Monday, November 9, 2015

And Now, Autumn Falls Upon Us...

Shaking my head at how fast time flies when you're having fun.  November 9th?  Say Whaaaa?

I have gotten caught up in the daily grind again and my blog fell by the wayside.  In the great scheme of things this little memoir doesn't equate to much and it releases only snibbets of my life and what I want you to know.  Regardless, I try my best to make it honest, emotion-filled and memorable if not only for my own sanity but also for my children if they every choose to read it.  I want my boys to know it is acceptable to share their hopes, wishes and dreams and to give a voice to themselves while they grow in this world.

My dad is doing GREAT!  He recently finished his sixth round of chemotherapy.  He still has some residual peripheral neuropathy and aches from where the tumors were in his body, but for the most part he is doing better than most would.  He is walking two miles a day at the Y....Go DAD!  I am so proud of him and how he has handled his cancer.... 'Handling' cancer is a statement that should never be made, but unfortunately, it is a statement that more and more of us are having to make these days.  Some days I feel as though there IS a cure and that the damn pharmaceutical companies are choosing not to share it with us because they don't want to be out of business!  Maybe I am bitter?  Maybe I know too much about medicine?  Maybe I am selfish in wanting to have my dad with me forever?  Maybe I am naive and know NOTHING about medicine?  Some day the truth will come, I only hope it is in my lifetime as I see way too many negatives come from a diagnosis of cancer. Lately the word, its presence and grip on my life has been all encompassing. Work. Home. Schoolmates. Friends. Moms. Dads. Children. Papas and Nanas. Healthy. Unhealthy. NO ONE is immune.  His most recent PET Scan was 'clear' and the chemotherapy has been doing it's job of complete eradication.  His next scan is Mid-December... Please pray it continues to show nothing and his cancer is considered to be in remission.  I want nothing more than a healthy body for him.  In other news, my mom has Lyme's Disease and is on antibiotics for that...  If it's not one thing, it is the other.  I pray she responds well to those medications and her level of fatigue decreases and she gets her energy back.  We have a lot to look forward to as the years go on and I want them by my side for it all.   They may live far away from me, but I feel closer to them now more so than I ever have.

My work-life balance is truly wonky right now.  My most recent schedule has not been ideal for my family (as I am working when the boys are scheduled to be with me) and SO many accommodations have had to be made so I can still have my time with them.  Switching days, having sitters come early/stay late. Jason helping me uncountable times. Meals being made by neighbors. Laundry being folded by grandparents; I can't be a MOMMY!  It drives me nuts and I am about fed up with it and my day time schedule of sleeping.  My manager was recently let go of her position as they are 'downsizing' at our facility and making major leadership changes.  The medical community in which I live is in a major transition right now and it has added oodles of stress to those of us who work in it.  I feel as though I am going through yet another 'divorce.' (This time I am the child stuck in the middle). I could compare it to being in an inflatable dinghy (without paddles) during a Category 5 Hurricane; I look forward to calm waters.

The boys are doing AMAZING in school this year.  Nathaniel is ROCKING in his school shoes.   His reading is improving daily, he is doing well with his math facts and now has spelling tests every week.  The kid has been amazing his momma every day and I love doing homework with him.  C-Diddle (my Pre-K'er) enjoys his routine and is having fun learning about upper case letters.  He is showing me daily how smart he is by writing out his name, counting to 30 and above and showing me how much he loves to help around the house.  I am so in love with these two, I just want to snuggle them all day when they are home.  Unfortunately they are more interested in Nerf Gun Wars, Pokemon and Football Cards, and playing 'Army guys.'   They recently began Tae Kwon Do and I see a lot of confidence and esteem eminating from the boys, it has been wonderful to witness.  The Sensi has been teaching them respect, skills, etiquette and mastery of the art.  I am so thankful to have them learn from such a strong-willed guy who wants nothing but the best for them.

