September 15, 2009

Change is in the Air

Big things are happening right now, but I don’t want to jinx myself by saying too much. Let’s just say that perhaps some day soon our house might be getting a whole lot noisier…

Stay Tuned!

Love,
Mariah

**I posted this when we were first contacted about the kids that we’ve since adopted…so obviously I didn’t jinx myself! 😉 I just wanted to include it for a basic timeline of when things happened for us!

Blessings,

Mariah

May 5, 2009

A New Normal

We finally, after weeks of waiting, got the results from my dad’s biopsy. The tumor was graded a 2, low-grade, benign tumor. While that is wonderful, WONDERFUL news – it doesn’t erase the fact that there is a tumor the size of a golf ball in his brain…which will have to be dealt with. It’s also a recurring type of tumor, so that will mean life-long monitoring to make sure they catch any new ones. But, it is NOT cancer. So…we’re mostly back to normal. It’s just a new kind of normal, where my dad has a recurring type of brain tumor. It’s still weird to say, hard to imagine, and makes me sad to think of. But, it is NOT cancer.

On the foster care front, things are going. Not smoothly, mind you, but they are going nonetheless. We had our first training class on Saturday. We can only do the 3-in-a-row Saturday classes which are 7 1/2 hours long…so it’s tiring and makes the weekend go really fast – but it is interesting and informative and so far we’ve met some great people.

On the way home from our first class, however, our van decided to suddenly stop shifting. It still drives, but only in one gear…so we were able to get it home and tonight will be able to drive it to the dealership – the manual says that this is a safety feature which automatically kicks in when something is wrong with the tranny so that it will still be drivable to get it to a service station. So, that’s good I guess…maybe that little safety feature will help us not have to buy a totally new transmission. But, on the downside, no matter how much it costs to fix it has to come out of the money we were going to be putting in our foster fund…$200 that my mom and dad just gave us for our foster fund for an anniversary/birthday present, and another couple hundred from the extra paychecks at the end of May. I have a feeling most of that money is now going to have to pay for the van to be fixed. But, we have to have a vehicle – it’s a non-decision. We will just have to really get with it and start listing on eBay (so far I haven’t listed much of what I have), and hope that some of that stuff sells. We also have a yard sale coming up in June, which is town-wide, so that should boost the foster fund at least a little. If we could just sell those darned concert tickets, we would be able to build the bedroom…which is the biggest hurdle right now. That part we need to be done to be licensed. After that it is just finding beds & bedding, etc, which we can do with our extra paychecks in July (thank goodness for 5-pay months!).

Thanks for stopping by – and thank you for the prayers for my dad – they definitely worked!

Mariah

April 16, 2009

The One About Life Coming To A Screeching Halt

For the last year, my dad has been having recurring headaches. They come on fast, are super painful, and then go away just as fast as they came. My mom had done some research and she decided she thought they were cluster headaches – they fit the description pretty well. So my dad went to the doctor, who did some routine testing and put him on some medication that was helping with the pain of the pain of the headaches, but not lessening them at all.

He kept going back to the doctor, who kept running tests…in the meantime he was also applying with the VA, as he’s been laid off from his job, and in checking into insurance possibilities was told he should be going through the VA for any health issues.He had always thought the VA was only for “retired” veterans, and because he was drafted into service during Vietnam and honorably discharged after his service he isn’t considered a”retired” veteran. Come to find out, he qualifies – he started the application process.

Meanwhile the doctor he was seeing sent him for an MRI. The MRI showed a small(ish) spot on his brain, which the doctor wasn’t all that concerned about. He said it could be from a recent fall, or even something that had been there since he was a child. Of course, my dad having been in Vietnam and all of the physical “altercations” he had been in throughout his teenage years (it was the 60’s…what else did you do for fun, right?), it was basically just a mild concern. The doctor scheduled him for another MRI in 6 months, just “to be sure”it wasn’t growing.

