Saturday, January 26, 2013

Goodbye 2012

I know I'm a few weeks late in finally getting around to posting this but I'm finally here. The year 2012 had it's highs and lows for me. With my immediate family, we had a good year. Or, more accurately, we didn't have a bad year. We're still working. We still own our house. We still have our cars. We are all still healthy. My son got his first job and his first car. My other son moved in with his girlfriend. We got a new puppy. So we had a better year than I'm sure a lot of people had. For me, personally, it was more of a low.

My low started more in the fall of 2011. My best friend, who had been diagnosed with stage 4 (terminal) colon cancer back in 2006, found out that the cancer had traveled again and gotten worse. She'd gotten the news before. It had already traveled from colon to liver to lungs. Now it had traveled to her stomach. She no longer qualified for most of the trials because of some pretty bad reactions she'd had to some of the drugs used in the past. But she was an amazing woman and was still determined to fight. So, after having some meltdown time, she carried on with the fight.

She received good news in the spring and everyone was hopeful. The cancer seemed to be shrinking! Yay! The doctors and nurses were amazed and said she was going to be their miracle patient. She was got to take some much needed time off from nearly non-stop treatments (aka chemo) and she was feeling great. Her daughter was graduating in May and her son was playing football in college...everything seemed to be falling in place for her. Everything she had wanted for her children was working out according to plan.

In May, at a graduation party, people noticed her unknowingly dumping her plate on the ground and brought it to her attention. She went to the doctor for another checkup and found out that the cancer had traveled, yet again, to her brain. She'd already had a trip to Mexico planned for several months, so she did a type of new surgery to try to remove the tumor and then went on her trip, as planned. She had a great time! She couldn't go scuba diving because she wasn't breathing well, but she got to swim with dolphins, celebrate with friends and family and just enjoy the tropics.

Less than a month after she returned, she was told that there was nothing else the doctors could do for her. All treatments were stopped and she was sent home on hospice. It was such a complete 180 from what everyone had expected that we were all in shock. Including her. Over the next three months, we all watched her decline. She kept her spirits up and was still determined to do as much as she could for herself, which could sometimes become a source of friction between her and her husband, who worried she would hurt herself. She cheered from her bedside for her son's college team, with her team flag and wearing her jersey. She lost motor function. Then she lost the ability to talk. She started having seizures. And she finally passed at the end of September, a week before her birthday.

It was so hard to believe that just three months prior, she'd been living it up in Mexico. She was one of the most vibrant, energetic, strong and funniest people I have ever known. And one of the kindest. She was loud. She enjoyed life more than most. She didn't care what people thought. I still cry, or laugh, (or both) every time I think of her. I cry typing this. I still get the urge to call her and share something that happened. Or tell her we need to go see a movie I just saw an ad for. Or we need to have dinner or lunch. I still miss her every day.

Then, in November, I got the news that my father was in the hospital again. Long story, but back in 2002 he'd been in a motorcycle accident that had caused him to have nearly 40 surgeries over the years. Him being in the hospital again wasn't shocking or cause for immediate alarm. Even being told that we should say our goodbyes wasn't anything new. We'd been told that probably a dozen times over the years and he always pulled through. We all thought he'd probably live forever just to spite everyone. But he got sent home on hospice as well. And passed away on December 7th.

Because of a complicated history with my father's wife (the stepmonster), my sister and I were disowned four years ago and no longer allowed to come see him. We didn't get to see say goodbye. We didn't get to visit him on his deathbed (although he didn't ask for us either, that we know of). We didn't get to attend his funeral. And he was buried on the property, so we won't be able to visit his grave either.

I have neglected this blog. I have neglected several books that I'd had sent to me for review. I have books that I've had for a year that I haven't reviewed. I'd like to extend my heartfelt apologies to any authors or editors that have requested reviews from me. I didn't stop reading. It was one of my few escapes over the past year, but to put my thoughts into any sort of coherent form proved nearly impossible.

Here's to hoping 2013 is a better year.

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