Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Forward Into The Fray

I feel like I've been away forever.  There was nothing to write about, and there was almost too much.  I've been busy catching up at work for all the time I wasn't there last week when I was helping the kids move, but that's almost been my safe haven.  Work is where I don't have to think, and life is easy.

My dad phoned the other day that he'd been to the oncologist, and he'll be starting chemotherapy this Thursday, with new infusions every 3 weeks.  I shouldn't be surprised, but he's been living with prostate cancer for about 20 years.  Your start to ignore the ugly beast after that long.  (Well, I'm sure HE didn't ignore it, but the rest of us got pretty complacent.)  He's 82 and has always been in great health - well, except for the cancer.  He's tall and exercised, and rarely gets so much as a sniffle.  He laughs at headaches.  To compensate, it seems life has handed him the double whammy complete with nasty medicine.  Now he'll know what it feels like to be sick, I'm sure.

He and Mom were going to go it on their own, and I spouted the obligatory "Well, call me if you want me to help."  You know how it is - you WANT to help, but you don't know quite what to do, and heaven forbid you should be in the way or seem pushy.  But afterwards I was talking to my daughter and she mentioned a quote she had heard recently that the very definition of a friend was someone who didn't wait to be asked to help - you just dig in and start helping.  So I rethought what I should do, and thought that it would be better for them if I went with them.  NONE of us knows what to expect - whether he'll feel nothing for awhile, whether he'll be sick right away, etc.  And my mother is a tiny little thing - too small to handle things if he's not feeling well.  Plus she can't see where she's going, so she can't drive.  No - better to be safe than sorry, so I called my dad this morning and told him I would come down and go with them.

To my surprise, he didn't argue at all.  No fuss.  No objections.  That's how I know he's scared.  We're all scared, but I do better when I take action, so I'll go with them.  It takes the mystery and the boogie man out of it for me.  I can picture what it's all about, and then it's not so scary.  I'll load up the Kindle with a book or two and sit and wait.  And maybe pray.

In addition to all of this, my aunt took a big spill.  She was on a walk, and missed the step up to the curb.  She totally face planted, and she has an impressive pair of black eyes, and cuts and abrasions.  Thank goodness she didn't break anything, and she didn't knock her teeth out.  Of course it all took a toll on her mentally, and there was a little bit of touch and go the last week or so with her remembering to take her medications and encouraging her to eat.  Oh yes, the nurse practitioner and I are practically besties.  It seems like she's rounded the corner, though, and will be healed up soon enough.  I've got to figure out a way to get her to slow down and act her age, or she's going to kill herself.

L's shoulder surgery went well, and he's back to work, but it's still sore.  We have our friend Mike, the physical therapist, making a house call tonight to get that stiffness worked out.  And then, if we're lucky, we can go on a moonlight bike ride.  Last night the moon was almost full.  The air was cool, and it was so peaceful, just the two of us and our little blinking lights.

Let's see, I'm trying to remember all of the sweet bits to tell you.  Mia has been picking up her room and keeping it spotless.  Not an easy task when she has Hayden following behind and making a mess again.  Now she knows how Mommy feels.  But she's got a her eyes on the prize: a new bike.  You may remember that her old one was lost in the move to Massachusetts.  Mom and Dad told her that things like bikes need to be earned, and so she's become quite the cleaning nazi in her zeal to earn that precious bike.  She asked her mom the other day to take her picture so she could send it to Mema - so Mema would see what a good girl looks like (her words).  And this is what I got:

If that's not a good girl, I don't know what is.  L is so proud of her hard work that he's already purchased the bike and had it sent for whenever they feel she's ready to have it.  Life is exciting when you're 6.  Our other 6 year old, Lexi, starts school (FIRST GRADE!) in a couple of weeks.  When you talk to these little girls, there is nothing that is beyond their range.  Life is just one big bundle of exciting choices.  Their little noggins are so full of bright intelligence that I'm already looking around for the amazing events they will no doubt bring about.

That's what keeps us oldie oldsters engaged and moving forward - that enthusiasm for life and all of it's curiosities.  That's something my dad has always had.  He loves to learn, and he has boundless curiosity.  And when he eats a cupcake, he still licks all the frosting off the cupcake paper, enjoying every little bit.  He's a funny mix: brilliant intelligence that can be blinding in it's quickness, and then there's that childlike enthusiasm for life's little pleasures - from sweet treats to good books -  that through all of his almost 82 years he's never lost.  I can picture him sitting in chemotherapy sessions quizzing the nurses and finding out all about it.  I am like him in that respect, because to me, knowledge is power.  When you arm yourself with it, and look for the goodies along the way, you can take on anything.


  1. I predict your Dad will do well. Praying I'm right.
    Your plate is so full right now. God bless you and your family as you adjust to the moves and situations.

  2. I will say prayers for your Dad. I know this will be a rough road but he sounds like a man who will take it all on and keep a good attitude. I'm glad you will be there to help. Sometimes we do just need someone to jump in and just do it. Your Grandkiddos are so beautiful. I think Mia could model and earn enough money for her bike! (and one for Mom and Dad too!) You sound very busy with life right now. Take it easy on L and his shoulder. It's good to physical therapy, just don't overdue the normal stuff. Have a good week!