In MY personal life (oh yeah, there is me too!)  I recently have gotten a new buddy. His name is "Scamp." He is a 12 year-old who was at the Humane Society that I volunteer at.  He had been there since April and he needed someone who could love him into retirement.  I was the one for the job as I took him outside for a walk and fell in love with him.  He is a little bit thicker than Boomer and I believe he has some arthritis and some tumors (see what I mean?) but I don't mind it.  He is playful and the dominate one in regards to Boomer but Boomer does well with him.  When we are outside Scamp likes to explore still and I need to keep him on a tight leash (literally) as he has already ran through the entire neighborhood when I let him out of the car a couple of times.  He just needs to learn his boundaries and then I think we will be good.

I recently got the shed I had on my 'Wish List' in my backyard.  Jason build it for me.  He is SO skilled at building and creating.  He is an amazing man that is motivated to complete things with skill and expert craftsmanship.  I fall in love with him more and more each day.  He gives so much of himself to the boys and I and I haven't ever felt this lucky to have someone like him in my life.

That's it for now, I am sure it will be a few more months until I am back here, but I just wanted to communicate what is happening 'now.'

Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer is Here

Summer is here and with it, MANY changes.  So much has happened in the last few weeks/months that it could be considered chaotic to the 'normal' human being, however, for myself...this is just how my life is so I accept it and roll with it.  Over the last few weeks the most consuming reality for me is that my dad has been diagnosed with cancer.  He has endured the grueling staging process with scans, biopsies, labs and office visits.  He has completed one cycle of chemotherapy.  At this point in the game it is too 'early' to say how he will tolerate therapy, but for now we are simply glad that he is no longer in any pain. Having a career for nine years in oncology I am thankful that I have significant amounts of knowledge in regards to his diagnosis and treatment.  He has told me it is somewhat like having his own personal assistant to guide him through the vocabulary and expectations.  I simply have a hard time believing that this is happening--to my dad.  My best friend in the whole world, the one I trust with all my worldly stories and secrets, the one who has supported me since the moment I entered into existence. The one I want to protect from growing old/ill and the one I want to share many more years sitting on the deck, drinking Leinenkugels and shooting the breeze with -- has been given a diagnosis that could be a culprit in taking his soul from my presence. Being a nurse now, I have become incredibly familiar with the 'Stages of Grief' that a family or patient may experience due to illness.  I am in a state of naive bargaining at the time.  I know that I am blessed each day he is with me and for some reason a thought of him being ripped away from me in an untimely car accident keeps bubbling up.  I know that my time with him is precious and some are not given an opportunity to share with their loved ones just how special they are.  I have made it a priority in the past three weeks to make my dad aware how important and much of an impact he has been for me.  I share this information with you as my hope is that you share your true feelings of love and appreciation to whomever it may be that is on your thoughts as you read this. Don't wait one more second...share your thoughts now.

With all of these heavy words, it is still important to share things that make me happy and keep me calm.  Each day that passes I feel as though I am one step closer to having my dreams becoming reality.  For many years I have been what I call "survival mode." I was taking each step one at a time in order to reach a final goal.  I have reached my goal and have continued to reach passed it.  I have ideas, hopes, wishes, dreams which have been dormant through it all.  I feel I have reached a season in my life in which I can make realistic goals again and can meet them.   Conquering 'Nursing School Mountain' was a stepping stone for building my confidence back and my energy is renewed for living.   As of recent, I have completely eliminated 'pop' from my diet.  It sucks. Right now, it sucks...big time. I, along with my BF have taken a pinky-swear to not have any without each other. We also are committing to walking for exercise. It may not seem like a lot to you, however, we are greatly out of shape and need to get our grooves back.  Small changes will make a big difference and for now, these are the teeny ones we are making. I am encouraged, motivated and excited to see what else we can modify into the fall months.  I am already noticing that I am less fatigued and moody based on lack/increase of caffeine.  Don't get me wrong, I am still a coffee fan but I can't drink too much or my stomach hurts---it's a fine balance, folks. 

