Sunday, September 30, 2012


17 years ago a long awaited for baby boy was born.

I have no idea what he weighed or how tall he was, all we thought about at that time was for him to survive.

Backtrack to a difficult pregnancy, a much wanted and delayed pregnancy. Sabrina had been living with Frank for 7 years and then married hoping to have a child. (She did keep her maiden name) Nothing happened very quickly for that girl and then finally she had to be very cautious during that time period.

So we are at the hospital, a fairly new hospital, very nice and well oiled in care and doctors. Her doctor happened to be working in that hospital only.
Run or owned by a religious group the only complaints I ever heard about them is that no coffee or cafeine was served, but very healthy food with tons of vegetables.
For the life of me now I forget the name of the church.They do honor Saturdays as the day for rest and the Sabbath.

Sabrina is ready and I am to be with her trying to hold hands and ignoring the pain in my baby. The doctor comes and goes, often, I have camera in hand or so does her sister we film the whole episode. Finally I hear the doctor tell the nurse to get the team ready we will have a cesarean section. Nurse looks at him and said something I will NOT forget :"Doctor, we do not have a staff ready, so and so has to come from Fairview and so and so from another town". He does not answer, you can see that he is very annoyed. He orders: I need to see how this baby is doing bring him the equipment NOW.......he mentions what he needs...he waits..goes down the hall.
No one ever came. He tells Sabrina that every time he tries to get the head the baby retracts back in. The doctor is quiet but does not leave us. I smell trouble.
Another nurse comes in and there are looks to each other but there is a quiet in the room besides Sabrina's complaints.

No one comes with news of a team nor machinery.
It dawns on is Saturday!!!!
We are here with a skeleton crew.

Doctor and nurses gather around the end of the bed, one has a blanket ready, the baby finally comes with a cord around the neck, color is not normal, cut the cord quickly and the nurse grabs the baby wraps him up and runs down the hall.
I follow....she goes into a room and someone shuts the curtains in front of my nose on the window. We know nothing.
I know nothing. I did not hear a cry.
I am thinking this is all over with and I want to just sit on the floor in a corner and weep.
Mother in law comes from the waiting room and who ever was there I have not a clue anymore we form a circle in the hall in front of the nursery and pray, we pray out loud, we want this baby, Lord how we want this baby to live.

A nurse comes out of the elevator trying to get a smock on while she runs, it is Rhonda's friend she is a specialist for lungs here and they called her to come in.
Rhonda tells her while both are running that this is Sabrina's baby. She answers I will do my best.

I do not remember if we saw Zack that day, every time I went to the nursery someone would shut a curtain. Sabrina did not see him and we were told that he would be ok
but needs some help with breathing.

The angst was enormous it was several days before Sabrina could nurse him in the nursery, he was not coming out of that place for awhile. They did not go home for days.

In the end he was saved by the crew in the nursery but we all know and have the video still that it should have been cut and dry a cesarean section.

Zack was a big baby, cute as a button, he smiled all the time, he was our joy rarely had a fit so by week 6 he was on the road with us selling Santas and loved to ride in the car except for one town "Augusta Ga". It did not matter how old he got he would scream all the way from Augusta to home some 3 hour ride.
We almost gave up the Augusta shows but we always sold out there, he just hated that town and he could not even speak.

Today Zack has another challenge , he hardly had an aspirin in his 17 years, he is a man, 6 feet 5" and he HAD cancer, a fast moving nasty cancer. So now he is on the mission to stop it from coming back and has a severe regime of chemo for one year.
It is hard to be 17 ,treated in pediatrics, not being able to do the football, not being able to be with his palls in his senior year, could not go to the yearly fair, can't go to the games....and on and on.

An infection now or catching anything from a sick person would be very dangerous.
So far he has needed numerous blood transfusions to keep going. His hair is gone but his spirit is very high. He gets angry now and then and has a right to but it does not last. He is so liked by the nurses and doctors. He has the right attitude.
The world needs Zack and he will be your best mechanic as this is where he will go to school next when this battle is over with.

