Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Total Recall?...



MEMORY is the process in which information is encoded, stored and retrieved.

What is a memory? This is anything good or bad or indifferent that stays with you for a matter of a few seconds or a lifetime. We do not get the pick and choose which memories stay and which ones get discarded. Memories can be hard to remember all the details even if they are a few hours old, while other ones stay ingrained in our minds in vivid details despite being years old. Memories come and go with no warning at all and seem to hit at the most awkward time.

My memories of Heather and her cancer treatments are always with me and sometimes more than others. I never know what will trigger what memory about the months of hospital stays, chemo and testing. Like other PTSD-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- survivors I can never be sure what memory will trigger or what emotions could come the memory. I can be prepared but for the most part still I am caught off guard for these events.

Bill has been having some prolonged pain and other symptoms for over 15 months now and they seem to be getting worse. I felt it was important to figure out what is causing this pain and see if there is a treatment available. Me being the nagging wife that I am made him go to the doctor and get a testing schedule for xrays, MRI and CT Scan. No big deal to the average person who does not have haunting memories of past testing. But to someone with the history that I have a simple MRI can stir up such memories and emotions.

The hallways all look the same. They have tiled floors and are usually painted a darker color. Of course the facility is kept very cold so the risk of passing out is less. For me this means sitting with a jacket on to keep my teeth from chattering. The magazines are from years past and have all had the crossword puzzles worked and scribbled in repeatedly. Everyone in the waiting room does not look happy and there is no conversation at all. Possibly some small whisperings. I usually have my bag with my current crochet project in it to work on. This bag goes everywhere with me.
RETRIEVAL, recall or recollection is calling back the stored information in response to some cue for use in a process or activity
 As I sat in the cold, sterile hallway waiting for Bill to finish his MRI, I was flooded with memories of waiting for Heather outside testing rooms at Banner Baywood Hospital. There is no noise and the staff walks by in their hurried manner to get their jobs done. I sat and wondered as patients walked by me what results they were waiting for. Was it cancer? That a bone healed correctly? There are so many lives that will be changed forever with the results of this one test. I was transported back to the first CT scan Heather had and being really na├»ve that this was nothing. How stupid I was back then. So there I sat in the cold hallway wondering if my, or our lives would be changed forever.

I am not looking or hoping for the worst case scenario, but when you have had a life changing event like cancer or a severe illness enter into your world, that is usually the first thoughts you go to. The worst case scenario. Because once I was sure that cancer happened to everyone else but not me, not my kids I never gave it a second thought. Now with anything that doesn’t seem right my thoughts go to what is this, is this cancer or something bad?

So for the rest of the world, Bill just simply went for a routine MRI and CT scan. But to me this is not routine or ordinary testing. Nothing is ordinary to me and as always the memories come flooding back to my mind and I am transported back to five years ago. Maybe that is my total recall?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Intolerance..



The posts here seem to come in waves, either I have so much to write I cannot post faster enough or I go for long periods of time with no posts at all. I thank everyone for checking in and looking to see if something was new during the past few weeks.

I have been busy working on the book, My Porcelain Doll. This was a project that has been years in the making and I finally got the prod I needed to get started. I am very pleased and proud to announce that on Sunday July 28, the manuscript and 84 black and white photos were sent off to the publishers. It is being considered for submission guidelines right now. I should be hearing something by Friday as to whether I have some corrections to make or if everything is okay and it will be going to copy editing. The areas that could be an issue is if I have used a name or title of a place that cannot be used for copyright infringements. If all goes well I am anticipating a November 8th release date. November 8th would actually be the 5 year anniversary of Heather’s Grand Ball. I think that is an awesome date to release her story on.

I am beginning my second book entitled Confessions of a Grieving Mother. I think this book will be a great follow-up to My Porcelain Doll. I have several chapter titles rolling around my head right now including “God are you still there? Until we meet again, Beyond the tears, Letting go? Get over it? Hell No!!, and She who must not be named to name a few I am thinking about.

