Monday, October 30, 2017

A Batty Story

My mom brought over a case full of old letters, grade reports, and various other yellowed documents for me to peruse while I'm convalescing...I seem to enjoy reading my own letters the most, fancy that.

I came across this letter from me to my parents which was dateless but I'm guessing was around 1983, when I was living in Des Moines and going to Drake. The odd thing is, Betsy had mentioned this incident a few weeks ago, and I had no memory of it. Then lo and behold, I find this:

I see what you mean about these boring letters. Well, let me tell you about when I was asleep on the couch one night with all the windows open and I awoke to hear flapping about the room. I froze in fear. Then I screamed to Stacey in the next room that there was a bat in the apartment, and she yelled, "Crawl in here quick!" So I hit the floor, wrapped in a blanket and crawled as fast as I could to the bedroom, and was let in the door to the bedroom when the bat was flying across the room the other way. We huddled scared shitless in the same bed all night and ventured out of the bedroom the whole next day only to the bathroom, covered head to toe, of course, in a comforter (bat proof). Even today, I throw a fit when a window is left open for a night, and I think the sound of the refrigerator is abt abat (see I get nervous typing its name). 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

DCIS

This may come out a little mumbo jumbo because I just took a couple of pain pills, but my recent "bombshell" probably needs a little more explanation.

On Tuesday of this past week, Pat and I met with my surgeon, a well skilled, kind and humorous man, to get the results of a breast biopsy done two weeks earlier. I did really well waiting the two weeks, not really that concerned since I was told "calcifications" are 80% benign. About 8 days in, I had a moment of panic, then calmed myself down, but that morning I was really starting to sweat it, figuring that taking that long had to be something.

So, we were told my tissue was sent to Cleveland Clinic for additional staining to confirm the diagnosis of "Ductal Carcinoma In Situ." What I took and prefer to focus on is, "Stage Zero," this cancer does not have the means to spread since it is contained in the milk duct. He said I would need another surgery to make sure all the margins were clean, and that was done Friday. I was very pleased to be put in the surgical schedule so quickly. He thought I would then be taking radiation and an estrogen blocking drug for five years.

The way this came about was a routine mammogram (I've been pretty faithful to do this annually since age 40) back on September 8th. It was my first 3D mammo, and I got called back to look more at the left breast. After that came back I was advised I would need a biopsy and set up with the surgeon of my choice. He said he we would try "Plan A" first: a stereotactic (needle) biopsy. That didn't work because of the location of the spots (no lumps). "Plan B" was then scheduled, a surgical biopsy under general anethesia. I bounced right back from that to work the next day. This is when the two weeks waiting began.

I thought this surgery would be the same, jump up and dance around...nope. It definitely has more pain, and I could not have worked the next day (yesterday). I couldn't even get dressed. I had plans to grocery shop, but slept instead. I had to cancel something I committed to for today, which really bugged me, but I just didn't feel up to cooking dinner for 15. I am hoping to feel well enough to take a young friend to a crafting event I have been looking forward to. We'll see.

Friday, October 27, 2017

This morning as I was waiting for surgery, Pat told me a picture came up on his Facebook this week that about took his breath away. Here is the picture:



Look at the reflection in the left side window of the church. Can someone say spooky? It's not spooky to us, but incredible that when we first took this picture one year ago, no one noticed the image of Adam watching us and over the toy jeep dug up in the backyard. I looked up my original post from October 2016 ( for the complete story go to http://myrtlemae.blogspot.com/2016/10) to find the picture and sure enough I saw it immediately, when directing my attention to the windows. It looks like one of those 'filters' the kids use on Snapchat or whatnot. 

We continue to receive gifts and messages. Thank you Adam for looking out for me on this day I had a health concern, and sending me this sign. Indescribable! 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Another trip to Springfield this past Thursday, this time with Pat. We did a little shopping after my doctor's appointment. We even went to the White Oaks Mall without me feeling like a tire around my heart. We were even able to drive by Little Saigon without my stomach dropping. I took Pat to Five Guys and he absolutely loved it. It fits his personality nicely: simple, repetitive, predictable, quality.

The one thing that got me, was getting into that Christmas shopping mode at Kohl's (the stores are brimming with stock) and as I reached to touch a shirt, I think, I realized I will not be shopping for Adam again this year. Wowza. You just never know where this stuff comes from and when it will strike you.

It was nice to have the whole day off and just lounge around when we got home, with nothing really needing to be done.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Blessed

I made it all the way to Springfield for the Out of the Darkness Walk without shedding a tear. I met up with Betsy, Tim, Ashleigh, their friend Michael from Edwardsville, Zach (Cowboy), Jon, and Sam to walk for Adam. A smaller group this year, but I am still gratified for who showed up. Afterwards, we dined at Little Saigon. Unfortunately, Elliott and Asian Zach weren't working. The table was boisterous and Adam's name came up casually as if he was just busy serving another table. 


The next morning, Betsy and I walked around the campus of University of Illinois Springfield, where Adam attended for 3 years. We found Adam's first apartment, and took pictures at the iconic fountain in the center of campus. It's been 9 years since we dropped him off for this life in Springfield. He made amazing friends, and they stayed in touch for 5 years after his graduation. 


The fountain at UIS

Adam's first apartment at UIS 

It hit me on the way home listening to this Elton John song:




I've been blessed to be Adam's mom for 27 years and continue to be. I've been blessed to have three fine young men given to my care. I sobbed hard for the beauty I've been given. By the time I got home all I wanted to do was wrap up in Adam's fleece Husker's blanket and nap it out. I fell fast asleep and slept hard.

Here's another song I'm obsessed with crying to:


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Holy Moly

I thought I was going to work at 8:00 today, coffee and water in hand, purse heavy with fruit on my arm, when I realized, IT'S TUESDAY. I don't go in until 9:00.

I just had a memorable weekend in Chicago with three other women who lost sons to suicide 14 years ago, 2 years ago and 8 months ago. We are all in different points in our journey but were able to share many thoughts and emotions with each other and see where we have come from and where we are going. I feel blessed to know these women, but honestly, I did reach out and pave the way for this to happen.

This is Us
On Tour

We had a full slate of activities planned which was exciting and invigorating. Our stories were woven into everything we did and the long train ride each way was also a conduit for connection. It was unique because it was easy to bring up any question, topic or memory of our sons. There are some similarities and many differences among us. It was new to me to be one of the 'seasoned veterans' so to speak, rather than the newbie still dealing with raw emotions. I would say I've softened over the past 20 months.

 Me trying to catch Cal's friend Reid in the Chicago Marathon

Someone else caught this smile...Reid running for the AFSP- he raised over $1000.00!!