This is the 52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 5 at Haddon Musings
My husband has been retired for six months. He is happy to spend more time at home. I’m thankful that we could do more things together. We have been keeping up our workout schedule at the gym three times a week in the morning. On the same gym day, we go to Laguna Lake where he runs and I walk in the afternoon. In the evening, we try to play board game together once a week. I’m very good at board games, so far I’m winning! This night we played Chinese checkers. I played on green and he played on blue. I reached the destination across the board to his side. He came to my side with two steps before all the checkers were in. ♥♥
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My husband and I live in southern California. My daughter and her husband live in Portland Oregon. There is 1,000 miles in distance. We visit each other several times a year and go places together. My “wish” or “desire” has been that we live closer together. We could just hop over for dinner. We could have a game night until late, and still not too far away to get home. We could go for a walk and talk about everyday life. With technology, there’s no limit to send a text, get on the phone, or skype. Yet, there is nothing compare to being close by and able to do thing spontaneously.
Photos: Portland airport, Japanese Garden OR, Laguna Beach CA, Multnomah Fall, OR
Weekly Photo Challenge: Wish
I’m so proud to have you as my daughter. You gave meaning to my life! For more than ten years when you were young, I overlooked my disappointments and emotional turmoil. All I could see was your beautiful smile. It gave me strength to move my feet, one step at a time.
You delighted me with your intelligence, and made your learning fun. You were like a sponge, soaked in every new learning as fast as it came. I referred you as book gobbler as you read books after books in no time. You were placed in GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program at third grade. You had so much confidence. When we learned new things together, I said, “I can’t do it!” You said, “Mom, you can’t do it, if you believe you can!” I had to agree with you.
You were so kind and generous with your friends. When you had friends coming for “sleep over,” you sent them off the next day, with a whole bunch of your toys.
I was sad when we were isolated from each other for five long years. I only saw you once. It was during the time you were learning how to drive. I couldn’t call you because all the phone numbers were disconnected. The only contact I had was an email address. You couldn’t feel free to write.
The day we were reunited after you turned eighteen, was the most joyous day in my life. I wanted to be with you so much, even just sitting in the room while you did your college work or did things with your friends. I was just content that we were in each other’s life.
It touched my heart when you were growing into a kind, sensitive, considerate, helpful, tenderhearted, and compassionate young lady.
I enjoyed our hour-long conversation on the phone. I appreciated your trust and shared your feelings, concerns, or everyday life with me. You were not a little girl anymore. I shared my experience, my suggestions, but always encouraged you to make your own choices. My saying was always, “Don’t rush, listen and follow your heart!” In that, I believed that God would speak to your heart and helped you make the right choices.
I had so much fun doing ceramic painting with you just like we did when you were young. You know that I like to play table games with you.
I was thankful for your desire to serve the community and found a job that allowed you to help people in need. You could have worked for big financial firms and made good money. But your heart was, and is, with people. I’m so proud of you.
I’m grateful for God’s guidance in your life and bringing a loving husband to you. You both have a desire to learn and to grow. You both keep a healthy individual life by spending time with the gals and guys respectfully. I’m amazed of the closeness and helpfulness of your group of friends. Most of all, you also learn to be a sensitive spouse to each other and let your love and bonding grow. Your journey may have ups and downs but it is beautiful.
I’m privileged to have both you and Will in our life. I give thanks to God to keep us as a loving family. I always look forward to spending time with you both, either have you come to visit, or going to visit you. We’ll see you very soon, in less than a month.
I love you so very much!
May 17, 2009
After the surgery removing the tumors in the lingual nodes on the left hip area, I rested for six weeks. The third cycle of bio-chemotherapy started on May 6th. I came home on Sunday, May 10th. Twelve pounds of fluid was put on me and I looked like a little red plum. The swelling was almost intolerable. The left leg was a lot bigger than my right leg. The fluid was not circulating to my upper body. At this point, the nurses said due to the removal of the lymph nodes, and the nerve damage from the surgery; the circulation problem could be permanent. I surely prayed that it would not be the case.
