Thursday, February 23, 2012
“Divorce is a by-product of the fact that maybe the nuclear unit is gone - Bob Geldof”
I searched for the perfect quote before I sat down and wrote this. I even said a little prayer, for not necessarily GOD is smiling down upon this entry, but he did lead me to this quote and oh how true it rings in the life after Mike’s passing.
As you all know through my blogs and emails and even Face Book, NEVER spoke ill about Mike’s relationship with his family…a few I did confide in, because as friends you much cheaper than therapy, but overall, I kept hush and respected them as I could because they are Mike’s family. Well, I will tell you one thing that I will not use this entry to bash anyone, because one, I would not disrespect Mike in that way, because above all (even the way SOME of his family abandoned him in these last 9-10 months because of the most petty issues) Mike and I rose above these things months ago --- we thanked Jesus for the ability to Forgive…yet, we may never forget.
This being my first time as a widow, I was not sure what to expect. The first week was a blur with visitors, food, calls, emails, flowers, hugs, kisses, and more food! Believe me, I am grateful beyond belief, but I am gaining back some memory and thanking GOD for notepads to have taken all the ntoes of everyone that came by and gave! Moving forward to Mike’s memorial service, oh my, if you were there, it was AMAZING! Mike’s dear and best friend Rick of many years, set it all up (minus the chapel – that was taken care of by Maggie, his sister – still many thanks for such a beautiful place) But oh My, Rick being a former florist and now doing it on the sides, he did an AMAZING job from the colors, to the pictures, to just being the best darn friend a man could ever have…for this Rick I am forever grateful! I was not sure what to expect from the memorial, for this is the first I had and hope to ever have for the man I love, but as I took the podium to speak, I was in awe of the standing room only that filled the chapel. Just like the Toby Keith song goes…”We’ve got high-techs, Blue-collar boys and rednecks And we got lovers, lots of lookers And I've even seen dancing girls and hookers” Mike surely touched so many through his 36 years and I am so proud to have been partners with such a diverse man – he surely NEVER forgot where he came from!
As the days have moved on, and all has began to settle, Mike is and always will be in my heart and soul, but just something so comforting about having him home (his remains were cremated) and home with myself and the wet-nosed kiddos – just feels complete! I am being told it gets easier daily, and I am sure it will…but for now, I am allowing my ups and downs and my occasional anxiety/panic attacks that have set in – I know Mike was shaking his head and cursing me (if those exist in Heaven) that I broke out into one on Cullen/610 the other day – I have never experienced these, so I called 911 for I was not sure if I was having a stroke, or what…the team of HFD was great and walked me through it and a good friend of ours came and followed me home, before I looked like I was waiting for something else ;) Every day, I feel closer to him and know that GOD chose him for a reason and I surely have the STRONGEST Like Bull Angel watching over me, through all I do – as I said, It’s almost like he is my “Edward”, but I have vowed to not escape on any random motorcycles or cliff dive! I promise!
I am so grateful for ALL of you that NEVER left Mike’s side for anything! I feel that when you love someone unconditionally and are truly connected at the heart and soul, no matter what you say or do, would ever bring you from that person, especially with what he was battling. Though he was doing so well, we see how fast our lives can take a vast turn, and I pray that the memories you have will sustain forever, for truly Mike was the happiest he has been EVER was this last year and half…but thank you for stepping in towards the end to fulfill your closure, for me, I will have eternal peace knowing I was loved by the most amazing man EVER and honored our vows…till death do us part.
In closing, please do not take for granted ANY relationship in your life. If your mother/father/brother/sister/cousin/aunt/uncle or any person in your life says something hurtful, its ok to be hurt…but know that things could always change in a heartbeat…as I said, I have peace and no guilt, I will continue to pray that you do as well…YOU!
As I reflect, I suppose I am not such the Angry White Woman I had intended on being…in fact, I am quite happy and thankful for GOD this life he has provided…Rather than anger I feel sympathy.
