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Taking a look back.

It’s 12:35 am

Sitting here and re-reading a blog post from 29 Nov 11. Seems just like yesterday when I bundled my wife in my car and started the 17.5 mile run to Ann Arbor. I can see we made that trip quite a bit. While I have only been to Ann Arbor a handful of times since 2013,I can still see the road in my mind’s eye. The turns and round-a-bouts and making a left hand turn into the hospital parking lot.
Pulling into the UM Cancer Center on this cold day,while my town just got a dusting of snow,it always seemed to have snowed more in Ann Arbor and we would leave early for Lori’s appointments to try and beat traffic.
The Robin in this entry is a nod to a former journalist named Robin Schwartz who worked at our local Fox station. It always seemed whenever there was a snow forecast,she was rather happy about it while the rest of us were going “Nooooooo”.
Lori and I dubbed her the Queen of Snow,Robin later left the station and formed her own PR company.
Detroit is still Detroit,bloody and violent then as it is now. While it has a brand sports arena and a light rail system downtown,the neighborhoods are just as forgotten. Even as I write this,a small group of community activists were combing a neighborhood of boarded up and empty houses trying to turn up some new info on a cold case murder from last year.
A co-worker from my days at Farmer Jack,one of my best friends when we worked there,her 69 year old father was gunned down in a armed robbery. Two women were robbing a auto parts store,when he heard the bell chime,he came out to help and instead had his life taken for nothing. Detroit is still the shithole it has always been. I haven’t been back since my buddy Justin and I did a volunteer project while I was at my old job.
Back at the UM Cancer Center,I would park the car and we would walk in inside,later on I would use a wheelchair to push her in because she was getting weaker. The front lobby was always orderly,Lori would do a blood draw and then we would either see Dr. Johnston or walk down to Radiation. I would read or sometimes even write a blog entry. I started my FB blog after Lori got ill as a way of dealing with what was happening.
Finding out how fast quickly her cancer had metastasized was quite scary and trying to pin point exactly where it was had problems all of its own. This was a very long day for us to say the least and I recall how happy Lori was when we left.  I have written about the crazy ordeal we had to go through to get a critical test that our lovely insurance didn’t want to pay for.
We did have a fun time at the movies,Lori loved the Shrek movies and cats so it was a natural to watch Puss N Boots. Of course like I always stated ever since,it has really made it hard to watch Antonio Banderas act now,I see the man acting but I hear Puss N Boots coming out of his mouth.  I haven’t seen this movie since then and only recently found a copy for sale at my library. I think I feel a Elf and Puss doubleheader coming up. As Christmas was Lori’s favorite season,we watched almost ALL the specials on TV…this year was no different,I kept her warm and comfortable while watching the shows.
Looking back again and recalling when Lori asked me how I was handling this so calmly. Well of course I had my sad times but I did my very best never to show that,if Lori saw how scared I was,it would scare her even more. Trying to keep things as light as practical was the best way I could both her but also myself. Caregivers have to pick their times to shed tears and decompress. We did have our bad moments,far too many as her time got short but it was on a medical level,our bond only got stronger as the illness progressed.
And of course the circle has come complete as my San Jose State football Spartans limped through another terrible 2-11 year.  What was sad was that in 2012,SJSU was ranked and I got to watch the bowl they played in while Lori was undergoing chemotherapy. The angels set up a TV for me to watch while Lori slept during her treatment. Five years later,SJSU is terrible once more. I normally blog about SJSU a couple of times a year but I admit,I just wasn’t feeling much like it.
I am trying to post a little more on a personal level like this blog was founded on.
I think I sound like a broken record in saying that,over and over yet not finding anything worth saying.

I have spent the last month tussling with Chase Bank in getting a new credit card. I called them in October and ordered a replacement. It has never shown up and I went to the bank three times trying to get someone to actually help me. I got offers to re-finance my house but here on 28 Nov,I still haven’t gotten my replacement card as of yet.
Sort of hard to set a good example for “Catvember” when I can’t even contribute myself. It’s the main reason why I haven’t pushed it this year but I do,it’s going to happen. The FFRC is going to need our help and I hope some of you will join me in helping after I get the ball rolling. We collected around 40 pairs of socks as well that I’ll be donating as well.
I guess I will wrap this up and post it. I know its not a action packed entry but its from the heart.  As always,thanks for reading.