Happy birthday ,my baby bear, you will never know how much joy you have given me already so do keep it up!!!!Meme loves you !!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I was very young when I started this ritual. A ritual I still do now at 80.
Perhaps every one does that, I never asked.

As soon as I am awake I am thinking" what is exciting today?" It could be anything that sets the mood for me...less homework...a friend back from being sick...and as I grew older....the boyfriend will visit today....mother will take me to see a movie...

When Bob was ill I hardly had time to think what would happen today ..I knew my routine, get him out of bed and cleaned up and dressed....strip the whole bed and start washing...that was my first thought then...for years and years....

After Bob left us I'd wake up and think "I am a widow, I hate that name, there is nothing waiting for me hugs, no rides in the country, BUT also no laundry waiting....then I would do the best thing and crawl back in bed to sleep some more.
Perhaps then when I would wake up again I might think of something worthwhile to get up for.

Two years later we, the family, again faced with disease. I wake up and my first thought is my grandson. I rush to the computer to read the blog and see how yesterday played out. Sabrina is tired of calling every one and repeating conditions. We all agreed that the blog will help us and her.

The day involves in what I read. A bad report lingers in my heart and my bones well until the afternoon until I take a nap and forget the world.

But Thursday Sabrina surprised me and wrote:"the numbers are good, no transfusion on Friday, I am coming to see you and we will have a day out like we used to".
It will be fun!!!!

I wake up Friday morning and my first thought is "Sabrina is coming and she promised fun". I am so excited. I jump out of bed and forget the brittle bones in the back.Ouchie!

I have not seen much of my daughter in the last 3 months. We used to shop every Tuesday and replenish the fridge. Now Rhonda does this on week ends and she is a doll for helping so much with her sister and me. So it is not so much about getting the milk and bread but seeing this wild girl who promised me fun today.

She steps out of her car and I now see make up, eye lashes curly and dark ,eyebrows trimmed and lipstick. hair still has 24 colors but it is a start. She did something to please herself for the first time in months.
I look into her eyes and I see the pain, the worry, the exhaustion.
No sparks no little stars in the blue, blue eyes.

I used to be shocked when I took time to look in the mirror and saw my eyes, they told the whole story of my body and emotions. Sad, sad, exhausted and sad.

She tells me :"Mom, we will not talk about cancer or Big John , today" We will have girl talks. I can go for that.

No sooner are we in the car and her phone rings, Hospice here ....and the talks start for the next 30 minutes about what to do with Big John who wants to return home. He promises the doctors he will not smoke, he smokes in the nursing home, what the blazers is that promise worth. So the scramble is on for
a place for BJ. His wife has been on duty for decades with this demanding man who thinks she is his slave. She moved his bed out and cleaned the whole house from top to bottom to get rid of the smoke smell. She is done. She did her duty. Picking up a giant man when he falls on his one leg is not task for her anymore.
Sabrina is her mouth piece, Sabrina fights for her freedom but these days there is no room at the nursing home, not here, not there, not at the VA. We just live too long, a month ago the dr. said John was dying. He has been dying more often than any cat with 9 lives.

We finally get to lunch and dropping bunch of stuff at the Hospice store.
The rest of the day is fun...we even go nuts and have a donut at Krispy Cream
with a cafe au lait. By evening we are laughing at every bad joke.

I show her my ankle and the protruding 2 screws which have to come out some day, Brie says: Get some W40 Mom . The laughing starts again. We are having a release for a short while . When she sees her brother she tells him : We almost forgot cancer today, I want to sleep over but tomorrow I need to get the yard ready for the fish fry and Zack's 17th birthday!!!

I got up this morning and my first thought was: "yesterday was fun today will be good I have a new fry pot and it will be french fries tonight!Yeh!"It does not take much to get me out of bed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

a dog's world

Does your dog yawn when he has to pee? Mine does, the Maltese, I find this very insulting. I put on his "bra" hook up the leash and it is yawn, yawn, yawn every time.
I think he is telling me that the walks are a bore or..he is laughing at me thinking that he hooked me again to go out when I want to sleep in late.