Monday, February 13, 2012
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life - John 3:16”
What a fitting verse, for I know because of this verse, Mike is in Heaven with our maker and shining down upon us and will forever be my Guardian Angel.
As you all know by today, I do not choose to say that Mike has ‘lost’ his battle to cancer, yet defeated the Devil’s plan and is now and always will be Cancer Free! He went to be with the Lord yesterday at (4:20 AM ;) and went in his sleep. It was sudden, yet just perfect for there was no lingering suffering or agony. I was by his side until the end, and would have had it no other way. I prayed for peace for the coming of this and know that I received it and know that GOD does answer prayers – for mine was answered.
Mike was an amazing husband, friend and family to all that knew him. He lived life to the fullest and was a man of many trades and had an amazing mind! His heart was so huge and I am so blessed that the Lord chose me to be his partner. Please know that though it is hard to be without Mike today, it will get better and he is in the best place – Heaven’s arms. He is reunited with his mother and all others that he has lost along his life – and now they will all rejoice and enjoy the walks down the streets of gold together.
I am in such great gratitude of the multitude of love given by you all – the unrelentless love provided to Mike and I through this time in our lives. I am being admired for my strength in all of this, but please know it is given to me by GOD, as I said I prayed for peace and strength and it is what I got. Mike would not have wanted us to mourn for too long, but to rather be joyful during this time and remembering all the good and the life he led!
At Mike’s request, he wanted to be cremated, so we are holding a service for him on Saturday – I will have the information at the end of this email. I am thankful for you all that have come by and called and please know that if I do not answer a call or return an email, I am surely getting them and hold them close to my heart.
Please continue to lift up myself and our family and the ones that loved Mike for that we may have continued peace and strength through this time…Thank you.
Much love as always,
Celebration of Life --- Saturday, February 18, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the University of Houston A. D. Bruce Religion Center, Cullen Blvd. Entrance 13.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
“There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid - Frederick W. Cropp”
This quote holds so true. For this journey has been filled with doubt, fear, hope and much faith, the faith allows us to have peace in the roads ahead that are unforeseen.
Earlier this week, I updated about Mike and the admission to MDA due to depression and disease progression, he stopped eating and drinking and became de-hydrated, malnourished and starting missing doctor’s appointments. Since he has been there, they have started the treatment of the spinal fluid on Thursday and put him on a steroid. His mentality as of yesterday had significantly changed from the Tuesday the day he was admitted, but he still remains confused at times and yet spot on at others. While here, they went ahead and performed a PT Scan to evaluate the thoracic area where the lung cancer originated…for the results surely were not what we wanted.
From the latest Scan they are able to see that the disease has progressed and spread. It is currently in the lymphatic system in both lungs, his liver and spleen…it has not reached the pancreas, kidneys or stomach. From the full body scan they are able to see that the leptomenginal disease has progressed which is causing most of the symptoms that Mike is experiencing with confusion, etc. Per the doctors, they want to continue to treat the spinal fluid, for it has not been long enough to really see whether it will benefit or not…his next treatment will be on Monday. As for the Thoracic team, they will consult on Monday to discuss the best possible treatment for Mike to actively attack the cancer. The doctor ensured me not to give up hope, for they are not by any means instructing us to take other measures such as Hospice. Moving forward we must take this day to day as we have been, enjoy the good days, pray for even better, but have peace in knowing and trusting that GOD’s Will and HIS plan will ultimately be the way.
In closing, please as you have already, continue to lift Mike up – Pray for peace and no pain and as I continue to pray for healing, I simply pray to keep my faith strong and focused on loving my husband as I do and staying strong for him every single day. We appreciate all of you who call, message and just simply love us and provide such comfort in each and every relationship. We love you dearly. As I sit here with tears in my eyes, know that I have much hope in my heart.
I will continue to keep you all posted moving forward as to treatment and such and Mike’s health. Much love to you all and thank you for being amazing family, friends and above all PRAYER WARRIORS!
