Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A very, very, long, long post

Today we got to the hospital at 8:30. Lisa went into a total meltdown when the tech came in. She didn’t want to be here, she wanted to go home and she didn’t want any pokes. I tried to answer the techs repetitive, inane questions calmly, but as Lisa’s screaming and kicking escalated, I found myself short on patience and started giving the tech very short, snippy answers. The conversation went something like this:

Tech: “Has Lisa had any surgeries before?”
Me: “Yes, eye surgery and the same procedures she’s having today if you consider those surgeries, she had anesthesia”
Tech: “How long ago was the eye surgery?”
Me: “What?” struggle with Lisa “uh 2-3 years ago, it was here, should be in her records”
Tech: “Does she have any metal implants in?”
Me: “No, I don’t think so”
Tech: “Besides her stint, does she have any meta implants?”
Me: “I thought her stint was plastic, no I don’t think there is any metal”
Tech: “When were her last tests?”
Me: to myself --- are you fricking kidding me?
to the tech--- “I can’t really recall the dates right now, everything has been done here and is in the charts”
Tech “ok, so what test is she here for today”
Me: march over to my bag…pull out my paperwork…show here the paper and say “these, the ones that are printed on the paper”. Bye-bye tech.

After that we were sent to the waiting room. Lisa was screaming the whole way there. A nurse offered her stickers and she barked no. She carried on for about 10 minutes then saw Mickey Mouse on the TV and returned to normal. She went up and told the nurse she was ready for her stickers and then proceeded to do crafts…lots of them. When the nurse went to check her vitals, Lisa led her through the routine, telling where to check her ears, how to weigh her, how to do blood pressure. Her MIBG was scheduled for 9:30 and we watched the clock tick by. Anesthesia finally came down at about 10:30. Nicest people. They explained that because the one procedure room was behind they were flopping Lisa’s test and having her do her MRI first and then the MIBG so she wouldn’t have to be under so long. Excellent. After Lisa’s experience yesterday, I made it very clear there would be no pokes to her while she was awake. I told them I didn’t care what they had to do once she is in sleepy land, but under no terms were they to poke her and she know about it. They agreed and we discussed the option of a gas mask and then after my repeated comments that she is hard to “stick” they determined that in this case it would be best to use her broviach. Yeah!!! We got Lisa on the bed, I told her they were going to clean her tubes. She lifted her shirt and helped them…they connected the anesthesia and off she went, sleeping by 11:00.

I went to the cafeteria and had a nice chat with my friend Marcia who was here for an appointment. Now it is 12:30 and I have at least 3 hours to go.

Now…this post is going to get reallllllly long. Sorry, but I’ve not been able to write as frequently because of work, and I’m trying to catch you all up. Again, I’m very appreciative of all of those who read this blog frequently. Knowing you’re out there thinking and praying gives me a boost. A special thanks to Ashley whose leaves us comments every time we blog….it let’s me know people are reading and there is a life outside cancer. Thank you to Lisa G. for suggesting Mike and I use different colors when we blog so you can tell us apart. I was told this weekend that sometimes the blog actually causes some of you non-criers to “squirt a tear”; while that is not my intent, I’m glad you are still reading and the expression “squirt a tear” just makes me laugh. I’ve never quite heard it said like that before…so keep reading, keep laughing and keep squirting tears if you need to! Thank you to all the friends, family and Chrissy’s girl scout troop who are giving us all types of support and making sure we don’t go hungry! We are well fed, the kitchen will soon be stocked on a regular basis and the kids are getting to activities as needed. This is becoming a bit easier to deal with, but I know in my heart it is only because of all of you who are sending your prayers, kindness and energy to us.

I’d like to close this posting with two stories.

Time Is Finite, Don’t Take It For Granted
Monday night, a close family friend--a 15 yr old young man-- gave his family and friends a fright. He was hanging out with his hockey team having dinner at the coach’s house. Life is good. Suddenly, he is choking on a piece of steak. The choking continues, he is gasping for air. The coach’s wife performs the Heimlich…while this moves the steak and gives him a little more air, it doesn’t dislodge and his breathing is compromised. He is rushed to St. Mary’s hospital. His parents rush to meet him. His breathing is compromised, he is struggling, he is choking to death. They don’t have the tools there to operate; he will need to be rushed to U of M. As a last ditch effort, they give him a drug which has only worked 2 other times in 8 years at St. Mary’s….it causes spasms that will hopefully help his body to dispel the object. As they prep him to move him into an ambulance, the medicine kicks in and he starts to violently throw-up…thankfully, the steak reappears. He starts breathing fully and announces he feels better. He is released from the hospital that night. Needless to say his Mom slept with him and held him tight. Crazy thing…isn’t it? Something we do everyday…eating…could, under unfortunate circumstances, be the last thing we do. Just a reminder of how precious life is….that our time here is finite…make sure that what you are doing, you love doing and that you are living your life to the fullest and hugging those around you!

Ok…so for those of you who can stand to read on and aren’t squirting tears…I’ll share one more story with you.

