10 years

Exactly 10 years ago, we moved into this beautiful home in Foley. We didn’t know anybody, our families weren’t close, and there was really no reason why we chose Foley. We just did.

In these 10 years, we’ve been through so many crazy times. Some of them fun, some of them scary, some of them absolutely joyful.We moved into a four bed three bath home with the intent of having a spare bedroom. Little did we know while we were hard at work moving and planning and painting and remodeling, I was carrying little Beckham.We were married in our backyard 10 days before Beckham came. At my six week check up, we found out that I had melanoma. I had it removed that day and we moved on, only to find that it resurfaced a year after. We went to Mayo about a week later and once again had it removed. It was on the bottom of my foot, so for awhile, I couldn’t walk without assistance. With a 6 week old that was attached to my nipples and a one year old that was very jealous of the nipple monster. I remember it being such a struggle. It was my stay-at-home pre-med era where I survived on caffeine and stress.

Anyway…. I ended up having some minor surgeries as the years followed. Knees, belly, knees again… you name it, it broke.

Then, in 2017, we got hit with stage IIIc metastatic breast cancer. Chemo, radiation, surgery after surgery after surgery after surgery. It was awful, but it was a year that I spent thankful for the comfort of our home and our incredible neighbors and friends.

Now, just two years after my own medical bullshit, Brad is diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the prostate. Stage IV. No cure and very little treatment options that will bring us beyond one year left of life. It has been 10 months and 4 days.

This house has witnessed 10 years of tears and arguments, teenage punishments and parent struggles, cancer,cancer,cancer, then cancer one more time. Playhouses, swing sets, gardens, landscape, pride and absolute love.

10 years went by in a whisper. We’ve had really shitty times lately in this house, but because we picked this one, in this town, with these people along with our hockey families…. I don’t know that I could have asked for anything better.

This next chapter has already been written for us. I can’t change the ending or the outcome. I’ve had 10 years in this home with these people surrounding me and I’m so damn glad I do. I am certain it would be unbearable without every single one of them.

October is breast cancer awareness month. Please do self exams or have your partner do it for you. It could really save your life.

Where do I even begin?

We are in our second week of hospice. Or is it third? Either way, it’s been a whirlwind. As a caregiver and spouse, there are lots and lots of decisions to be made. Last week, we had walker and wheelchair delivered, tomorrow…. oxygen.

Brad has a nursing assistant come to the house three days per week. He or she is there to help Brad with his personal care. Showering, changing linens, lunch… that type of thing. Then we have a RN at the house twice per week to asses Brad, follow up with any previous questions or concerns, update pain medications… this week, she assisted in having Brads medications changed after he lost the feeling and movement on the left side of his face.

Brad’s left eye is causing him a lot of strain and discomfort. He wears an eye patch a lot of the time to ease some of the pain. He can’t see much from that eye now, anyway.

Brad has had so many noticeable changes lately. He’s not really eating much at all. His normally tall frame is so much smaller now at 165 pounds. He doesn’t want to eat. Not even ice cream.

This is extremely hard. There really aren’t words to describe what I’m feeling.

hospice.

I didn’t think this could get much harder. But it can.

We met with hospice for a plan for Brad. Navigating hospice care is tough. Understanding what they do and what is “covered” is also tough. I wonder also how much Brad really wants strangers in the house helping him when I can’t.

What I am learning is that they are going to do what they can to make Brad’s life easier. Part of what that means is transitioning to liquid medications. As we transition, the first week or so, Brad will likely sleep. After that, I’m hopeful he will find comfort in any capacity. Sitting, laying, walking, everything is painful. He can find moments of comfort, but then he has to move, causing a great increase in pain.

This is really hard. All of it. Managing the kids so I don’t fail at parenting (hockey season just started and I’ve already brought one kid to the wrong arena), Managing work, because that’s what I do and I absolutely love my job, managing appointments for Brad and the kids, (and me) both of the littles in counseling at different clinics, managing my relationship with my oldest, she seems to have been thrown to the wayside just like when I had cancer. Managing relationships. I just cannot right now. It’s hard enough managing my own people, let alone anyone outside of that circle. Managing my home. Figuring out fall Maintenance is a bitch. Draining sprinklers, bleeding in floor heat and getting that ready, furnace is old, crossing my fingers that it holds up, Getting my camper home from the campground we’ve had it out for the last few months. It needs to be winterized and stored. Normally by now we have all of that figured out. This year, it’s just me.

One of the most difficult things? I can’t wish for this to end. That would mean wishing for this to end. This is not going to get better. This is only going to get worse.

To my dear friends who have loved me unconditionally through my emotions and pain…. I love you. I’m so thankful that you are standing here to pick me up every single day and buy hockey skates for Ailee because I didn’t even know she needed them.

For friends that would like to see Brad…. he is thankful and he loves you.