is how we do things.

There were six in the bed and the little one said..."I want to jump on Gramma!"

(Sound track from our love pile last night)