Archive for the 'I Love You' Category

29
Mar
10

One Month & A Day

It’s hard to believe but it was one month ago yesterday that Frank died. Some days are easier than others but essentially, it’s still rather surreal. I see a picture of him, I hear a song, I smell something – and I think of him. He still feels ‘real’ to me and I sometimes feel like he’s going to walk through the back door after visiting his friend up north, and then ask what time happy hour will be. I know better, of course, but that’s how I feel right now.

Yesterday two of Frank’s friends came over to help do some spring chores because I had surgery on the 23rd (a lapraoscopic supracervical hysterectomy to treat uterine fibroids and other issues) and can’t do certain things like lifting heavy items. I’m finding it’s not such a bad thing to ask for help, in fact, people actually want to help so who am I to argue?

While sitting on the deck in the sunshine yesterday, the three of us hoisted a couple of toasts to Frank. I imagine we’ll do that now and again as we roll along in our now somewhat emptier lives. I think we’ve come to realize that we all need each other – Frank’s friends that I’ve come to know better, my friends that they’re getting to know (and vice-versa) and of course me – we’re becoming a tight little group that understands how the others feel, and so it’s okay to talk about certain things that we might not otherwise with other people. I cherish the new friendships I have and I hope they feel the same, and that our friendships will only get better as time goes on.

I don’t know how much I’ll be updating this blog moving forward. Maybe not at all, I really have no idea. Clearly, I have moved into a grieving phase of my life rather than surviving mode which is really what this outlet became for me, so this may not be the place to express my feelings about my life’s new experiences. But if I find that what I want to say may appeal to others, I’ll drop a post here.

I would like to express a heartfelt thanks to those who have followed my blog for doing so. For many of you, you found some comfort reading my posts and that brings me joy knowing that what I had to say meant something to you. I have also become great friends with a handful of people through this blog that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, thank goodness for that because those individuals helped me along the way more than I could ever express. Love and hugs and gratitude to you all – you know who you are. 🙂

I also know there are those who are going through their own heartaches right now (some of those friends noted above) and I can only offer this advice – be good to yourself and let out the anger, sadness, happiness – all of those feelings you have. Do NOT bottle them up, do not ignore them or think you will deal with them later, it’s far too hard to live with. Find an outlet that works for you, whether it be blogging, exercise, talking. Whatever works but just don’t ignore how you feel. I did that for far too long (even with blogging I still managed to tamp down feelings I should have acknowledged at the time they arose), but now when my feelings hit…I just roll with them, and rolling is good.

That, my good friends, is all I have to say for now.

Hugs,

Patty

07
Mar
10

Frank’s Eulogy

I wrote a eulogy for Frank expecting to be able to read it at the service. Nope. No way. Not a chance. Just reading made me choke up so I asked Reverend Jack to do it for me. He did a beautiful job. Here it is.

I made note in Frank’s obituary that he had beat the odds against kidney cancer. That may have raised an eyebrow or two because if he beat it, why isn’t he here?

Frank beat the odds because only 5% of those diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer make it 5 years. Frank’s original diagnosis was made in March 2005 so that means in my mind, it was close enough to say he beat the odds.

He is part of that privileged 5%.

I am most proud of Frank’s unwavering determination and upbeat attitude throughout his cancer journey. Not once did he give up or admit defeat. He literally fought the cancer to the very end.

I don’t know if I could have fought as hard as he did, and with jokes no less.

One of the things Frank started to do over the past few weeks or so as his illness advanced, was signal to us that he needed more time to process an answer to a question. To do this he would raise one finger, smile and then say “I’m still here.”

I firmly believe that Frank is still here with us in spirit and always will be. He is here in our hearts as well. I think Dr. Suess had it right when he said “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

I think Frank would have appreciated that quote because he was all about enjoying life to its fullest.

I still have a lot crying to do but I also have so many, many happy memories that I can think about to help me heal through this next part of my own life journey. Just remembering his smile makes my heart flutter and makes me happy – I guess that’s what true love must really be if something as simple as his smile can touch me that way.

I will love Frank to my dying day – he was my first true love. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had him in my life for nearly 15 years.

Frank was one of the most well-read people I’ve ever known, always searching for knowledge, always looking for answers. In fact, I can just see him at the pearly gates telling St. Peter – “Hold on, I’m not quite ready – I have another question for you.”

I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Frank’s friends for their unending support and love for him, especially during the last month or so while he was in the hospital and then at Presbyterian Homes and finally, at home.

You were all there for him, night and day, without question, even if that meant yet another spur of the moment trip to the Mall of America, wheelchair transfer and all.

You have all also been there for me. I could not have gotten through this time without you. We have all talked about Frank’s loyalty to his friends – you are all just as loyal. For that I love and thank you.

I feel so lucky to have been a part of Frank’s life and of course, part of his family. Thank you for sharing him with me.

Cheers to you, Frank, my love. May you find peace and happiness wherever you are.




I Will Love Him Forever

The love of my life passed away peacefully on February 28, 2010. The fight he put up through this tough journey is truly commendable.

Though I am sad at his passing, I am so grateful for the time I had with him, our families and our friends. The memories of our times together will sustain me forever.

I think this quote, shared with me by a loving cousin, sums up how I feel.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss

My Cancer Hat

I'm a person who hates wearing hats, both literally and figuratively. Now I will be wearing a caregivers cancer hat because my husband has cancer and I need to be strong for him. But I also need a place to vent, look for support and find strength.

Hopefully, this blog will enable me to deal with the process and meet others who are going through a similar challenge.

TB’s Cancer

TB, my husband (TB is his nickname), has kidney cancer, stage 4. He had a kidney and the tumor that was in it removed in 2005. We discovered in September 2008 that it had returned and has now metastasized to his bones, specifically his right femur plus spots on his skull, his spine and his ribs, the inside and outside of his lungs, his brain. He is not curable.

TB was originally participating in a clinical study that would provide him with a treatment that would halt, for an unknown length of time, the proteins from getting to the cancer cells. So in essence, slowing but not curing, the progression of the cancer. There is no question he will die from this, the unknown factor is the 'when' it will happen.

Unfortunately, TB had to be removed from the study as the metastases have grown. He was placed on a new regimen of Aerida and Sutent but that didn't work out. It made him too ill. Now he's on a daily regimen of Afinitor - "Plan C" as we call it. Basically, we're working to extend his life but in a manner that will allow him to still enjoy it and maintain his dignity.

1/27/2010 - At the suggestion of our oncologist, TB will no longer take any cancer medications as the benefits do not outweigh the possible negative side effects a new medication would have. He will be transferred soon to a facility where he can receive rehab, as he is extremely weak due to the pneumonia and inactivity. Our goal is to improve his quality of life as best we can.

2/21/2010 - Frank is now home, we've begun hospice care.

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