Thursday, June 23, 2011

Headed To Poland

When I was diagnosed with my brain tumor, I was four days away from a trip to Poland with my father to visit my Polish family. Obviously, the trip never happened. Once I was diagnosed, I was wrapped up in doctor's appointments, planning for surgery, having surgeries, and then working on the long road of recovery. I honestly wondered if I would ever get the chance to reschedule. In fact, at the beginning, I didn't even know if I would survive everything.

Fortunately, my Mom cashed in some frequent flyer miles recently and my father and I are headed out in the morning! Woo hoo!

Over a decade ago, my dad was at a hemp symposium in Poland (it was for work - our company sells hemp twine, cord and yarn, among other products) and had the opportunity to track down our relatives over there. They embraced my dad, with open arms, and ever since we've been in contact. On the second trip, my dad returned with my mother, and on the third trip it was my father and my older brother. Now, as the youngest member of the family, it's my turn to go with my dad and meet the family. Several years ago, my Polish cousin Kasia came to stay with my parents for a summer. Now, several years later, I get to see her again and hug the rest of the family. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!

I remember my parents telling me, while I was at the hospital just before the first brain surgery, that the entire family in Poland, and their congregation were praying for me at a special mass. I was so touched! There's something about prayer, whether or not you believe in God, that warms you from the bottom of your heart. I think it has to do with the love that's being sent.

Now, I finally have the chance to visit the church where they prayed for me. The Priest has actually opened the guest quarters for my Dad and I, which is where we'll be staying. I'm so excited to hug my Polish family, and be in the place where I feel so loved. I know I'm going to be overwhelmed, I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it.

I can barely wait for the time with my Polish family, I'm incredibly grateful for everything they've done. This is going to be an unbelievable trip!

I probably won't be blogging while I'm gone, but I'll be sure to share photos when I get back!

Sorry this post has been all over the place, it's definitely choppy writing, but I'm running around like crazy, packing and doing last minute details. I've also had so much coffee that I feel like a bumble bee, buzzing around everywhere...I should have avoided coffee, I have enough adrenaline surging through my body in the first place. Oh well! Good luck sleeping tonight!

Have a great several days! I'll check in when I get back after the 4th of July! Happy days to everyone! (my grandma's favorite quote)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Love For The Childless Fathers

Yesterday, as I was driving home from Portland, I started thinking about all of the men that never get the chance to be fathers. I'm not talking about the men that don't want children, I'm talking about the men that yearn to find the right woman, or right mate, who due to lack of fertility or life circumstance, are childless.

Before I was diagnosed, Danny and I had talked about the concept of having children. Not a talk about getting started quickly, but in the way you joke about it. I have a mini puffed-up-arm-muscle-flexing caricature that I do whenever we mention children. I've always teased him about what a little Danny would look and sound like (the cutest imaginary boy in all of the land), but when you're not expected to live much longer than five years, your life choices and dreams change. Life becomes fluid, in fact, you become fluid.

Expectations change and your definition of happiness evolves. Instead of figuring out when to start a family, you wonder if you should start a family or if you will ever be able to have children. It's not a simple choice. Danny constantly tells me that his number one goal is to keep me healthy and alive as long as possible. He has reassured me that he's not worried about the lack of children, but I know he grieves for the alternative future, one that wouldn't include the brain tumor.

It's scary to think about getting pregnant. What if the tumor grows and doctors want to administer radiation, but can't because I'm pregnant, leading to an earlier death. What if I die and leave a child behind. What if I'm unable to care for the child because I deteriorate. How could I care for a child if I have to do another craniotomy and relearn things. All those thoughts swirl around our conversations when we talk about children. There's a lot of joy that comes with parenting, and yet there's insurmountable sacrifice and both physical and emotional exhaustion.

If anything goes wrong with my health, how could I expect Danny to care for me, and children. He's only one man. Whenever this tumor monster grows, I would have to be selfish and take care of myself first, but, how could I choose my heath over my child? I don't think I could. Other than a healthy diet and exercise, the doctors continuously remind me to rest, sleep as much as possible, and avoid stress. I think you can read between the lines.