I have recently been reminded or maybe I should say hit over the head with the fact that most people do not understand the idea of what having a child die means. I have been met with some rudeness and intolerance. I feel that during the first year everyone tries to understand and have patience, the second year many fall off because the pain is too raw for me yet. By year three most people roll their eyes and think to themselves oh great, Heather again. By the fourth year which is where I am at right now, no one wants to hear the same old Heather story again. No one wants to hear I am having a bad day again. The words “let go” and “get over IT” are forever being said in their minds. I have been reminded that I just need to move on already and people are getting very tired of hearing me talk about my loss and Heather.

I am sorry that having my 21 year old die and be gone from my life forever is bothering people. The point is I keep saying I am never going to get over this. My life will forever be scarred, marked, cheated and altered by this event. If I had lost my arm, I would forever be an amputee. No one would really expect me to be “over it” after 4 years of trying to adjust. If I was burned badly it would be acceptable that after four years I am still struggling trying to adjust to life. But because my heart is broken and on the inside, people forget and expect me to be healed and over it. Because I laugh and go on trips I must be over it by now. I am asking for tolerance and understanding when I mention Heather’s name or say I am having a bad day.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rosebuds...



It has been said that:
A mother becomes a mother the day she learns she is pregnant.
A father becomes a father the day he holds his child.

From the moment a woman finds out that she is pregnant everything in her world changes. Suddenly everything she does is for two and not just one. The constant thought is about the life that she is growing in her body. It is not easy, pretty or fun to grow a human being, but God knew women were the only ones that could protect this life with all her might, let go when time came to be born but always carry that child in her heart.

It has actually been proven that every babies DNA gets into the mother’s blood stream and for the rest of her life the mother will carry her child’s unique DNA in her body as a reminder forever. Even though the child has left her body truly the baby is never ever gone.

My pregnancies were for the most part uneventful and normal. The delivery portion is when the trouble hit for me. Two of my babies were born breathing. Jenn had the cord wrapped around her neck and Wendy had a short cord that was wrapped around her neck twice. At the time of Wendy’s delivery I knew I wanted to be finished having babies. I told myself I could not go through 9 months, labor and delivery only to have something happen to the baby and it die shortly after birth. That thought to me at the time was unfathomable for me to comprehend. I had no idea that just 19 years and 11 days after that thought, Heather would die.

My husband has always told our daughters that no one on this earth, not even him could love them more than I did. That me as their mother, I loved them with a love that only a mother knows and understands. I grew them in my body and carried them for 9 months. That forms a bond that can never be broken, not even by the delivery and cutting of the cord. The moment the baby is born you never knew you could love someone so totally and completely. There is nothing you would not do including lay down your own life for your beloved baby. 

My daughter, Jennifer, had a miscarriage at 8 weeks of pregnancy. It appears the baby died after 5 weeks and her body did not respond to that loss. That baby, my grandbaby is now in heaven with their Aunt Missy. It is very surreal to know that heather knows what sex the baby is and is having a great time with a baby that was never felt moving, or a heartbeat. Many may agree or disagree with whether or not the baby is in heaven. I whole heartedly believe that baby had a soul at the moment of conception and when it died it went to heaven. So until I am called to heaven I have two babies waiting for me.

Symbol of miscarriage, pregnancy loss, stillborn or infant loss is a petite rosebud. It is a rose that did not have time to bloom into a mature flower on earth.
October is Pregnancy and infant Loss Awareness Month as proclaimed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1988 and officially recognized in the United States in 2006. October 15thof every year is National Pregnancy Loss and Remembrance Day, a special day to honor and acknowledge babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, premature complications, neonatal death, SID’s, illness, accidents and other tragic causes. It is asked that you light a candle at 7:00PM on October 15th, so that a continuous light will shine around the world in remembrance of precious babies gone too soon.

Pink and Light blue are the official awareness colors.