End of October Catch up Post

I wanted to give you all a bit of a catch up on what has been going on with our family over the last couple of weeks. First of all, thank you to the 3 or 4 friends who reached out to ask about how my scans went. I am part of the CHI medical system here in Omaha. They (meaning the hospitals in that health system in Omaha and many nationwide) were hacked recently. They realized they had been compromised and immediately shut down their systems to protect their patients’ privacy. Well, I thought it would be a couple of days tops. It turned out to be a few weeks. I was a nurse back in the day where we had to sit down and chart on paper…in ink. Well, this seems to be a lost art these days and this hack just crippled this health care system. I was told I would be receiving the results of my CT scans on Friday, Oct 14th at 11:45 a.m. with a call from my local oncologist. I happened to be out of town that day….and I planned my day around that call…which came 4 hours late after I called the cancer center a number of times and finally Rich called when I was given the royal runaround. My doctor, who never once apologized for making me wait 4 hours for the results, said that I am still stable and may even have some shrinkage in one of my major tumors. I cannot verify his call with the radiologist’s report yet because they have still not uploaded all the treatments and scans from the time the system was down. (It just came back up). In fact, I will have to call and have them make an appointment for my injection next week, as that has also fallen through the cracks. I have often…and I mean OFTEN found myself wondering that if I didn’t have a nursing degree and had some competence on a computer, if I wouldn’t have been killed, maimed or forgotten by this doctor by now. I find myself lifting up those less knowledgeable than me who are also fighting cancer in prayer…that someone is hopefully following them carefully. So, I am doing okay…. still stage IV and on palliative care…. but hanging in there, fighting the good fight. Next scans are in February.

We were out of town because we decided last minute to make a trip to Montana. Lily had a few days off of school, so she came with us. That Friday we were waiting for the call from the oncologist, we were touring Montana State University. It was an all-day affair. Lily was able to talk to students from there, try the food, tour a dorm hall, and walk through the art department. Rich and I were very impressed. Lily was non-plussed, as she is about anything that is seemingly important in her life. I thought she would really like it. She has already been accepted there. However, last night she told me she wanted to apply to UCM in Warrensburg, MO, where her brother, Joe, and sister-in-law, Michelle, went to undergrad. So there you have it. She doesn’t know what she wants to study yet. Rich is convinced it will all shake out in the end and she will have a place to go to when she graduates from high school….not to push her. However, the mom in me sees all these dates and deadlines coming and going. I so want her to find a place she can call her own…and figure out something she really enjoys doing that allows her to also make a living. Typical mom stuff.

We left Bozeman (where MSU is) and drove 5 hours north to where our property is. They were supposed to start building on our house this week in Columbia Falls. Unfortunately, our builder fell through at the last minute. To get another builder in place would be about a 3 year wait. I am not willing to do that. We thought we had the perfect option….the 10 acres with a newer house on it that was connected to our 10 acres was on the market. We contacted them and spent 2 hours with them at their house, and even put in an offer. However, they pulled their house off the market 48 hours after we made our offer. So here we are…back to square one. We own 10 acres we can’t build on in the near future. We were there to sign a construction loan and a contract with our builder. Now we will be waiting until March to look for a house and some acreage for sale in the Flathead River Valley. We won’t have kids in school, so we aren’t locked into certain areas for schools. I probably need to be within 30 minutes of a major hospital, but that is doable. Tim is hoping to relocate to another part of the country in May….so we hope to also move soon after Lily graduates from high school on May 21st. Now there will be no wait for construction. We can up and move and get up there. I am devastated that neither our plan A or plan B worked out. Now we have to just wait and wing it. That is not my style. I am a planner. However, it seems like not much seems to be going my way right now, so I will have to just let go and let God.

