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Dealing With the Memories

Ebowalker / Pixabay

We lost Mom, A.K.A. Mother Hen, on January 10th. This Reddit response by GSnow has it right in so many ways. It feels like drowning right now. I’ve had losses before, but this is a big one. Huge one. I know, and knew, intellectually about the grieving process and that time will dull the hard edge of pain (with relapses).

The hard part is getting there.

I’m having issues with memories of the time in Hospice. The people there took such fantastic care of her and were so supportive of my Father and I. But it was still hard. Especially the last two days when her breathing became so uneven and her lungs filled up. The coughing she could barely do as her body tried to clear. Then the blue of those last few minutes. So at odds with the vibrant person she’s always been, and in fact, had been only two weeks before.

My dreams lately have not been fun. Having her in them, then turning around to find her slumped, blue, and dead.

Yeah, I’m doing a lot of crying. Crying even as I’m typing this.

sipa / Pixabay

After talking it over with my Father and writing friends, I’ve just started something new. Sharing memories to remember the vibrant person as a way to counter those memories of the last week. Mom had a hard life before our family and she was always open about it so she could use it to help others. To turn her pain around into something positive, to make the world a better place around her.

That’s a real inspiration. She was fantastic at inspiring the people around her. As she payed forward, I’m hoping to as well.

Mom, Mother Hen, you are still an inspiration, even now. Love you!




Sad Mother Hen News

Grab your tissue box…

As you know, Mom has been sick with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumor since early 2013. She’s had to spend many weeks each year in the hospital because of complications, most recently two long hospitalizations this last summer for a medication problem coupled with a chemotherapy reaction, and then the sudden appearance of mini-seizures.

However, she did managed to bounce back enough for us to bring her back home in October after a stay in a rehabilitation facility. She’s been a happy little clam to be home, with a sweet disposition and a big grin whenever we gave her treats. While unable to get up and walk without the assistance of both Dad and I (because of weak knees and no sense of balance), we were able to have good family time, talk, watch TV and movies, and she could easily feed herself.

A day and half before Christmas Eve I saw signs of more mini-seizures. After talking with her doctor we started her on another medication in hopes of controlling them. I was able to get 2 doses down her, but on the morning of Christmas Eve she had gone weak, could barely talk, and was going from one rolling mini-seizure to the next. We then had her airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix.

Her mini-seizures did not want to calm down. At one point she was having over 100 at night. They kept adding more medications and higher doses. Finally, after her still having them, and her sleepiness after each one getting longer and longer, they transferred her to the ICU to be more aggressive. They also ordered an MRI to see if there was something going on with the tumor or something else that could explain why they were having so much difficulty.

The next day the MRI didn’t happen because the ER was slammed and with one of the hospital’s machines down, the ER had to have priority. Late in the next day she finally got her MRI. By this time she was constantly sleeping. The thought was that it was because of how sedating the anti-seizure meds were.

Early the next morning the doctors came in with unexpected news. At some point Mom had had a massive stroke that took out most of the right frontal lobe and into the rear right lobe. They said there was nothing more they could do. I called her neurologist-oncologist and he came by the next morning and went over the MRI scans with Dad and I, did an examination and looked over the records of her current stay in the hospital. He concurred. The main blood supply to the right side of her brain had become blocked, killing much of the tissue on that side. On top of that, even though he couldn’t prove it from the MRI, there were strong indications that the left side of her brain was also damaged.

In other words, her being asleep wasn’t because of the mini-seizures (and not because of any tumor growth). One of the times she’d fallen asleep after a mini-seizure and the stroke hit. She went to sleep and just didn’t wake up.

Unfortunately she was never going to wake up. After talking it over between us and the doctors, and knowing Mom’s wishes, we had to make a very hard decision. We transferred her care to Hospice and took her out her feeding tube and any IV nourishment and fluids. That was on January 1st.

Mom was not in any pain and she wasn’t been in any discomfort. She even sounded like she was just sleeping and had a very peaceful expression. They kept her on the strongest of the anti-seizure meds and regularly administered pain meds to make sure she was as comfortable as can be. Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix Arizona was wonderful to work with through this process.

The hardest part? The waiting while her breathing became more labored. She had a lot of lung issues and had problems with pneumonia and bronchitis and she always feared drowning in her own lungs. Hearing her lungs slowly fill up as time went on was torture.

At 10:25am on Sunday after over 10 days without food or fluids, her body finally gave up, just after I had gotten up that morning. It was like she waited for me. She was always a little fighter, proved by having survived her GBM longer than the average, and she just kept going and going and going like the energizer bunny. The nurses and aids were surprised. Dad and I were not.