This fall is a first for him. He decided after 4 years that he should become a hunter. His new desire are the squirrels, he never noticed them before, now as they run to and fro a mouth full of nuts, now he wants them too, perhaps he thinks that the goodies are the same he gets at home. He has not figured out that he is a meat eater and the nuts are not on his plate.

The Corgy is shedding A LOT, I can honestly vacum every hour if I was a cleaner like Sabrina...but then she does not want a shedding dog either. Not my bad, my son when he got her thought that all his research showed that a Corgy was one of the smartest ones to train.....probably is, he did not train her besides telling us every ten minutes that she wants OUT. I do not see her yawning, better manners, I guess.

My world is not going to the dogs, I am just in a good mood to complain about them.
My not so bright doctor has finally diminished some of my meds for HP. I feel like a new person, I am not so dizzy, not so tired and I feel better in all the departments, my pharmacist had told me that prescription was not right for me. I should have complained more a long time ago.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

the quiet day

I took the Corgy for a very long walk, picked the cul de sac street lined with trees and dozens of squirrels hurrying to and fro..sometimes you can see an argument followed by a race one tree branch at a time. It is a gorgeous fall day, our leaves will not turn until mid October. Many trees are already shedding and getting ready to give us a lacy landscape of dark intertwined branches.

I am trying very hard to concentrate on nature this morning as my heart is still so very sad from Zack loss of his car. Of course he could have been hurt and it would all have been so much worse. The car can be replaced, it is just so much to take in for an old lady.

I used to think "Karma" is biting you but Zack made friends wherever he went. He has a golden heart. Since he was born he had a smiles with deep dimples getting deeper and deeper. He had a will of his own, he decided when he no longer wanted to be breast fed, he decided when the diapers should not be used anymore. Sabrina had it so easy with him. He was pleasant, loving and was loved.

I had several shops in one small mall and our workshop upstairs where we made
dolls (bob and I).Zack's crib and playpen was with us and I would rock him to sleep and made up songs for him. He still remembers. As he started to walk he would visit the entire mini mall. The restaurant gave him cookies, the hairdresser pretended to cut his hair in the big chair, he roamed around and visited wherever he felt like.
My husband adored him and I was mush in his little hands.

Karma? He did nothing wrong in his 16 years, he was a boy scout until he gave it up last year. He respected every one.

The men in his life show anger, a lot of anger, his father, his Uncle Bob, and Zack himself , all are angry. The women give up and have a good cry now and then.
I have problems not being able to stop the crying.
I wish I could just be angry and hit my fist on a wall or throw away a set of dishes in splinters but I am too practical for that.

So I walk in the silent street, I can't hear my own foot steps but I can hear a bird over my head shrieking and complaining about something. I stop, I feel odd that I hear nothing else but that bird. He must be loud. The wonder of it all makes me to start crying again....what the.....Carwen,the dog, looks up at me, she looks like she knows. She can feel the pain, she is a good companion.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The car

I can't believe I am sitting here crying and my heart aching like I lost a best friend.

I lost nothing at all but my grandson did.

During this period of chemo and being sick with most treatments he had only one object on his mind. A car! Not just a car but a 1971 Ford. He and his mechanic uncle had been working on it. The uncle had recovered the seats as a gift and they were gorgeous.
Zack finally could drive it around. He visited friends near his house all day yesterday. He was in heaven.

This morning I get a quick email:
Zack is OK. His car caught fire and it is gone

Seems that was moments after she found out that she wrote.

What else can happen to this child/man?

He has already been through so much since June 6th

I now do not know what he can think about that he wants to do when he comes home from all these treatments, how will he cope with this too.?????

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Brie on the phone on Wednesday said:
MoM, I have it all planned, we will have a fun day on Friday.

OK, said I, knowing I have to see my urologist and I do not count that as "fun" but a must "do". I also know Zack will have a morning test for his numbers at the Cancer Clinic. Also no fun but in between we could have a nice lunch and visit the Hospice store. Yes, I told myself it will be fun. I have not seen Zack in awhile and I look forward for that.