When everything's up in the air, it's impossible to plan or know the right decision. I could die in two years or fifteen. My expected survival is a crap shoot, but at the same time I can't disregard it.

Danny and I are constantly weighing our choices. We're playing the guessing game of outsmarting this tumor. There are genes involved, and fate, there's food choices and exercise, there's rest and relaxation, and there's also the unknown.

On Danny and my first date, we were driving across the I5 bridge, the University of Washington in the distance. I remember looking over at him, and I thought to myself, "Wow. Danny, huh? Here I am with a guy I've known my whole life. How did I not see it. Now this is a man that I would actually love to have little babies with, and grow old together." It was a shocking thought for me. It hit like an epiphany. So simple, yet so profound.

I know that things will unfold and work out. I'm not going to guess what will happen, I'm not even going to wish one way or another. Everything in my life has genuinely worked out perfectly. Definitely not what I imagined, but it's more than I could have ever hoped for! I'm grateful for an earth shattering, move mountains kind of love, and although I wonder about normal things like children, I'm happy to have Danny. If my whole life remains just as it is with a magnificent man, a fantastic family, and truly the most amazing friends available, I will say that my life was fulfilling and happy. That's a very powerful thing.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Typical Portland Night

I'm back down in Portland. I just can't keep away from the boy. A six hour drive in each direction doesn't deter me. Even though Danny studies for several hours each night after class, I find a way to keep myself entertained. I've finished two books in the past week and that's a new post-surgery record. I highly recommend both, Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie, and Lottery by Patricia Wood.

This is what we do. Danny studies, and I read while staring at him trying not to talk. What a life! :)

Monday, June 13, 2011


I'm back, and recharged. It's funny, or I guess not "ha ha" funny, but ironic, that I always considered myself to be thoroughly independent. Even when Danny and I did long distance for the first year and a half of our relationship, I cherished my alone time.

Things changed after the diagnosis, the surgeries, and all of the therapy though. Danny and I literally spent the past year together without much work. We took walks, went to the farmer's market, we cooked together, we read together, we worked out together, and laughed constantly. We still did various social things without each other, but we came together after a few hours or couple of days, refreshed, missing each other. We were spoiled. We were able to downsize, minimizing our financial obligations, just focusing on my medical bills and things like that. Anyway, I'm realizing that I've been incredibly spoiled to have Danny around all the time.

I'm strong when I need to be, and I know that this career change for Danny will be fantastic for our future. People do long distance every day, sometimes most of their lives. The problem is that I have a sense of urgency to enjoy each moment, and that makes me want to with him.

The only solution, in my opinion, is to distract myself. I've gotten back in touch with the brain tumor support group in Wenatchee, seeing what I can do to volunteer. I've become a volunteer with the National Brain Tumor Society. I'm distracting myself with other people's lives, trying to figure out how I can help. The best thing I can do is to get outside myself. I think it's finally time to focus on others. I won't forget the necessity to take care of myself and rest, but I can't just sit here on my bum.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Portland Roadtrip

I'm headed out in the morning. I can't stand it. Danny was going to surprise me and drive all the way home to see me, but I can't have him taking his only day off to drive 5.5 hours to see me, then quickly get home within 24 hours.

When I was on the girls weekend a few days ago, I shared some of the highlights from the way Danny treats me. I told them that I feel like I'm living a love story more romantic than the book and movie, The Notebook.

While I was recovering from the brain surgeries at Laura's house, Danny would scoop me up into his arms. He would carry me to the couch, tuck me into a soft blanket, put a Sex In The City series disk on and cuddle me. For the record, he can't stand the series, it was all for me. He would lift me back up and take me for a nap. Each day, since I couldn't wash the scab and staples, Danny would carry me and place me in the shower. He took a soft bristle toothbrush and he would gently clean as close to the incision as possible. There was an absurd amount of blood that was constantly coming off in my hats and scarfs and Danny didn't want me to have to see it. He knew I would prefer to be clean. I never asked him to do such gentle and kind things. He even took the initiative to draw baths, where he would sit on the side of the clawfoot tub and shave my legs and armpits for me. It was unbelievable. He has nurtured me, spoiled me with kindness and love. When I'm around him we laugh, and laugh. Then, sometimes we sob, and sob.

