February 4, 2011

This post was made over 2 years ago on my old blog…but it still brings up as many emotions today as the day I wrote it. In those 2 years, we’ve made lots of memories, had lots of trying times…and felt the fast-paced ticking of time like never before. I wrote only one more blog post on my old blog after this, and I will share that in a few days. Then I’ll stop with the whole living in the past thing, I promise. I just wanted readers of this blog to be able to know me a bit better so that you might understand a little more when I talk about things I’m dealing with concerning my dad, our kids, etc. 

Like a Phoenix from the Ashes

You thought I was gone right? Never to return. I’m sure you’ve seen it many times…a blogger who just can’t find the time to write, eventually drifting off into the great unknown, all but forgotten by everyone.

Well, I have returned. I make no grand promises as to this blog of mine…I’ve made that mistake before. But I am still here. I do still have a lot to say. I just need to learn to take time for myself, so that I can say it.

Life has been crazy. Insane. A brief update…and then hopefully I’ll be able to keep up from there. There were 2 major events since the last time I wrote. Not by a long shot all that has happened but the things that have most affected me, for sure.

In December of 2009, I wrote about how we had gone from a family of 3 to a family of 6 and that in the year 2010 our 3 “new” kids would be officially adopted and part of our forever family.

Well, our not-so-“new” kids are doing really well…we are all still adjusting to life with each other. That will be on-going I’m sure. But we are a family now, with all the bumps and bruises and hugs and kisses to prove it. Just not the paperwork. You see, although they were supposed to be adopted in 2010…they weren’t. It just didn’t happen…the boys (10 & 9) have a lot of issues, one has autism and one with a LOT of emotional problems. However, “for real” this time, they will be adopted in 2011. We are filing the paperwork this month, and although we were told it could take up to 5 months to finalize, they WILL be adopted this year. It will be nice to have things finalized, although to us, at this point it is just a piece of paper which will say what we already know.

The other thing that happened…is the hardest thing for me. I have still not dealt with all of my emotions surrounding this, and I think that is in part why I felt the strong urge to come back to my blog. I need to have somewhere to go, somewhere I can say how I truly feel without worrying about how someone else is going to take it. Almost 2 years ago, in April 2009, I wrote about how they had found a tumor in my dad’s brain. How it wasn’t cancerous. How we were all happy about that and were adjusting to life as it would be – with my dad having radiation treatments and then lifelong monitoring of his brain to be sure the tumor wasn’t growing. The tumor shrunk and we all moved on, although it was “a new normal” for us. It made me realize the frailty of life, and the fact that my parents truly weren’t going to be around forever.

This year that fact was hit home even harder, with a much more forceful awakening. My dad was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a rare form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which makes up only something like 5% of all cases. The VA has said that it is related to his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. The life expectancy of MCL is only on average about 4 years, but it could be a few more or a few less. Nothing they can do will extend that, barring some new treatment becoming available in the next few years. This has been so hard to come to terms with. It’s still hard to even think about, and I don’t think the full realization of it has hit me yet. My dad is dying…and I can’t even say those words out loud. It’s hard enough just to type them without backspacing and erasing them from the page. As though it would erase them from being true…I wish it would. I wish there was a backspace key so I could edit that stupid disease from my dad’s body. But for now, until some brilliant scientist comes up with a medical backspace key that will save my dad…I am going to have to learn to enjoy every day I have left with him and make the most of it. I don’t necessarily think I’ve taken my family for granted a lot…but this has shown me that every day with them is precious. You may think you have all the time in the world with someone, but you just don’t. You just never know when some tragedy will take away someone – it could be a cancer diagnosis that might give them a few years, or a car wreck that will take them away tomorrow. Hold the people you love tightly, let them know they love you every day. That is the lesson I’m learning, I just wish it wasn’t such a tough one.

Until next time…Love,
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