  3. Hi, karen! I admire you very much for jumping right in and offering to help your parents as your father faces this health challenge. I'm sure he will approach chemo as he does everything else in his life. He'll turn it into an adventure and an opportunity to learn. Together you will demystify this treatment regimen and that's a major step toward wellness. Your dad will be in my prayers. I also pray for your aunt's complete recovery. I'm very happy to know that your husband's shoulder is on the mend and I hope he can resume his evening bike rides with you in comfort. Your granddaughters are adorable and radiate intelligence, their young minds like sponges eager to soak up knowledge and share it with us. Bless their hearts!

  4. Wish I lived closer...the longer I'm away the more it seems like I'm missing out on being available to help some of my closest family members. Grandpa is sure in my prayers...

  5. Karen
    Such a kind and heart touching description of your dad, mom, and your aunt too.

    Having just been through a full year of care giving for my son, I really do empathize with you.
    Prayers for you and your dad going forward.

  6. Karen, it sounds like you have had your hands full lately. I think your daughter is very wise. You will be glad you "jumped in".
    Saying prayers for your family.

  7. hope things works out well with your dad...it really is so amazing what people hear from a doctor....no 2 people hear the same information...it will be good for you to be there...
    beautiful pictures..wow!

  8. I'll add your dad to my prayers. I'm glad he's got you to help. And as I drove through Austin on Friday on my way to Dallas, I thought of your two loved ones moving there and sent out a silent little welcome to them.

    The girls are adorable!

  9. I'm like you. Better with action. Good call on going with them. I think both you AND parents will feel better. There is something about having someone with you.

  10. My husband's brother-in-law has been battling prostate cancer for 30 years and is also in his 80s. It seems to be gaining the upper hand just now, too, and I hope he can beat it off once again. I will keep your dad in my prayers, and I'm glad you went with them.

    Sorry about your aunt's face plant. I think you will recall that the same thing happened to Dick when he was here for Christmas, and it was awful. Quite painful and hard to look at as well. But, thankfully, he was none the worse for the wear in the end. I'm glad she is doing okay now.

    Love reading about your grandkids, who are beautiful. Mia is quite the young lady, and her parents are raising her right!


  11. Karen, I am convinced that you get your super intelligence from your father. I have told you before, but I will tell you once more that I think you are an excellent writer. It is so fun to read your posts because all of your sentences are composed perfectly!! Sue will tell you that I am a perfectionist when it comes to grammar and after reading others blogs, I am continually amazed at how awful some people are. It almost hurts to read some of them as I automatically try to correct them as I read on. I NEVER have to do that with you. Also, you do have a great way with words. It is always such a pleasure to read your blogs!! Incidentally, I used to be such a good speller and now that I am getting older, I make stupid spelling mistakes, so maybe I have no right to critisize others. (Any spelling mistakes I make, please forgive as I absolutely HATE editing everything I post.)

    I am so sorry that your dad has to have chemo. We have a very good friend in our ward who is having surgery on his after battling prostrate cancer for years. It does grow slowly I'm told. I hope he does well on the chemo. Dick was on it for TWO YEARS after he had surgery for colon cancer. The good news though is that it will be over eventually. Your dad sounds like someone I would love to know.

    I'm also sorry about your aunt. As Sue mentioned, Dick went through the same accident on our way to her place for Christmas. His black eyes finally cleared up except for one little place under his left eye, but Sue was wrong in one respect, he is STILL having great problems with his neck. It got whip lashed AFTER his fall when he was driving......again, on our way to Sue's. He is still in pain and going to chiropracters. I say plural because he still can't find one that helps much. Let's hope that you don't have any more such problems in your family.

    Loved the story about Mia and her bike. It's neat that her mom is making her work for it, but I just had to laugh when you said that LaMar has already sent her one. Those grandkids of yours are SO photogenic. I loved the pics.

    Sorry this is so long and rambling.

  12. Hi Dear Friend...just checking in and I see you've got your plate full. Your post went right to my heart. My Dad lived with prostate cancer for many years. I guess you may recall hurricane Katrina devastated their lives and they lived out their final days here. I have always felt it was a gift from God I was able to care and love them to heaven.

    Hang in there and know I am thinking of you and praying for you and yours.

    Hope all the family is moved and settled in their new abodes...you will really be hitting the roads now!


  13. Oh, my -- sounds like we have the same event happening in our father's lives.. My Dad, has been living with prostate cancer since 2008 and he is now using a walker to get around now and his is taking a very high dose of pain med's, which I was told that the body can't take much more of it before things start to shut down..
    My Dad has always done for him self and has yet to ask or want help.. so the little quote you daughter shared is what I do - I know what needs to be done and so I say -- this "Dad, I am going to clean or sweep or do the wash now or go into town and get your mail - suff like that. He is alone my Mother pass-a-away in 2006 -- so he is alone, alone.. What's hard is I am in Az. and he is in Utah and I can't get to him like I use to it's hard.. but all will work out there are other silbings to share in the visits and help. That is - if he will allow them to help with out feeling we are pushy..wink! You have indeed a lot of sweet bits of joy going on around you..sweet post. I've enjoyed my visit today!

  14. Karen, I know you'll be a comfort and strength to your dad... being there. Just being there. It speaks volumes. I will pray for the very best for him ... and all of you.


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