Thursday, February 9, 2012
“Thanksgiving and Prayer - We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3”
This is sort of a short note to just update quickly because of the changes. As I had mentioned in a previous email that Mike since all the new news of the cancer coming back, he stared depression in the face and gave in. After his surgery to insert the ommeya, he began to have no appetite and eventually did not even want to get out of bed. He later started to stop drinking as well. I assumed it was possible disease progression and depression, so I just headed the Doctors advise and kept him hydrated as I could and partially filled with nutrition with shakes and such…well the day his appointments came, he refused to go. I do not necessarily not want to go do to giving in to the cancer, he simply was tired from not eating, drinking and getting out of bed, it was a work out just getting dressed and out the door – to him it was much simpler to just continue to rest. This went on and he skipped a few appointments, so I headed the advice of family and we all came to the decision it was time to take action whether he wanted to or not and admit him into the hospital.
He was admitted Tuesday, and after hooking up to IV’s and getting hydrated, he began to look better already. Initially he was upset that he was back in the hospital, but it was inevitable if this did not happen, he would continue to wither away – and I know Mike, that is not what he intended. He got into a room on Wednesday and began to eat, drink and all bodily functions were intact. Due to the combination of possible disease progression, de-hydration and VERY low Sodium, he became confused, very tired. He is now on steroids, which we all know he hates, but it has jogged an appetite, he is sitting up in bed, talking and other than a few events of confusion, I am starting to see Mike arise from what he was becoming – Praise JESUS!
He underwent an MRI yesterday to see the progression of the disease, and as of now, the disease is the same as it was 2 weeks ago, so again, the confusion and symptoms he is experiencing, we are being told it could be a multi-tude of things. Today he started his chemo for the spinal fluid. As all treatments, there come side effects, and the worst of all the chance of the chemo not working at all. For after hearing this from the doctor, informing us that the treatment could begin and start to take effect and stabilize the disease offering no more progressing symptoms and reverse of some neurological effect that are current now and attack the cancer cells, or it could take effect and work with the cancer, progressing the disease in the negative. For after consenting with Mike, it was our choice to proceed with treatment, for if none, the disease would progress anyhow, so let’s at least take the chance to fight it and allow GOD to intervene if his plan and heal Mike – updates soon and prayers much needed as always!
He will also undergo a PET scan tomorrow to re-stage the original cancer and cancer spots that developed on the liver and lympnodes – results hopefully tomorrow and treatment starts as well. For all this developing so fast, Mike will remain in the hospital for a few days, as the treatments take place and also some physical therapy to get him strong again. Mike is in and out of sleep, but has enjoyed all that have come to visit, so if you want to pop in and say hi, please feel free to call me and if he is available, I am sure he would love a visit from his dear family and friends.
As always, you remain AMAZING prayer warriors – and once before Mike became cancer free of this spinal fluid disease in the very beginning and remained for over a year – GOD is working on something, and it happens to involve this hurdle, but we will continue praise him, for allowing Mike this far and the strength to continue to fight! We love you all and thank you for all support, prayers and love! Updates soon!
PS – I really liked the verse I came across, for I feel so true through this journey, we all have become closer to GOD in our own ways and have developed an amazing relationship with the man above!
Friday, February 3, 2012
“Inspired by a true story, 50/50 is an original story about friendship, love, survival and finding humor in unlikely places. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen star as best friends whose lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis in this new comedy directed by Jonathan Levine from a script by Will Reiser. 50/50 is the story of a guy's transformative and, yes, sometimes funny journey to health - drawing its emotional core from Will Reiser's own experience with cancer and reminding us that friendship and love, no matter what bizarre turns they take, are the greatest healers”
Enjoyed a movie night with Mike – and in all honesty, the movie we chose to watch was extremely hard for me to finally make the decision. I have been avoiding this movie for a while, for I had not read too much about it, nor did I know that it was based on a true story – in all I was scared it had an un-happy ending. Granted it has Seth Rogan, but yet, I am sure just as all actors, for a role of a lifetime, I am sure it’s not too complicated to change your persona from a comedic laugh your butt off, to a more serious role – the goal is an Oscar right? Well, I decided to screw it and just watch it, no matter the ending, for I was anxious to see if they were to really depict the effects and changes cancer brings to your life --- needless to say, I am so happy we watched.