Its 10:08 am
29 Nov 11

Its a cold wet here in SE Michigan….a steady rain is falling and we might get our real snow of the winter. That should make Robin aka The Queen of Snow pretty happy. The snow will only be about a slushy inch or so but cause a lot of problems because Michigan drivers will have forgotten how to drive in it thus causing many accidents. Its a annual ritual here…

Like to say  thanks for all the feedback on my “Penn State is every day in Detroit”entry. Lot of interesting takes on what I feel really is Detroit’s BIGGEST reason why it will never recover. And if you haven’t chipped in with a take,feel free to do so…love to hear what you have to say.

New update….yesterday saw Lori and I trekking back to Ann Arbor for a visit with the Radiation department. They weren’t kidding about finding the parking lot,you have to look hard or else you’ll drive right past it. Our appointment was for 10 am and we got there at 9:30. And Lori barely had time to start filling out the paperwork before she was whisked away. What we thought was going to be a 20-30 minute “Welcome to Radiation”meeting turned out to be a 2 hour 15 minute process.

She met with Dr. Michael Miller and his team and had to get another exam,that is why I rarely go back with her…I don’t need to be there for that. But after the exam,they told her the news.

What we didn’t know was the tumor on her lymph node on her leg was and in fact,two tumors sitting side by side. The CAT scan wasn’t able to detect that at the first scan and since Dr. Johnston didn’t operate on her leg,she didn’t know that either.

So what has happened is one of the tumors has moved upwards and is back on her instestine. What they can’t see and will to do yet another CAT scan is whether or not the tumor left a cancerous trail behind connecting the two together or did it float and land cleanly.

But either way,its going to be 28 days of radiation now. We’ll be going to Ann Arbor 5 days a week at 7 am for a 35 minute session. I’ll be able to drive her 2 days as she’ll be going to work the other 3 days. We’ll have the weekends off. She’ll be getting two “blue freckles” which are basically where they’ll be putting the radiation through.

What really upset her (and me as well) was when they suggested that another round of chemo might be needed. Now that is really scary…because we had the best chemo therapy already. So it is a concern. But since we expected radiation,we were and are ready for that next step. The side effects might actually be much less then the Cisplatin which means Lori won’t lose her hair again…and that will be a blessing.

Our next appointment is this Thursday and I’ll be posting a update.

Our day didn’t end there…we had made plans to go to a matinee and see a movie and thats what we did. There is only one film out there that we wanted to see and so Lori and I saw “Puss In Boots”. Holy crow was that movie funny as hell or what??

It felt good to kick back,munch on some popcorn and crack up at Puss’s adventures. Laughter really is the best medicine in times like there…

After the movie,we decided to try and find my Pops a Lions baseball cap he wants for Christmas. We got him a cool shirt but he wanted a cap as well. So we went to the usual suspects and struck out,since its winter,they are only selling warm winter caps and that won’t do in California. But it was fun looking and get into the Christmas spirit a little bit.

We picked up some other items and as we headed home,Lori asked me how I was to cope with this so calmly. I told her the truth,I have a lot of angels who read this (well out of 90 people,I hope at least 10-15 do!) and offer prayers and hope. Writing this as I do,I can feel the stress and worry leave my body and get ready to face the next step.  I cannot say it enough but thank you all so much for your warm wishes and support…I hate to think where we would be without it.

As some of you who follow football may have seen the game between the Lions and Packers last week. In that game,Lion defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was ejected for stomping on the arm of a Packer’s player.

So a couple days ago,I was talking with Deangelo,he is the young high school football player who suffered a career ending injury when his neck was broken. Deangelo loves the game and is looking to becoming a coach. So I asked him as a coach,how would he handled Suh’s actions. Coach Deangelo wrote back right away….”I would suspend him FOUR games.”This is wisdom coming from a 17 year old!! I couldn’t have been more proud of that answer. I hope the NFL has the same mature and wise voice because while Suh is a good player,there is no place for this kind of dirty play on any field.

Last item…..

