Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Flying By the Seat of My Pants

I am writing this since my publisher wants MY story from the beginning.
My beginning didn't begin with YouTube or my husband getting a horrible disease called Cancer.
My story begins some 50 years earlier...
Hang on.
This may be a bumpy ride.

Chapter One

My first recollection as a kid was of being a happy one.
I remember people would always call me "Smiley." I loved everyone.
We were poor but smiles and hugs and laughter were free!
I was four years old.
Life was good. Life was fun. 
We lived near downtown small town Indiana where there were candy stores and pet shops and movie theaters on every corner of cobbled brick streets. We ran these streets and we had fun. 
We were together.
I had my big brother and big sister and my superbly beautiful Mom.
I remember that we moved. 
A lot.
One dark wintery night a very tall man came to our small cramped apartment that we had just moved to months before.
He wanted something. I assume it was rent money.
My beautiful Mom was crying. Three small kids, rent to pay and a limited grasp of the English language. 
He sat in a chair that was way too small for him. He scared me. The radiator hissing scared me but my mom was crying and HE was the reason why.
Why wouldn't he just go away?
Why does this ugly old man make my Mommy cry?
He's sitting here in our dismal living room on a too small chair looking so stern and angry in his ugly dark suit and glasses.
Go away!
I can make him stop looking at my Mom with his eyes so mean. I can!
I will.
I open the closet door and it creaks on it's rusty hinges. His cold eyes slither over to me.
I open the door wider. Staring at him. My eyes locked on his face. Daring him to keep watching. Wider. That's it. Keep your eyes right here, mister. 
I open the door even wider and at the top of my lungs I yell, competing with the screech of the rusty hinges straining to open the heavy door as I pull the knob.
"Stop barking you big watch dogs! There is a man out here that you can bite if you want. Bite him hard! Bite him before he leaves. 
He's leaving SOON!"
My eyes never leave his face. 
He is staring at me. 
My imaginary dogs must be scaring him, my 4 year old mind thinks. Ha!
His head shakes as he keeps his eyeballs on me standing in an empty closet doorway, dirty pajamas, threatening him with big, mean, imaginary dogs.
He stands up.
He looks at me as he tells my Mom... 
"You have 3 days to get the rent money or you are out on the street and your crazy kids too. Oh, and we don't allow "dogs" in here.
Money or Get Out!"
I stick my tongue out at his retreating back as he slams out the apartment door.
Ya! He's gone.
I curl up in my moms lap as she cries.
"You did good, Lana. You scared that man away" she tells me in her heavy accent as she wipes her eyes and a small smile appears on her perfectly red lipsticked mouth.
I thought she was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. She was my beautiful mom.
2 Days later we were moving again....
This time we moved to an even older, smaller, rougher house where neighbor kids ran wild and the wind was the only thing that whipped down the dark dirty streets.
We moved into the upstairs of a duplex apartment that was in such a bad state no one else would rent it. 
I would wake up many nights and hear  my Mom crying in the other room to The Platters singing "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" playing on the scratchy record player and it was always a sign my mom would end up all night in tears.  Sobbing. I would get up from the bed I shared with my brother and sister and rubbing my eyes would curl up on her lap in hopes of helping to make the tears stop. What made these words make her cry so much? If the song is so bad, why listen to it, my 4 year old thoughts would say.

They asked me how I knew
My true love was true
Oh, I of course replied
Something here inside cannot be denied 

They said someday you'll find
All who love are blind
Oh, when your heart's on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes

Now laughing friends deride
Tears I can not hide
Oh, so I smile and say
When a lovely flame dies
Smoke gets in your eyes
Smoke gets in your eyes 

It would be before the next move, the next apartment, the next angry landlord's visit that my mom would leave and I'd not see her for years. 
No imaginary dogs could keep her here.
No crazy little girl's desperation moves could stop the train that was about to roll over us all.....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Take This Cancer and Shove It!

Not much happening here in this 
cancer-rabbit-hole we fell into.
I like it like that.

My husband still can't sip water... Very well anyway.
Food? Forget about it. Can you imagine not eating even ONE bite of food for FOUR whole months? I can't. 
(Food is my Friend)
He says water goes down but he's not sure if it stays there or if it's simply spit. So... I gave him a small amount of orange Gatorade to drink.
It went down and mostly 50% stayed down. Being orange-colored helped to sort out what it was he was spitting out. 
He says he still feels something back there gagging him if/when he does swallow. Hmmm. 
Is it a tumor?
Is it dead cancer?
Is it scar tissue?
Who knows, but he refuses to go see the Ear Nose and Throat doctor and I can see his point... to a point. All of my nudging and nagging get me no where.
(I've even threatened to use the Company Credit Card and go on an extravagant  Shopping Spree again... Still nope.)
He says "Why test what you won't treat."
He just simply does not  LOOK like a man with cancer any longer. 

The dull grey coloring is gone. He has those pretty flushed cheeks and ruddy complexion back that made me fall in love with him.
He is no longer losing weight. I feed him every 3 hours 6 times a day. 6 cans of Isosourse canned liquid a day via his feeding tube.
He no longer coughs up blood.
He no longer has that raspy "hot potato" voice.
He is no longer so fatigued he can't move one step in front of another.
He has even been going to the office 2-3 hours a day.
You tell me.
Does that all sound like a sick and dying man?
No symptoms~~ no cancer, right?
So, we wait. 
The PET Scan is scheduled for the end of November. That will tell the true story.
The truth, The whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
It's still too early to do the PET Scan now as the radiation is still inside his body and he would light up like a nuclear reactor.
So... As I said, we wait.
Waiting has never been my strongpoint but we are learning to cope.
Life goes on and time waits for no man... or woman.

 (Where did I put that Credit Card anyway?)

PS. I noted that Steve Jobs passed away.
RIP Steve Jobs.
He had the same rare Neuroendocrine cancer my husband has.... 
I feel a Scarlett O'Hara moment coming on again......