By Thursday Sabrina calls me and said she is in terrible pain in the intestine area.
As she describe I worry about the appendix or diverticulitus , I do know about that as I have it infected at times.
She refuses to go to Urgent Care.

Friday morning I am all dressed and ready and my urologist calls: "He has an emergency and can not see me today". As this happen they drive up the driveway and I wonder if I should stay home or go with them. Yes, it may be a fun day and I want to be with Zack so we take off. Brie is dubbling over the steering wheel in pain.
OK girl you go to Urgent Care.....she answers:"I will wait till tomorrow"
After much nagging she agrees that she needs to see somebody.

We get into the clinic first for Zack's test. He has on a white Tshirt and his face matches it, his lips are white. I can't remember ever seeing such white lips before.
Tests go out and I talk with him.
"Zack does it bother you a lot to have your hair gone?"
"not that much, Meme, because I keep my hat on all the time".
"I will be glad when it comes back".

Nurse comes in and tells him that the numbers are very low and he needs 2 more units of blood. He looks at her and smiles. OK. She has no idea when the blood will come so here we are it is 11.00 AM.
The door closes behind her and I see his his eyes with tears, he lowers his hat over his face, he does not want us to see that he is crying. We try to comfort him, mother and grandmother but he answers that he is so angry.

All he wanted was to go and work on his car.
From experience we know we will not be out of here until about 5 PM.
Make it 5.20 when we did.

Sabrina in the meantime goes to Urgent care and they take Xrays and find out she does have diverticulitis, they give her medication and tell her to be better by
Sunday or come back.

Zack and I in the clinic are quietly watching the History Channel.Not my favorite subjects, hunters in Alaska, NC, and Montana.....but i concentrate while he falls asleep. They gave him Benadryl. The face looks whiter and whiter, probably my imagination. Nurse checks his vitals often and now he has a fever....
his bp is low, I watch monitors. He is sitting in a chair which vibrates and makes you warm too, he had turned on the heat and the nurse turns it off. Soon the fever is gone.

I can't nap I feel like I am here to watch him and I am not allowed to nap, I watch dead animals and smiling hunters.
Sabrina comes back around 2.00 with Wendys salad I had ordered, I smell french fries in the bag, why in the hell did I not order french fries.
I eat my salad do not say a word but soon I will grab that bag from somebody, later I see they threw it in the garbage.....

Brie lies down on the couch and puts her head on my lap. My baby is hurting so very much. I remember, this stuff hurts. Finally she snores....the blood comes...they have to attach it to the port, she can't find his veins. He goes back to sleep, Brie is still snoring and I find the gadget and change the channel to Judge Judy, I am feeling pretty good, watching my two angels asleep, no pain for the moment and Judge Judy telling someone that he is an idiot.

When we get out we are hungry and go for a steak for Zack, he has not eaten much this past week. He lost weight, I can see it. I walk in first I hear the girl talking to them but I do not know what she said. I sit at the table and watch Zack sitting in front of me without his hat. I thought it strange, we order and he is eating a huge steak, I love it when people enjoy their food. His head is down and he looks uncomfortable, I ask why his hat is off and then they tell me that the girl at the entrance had told him that it is required for him to take his hat off.
If I had heard that we would have walked out immediately, now we are midway of our meal. I am pissed, no other word to describe my mood in a lady like way.
As soon as we are done I ask for the check so we can get out of here.
I approach someone but boss is out, I tell them I will not return and explain that the rules sometimes should be broken.

Monday, September 17, 2012

more transfusions.....