Last year many of suffered with me through a terrible college football season in which my San Jose State Spartans wentb through a 1-12 season….but this year was so much better. While we should have won 8 games and went to a bowl…SJSU went 5-7 but closed out the season with style,beating Navy and our arch-rival Fresno State. Rumor has it when SJSU approached several teams like Wisconsin,Miami,Fla and Boston College for upcoming games,those programs backed away saying they already had enough tough games and playing the Spartans would be demanding too much from thier teams. Good to know that next year’s team with ex-Michigan QB Tate Forcier taking over will be one to reckon with….

Thanks for reading!

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37 thoughts on “Taking a look back.

  1. It takes a lot of strength to remember days like those. I don’t want to remember the days my grandmother was dying of cancer in a hospital. I still refuse to accept and believe that she is not here anymore. It all happened so quick, it was so surreal…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an intimate, heart-felt post – and so beautifully written. Lori would be proud that you have continued to blog and continued to find solace in your creativity. And yes, I totally agree about Antonio Bandarass! X

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree it is important to try and stay calm for the ones we love and sounds like you did an amazing job. I work for cancer research and it’s hearing your story and others like it that makes me go to work every single day in the hope one day we can kick this. Laughter in these times is so important and I also love the way you write.

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  4. Oh Patrick, my heart breaks for you it really does. Your love for Lori is both admirable and inspirational, she was so lucky to have you at that time and you her. I am so sad that your time together was cut short, life is so incredibly cruel at times, I am sure that she would be so proud of you and how you have coped. Much love. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sometimes it can be sad to look back at times gone by and other times it can be a good thing – I think remembering your time with Lori is a good thing even if sometimes those memories can be quite painful because of what you were both going through at that time. You both experienced things together such as your matinee trip – I must say I agree with you about Antonio Banderas – and this blog entry yet again shows just how much love you had then and still have for Lori. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry for everything you’ve been through! 😦 I feel like I know you so much better after reading this beautiful, heartfelt post though – and your strength, love and dedication to Lori just makes me want to smile and cry at the same time! Sending big hugs your way! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A very touching read. Would seem that you were certainly the support Lori needed. Love that you enjoyed films together. Puss in Boots is fantastic. Much love Xx

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  8. It takes a lot of courage to look back on those days and you sounded like you were a rock. Memories are a great way to hold onto the joy as well. Escapism through films is our favourite pastime x Sounds like you are very strong but its ok to be weak as well x

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  9. Whilst looking back on memories can be sad and difficult, you also have the good memories to look back on too. You clearly loved Lori deeply and were there as her tower of strength. I hope when you watch Elf and Puss you can look and laugh, knowing how much she loved those films xx

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Such a tough time just know you are never alone so many people know how you feel and you will have helped someone sharing your story

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  11. Looking back and remembering your times with Lori is a good thing. Sometimes memories can be painful you certainly sound as if u were the strength she needed and have so much courage its easy to see u loved her a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It must be bittersweet looking back on those hard memories, those moments where you smiled even though it hurt and did all you can to make your wife feel better. It is such a cruel illness.

    I am totally with you on Puss in Boots as well, mind you Eddie Murphy always makes me think of Donkey now too haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m so sorry to hear about your wife Lori but despite the pain she was in I’m glad you remembered the good moments like sharing laughter together. It’s always important to keep our happy memories close to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You have given yourself such great memories to look back on with the blog, it must be bittersweet now but something you will come back to again and again

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  15. My mummy found blogging therapeutic and a way to cope from what she went through last year, but it is painful reliving experiences and memories. I hope you take solace from the good times you had and its great that you have a record x

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Its wonderful how you remember every details of what has happened, these are not just happy moment but important moments too. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It must have been a truly challenging time to see Lori going through such a terrible illness. Cancer is indeed very cruel, and I’ve lost my dad to it 3 years ago this June, he was only 50. It’s very important to remember the happy times even if it’s painful at times. Sorry to hear about your co-workers terrible news as well, there is so much evil in the world that can make us question life but we just have to fight and live on and make the most of the time we have. x

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  18. Oh, sorry to hear about what you’ve been through. and you have been giving a lot of memories in this post.

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  19. It takes a lot of strength to look back over memories like this but personally I find writing very cathartic and I hope you did with this post. What a heartbreaking time for you and I’m so sorry for all the hardships you have had to face

    Liked by 1 person

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