The case manager from my primary care hospital referred me to lymphedema therapy to treat the swelling. The therapist measured the circumference of my left leg in 3 inches increment, from the ankle to the upper thigh. Then measured and compared to my right leg. The measurement served as a baseline. Each returned visit, she would measure again to check the progress. She gave me handouts of home exercise with instructions and graphic demonstrations. The instruction was to do the exercise twice a day. The rest of the day, I was supposed to sit in a reclining position with my legs elevated to a position higher than my heart.
Even though I started eating regularly, I felt tired. The blood test showed that I was anemic severely. The doctor prescribed iron 325 mg plus vitamin C 500mg for two month.
June 15, 2009
I checked in to the hospital on Wed. June 3rd for my final cycle of bio-chemotherapy. Strangely I felt okay when I checked in, but a couple hours later, I had a fever of 103 degree. My doctor put “on hold” of all the chemo medication. Even though the hydration had started, but it was suspended. To cover all the bases, he ordered chest x-ray, ultra sound of my heart, and blood culture, to make sure I didn’t have infection anywhere. If the fever was caused by infection, the chemo medication would further weaken my immune system to fight the infection.
The doctor waited until June 4th afternoon when he got the blood culture result, and then started the chemo medication. After 5 days of chemo, he kept me one more day for observation; that made the 5 days treatment into 7 days. The doctor ordered IV antibiotic for all the days I was in the hospital plus 5 days home health care after I was discharged. At the end of the antibiotic, a blood culture was done again. Eventually I understood the doctor’s caution, because the infection was a dangerous thing when my low immune system couldn’t fight it off. I was so glad that it was my last cycle of chemo.
A couple side effects were accumulated to the worst point. One was the swelling of my left leg. By the 10th day after I came home; it was still very, very swollen. It felt like it was going to explode. The pressure made my walking or moving was very painful because the fluid was saturated. I finally called the doctor, and he prescribed water pill to make me urinate more often. It helped but worked slowly. After two weeks, both whole legs were still swollen all the way to the ankles; at least the pain was subsided.
Another side effect was the skin peeling off in big pieces on my feet and hands. After the skin was peeled off, the new skin was tender, sensitive, and painful. How I wished it shed like snake skin and came off nice and neat in one piece. The peeling and recovering of my skin took several months. But again, this was the last cycle; I had all summer to recover. I told my daughter that at least after all, I got brand new skin. She said she admired my strength and was a good example to her. It touched my heart when she said that. If I could be an example to my daughter of faith and trust in God, it was worth all the physical suffering.
The fluid slowly but surely left my body. I was down to 114 pounds. I started walking back and forth on the street. After a couple weeks, I was able to walk around Laguna Lake with my husband. I even went to the gym swimming and used the machine to work on my legs. I knew people were looking at me because I lost my hair and looked very skinny.
My daughter Mercy who lived and worked in Portland, Oregon said she would come to see me in the summer. By this time, I had lost most of my hair. I was afraid my appearance would shock her. I took pictures and sent them to her intermittently; the side view and back view of my head, so that she was aware of the changes.
My family and friends continued to pray, send cards, emails, and phone calls to provide support. Since my husband was back to school to get the MRI and CT licenses, he was not able to take me to all the appointments. My friends signed up to give me rides to different appointments. One friend was driving me to the doctor’s office. She said she wanted to make sure she had a chance to give me a ride before I didn’t need it anymore. My husband switched his internship schedule as often as he could to care for my needs. I was very weak physically, but my heart hugged all these people whose love for me was incredible.
P.S. I had one more surgery and radiation before the treatment was over.
What is a successful life? Is it,
Fashionable appearance head to toes,
Famous restaurants frequently go,
Decorative home like the Jones,
Elite brand of cars cruising around town!
Somehow to me, they are not attractive,
In fact, I find them stressful.
Content is mine, a simple life.
Roof on top of my head,
Garden for my flowers and plants,
Healthy meals on the table,
Time to learn and exercise.
Loving husband to have and to hold,
Precious family so dearly close.
Daily Prompt: Simple
These are several photos from our trip to China. We went to Beijing to visit the Great Wall. The tour guide took us to one entrance where we could have options of going on the steep section or flatter section. My daughter and her husband went to the steep section where they had to climb. My husband, his sister and her husband, my son-in-law’s mom and I took the flatter section. Well, there were some steps also, but at least didn’t have to climb.