I just had an email from Brie.
Zack just needed one shot today but passed out again and they are now giving him more blood.
I can't imagine how many times this kid has been pricked, stabbed in fingers and port and he is still smiling.
Nurses said they want to take him around the other teen agers because he is so nice and perhaps he can tell them how to react like he does.
Sabrina said he is the favorite of all the nurses. He does not complain and is polite to them.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Zack second month

I now do not count the days till a holiday or a vacation.
I count the months which Zack endured in his program.
Each month he has 3 weeks to go to and fro Asheville and the
cancer center. The third week is a week in hospital.
That is the worst for him. Then if all the numbers are good he has a week off to try and recoup.
So we are minus 2 months.
I read Sabrina's blog first thing in the morning.
It sets the tone for my day and by afternoon I may be more settled
and not in an inner rage and concerns.
I can't participate, I do not drive, I do not hear.
But just to hold him and hug him would be so rewarding.
It is what it is.
I love this kid with every fiber in my being ,like he is my own.
I do not know how Sabrina holds it all together.
My heart is with her, every word she writes I feel with her.
It is Children's month with cancer and how many times have you heard about it???

With all respect for breast cancer which is every where what research is going on ,how much of it, how much money do they have for the children. Do little girls have to grow breast before they get attention? I am not sure anymore.

Biltmore castle is doing a marathon next spring for the Alzheimer Association.
Great. I am all for that too. The owners have been touched by this illness and that is always a good wake up call.

When it hits home then you are more aware, I would not have paid much attention to the National Child week for Cancer a year ago, I must confess, now it is another story.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Meh is my son's favorite word.
What does it mean?I did not find it in my Official Scrabble Dictionary....
Say what? There is Websters...
No no no I am scrabbling with at least 6 people and at least 2 hours a day, I deny enjoying it , I tell myself that I am doing this so I would not have dementia...yeh right!

So back to Meh!!!! It has been a "Meh" week.
Daughter number one tells me I am in a depression....can't be I am taking 2 pills of Lexapro a day ....I can't be depressed.

I did notice that this week I did not win many games in my scrabble and for me that is not important just annoying and a sign that I have not been with "IT"
Now "IT" is allowed and did you know "SH" is allowed??

I am going back to the Meh week and "Sh" already.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cool morning-cool mood?

First morning that I needed a light jacket to walk the beasts.
Loved it.

Do not love the mood changes I am having.
Way, way, past menopause what is my excuse now?

Of course there is always the concern over Zack.
He was to go bow hunting this morning as season opened. Something came in between so...he broke his bow. He wanted to go watch the game: NO.
He wanted to do this...No and that NO.

Drs. warned that his count is very low hence he needed the blood transfusion.
I think only Brie and I know of consequences with this.
You can't mess with it and a 16 year old no matter how smart does not get it.
Does not get the danger of chemo treatments.
A new nodules under the arm had me in a frenzy, dr. said it was nothing but they will do a MRI tomorrow.
Every day there is a reaction or action needed for something else.
The body is being pumped with liquid here and liquid there.....most aggressive and killing something.

So that plays into my head pretty much a lot of the day.

I hardly notice that my yard is going to hell and I say that I do not care but when I go outside then I cringe.
So....I took 30 minutes this morning to start clipping away at the overgrown bushes...then came in rubbed my legs with aloe to soothe the mosquitoe bites and took an Advil for good measure. At least I saw a little bit of the white wall which now looks like the rainforest , all green.
I am going to try and see if a gardener is affordable.
Bob like his father has big allergies to whatever is out there.
I try to avoid that plus he is busy all day with Algebra intermittent with choice words and tempers. He wants this so badly. He did get a 92 last week.
17 more weeks to go.

Sun is out and it is warming up and just lovely.
I have to get stuff together for the October tourist crowd.
It used to be the fall colors peaked about Oct 20th but now it changes year after year. Depending on water and cold.

Now I go back to try and be..........content.........