ArtsyBee / Pixabay

Keep Mom, AKA Mother Hen, in your thoughts and prayers. You were a truly unique and lovable person. You are greatly missed.

Sniffle




August 2015 Goals

Cue life-roll!

I won’t even post about July as I’ve spent the entire time in hospitals after Mother Hen had a bad chemo reaction. The only thing that got done were new words: 30015 (and that was a huge struggle)

My mother is still in the hospital, and even when she gets out she has a lot of physical therapy to do. So, not a month for anything ambitious. Going for conservative goals this August!

  • 25,000 New words
  • Publish “The Legend of Crazy Uncle George (Salmon Run – Book 8)”
  • Finish putting in copyedits of “Celestial Fire (The String Weavers – Book 7)” and then pass the book to the second copyeditor.
  • Prepare one outline for the November Nano.




R.I.P. Wireless Keyboard – Hello New Art

Well, I wondered if it would happen. It finally did.

After several million words, my Microsoft 1392 Arc keyboard up and died. One night it worked great, then I picked it up the next day for a new writing session…

And nothing.

At first I thought the batteries died. Changed them, and still didn’t work. Could be bum new batteries, right? So I found two more batteries from a different pack. Nope, no go. Tried many ways to re-establish communication with the computer. It isn’t just a connection issue. The little light for the caps lock won’t even come on.

Tried manipulating the area where the batteries went in. Restarted and ran diagnostics on the computer, just in case.

I think it’s dead, Jim.

R.I.P. wireless keyboard!

A new one was purchased, but it took over a week to arrive. My biggest writing time is at night, and unfortunately, the laptop keyboard is too high when the machine is sitting on the desk for me to write very many words. Doing so would hurt my wrists and shoulders because of how bad the ergonomics are.

I can’t afford to harm my wrists and arms. My writing, art, and taking care of Mother Hen depend on them. So, until the keyboard arrived, the writing had to changed.

So, I switched gears! At night I worked on covers and art. These are still moving me forward in good directions! The art I’m doing is not only for myself, but also artwork to sell. Here is my account at Dreamstime with some of my artwork for sale.

While sorting through my artwork looking for works that were almost done, I found a few pieces I’d been playing with. I’ve put a few of them up at my Deviant Art account:

What keyboard did I buy? I found a refurbished Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 for Mac/iPad/iPhone. I’ll never need batteries again!

No matter what, I’m determined to remain creative!




June Summary

Oh my. What a June.

First the external wireless keyboard went out. More on that in a blog post (with pretty pictures!).

Then the first chemo appointment ended up with it all getting cancelled and Mother Hen ending up in the emergency room to find out why she was bleeding. Which turned out to be a bad bladder infection.

We went home with meds and she recovered. All good! I got in some good writing and art in (with restrictions. See post about the dead keyboard). So, we go back 2 weeks later for chemo. She’s doing well, other than we’re all hot from the heatwave going through Arizona.

Aaaand, the chemo knocks her for a loop. All of a sudden she not only can’t walk, but she can’t even stand. She starts pushing away water, refusing to take it in her mouth even when she said she wanted it. I finally figured out she would take it from a spoon (maybe it seemed like eating). Only, it wasn’t enough.

So, on a Sunday in the middle of the first big thunderstorm of the season to hit our area, we somehow wrestle her into the car and take off for the emergency room. Turned out that yes, she was dehydrated. She’s on blood thinners, and the lack of fluids had caused the levels in her blood to go high. She was admitted into the hospital, and that’s where we’ve been ever since while they get her stabilized.

And where I still am as of July 1st when Camp Nano starts.

Okay, June. Glad to see you gone. Don’t let the door hit you on the…

Ahem.

BK1RC-350HSo, out of the June goals not a bunch got done. As the medical issues are still ongoing, I’ll be severely curtailing the July goals. Goals reached:

Outlines for books 4, 5, and 6 of The Enigma Watchers are finished! Good thing, as I’ll be writing on them this July.

19807 new words in June (goal had been 30k). Considering all that happened, that’s not half bad!

Finished copyedits of “The Legend of Crazy Uncle George (Salmon Run – Book 8), and started the formatting process.

All considering, not too bad for what June threw at me.




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Mom (A.K.A. Mother Hen) Cancer Fund

Yes, our very own beloved Mother Hen is now struggling with a GBM tumor. The family is struggling because of no insurance and we are desperate to get her the life-saving treatment she needs. If you have a little extra and would like to help out this very deserving person, please consider giving a little donation to help her along the way. Thank you!

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Writerly Progress

2015 Yearly New Words
47.15%  188600 of 400000
2015 Yearly Revision Words
9.53%  38100 of 400000

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