Skip to this year…and he was just recently approved for the VA benefits. He’d had a couple appointments with the local VA hospital, and they decided that although it hasn’t been a full 6 months – since he was still having the headaches – to go ahead and do the follow-up MRI.

It grew. My dad has a brain tumor. The doctor at this point thought low-grade astrocytoma…which was on the ‘not so bad’ side of things.

The past week has been spent (for me) realizing that my tough, military, non-emotional dad really isn’t invincible. It was so heart wrenching for me to see my dad cry. I have seen him choked up while visiting the moving Vietnam Wall, or watching a particularly “real” movie about the aftermath of Vietnam on a soldier. But never, never have I seen a tear. There was a roller coaster of emotions for him, and we were afraid the anti-seizure medication they put him on was causing him serious depression, so much so that the doctor prescribed an anti-depressant, and all firearms were removed from the house temporarily. The whole thing has been entirely too ridiculous for me to wrap my head around, although I know people go through this every day. I just don’t know how they come to terms with it.

Yesterday, the entire day was spent at the hospital with my mother, my husband, my brother and my sister-in-law. Waiting on my dad to get out of surgery. SURGERY. That is what they consider a biopsy of the brain. Because, well, it’s a brain.

He came out well, in fact in pretty good spirits (I think he was very worried about them drilling into his brain, which, who wouldn’t be?). The tumor however? Not so well. The doctor now believes he was correct that it was an astorcytoma but thinks that it is more of a mid-grade instead of low-grade. They grade on a 1-4 scale…originally it was guessed that the tumor was a 1-2…now it is estimated at a possibly 2, likely 3. 4 is the worst, so you can imagine how I feel about a 3. Words like radiation and oncologist were being thrown around, although to me it just sounded like “cancer! cancer! cancer!”. I don’t even know how to cope with this, I hope learning more about it will help with that part. We won’t know for sure the grading for a couple of days while they examine the tissue.

We are praying it’s a 2. If you happen by this blog in the next week…I’d really love it if you would pray for a 2 as well.

God Bless,
Mariah

February 24, 2009

Tired

Man…I did not realize how hard it would be to get motivated to write again. I really want to write, I love to write…but when I had my last blog it was so much easier. Probably because I did not work, and now I have a stressful job (where I sit at a computer all day). I am tired when I get home…and the last thing I want to do is sit at a computer again. Maybe I need to not be so hard on myself and not expect to feel like writing more than once a week. I mean, it’s not like I have a Blogger Boss expecting a 3 paragraph post each day by 5 or I’m fired…right?

I do have a lot to talk about…a lot has been on my mind. We have finally started the foster-to-adopt process. Well, at least – I think we have. We received our background check paperwork in the mail, filled it all out, and returned it to the DCFS receptionist who assured me she would get it to our caseworker. That was Friday the 13th…hmmm…now that I say it maybe that was a bad omen. I haven’t heard a word since. Also I might mention that in the envelope with the background paperwork we had to fill out there were no instructions concerning what to do with it. So I just assumed we were to give it back to them. Maybe I was wrong. I might know the answer to that if our caseworker wold return any of the 3 messages I left, or answer the phone any of the hundred or so times I have tried to call and not left a message.

We are new at this, and have no idea how the process works really. I feel like there MUST be something we should be doing at this point…but nobody who knows what we should be doing knows what THEY should be doing (which is being a little more helpful with newbies to the foster world). Granted, I know they are busy. But, so am I. I am an accountant in the RV industry, which if you haven’t heard isn’t doing so hot…and we are on skeleton crew. I am now doing the job that at least 2 people used to do in a minimum of 80 hours a week…and I have to get it done in 40. So I do know a little about being busy. But I also know if I didn’t return calls of new dealers who wanted to do business with us, we would lose those new dealers as they become frustrated with not getting return calls. The same could probably also be said of Foster Care. I have only been officially in the process for about a week and a half, but already I can truly imagine that the frustration of never being able to talk to anyone or get any answers might drive people to just say “forget it”. I am not one of those people…I will soldier on. I will be patient. I just wish there could be an easier way. Maybe I should quit the RV industry and go to work for the Foster system…they seem to need the help.

