Friday, June 29, 2012

An Unexpected Cross Country Road Trip

I just looked out the window about an hour ago and said to myself how pretty the day was.  Blue skies and white clouds.  Hmph!  The Arizona monsoon season sure knows how to change a forecast quickly!

It has been a busy, trying  few weeks.  Just after our Grand Canyon vacation, I received a call saying that my dad had had a minor stroke.  He was in the hospital.  I knew immediately it was time for me to go home.

We took two weeks off to go to see my dad.  It was bittersweet.

Being home with him and the family and my friends was fab-tabulous.  Leaving him with the news that he may not have long to live, well, not so fab-tabulous.

It seems that the doctors believe that there is nothing else they can do.  He switched to a cancer center, something I wish he had done before now.  

I met Dr. Negrea of Low Country Cancer Care and Associates when I went to my dad's follow up appointment after his MRI.  

Let me start by saying how UN-impressed I was with the service and the fact that the wait time after his scheduled appointment was two and a half hours behind.  A lady in the waiting room, who had checked in after us and was obviously a seasoned patient, leaned over and told my husband, "Be prepared to wait 2 or 3 hours," she laughed.  "We've learned to bring a lunch."

The time ticked on and I continued to get more and more frustrated.  When we were finally seen by Dr. Negrea, I felt totally dismissed as he read the results of the MRI gave a brief explanation and stood to leave the room.  I wanted answers to the questions I'd had and I began to fire questions at him before he could leave.  He tried to answer them quickly, but never sat back down or tried to make sure all of my questions were answered.  He rushed us through, which, to me, was total disrespect considering the fact we'd waited two and a half hours behind the appointment to see him.  A little more courtesy would have been great. He quickly moved on to his next patient, but I had more questions and asked the nurse to call him back into the room to help me wrap my head around what the MRI meant.

The MRI revealed that the entire left side of his brain showed radiation narcosis.  What this means is that the radiation has burned and damaged the entire left hemisphere of his brain.  There was also 2 maybe 3 spots revealed, which were assumed to be tumors.  He said that the VA clinics were possible giving too much radiation.  Said that they're procedures were not following the protocol that would have normally been followed by cancer centers.  I asked if he thought they were experimenting on my dad and he said yes, but could only speculate until her received the records from the VA hospital.  

The illustration looked something like this:

Once they received the records from VA the news wasn't anything good.  They won't be continuing chemo is what my dad told me.  I gathered from that bit of info that there is nothing else that can be done.  

What do you say when that kind of information is given to someone?

How do you respond, when you know this person still has so much life in them?  I'm too young to lose a parent, aren't I?  He's only 51.  He's too young to receive this kind of diagnosis.  When we first came into this almost 5 years ago, we were told he would live 5 years at best.  It went from years to months. Where did those years go?   

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Grand Canyon!

Preparing for another cross-country trip.

Honestly, I didn't expect to be taking another trip so soon, but you know the old saying, "You wanna make God laugh, MAKE PLANS!"

So, after going to the Grand Canyon just last week, it's time to take a 2000 mile drive from Arizona to Georgia!  And this time, we don't have 6 days to do it! 

We're doing it in three instead.  2 hotel nights and 3 days of driving.  While I'm not looking forward to it, it's another adventure to be added to our family's list.

Speaking of trips, I MUST share our Grand Canyon pictures!  For those who are friends with me on Facebook, you may have already seen these.  But for those who are not, know that the pictures do the Grand Canyon no justice!  I use to say, "Why would I want to see a big hole in the ground?? How exciting could that possibly be?"  

 Well it was certainly breath taking!  One because you just can't imagine something like that.  And two because it took my breath away every time I got close to the edge to take a picture because I'm really not fond of heights!

We started our vacation spending a night in the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ.

The next morning we saw a gun fight!

We rode a train to the Grand Canyon.  It was the first time the kids had been on a train!
When we arrived at the Grand Canyon, a bus tour was waiting for us to take us around the GC.

This is a picture of the BOTTOM of the GC.  This was taken with my long 300mm lens.  That's a road on the bottom and those black dots are people!

These mules ride people to the bottom.  Not us!  But People!

The Grand Canyon Sunset is a must see.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Vacation Post #1: Hot and Ugly

I had all intentions of starting my 100 days of summer blogging on the 1st of June.  Here it is the 5th and I'm just now sitting down to get one in.

The kids are home.  ...yay...

Cam and Miss Missy are already at each others' throats.  For me, this means waking Miss Missy up in the mornings to go to the gym with me in the mornings.  They can't stay together for fear they may kill each other!  

This morning, some of the girls and I took a walk up to Reservoir Hill.  It's a nice hike up a hill to a lookout of the city.  We jogged back down.  Here, I can do that.  It's one of the perks of living in Sunny Arizona.  I never would have understood what "dry heat" meant until I moved here.  You really don't sweat, you just cook.  In GA, the humidity will instantly chase you back into the house.  Here, there's no humidity which means you're outside cooking in the sun without really realizing how hot it is! 

Guess that would explain why AZ has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world!


I don't love that word.  It quite honestly has to be one of the most horrible words in the English dictionary. 

On my run this morning.  I got a call.  I ignored it.  I got another.  It was my mother.  I ignored it.  I got another and again I ignored it but by this time, I knew there was a reason for the calls.  I knew there was something wrong, but didn't want to hear it.  I don't like bad news. I just wanted to make it home and finish my run first.

One more call and it was my sister.  I knew I needed to answer. 

More bad new.  The MRI results.  Not good news at all.

So, here I am, planning my trip back to GA.  I think we're all going to go.  We had the hospital in GA put in a Red Cross call to Chris's Command.  It's time for me to go home.

Talk about a Monkey Wrench.

6 months.  How can you give a human being a six month expiration date?  No Man knows the day nor the hour.  

Still... it's time for me to go home.  With the memory loss, the constant visits in the hospital, I need to be there, even if it's just for a little while.

Cancer is an ugly word.  You know how your mama use to get your butt for saying words like stupid, shut up, or funky (only one person I know can relate to that one)?  Cancer is that kind of ugly word.  How I wish it didn't have to be spoken in my home.