Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Day (It Felt My Our World Stopped) But Realize Just a Brief Pause

“I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future - Author Unknown”

And for our future, I know it is ALL in GOD’s hands.

My oh my! I cannot believe we are approaching Thanksgiving! Where has this year gone? We have gone from freeze, to unbearably HOT summer, drought, rain and now possible tornadoes (as of tonight’s forecast in Houston). I was talking to a friend the other day, and we discussed (for we are both having a year that has consisted of people we love battling Cancer.) and we were sharing our journeys (way different from each others), but yet the same…as we are both not parents, we feel we have defiantly been instilled some serious life lessons and challenges of being a care giver.

When my Grandpa was sick a few years ago, prior to his passing, after beating lung cancer, he, I felt just because of older age his health began to deteriorate. I watched my Grandma time and time, day after day, stay so strong through it ALL. Everyday held something new. As my Grandfather grew older his visits to the hospital became more frequent. I watched my Grandmother and because being married for almost 59 years, I felt the strength that she had was just from being together for so long and I thought it was just what you do when you get older. After my Grandfather passed, my grandmother and I a few months later went to visit his gravesite and at that moment I saw the first (what seemed to be a tear) in my grandmother’s eye rolling down her cheek. I looked at her, almost in astoundment, for I had NEVER seen grandma cry. Not that I did not think she should, for I know she surely was sad, but it just was not what I was used to seeing. I asked her what she was thinking, and she simply said “I miss your grandpa”.

At the time, I didn’t pry too much, for I wanted her to have this moment, this moment that she deserved to breathe and know that her husband of 59 years was in a better place and no more hurt or pain. A little while later I asked my Grandma about that day, and just mentioned I of course knew she had to feel some pain, but never had I seen her emotions through the years. In all honesty, Grandma and grandpa were bickering up until the day he passed…not un-normal at all, for being married for 59 years, I assure you, as my grandma has said, she loved that man to death, but they still got under each other’s skin. Up until the day grandpa passed, my grandma was the BEST caregiver ever…even before he was sick. She would make his coffee, make his dinner plates, wash the clothes, make sure he took his meds, and all that comes along with it…she did not do it because she became his caregiver…she did because she cared.

Up until Mike was diagnosed in the summer of 2010, he was the “man” of the house. He mowed, he fixed things, he did all the man is “supposed” to do. I cooked, I cleaned, I washed and did what the woman of the house “does”…boy our world changed! Now do not get me wrong, but Mike really has not at all during this time let go of his “manly-hood”, but our lives did change and I took on a WHOLE lot more than I knew what to expect. Like the majority of Households we are a 2-income household, so when Mike had to take time off to fight this disease, I continued to work my full-time job, but when I arrived at home, I continued my job as a wife and caregiver, which threw me into a 24/7 job that I was not entirely prepared for, but I pulled up my boot straps and continue to get the job done.

All who know me; I am smiles at all times. I have my super bad days, I curse, I cry but for me to bring it out for the world to see, yes it only makes me human, but when you become a caregiver of someone sick when the mentality of that person is SO important, I maintained my Kart-Wheel personality through the darkest days. My days became consisting of no focus at work, because my mind was steered towards making sure that Mike was taking his meds, was he eating, when he does not answer his phone – was he still alive and not went into a seizure or coma (now granted, thankful to ALL prayers and God above, Mike was not too too sick during this time of treatment and surgeries) but ALL thoughts race through your head…ALL thoughts, even the worse. I lost so much sleep due to setting my alarm every hour on the hour to ensure he was still breathing and not running a fever due to chemo and medication. Due to our strong faith and beliefs, Mike has received his latest results a little over a month ago and there is no active cancer (that the scans are able to detect)…there is Hope!

As one caregiver to another, the BEST medicine for your loved one is to maintain a positive attitude. This is not always easy, and times seeing Mike laying in a hospital bed receiving Massive amounts of chemo, waking up to him vomiting uncontrollably, witnessing him barely touching anything on his plate at dinner (worrying that he is getting enough nutrition), trying accommodate each and every need even though you are dog tired from a long day at the office (or taking care of other family) and all other aspects that come along with being a caregiver of a loved one, it remains the BEST medicine for the one you love.

Not only to ALL that are fighting this disease, I along commend ALL caregivers…for the day that you get that phone call asking for you to join your loved one for the results of recent tests…the day your life changes forever…I proudly call you my sisters and brothers in this journey…for unexpectedly we are given the rubber boots and shovel…continue to take it ALL with much stride and continue to find something to believe in…for I am thankful everyday for MD Anderson and what they are doing for my family…

Mike is now back at work full-time, but as a wife/caregiver my job is never done…but I now hold a gift that can never be taken from me…strength, experience and most of ALL love from ALL other caregivers I have met. I recommend you to utilize ALL of MD Anderson’s networks, for I have met So many people that I can relate to and thankful to now call friends…