Well…more later (I didn’t say *when* later…haha)…I have a phone call to make 🙂

Love,
Mariah

August 22, 2005

The End

I think I am done. I have had enough of life smacking me down and then coming here to complain about it. It doesn’t make me feel better, really. I thought it would, I even thought it did, but it doesn’t. Life is still smacking me down, and it still hurts no matter how much I talk about it. At one point, I thought I was keeping it so that I could go back into years past and it would help me remember things…but I really don’t need to peruse back into my entries and read about the heartbreak I went through a year ago, and two years ago, and three years ago, to know it is still breaking my heart.

**Obviously, this post came at a time where I was in a very bad place and had decided that I was done sharing my life with the word. And I was…for the next 2 1/2 years I didn’t blog at all…when I did start again it was very sporadic through the few years after that, when I started up a new blog…and now I’ve started this one. I am in a much better place right now than I was then – but that is life, right? That is peeking into someone’s past…into my past. During the lows, you can’t see over the mountain to know there will be brighter days. 

Blessings,
Mariah

May 13, 2005

Crestfallen

I don’t know why, after all this time of…nothing, I would torture myself like this again. I promised Jeff that I would give it another year…we haven’t even started and already I feel like we’re wasting the next year of our lives.

**This entry was posted after we had decided, for one last time, to try for a baby. We had gotten fantastic insurance coverage with a new job that included limited infertility coverage at 100% with a very low deductible, and this post came a few appointments into our treatment with a fertility specialist, after I would have to have exploratory surgery because my tubes were blocked and they needed to find out why. I just felt like it was yet another blow after years of the rollercoaster ride of infertility. A few months later, our insurance coverage would be changed just as we were on the cusp of starting IUI treatments, which we could not afford without the insurance coverage – once again ending our hopes of having another baby. This is by no means some fantastic post that I just had to include to show what a skilled blogger I am or any of that, I just wanted to include it to share a little bit of the emotion I felt during our infertility years.

Blessings,
Mariah

May 2, 2005

Reflections

Wow! I have been on this earth for 28 years. Born in 1977. That seems so long ago. When I think of the year I was born I think of bell bottoms and the colors orange and yellow. I don’t know why.

Jeff baked me this *ahem* lovely cake. Actually, it was delicious. And it was beautiful because he made it, and he even put exactly 28 candles on the cake. I blew them out all at once…do you think my wish will come true?

When I think of my early childhood, I think of shaggy red carpeting and velvety red curtains, Winnie the Pooh, and my Grandpa, who died when I was only 4, but I remember him as though he was right beside me now. I have an old wooden bench that he made for me, that folded into a table (that somehow I actually used to fit my legs under).

Speaking of nostalgia…I was cleaning out my recipe cupboard today, throwing away cookbooks I haven’t used in ages or ever. I came across several handwritten recipe cards from various people…and one from one very special person. Not that they aren’t all special – but this one recipe, for hard rock candy, was handwritten by my Grandma Gale. I can remember the day I asked her for that recipe. She made the best hard candy. I know I could have figured it out on my own, but I am so glad I asked her for it. It is the only handwritten item I have from her. And it was written specifically for ME.

She died of Ovarian cancer when I was 17. Seeing the changes that happened to her in a very small amount of time still haunts me to this day. I held that recipe card in my hand and cried.

*I included this past post, as my Grandma Gale dying when I was 17 was my first time really dealing with a family member having “the big C” in my life…Cancer. Sadly, almost exactly 17 years later little did I know I’d be dealing with it again…and seeing what my Grandma went through definitely had a hand in how I have handled that.

Blessings,
Mariah