Yesterday, just as I was getting ready to leave work, I went on the internet to look up some information on the procedure Lisa was having done today. Once I got the information, I made the mistake of checking out a website I had been avoiding…Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation. I had found this site last week and while it appeared to have good info, I found that I was reluctant to read it. When it came up again yesterday in the search for Lisa’s procedures, I thought…hmmm maybe I should check this out. I realized I have not been doing the research I normally do when life throws me a curve ball and was a bit surprised by that and thought…good as time as any, might as well do some reading. Welllllll….now I know why I’ve stayed away from researching and the website. The info and numbers were so dismal it’s hard for me to function when I read them. I froze up with fear and pain about what the future (if there is a future) for Lisa might hold. So with tears in my eyes, I clicked close the “Keep breathing” video I was viewing on the website. I worked to regain my composure, tidied my desk and left work. I was feeling pretty devastated and kicking myself for reading the website. I just wanted to get home and see Lisa and hold her, I felt so empty and frightened. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I noticed it was 6:15 and figured at this time of day, most of the traffic would’ve cleared and if I pushed the speed limit I could get home quickly. I was still agonizing and I started praying/pleading with God. Please, just give me a sign…you’ve done it before….I need something….maybe another song? I flipped on the radio--ok, not a song. Maybe another billboard…glance around--nothing. Now the doubt and silliness kick in…as if God would send me a sign just because I demand it. Really…and were those other times signs or just coincidences? Some serious self-talk started up. Ok…pull it together, don’t start ditching your faith and questioning things. Calm down, Lisa’s not dying this minute. The thoughts just kept swarming. I pulled on I-94 and got up to speed. Please God, really just send me a sign…anything…it doesn’t have to be that she’s going to make it, just something to let me know you’re there, something to let me know you’re watching over us and we are going to be safe and you’ll guide us through. As I continued my travels, the tears and thoughts just kept flowing. Man, I was just telling someone how I thought that things might work out…what if they don’t?.. snap out of it…stupid website….quit crying… get a grip. I continued to drive and argue with myself. I spotted a motorcycle in the left lane and not wanting to be behind such a small vehicle, proceeded to pass on the right. As I was starting to pass, I thought what a cool motorcycle, I’ve never seen one like that before. As I cruised by and looked in my side-view mirror, I saw STATE POLICE printed on the visor. EEK! Sh@! Great just what I need…the siren was almost instantaneous as was my pulling over. I tried to get control of the tears and sobs. Apparently I was unsuccessful…the first thing the officer asked me was “Mam, is something wrong?” “Nope” I said. “Then why are you crying” he asked. “It’s nothing” I sniffled. I already had my license out and he asked for the registration. As I handed him the papers, I was still sniffling. “Mam, are you going to be Ok” he questioned. “I’m sorry” I said, “I’m just having a bad moment…my daughter was recently diagnosed with cancer and prognosis is not good” The officer told me to hold tight, and went off to check my ID. I again tried to regain composure. By the time he came back, I thought I had the tears under control. He handed me my ID and said the unexpected. “How old is your daughter?” I started crying again “3” I answered. “Mam” he stated “I know what you are going through…I am a cancer survivor…leukemia…I just finished my treatments a few months ago” I looked at him and said “I’m so sorry…you look good…how are you doing?” He answered “I’m doing great Mam”. I looked him right in the eye and said “Thank you, thank you for pulling me over and keeping me safe. Just before you pulled me over I had been praying for God for a sign…something to let me know that I could get through this, that God would take care of us and keep us safe…you might be that sign”. He nodded and said “Mam, I pulled you over because you were speeding…I’m not going to give you a ticket but I want you to slow down. You need to be there for your daughter, you need to stay safe and take care of her”. I thanked him one more time and pulled away in a bit of shock. So…..perhaps one of God’s signs? The skeptics in the world are probably laughing their heads off right now at the idea. Or as many of the McMaster’s like to tease..sign…God was sending you all kind of signs…they are called speed limit signs and have the big number 70 on them! But I do wonder, I asked God for a sign that would let me know he was there watching over me and keeping me safe….isn’t that what a police officer does on a daily basis? Hmmmmmm….as I pulled away I kept checking my rear view mirror…there was no traffic when I pulled out and a few seconds later, there were tons of cars, but no motorcycle. Perhaps the officer was off on a mission to keep others safe. As for me, I slowed down, felt a bit more at piece and realized the sun was shining, it was a gorgeous day and I had four wonderful kids, a great husband all alive and well waiting for me at home. It really doesn’t matter who thinks this was a sign…what matters the incident brought me peace and strength and the willingness to keep trying and to BELIEVE.

So, finally, signing off of this very long post. Keep praying, keep hoping and keep believing!


Anonymous said...

If that is not a Linda sign I do not know what is!

You reminded me to be greatful for life as it currently is, so I ask you to be thankful for the little things in life!

Always with you and yours!

Lisa Grendysa

Kathy McCann said...

Alright, I "spit tears" with the last story. As always your family is in our thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Wow Lisa "spitting tears" here too. We always say that God works in mysterious ways and this is proof of that. I know that he's keeping all of you under his watch and care and know that we're all keeping you in our daily thoughts and prayers.

Pam n Tom Seem

Diane said...

Darn it Linda! Squirting Tears? I think not - try watering my desk with them! If that cop being a Cancer SURVIVOR wasn't a sign, I'll massage my sister's feet! (I hate feet by the way!)

Hang in there woman! love, Diane

BookMama said...

If you ever need another mom to talk to while you're at work, you know where I am. :)

Andrea S-R

Anonymous said...

Geez, I have to leave and I can't stop squirting. Totally a sign...HELLO....don't listen to the skeptics listen to your heart.

Love you,

Sarah Rumptz

tom said...

Ok so Lisa and Mike, just a quick note. Great story. As you have asked for a sign, and God has responded in his way, know that to others, YOU are a sign that they have been praying for as well.
Now, no squirting tears punk!

Jeanette said...