I feel immensely grateful to have him in my life. He has helped save me. He is a huge part as to why I'm healthy today. So, I'm out of here. I'm going to go see my man. It doesn't matter that he has to study the majority of the time. I have a few books on tape, lent from my friend Kristin, and one actual bound book. I'm just excited to be near him.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More Valuable Than Gold

Last weekend I had a girls weekend up in Lake Chelan. We talked a bunch, laughed hysterically, and at one point, sobbed about the details of this diagnosis. With the right women, life isn't dramatic, it's just sincere, easy, funny, safe, and therapeutic.

It was women who are married, married with children, divorced with children, divorced, single, and dating. It was diverse. The main similarity was that they are all warmhearted and beautiful from the inside out. They're all strong, hard working (whether it's referring to their corporate life or their corporation which is their family), intelligent, powerful and thought provoking.

I have been so blessed by all of the beautiful people who continuously surround me with love and kindness. I'm grateful for wonderful listeners who, I believe, will take their knowledge from my illness and their experiences with me and carry them to continue to fill this world with love and empathy.

Without Danny I'm finding myself much more emotional. Maybe it's because I always talk things out with him. Now that he's gone I'm alone with my thoughts and emotions. Usually it comes out with laughter, but Dan is my sounding board, who also pipes up with thoughtful insight.

I've always been very independent, but I'm starting to wonder how long I can keep it together. With Dan by my side I've been able to keep everything in perspective, I've also been able to be strong because I didn't want to cry very much. Now, while he's gone, I feel very vulnerable with my thoughts. I don't even spend the time to cut up veggies. I don't want to eat. Tears fall off my face and I can't stop it. I'm not sleeping. I have IBS (too much information, I know). I've always thought myself to be incredibly strong and stubborn, but I find myself not wanting to waste a single minute. I just want to be with him.

I'm trying to think positive thoughts. I cleaned the entire house from washing all of the walls, to running all curtains through the wash and then ironing them. I moved the furniture, I went through our hard drive and ordered prints for all of the frames in the house. I cleaned the bathroom and it's spotless. I could never keep it clean when there was a dirty boy around (don't tell him I said that), now you could eat off any surface. But the truth is, who cares, no one is going to eat off the toilet. Never.

I am thoroughly excited for this job and I'm exponentially grateful that Danny is willing to put in all of the effort and work to secure this job. He's incredibly smart, hard working, thoughtful, hilarious, kind, his hugs are worth more than gold, and I know that I have to be strong.

Details: Danny will be in Oregon for the majority of 5.5 months. Right now he's in school Monday through Saturday, 8:00am-5:00pm. After the first three weeks, once he passes a cumulative exam of the curriculum, he will be employed by Union Pacific Railroad. He will be a conductor. After the 5.5 months he will probably train in Portland for another six months to become an engineer. It's a long story.

Please send him as much love and energy as you can.

He's a highly educated man with two bachelor degrees but this economy sucks. I just keep thinking how appreciative I am that Danny has this job possibility. We will move wherever we can to take care of ourselves, I just don't like being apart. The truth is that I'm scared. I have horrible, horrible headaches. If I had a MRI machine I would hop in it once a month.

I want Danny to have this incredible job because he deserves it. I want him to have the best future he can. I'm happy that the income will help if I ever need experimental treatment, but most of all, I want Danny to have the life he deserves. For those who have met him, you know how wonderful he is. It's in his eyes, in his actions, in his kindness to others. The man is true and honest. I've never met anyone like him.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thank You Malones!

Hello All. I'm exhausted so I don't have the energy to catch you all up. I do, however, have a photo of the day. Danny is off in Oregon for his training, and we've been blessed with the gift of housing at the Malone's. It's saving us a ton of money, and now Dan has company! Thank you Meghan, Mary & Kevin! Seriously, it was heaven sent, or technically, it was Meghan sent.

Mrs Malone took a photo of Dan on his second day of school, which was today. It was so nice to see his face. What a cutie!!

I wonder if he was going to give that apple to his teacher :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Back to Top