I am happy to say that I am working my dream job as well.  I am no longer working as I was in the previous post WAY back in February.  I look forward to going to my position when scheduled and sharing my hours with those who need rehabilitation in a physical medicine sense. Some people automatically think of drug/alcohol rehab, and that is not what I do. I work in rehabilitation in which those who have suffered multiple traumas, spinal injuries, amputations, strokes or hemorrhages come to in order to learn a functioning way of living as they have been affected.  I love my work. I get to see the same patients and families for many weeks (getting to know them well), I get to see improvement/results, it's not constant chaos at work.  I feel as though this job was made for me, for this time in my life... I couldn't be more blessed.

The boys are growing and changing every day.  They are healthy and happy.  Both boys are in summer sports and Nathaniel is in summer school as he prepares for first grade.  Carson gets to spend mornings with me and we have fun times together visiting the library, going to the grocery store, visiting the zoo.... I feel so blessed to have this time with him as I know in a few years he won't want to hang out with mom as much as he does now.  Last week I acquired a new living room set in which we can all sit on and snuggle when we have our ice creams in the evening... Things are good.    I will post pictures of the bedroom makeover soon, just haven't gotten around to it.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Working Girl

Hard to believe this is real and I am living out my dream... I made it. I am a working Registered Nurse.

I am forever grateful to God for giving me the strength, determination, motivation, understanding and capability to believe in myself  in order to make this all happen.  I am so blessed to have the very best of friends and family supporting me throughout my journey of nursing school and giving me strength and prayers throughout this goal completion.  I anticipated the day shown above...the day I would wake up bright and early, excited (as if it were my first day of kindergarten), butterflies in my tummy,  unable to focus on a single thought.   The day went well, I was mentally exhausted by the end of it but truly enjoyed being able to care for patients one-on-one.... oh, how I have missed patient care!

New Hopes, Wishes and Dreams come into focus for me and the boys with each passing day.    

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Thirteen into Fifteen

The 13th of the month already? How did this happen?

Life is going well with the boys and we are clipping along at a steady pace. Carson has been battling Strep. throat over the last month and is febrile again tonight--so I have to keep an eye on him.   We had an excellent Christmas and New Year's Celebration and I couldn't be more thrilled that my house is all cleaned up (except for the nativity-which I like to keep up a little longer).  The weather has been BEYOND freezing (-10') with a -30 to -40 wind chill over the last two weeks which limits our outdoor activity. Having two boys our cabin fever sets in rather quick around here--I look forward to taking the boys to the park, going on bike rides and making a mess in the backyard with footballs, baseballs, sprinklers/Slip and Slides and Frisbees.   My poor heater barely gets a chance to rest in between it's cycles and I try to shut 'down' as many vents in unused areas of the house so I can conserve.  Boomer turned nine years old a few days ago! He is trying to hide his wrinkles here....

Lots of exciting changes and motivations happening for me. I felt a 'shift' in energy within the last couple days and am looking forward to what this year will bring.  Most importantly will be the realization of my dreams coming true and living with purpose by caring for others; which is what I know I was called to do in this life.  Being in school and all that it entails (with uncertainty and stress) it will be wonderful to live with routine in times, locations, faces, meals and sleep.  When no longer in the throws of college there is an appreciation of simplicity and the mundane.  I truly can not WAIT to take a few days up at the cabin when the weather gets nice to just relax and play with the kids! 

My goals for the year are to build a stronger relationship with God, our Savior.  Fully forgive others and myself for hurts of the past.  Crank out some great workouts and start jogging again--I need to build strength in my lower back.  Ever since I had the boys, my lower back has been messed up and I know that a huge part of getting stronger will be building my core up.  My major physical goal is to run in a 5K this summer with my good friend.  I want to take a week long vacation with the boys somewhere (maybe South Dakota/Yellowstone/Anywhere not here).  Being able to meet some of my financial goals would be wonderful as well.  So... just a few small goals for 2015.  :-)   What are your goals for this year?!  Are you as ambitious as I am or more conservative?  I believe that we can all meet our goals when focused, best wishes for you!