Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Mama Wants, Mama Gets!

One of the fun things about my mom’s illness is that my father is lavishing her with everything and anything she wants. We all know that we have limited time with my Mom and it has been awesome to live in the moment and live for the day.

The newest gift is Lucy, a Yorkshire terrier. Mom has been wanting this breed for as long as I can remember. She is a light feather weight, weighing in at almost two pounds and expected to grow up to four pounds. In a playful way, Roxy pounces on her so I have to watch them closely so that Lucy does not end up smooched.

Thank you for the overflow of kind gestures. More than anything, I need normalcy. Keep doing the things you did before and keep me busy. On the days that I look tired, it is because I probably am. If my eyes glaze over when you are talking to me, just keep talking, I will snap out of it. Please do not whisper the word “cancer” or be afraid to say the wrong thing, just be normal.

Monday, August 24, 2009


That delicate curved pink ribbon has turn into a symbol of destruction that has begun to deteriorate my mother’s body. You can do one of two things: let the power of the caner over take you or take control of the cancer and have power over it. I have chosen the later.

The initial shock of the diagnosis has worn off but the sadness lingers from time to time. There was a time when I thought people should be in pain just because I was in pain. Now, I know that people’s lives continue even when my world seems to have collapsed. I try to remain positive and hopeful but worry creeps in. Under the circumstances, I do not want to be down and want to continue as normal a life as possible.

I am being selfish I know, but I want my mom to fight as much as she can so she can be around when I have my children. There is something about my mother’s love that gives me comfort. Even in my thirties, Mom still comes to see me when I am sick and brings me soup. We are all accepting that mom does not have much fight left in her and fear the worst. If any, treatment will be determined tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Knee Pain

At a time when riding would heal me the most, I have to cut my training miles back (although I am not actually training). Constant knee pain for the past two to three months with consistent Advil and icing drove me to the doctor. It turns out that the tendon that connects my hamstring and knee is inflamed from over use. Really? Have could that be? Eight to hundred mile weeks with multiple adjustments to my seat and seat height have finally caused my body to halt.

This week has been dragging as I realize how much time I actually spend riding or preparing to ride. All I have is time. The minutes feel like hours, as we wait for word from the doctors. And, the waiting continues. We do not expect any news for another week.

Physical therapy starts on Monday, for one month, three times a week. They will poke and massage my knee. I expect that it will only cause further irritation. Luckily, I can still walk, run, and dance with no pain. My house is getting extra attention. The pile of books to be read is steadily decreasing. Not patiently waiting, I am trying to patiently wait.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Day At The Beach

The day started like any other. At the sound of the alarm, Roxy does a quick stretch then shakes her ears. She immediately beginnings to lick my face and wag her tail. It amazes me that she gets so excited to see me in the mornings even when she sleeps at my side all night.

For a Sunday morning, it is early. I like to get to the beach before the crowds get there. Corpus Christi is a two and a half hour drive. If I were riding my bike, it would be one-hundred and fifty mile route. Minus the wind, a perfect MS-150 route.

There is nothing like a day at the beach that cleanses the spirit. Something about the rhythmic sound of the waves and the warmth of the sun that is so calming. I have mastered the perfect setup. An umbrella stand that doubles as a tie down for Roxy, an umbrella, two chairs, an ice chest, and a towel.

It is against the rules to let a dog run without a leash but Roxy barks up a storm at the sea gulls. Only when there are not many people around, I let her run loose. An on looker says, “Wow, she runs like a jaguar.” It is like her ears turn to wings and she flys off the sand as her legs reach to a full spread. The most fun of the day was watching her chase birds. My fear was that she would actually catch one and bring it to me.

Sand ends up in places you really do not want sand. Neither Roxy nor I mind. Roxy even rolls her body in the sand and every strand of her coat must have sand on it. It is rare that she is too tired to hold her head up. This evening is one of those nights where she does not drop her ball in front of me or pace the hall until I grab her leash. She has exhausted herself. When we arrive home, she goes straight to sleep.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Two More Days

She did it purposefully. After the doctors did not call, Mom did not call the doctors for a follow-up. It is her way of stalling for the truth. I do not blame her. I probably would have done the same. It is two more days of believing she is cancer free and a relief not sitting by the phone waiting for “the call”.

It has been nineteen years since she had pancreatic cancer. She is a walking miracle to have survived. Now, on the national liver transplant list and waiting another prognosis, she is quite the fighter. Trying to be positive is difficult. Yesterday morning, over the phone, I heard tears in her voice but she never lead on that she was crying. All we can do is live and be in the moment. That is how we are getting by.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


There is a peace and a calmness that covers her face. As my world seems to stop, all she says is, “I hope it is not cancer”. She gives no reaction. She sheds no tears. It occurs to me that maybe the repeated bad news about her health has made her numb. The doctor’s initial response is that it does not look good. The tumor is tagged in case surgery is needed. We have three days of hope. The doctors are expected to call on Thursday but if not, we call them on Friday.

Words turn to echoes and the noise around me is faint in the background. I am aware of the traffic and the sounds of the wind from the open sun roof but it is hard to focus on anything more than the wheels turning in front of me. There are so many questions and thoughts racing in my head. I do not want to say them out loud or even dare to speak about them for fear that they turn to reality.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Wish

Today, Mom is having a biopsy to test for cancer. It is scary to think of the possible ramification of this. It is still way too early to speculate. The reality is that if it is positive, she will be removed from the transplant list.

Earlier this year, maybe March sometime, my mom vagaled on a routine visit to her doctors office. To us non- medial people, this means her blood pressure dropped, she turned pail and then fainted. When my father called me, all he said was, “Something happened to your mom. You need to get over here right now.”

My work is close to her doctor’s office. The normal 5 minute drive seemed to take hours. All I could think was, what if last night, in front of my sisters house, was the last time was going to say, “I love you” to my mom. Do I really have peace with my mom? It was on that drive when I realized I had to tell my mom all the things in my heart that I dearly wanted to say to her.

When I arrived, my mom was fine overall, dehydrated, tired and shaken up. She said she felt like she had taking her last breath. Since she lost her color, my father thought that life was leaving her. That routine office visit turned into an eye opening event for my familty. Life can be taken away so quickly. You never know the day or the time.

My mom sat me down and in great detail shared every secret she held close to her heart. It was also at that time I told her what a wonderful mom she is, how I would not have changed anything she did in rearing me and my sister. I love the fighter in her, how positive she is, and how she made me believe that I could accomplish anything I set my mind out to do. My wish to each of you is that you get a moment like this.

This was also the day that my mom told me to go on my bike trip. No matter her health, as long as she was not having the actual transplant, I was free to ride my bike across America. She understood the goal I set for myself. She knows that we all face challenges but we have to believe in ourselves and remain positive.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Car Or Bike

The moon is our light during the morning darkness. What a view for the ride into work. Being on my bike, I see so many things that I normally would overlook. Like an hour old fawn. She was so young she still had fluid on her and she was being attacked by ants.

The luxury of a car is a pleasure. Air conditioning, leather seats, and music make it quick and easy to run errands around town. There are days that I miss my rag top but I do not complain about the larger trunk space my cross over vehicle provides.

Each week, there is a game I play. It is to see how long I can get the gas in my car to last. The longest it has lasted is two weeks. The benefits of commuting to work are many. I get to see God’s country, I save the environment, I get to clear my mind of stress, and I get my work out in. I choose my bike over a car any day and would not have it any other way.