In all honesty, the very first 7 minutes of it with the trip to the doctor, receiving the diagnosis and the long walk out of the hospital hallways just in awe of the amount of patients that share this battle – the family and friends too. I give much kudos to the film team and to now know that this is based on a true story, it makes sense how every detail, every emotion was spot on – from the girlfriend who bailed, to the best friend who uses humor to mask the fear and the family that becomes so tight and protective. It was like looking at Mike, myself and our journey in a mirror. A movie that I must recommend…go get it NOW!
On another note, the reason for this email is for 2 things --- FIRST, I know that many people are calling Mike, and unfortunately he is just not up to talking. Mixture of battling the depression, etc he is in a funk at the moment, that I pray once Monday comes and we are starting new treatment, it will subside and hope will settle back in his mind. SO, a few months ago, we subscribed to SKYPE which we have not used a whole lot, but we have used and it is amazing to be able to talk to someone across the world, and minus the sometimes delay, it is like you are there with them. SO I wanted to provide our SKYPE name and if you are up to it, let us know and go crazy with talking to Mike and visiting face to face – it really is so simple and we really have enjoyed it --- Our name is ‘lyndienmike’. The current account we have is free and no charge to video one to another – I am not sure of the other features; I have not gotten that far yet. I feel it may offer some cheer to Mike daily to see and talk to family and friends we do not see often or that are in other states and cannot just stop by the house…just an option – look into it!
2nd news is that with all that is going on in the past few weeks, with all the side effects from all Mike has gone through it continues trivial to pin point exactly may be causing it – when you read the side effects of all the meds, the procedure, the cancer and all else, they all just kind of lump together and share the symptoms. One thing I maintain to stay on top of is the liver – being a soft organ and usually when the cancer has metasisized to this area, it can offer complications. The side effects he has now are also signs of liver failure…ugh! Why can’t this be easier and just not all symptoms share in a million different causes --- SO I emailed the oncologist today, just to ensure anything I may look out for regarding any liver failure. The last visit when these were brought into the picture, our doctor ensured that she was not raising red flags and felt confident that it would not progress extensively before treatment started. With that in the back of my mind, I still wanted to make sure. She emailed me back letting me know that ALL of mike’s blood work he has done recently and even back a few months, show nothing compromising the liver. His levels are above normal. She said that if anything would have been off, he would have been brought in. Now again, nothing out of the ordinary caused me to inquire, but with everything sharing the same symptoms it seems, I just wanted to have comfort knowing that his organs were not being compromised.
In all, though the recent overall news is confusing and inserts doubt and fear, every bit of any good news is comforting and I will gladly take it – I told mike and he gave me the thumbs up and said hurry up Monday! On a good note, Mike continues to be aware of all around him, walking around with minimal assistance and though he continues to rest…he is awake through the day versus sleeping it away. It really is just the small things.
In closing, I will continue to keep you all posted as to treatment this coming week and how Mike continues to do. I myself continue to battle the devil and angel on my shoulder…but rather continue, decided to flick the BOTH off and keep my eyes, heart and mind focused on above – I found an article today sent to me anonymously regarding a man a little older than Mike that survived leptominginal disease and is now in remission for 7 years --- continuing to stay away from the “normal statistics” and just continuing to know and trust – we are NOT in control – HE is! As the movie – in ALL aspects of our life – isn’t it really 50/50?
XOOX Till next time!