All this extra time allowed us to spend some time in Glacier National Park. We have been there several times and every time we are there the Going to the Sun Road is closed. This is the major road that goes from the west entrance to the east entrance. It is about 45 miles long and goes up into the mountain passes with stunning views. It also gets on average 80 FEET of snow each winter. It didn’t open until mid-July this year, because that is when they finally got it cleared for travel. This time there wasn’t snow. We were there the last day it was open for traffic, but the west side was closed due to construction they had planned this fall. Again, I am kind of like a bad luck penny….we still couldn’t go through. However, we did go to the east entrance and was able to make it as far as Logan Pass. That was all new to us, and the weather was beautiful, and the leaves were colorful. We stayed a few days in the Whitefish area and then headed back to Bozeman to catch our flight home. We were able to meet up with some friends whom we had been stationed with at Whiteman AFB, MO over 30 years ago. As we are not friends on Facebook and obviously, they don’t read by blog, they had no idea that Joe had died. Tell them about it in a restaurant was awful. It was already a harder day because it was also Joe and Michelle’s 2nd wedding anniversary. I felt so bad for them, as they were just mortified when we told them.

It seems so utterly unfair that Joe is no longer here when these special days pop up. Unfortunately there are a lot of them coming up in the next couple of months. Joe and Michelle were supposed to be married on September 12th, 2020. They both came down with COVID the week before the wedding and had to postpone it. They were able to have their wedding on October 17th, 2020. Because of Joe’s first responder job and the fact I was on chemo at the time, I had not seen Joe in the 8 months prior to his wedding. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I had a meeting with all my doctors at the time and I told them that was my goal. I wanted to be able to make it to my son’s wedding and hopefully be well enough to dance with him. Well, that all came to fruition. Their wedding day was a top five day in my life. I had such a good time just watching Michelle and her girls get ready…and Joe and his posse get suited up. The love that Michelle and Joe have for one another is one for the ages….they supported each other, respected each other, and loved without abandon. I was so blessed to be able to witness their marriage….to see the absolute joy on their faces. To see Tim and Lily standing up with their brother and new sister on their wedding day….it is just such a fabulous memory that I will cherish forever. It seems mighty unfair that although they spent years together as a couple, they had less than 2 years together as man and wife. Joe died being so very loved by the woman of his dreams. What can you say to your daughter-in-law on her wedding anniversary when Joe is no longer here on earth to celebrate with her? Let’s just say it was a hard day for me, as well as for Michelle. God bless her, I can’t begin to imagine how hard that day was for her.

Other things to catch you up on….oh! I have two photos in the Omaha Zoo calendar for 2023. Yep, I am Miss June (actually Eugenia and Sonny, the baby elephants are) along with a smaller photo of a cheetah. It was a really big honor to be selected. I took two photography classes in person in October. One was at the zoo. It was actually supposed to be a portrait class but they changed it (unbeknownst to me) to a fashion photography class. I was looking to find some ideas and guidance on posing Lily for her senior photos, so this was not exactly what I was looking for. However, I did get a few good shots of the models and then I spent another two hours taking photos of the animals. I will post those photos in another post.

I want to wish a Happy Halloween to those of you who celebrate it. Joe loved Halloween. I have fond memories of him as a kid trick or treating with Tim and coming home and dumping all their candy on the family room floor and trading each other for their favorites. I also remember the time in when we lived in Okinawa, that Rich, Tim, and Joe went out trick-or-treating, leaving me home to hand out candy. Rich came back less than an hour later with a Weimaraner puppy and no sons. It is by far our best Halloween story…how we ended up with our Aiko on Halloween night. Later, Joe and Tim would take Lily out trick or treating when we moved back to the States. Norway was not a big Halloween celebrating country. Joe got into more elaborate costumes as an adult. He and his wife and friends would often dress up as a group, which I always enjoyed seeing pictures of. He told me last year that he was handing out candy at his house and there was a kiddo dressed up as a fireman. When Joe told the little boy that he was a real fireman, the kiddo thought it was really cool. Joe called me and told me all about it. This is one of those days that I miss him just a little bit more.

One thought on “End of October Catch up Post

  1. So glad your CT scan came back with positive results! Sorry to hear about the awful ordeal regarding the computer process or lack of process. 🙂 I love hearing about your life and it does seem in other areas you’re hitting roadblocks. I sure understand a mama‘s heart about that school decision With Lily. My little puppy of 11 years died on my lap as I was driving to the vet. It was awful and it’s been a very rough week with tears, tears, tears. And then I think of you Cindy… I can’t even imagine. Sending you a hug and prayers

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