March 10, 2013
Last weekend I thought I would get all of Christmas down in Kathryn’s room. Scott surprised me and worked on it and put a good dent in it. I didn’t do much at all. I worked in the yard instead because it was a beautiful day. I did get a great deal done and the sunshine felt so good. And I had my two helpers; Klyde (cat) and Princess (dog) both are Kathryn’s pets.
Last week I also had a dream or two about Kathryn. We were on vacations and all four of us were there. It was nice to have dreams about Kathryn and pleasant dreams that made me happy. Darn dreams are so vivid when you have them but so hard to recall or explain after.
I also received some not so good news. Our Friend Alli contacted me to see if I would talk to her friend about our Houston experience. Her 26-year-old friend and mother of 3 was diagnosed with a brain stem glioma. All I could think of was that poor sweet girl. How will she and her family cope with this? A young family going through this tough ordeal. Of course I said I would be happy to talk to her. Of course I would be happy to do what ever I could to bring her comfort and hope. This is what Rowan has and her tumor has shrunk and now stable. It just needs to get to the next stage of shrinking again.
I also learned that my good friend Robyn received some bad news about her older brother Mike. He had been out of the picture for some years now. Robyn didn’t even know how to get hold of him. Now he has cancer and a huge tumor on his esophagus, which is making him lose his ability to swallow and talk. I told her she needed to go see him now not later. The tumor could soon stop his ability to talk and then she wouldn’t be able to have a conversation with him. It’s important to be able to talk to him. I hope she goes soon.
On Friday the 8th I thought a lot about Kathryn. More than ever. In 1999 this was the day of her first surgery. I remember the doctor telling us it was cancer. I broke down and cried. I was so upset. I know the surgeon was so disappointed. I could see it on his face. Just like he was the last time. I thought he was going to cry the last time. Maybe he did. They were so hoping it wasn’t cancer. They thought it was something else due to the location. But it was cancer.
I also spoke at an ACS Relay for Life team captain summit on Saturday (3-9). Before my talk I met a lady Kathy. Her daughter is one year younger than Kathryn and went to the same elementary, middle school, high school for ninth grade and the same college. We both think the girls knew each other. Her daughter is really into relay just like Kathryn. It was fun to discover this connection. There was also a young man who was at the Western Relay when Kathryn couldn’t give her survivor speech. He remembered. Yep, she was supposed to be the survivor speaker but she just couldn’t do it once on stage. She was just diagnosed with he second round with cancer and just had brain surgery. She didn’t know what her future was so to speak about being a survivor just was too hard. I went up on stage and held her and spoke for her. For the first time I was the strong one not crying and she was tearing up. Usually it was the other way around. She always stood by me comforting me and giving me strength as I cried. Now it was my turn to comfort her and speak on her behalf. I had to be her strength.
I have done many talks but this one was so much more emotional for some reason. It was in the Girls Scout building and it was on a Girls Scout outing when I first realized that there was something wrong with Kathryn. I can usually cry a little at the beginning and then go on just fine. But this time I just couldn’t hold back the tears. It was all ok because I did get through it just fine and told my story just fine. I also got the point across that as a team captain you are being a great example for others. Your work will inspire others as Kathryn did. Taking part and volunteering your time will inspire others to do the same. Shortly after I spoke there was a little break. One woman came up to me and told me about her brain tumor. It is noncancerous and very slow growing about the size of a pea. She has had it for years. It doesn’t seem to cause her any problems, which is good. Another lady came up to me in tears as her husband has the same tumor Kathryn had and it has a zero survival rate. I was so sad for her. I held her tight for a while. They have looked into the Burzynski clinic so I told her about Kathryn’s MRIs before and after treatment down there. They showed that there was improvement from the treatment she was receiving. I also told her about Rowan’s success. I asked her if she would like my number and all she could do is shake her head yes. I gave it to her and hope she does call. If nothing else I can be a person she can talk to. Maybe this is my mission to support other brain tumor patients and families. I don’t know.
As I was leaving this Team Captain Summit a lady approached me and said, “If your daughter is half the person you talked about she must have been amazing.” I said, “You know she is ten times more the person than I described. There is no way I can every portray the extraordinary person she was and still is.” This is so true. I can never find the words to really bring that special personality alive. Kathryn was one in a million. As Scott and I walked out with this lady we told her about he Wine Auction for Camp Goodtimes. She said it sounded like fun and she might like to go. We shared the price and she said well that’s ok, my husband and I won the lottery. Wow! I said that was fabulous. They have already donated to ACS and plan to keep making donations. She said they couldn’t do much last year because they had to pay so much in taxes but now they can do things and support causes. I’m still blown away that I met someone who won the lottery. Very cool! No, I didn’t ask how much. Oh, I asked about retiring and they are both retired now. I asked because a coworker told me that you should quit your job because you are a sitting target for a lawsuit once you win big. Her husband was a teacher and he immediately took out a million dollar umbrella policy under his districts insurance plan. He found himself in a situation where a girl said something went on in his room that shouldn’t have. Not with him but something said by another student. He didn’t even hear it. She and the parent were obviously fishing for money. He retired at the end of the year. No lawsuit. All in all it was a great summit.
I went home and finished another yard project. When I work in the yard I find myself talking a lot. I’m not crazy really! I talk to myself about Kathryn and then I talk to Kathryn and to God. I pray for others, myself and Kathryn. I promised I wouldn’t ask for her to come back after a year but I still do. I was telling God at that point I am human and I lied to him. I told him I wouldn’t ask any more but I do. I probably will for awhile. Maybe he will get sick of me asking and return her to me. I rationalize with him as to why he should bring her back. How we humans need proof that he exists and this would give us proof so profound that all would believe. No, I’m not crazy! I just have a good imagination and want to believe that my wishes will come true. The yard is staring to look good. A couple more days and it will be low maintenance instead of huge projects.
After a few hours in the yard we went to dinner at Johnny’s Dock Restaurant with another couple. They are so fun! The lady is a nurse at TG. She came by to see us a few times. When Kathryn had her surgery in 2010 she came by to see how things were going. We were all in the waiting room just waiting for the doctors to tell us what we were in for. She also stopped by while Kathryn was in the ICU. We talked about Kathryn and Richard at dinner and what extraordinary people they are. They are not the usual brother-sister combo. They are also so caring and loving. Simple and kind. Also very thoughtful. Richard is so good about keeping in touch with us and his Grandma. We also had a new young waiter in training. We all gave him a hard time (all in fun). We discovered that he was actually from Eatonville and knows my niece and sister-in-law. We gave him and invite to the Wine Auction and told him about Camp Goodtimes. He is 23 and would make a great Camp Goodtimes staffer. He has a great personality and big smile! We had such a good evening!
With the clocks all set ahead it is now noon on Sunday. I need to get busy. The dust is thick and the yard is calling. I’ll be with my yard buddies Klyde and Princess once I clear the dust. Yes, I will be out there talking to myself, Kathryn and God. Making plans and doing other things in this brain of mine. I wonder if they took a measure of my brain activity while I’m doing yard work if it would be off the charts? Silly me. I also just realized that it has been emotional lately because there are so many dates in a row that bring back cancer memories. 2-2-12, 2-11-12, 2-13-12, 2-25-12, 3-3-99, 3-8-99, first week of April 1999, 4-17-10, 4-27-10, 5-5-00, and that’s a lot of dates. And all the filler dates that go with them. No wonder I had a hard time talking without getting all emotional and tearing up.
Looking outside and thinking yard work may not happen today.
Making this day a good day J
Love to you all,