Thursday, February 2, 2012
“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him - 1 Corinthians 2:9”
I wanted to take a minute to send an update. As I previously wrote, Mike underwent a minor Brain Procedure to input the Omemya into his brain to allow the doctors to administer the chemo directly to the spinal fluid to attack what is floating around. It was a simple procedure and thankful Mike had the same Neurosurgeon as his original surgery in 2010. He was in surgery for a total of about 2 hours – from start of anesthesia until recovery. I remember the first surgery he had, he was up and walking, talking and eating the very same night – this time, the recovery is a little slower due to the disease progression in the spinal fluid, the recent radiation and the hospital stay. There are so many factors that are in place at the moment, it is hard to pinpoint what exactly is the culprit to cause not such a “speedy” recovery, but I remain to leave that In GOD’s hands and focus on what I can do now.
With all that has been going on in the last 2 weeks, it seems a little depression has set in for Mike. The fact that he has done SO wonderful this past year, and been able to lead such an active lifestyle and even return to work, it was a low blow to have all this happen so fast within the weeks and have the quality of health change so much. Don’t get me wrong, I have confirmed with Mike that he DOES want to continue to fight this and he understands what the fight entails --- new chemo to attack spinal fluid and the new chemo to attack the liver lesions that appeared from last scan. He remains faithful though we are both scared, we both understand that it will remain out of our control and that GOD is in complete control – as hard as it is to give it all to him at times, we know that it is what we must do.
Just to clarify, I understand my emails mainly offer an optimistic “Kart-Wheel” mentality of Mike’s disease, but I would not want it any other way. In all, after my emails, we can all access GOOGLE and its sources and know that the “prognosis” seems grim. In all my emails, I supply the facts of what Mike is going through and experiencing, but yet, I live with Mike day to day, every hour on the hour and though to the outside that have not seen him physically daily, he has changed. He has lost weight; he is in a “funk” and dealing with the day to day complications of this roller coaster disease. I was told recently, that some entries I make may be confusing…I speak of Mike and his current status, yet, I praise GOD for blessing Mike with his strength, mentality and etc…so this email I just wanted to clear the air.
Yes, Mike is not as strong as he has been in the past months, he is weak and with the current position of the disease, he is in a funk and with the depression he is currently in a state of mind where he is just there. He wants to continue to fight this battle, but a lot has happened in the past few weeks, and it has taken a toll. For me, I live with Mike daily and I see the changes, but in no way is he looking “Horrible” (to those who have only visited him after 7 months of no visits). Horrible is not even close to the lull Mike is in now. I could not even imagine in only 3 weeks, be put on new meds that cause a bad reaction, a FULL blown radiation and brain surgery --- and to still be able to even be awake and know the current events of today – like The president’s name or even re-call the street you grew up on along with several of your mother’s favorite songs at told to me when I ask at any moment of any day. I know that this disease messes with the CNS and to ensure, I continue to ask Mike questions all day long --- he continues to do great!
I am sorry if my emails do not paint the FULL picture…but I intend to inform everybody, leaving you with an optimistic outlook for the future. I could easily email grim details of our daily battles, but what would it do? It would offer no hope. For now, you understand that this journey is a daily up and down, but with the downs, we WILL have plenty of ups, and that is what we need to focus on…for Mike. He needs to have his mind strong, happy and focused on the future of being well, not the “statistics”. Studies show the mind is SO powerful and continues to heal the body of disease daily in MANY circumstances…is Mike any different and deserve less? Nope, Everyday will be sunshine and Kart-Wheels in our household…everyday even wakened by the rain on the roof tapping, smiles and kisses from the wet-nosed kiddoes will surpass the sadness that we could allow to set in.
In closing, yes, more than ever, Mike needs your prayers to lift him out of this fog --- for have the prayers worked before? Yes, and GOD will continue to use us and this slight journey in “the valley of shadow of death” will not slow us down nor side track us -- we daily will continue to touch others, inspire and know that above this Cancer, GOD has something in the works to WOW us all – just wait!
Love you all --- and thank you for everything…