Friday, September 7, 2012

The speeches

I missed Mrs.O. I read it was fantastic.
How I loved Clinton, he is such a smooth talker and you believe him,
well I do.
Of course it is well known that these 2 are not best buddies but in this year they need each other.
Obama needs his input in the campaign.
Clinton wants a Democratic Presidency so in 4 years if she so wishes
Hillary can start being our first female President and she would be very good at it.
As Head of State she is doing great in a man's world. Also in a world still with wars and discords.
I always loved the VP he is the man on the train every day to DC he is the guy next door. He is blunt, Makes mistakes in his speeches but he is a fixture in DC.
When I listened to Obama he was cautious.
No big promises, nothing written in stone that he can't do in the next 4 years but promises of hope. He used the word HOPE several times.
Now I hope that he learns how to court the money givers, unfortunately the way it is set up right now the money machine is start6ing to add up in the hundreds of TV ads which are tiring , exhausting, turn the button "off" kind of scenario.
If TV ads are going to make a difference on voting day then it shows how very stupid we all are.

When Obama was elected and I was overjoyed BUT I told everyone that there is no way he can rectify the errors from Bush in the next 4 years...the costly wars...the bad economy....even Clinton said that no President would have been able to correct everything in 4 years.....I hope Obama continues to fight for the little people and not the corporations.
He has my vote!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mrs Albright said:

Albright: 'I Can't Understand Why Any Woman Would Want To Vote For Mitt'
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There's been no shortage of musing over Mitt Romney's failure to win over female voters. The gender gap is pronounced, and with the efforts of the president's political team, growing wider.
Author: Sam Stein


I am trying. Oh! How I am trying.
But how can I when I think about Meg back in ICU with blood clots in the heart and lungs, possible damage to her heart, she is a kid.

Zack with bad reactions to the chemo, numbers down, trush, needs blood transfusion tomorrow. Medicine that tastes like hell and he tries to be a kid who does not complain.

I am trying to turn it all around like I used to....trying to see only the good outcomes, the good tests on the way or already in place. Trying to be of good cheer.

Then there is the day today.
Sept 5
Guess none of us are going to forget it, day after Bobby's birthday.
All day 2 years ago, the girls kept talking to their Daddy.
"Please , dad, do not leave us today on your son's birthday, please stay another day..."
I think I heard Brie say that a hundred times and then Rhonda who was with her dad telling him the same and the good soul that he was he did it. He waited till the 5th.

I miss him so, I still think as I am asleep that he is next to me as Bijou tosses and turns close to my back. Sometimes he pokes me with a leg and then I wake up:"What do you want?"...Oh! it is are not here anymore.....I try and go back to sleep without crying again and again....
By day time I am wide awake and remember what I did a few hours ago. I try to think of something fun to do my bedroom....Nah!...I think I will try to make some necklaces....

Meanwhile the Big Giant is fit as a fiddle....smoking outside in his wheelchair (against the rules) the man is on oxygen for heavens sake....I am sure he does not want to leave here because he can't think his smokes with him.
I am not sure how long Hospice will keep him.....

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Week end

We had a short visit from Shanon and the house is very quiet today.
Bob very involved with figures and trying his very best to get good grades in Algebra. !8 weeks of Algebra. Wowsy. Hoping for 18 weeks with smiles.

Tomorrow Zack starts rotation 2 for the months which is not a very bad one, next week is hospital week and that is another story.

Sabrina's best friends are having problems with their 16 year old.
She has blood clots in heart and lungs.
She came out of ICU a few hours ago and will go to Pediatrics.
My heart is heavy today thinking about such a brave girl, she has had
health issues before.

Meanwhile back at the Hospice place the Giant can take a ride outside in his chair
and guess what? He was smoking outside with the oxygen next to him....Sabrina went and told the nurse..he needs supervision at all times....said he I am not hurting I feel fine.......
He will bury us all, is that not what giants do?

Son is 40 tomorrow.
I can't believe it.
It is sort of a shock to him too.

He is my silent companion and once in awhile we cross paths between kitchen and bathroom and hug and go on.

I have had it with summer. When it snows and I am complaining then remind me of this line. Leaves are starting to fall.

We are September and in 2 days it is two years since Bob left us.
Seems like yesterday. I still search the bed at night , my hand going all over the place...where is he? where is he? then I touch the dog and I remember.....
It was good to be in the North then, I could not face him taking his last breath, I just could not see that. Glad Rhonda was there. I think about it often but I have no regrets.