Thinking About Lots 8/20/13
On Monday August 5th I was entering phone numbers into my new phone. As I did this I came across Kathryn’s number and knowing that it was not her number any more I didn’t enter it. This is just one of many things I have done that remind me that she is no longer here on this Earth. There would not be that sweet little voice at that number any more.
Tuesday I went swimming with my friend Robyn at her Aunt’s house. She had recently given me a picture of Kathryn and I sharing a floaty in this same pool just a couple of years ago. Kathryn and I shared a floaty many times. When we would go camping we both loved to float in the water and soak up the sun. This pool brings back many memories some as far back as junior high and some as recent as swimming with Kathryn. This same day was night out for the neighborhood. This is the national night out for neighbors to get together and get to know each other. I was asked how many children I have and I really had a hard time answering. One? Two? One still alive and Kathryn who passed away. I still struggle with this question. Our neighborhood received an award for the most organized and best attended night out gathering. Every year I think of the wonderful picture that was taken at the night out in 2010 of Kathryn and Matt.
Wednesday Mitch was in town to see us. We call him S-2 for son two since he lived with us for a while and he just became part of the family. He was also one of Kathryn’s roommates in college her second and third year. We took the boat out for the first time and the boys went wakeboarding and Scott tried waterskiing. We were on Steilacoom Lake and used Matt’s dock. We waited for Matt to get off work to pull him around a bit too. As I watched him I thought how great it would be for Kathryn to be here cheering him on. She didn’t wakeboard but she took control of the flag which I did this time. Everyone seemed to have a good time. It was great to see Scott in the water giving it a try. After dinner we had a bondfire as this is kind of our camping trip for the year. We talked about being in the ICU with Kathryn – explaining to Mitch the differences in the nurses and doctors. How we fired one RT that scared Kathryn because she was rough and one nurse who never allowed us to sleep during the night. Others nurses were so quiet you hardly noticed they were there. One doctor did everything to get Kathryn home. Only because of him were we able to get her home where she wanted to be. We also talked about a boy from camp and how he relapsed again. He was in Richard’s cabin and his parents had found out that he relapsed the Wednesday while he was at camp. They didn’t tell him until he was home for a day. They didn’t want to spoil the joy he was enjoying from his week at camp. He is only 13 and he has had two bone marrow transplants and one stem cell transplant. And a ton of chemo. Now they are trying a T-Cell deal. This is where they extract T-Cells from the patient and grow more in the lab to put them into the patient later. This will increase the number of T-Cells in the body. T-Cells are also known as natural killer cells that kill cancer cells. This was the same thing my cousin’s husband was trying but he died before the cells had a chance to grow in the lab. It takes 6 weeks or so for them to grow. Anyhow I felt like Richard opened up a little during our discussion at the bondfire. I was really happy about that. As far as the young boy goes. As of now his T-Cells are growing in the lab and I hope and pray that this works for him.
Friday night we had another chat about Kathryn and her friends. We were talking about all of the numbers on the old phone Richard was using. It is an old phone of Kathryn’s so it has numbers of her friends. We Richard, Bee and myself talked about her friend Maura and how it must have been so hard for her to see Kathryn in the hospital. She kept saying you poor dear. She tried to keep a stiff upper lip and I know she had to work at it. I imagine she broke down once she left the room. We were really glad she came to see Kathryn even as hard as it must have been. Kathryn was not letting people see her for a while and now I think it was to save them from seeing her in this position. She never wanted her friends to feel sorry for her or suffer any pain. We also talked about her friend’s Anna and Noah who have had a little birthday celebration for her each year. I knew they made a cake for her each year but didn’t know they had a little celebration. I think this is wonderful.
Saturday 8/10- A funeral and a wedding. The funeral was for my Mom’s cousin. I always thought he was a good guy but wow he was amazing. So many people loved him. He touched so many lives. He changed so many lives for the better. What an incredible man. The wedding was in Seattle and for two people who have been volunteers at Camp Goodtimes.
Sunday the dryer was going and we were all just hanging out. The dryer had gone off and I went into the laundry room to find the door wide open like someone had opened it and gone through the clothes. I asked if anyone had opened it knowing that no one had even been in the laundry room. Both Scott and I said it was Kathryn just letting us know she was around. Richard and Bee left for Seattle today. Of course I will miss them. Later Scott and I were just taking naps when the doorbell rang. It was the man who built our house. He had been going through stuff and found the plans to our house. He thought about just tossing them but thought that we might like them. So he brought them over to us. He was glad to see that the house was appreciated and well taken care of. We were happy that he made the effort to bring the plans to us.
Monday 8/12 Richard called to ask me to show his teardrop trailer that he has for sale. I did and her friend and I were talking about Camp Goodtimes. Of course Kathryn came up too. She told me that her friend was down here at Children’s and staying at the Ronald McDonald house. They are from Alaska and her 3 year old daughter has brain cancer. I felt so bad for her friend. I told her that Camp Flew 30 children down from Alaska this year. It is all free for the families. She said she would look into camp and tell her friend about it.
I finally went to see my friend Robyn’s paint job this week. She painted her living room and hallway. It looks really good. She has a garden that she made for Kathryn and now it also has a section for her brother too. She told me that the butterfly that illuminates is the one that comes on first and stays on the longest. It is the one light that sits closest to Kathryn’s panda in the garden.
I also read on FB that one of Kathryn’s friends was going through stuff and found letters that were from two people who are no longer alive. Of course I asked if one of the letters was from Kathryn. Yes she replied, actually she had a couple of letters from Kathryn and she said she would keep them and cherish them forever. I had read some notes I had saved from Kathryn’s friends. I could only read a couple because I didn’t want to cry all day. They are so sweet and special. I love reading them and knowing that my daughter brought so much joy to others.
I’ve been doing a lot of yard work this week. I wasn’t able to earlier with my hip deal and then being gone for three weeks. I had to do some catching up especially in the bank. I always have a lot of time to think when doing yard work. One thing that came to mind is how Kathryn would come out and ask me if I would like something to eat. She would put together a platter of cheese, crackers and some cut up fruit and we would sit together and eat. She would bring me the phone or water. She knew it was hard to get up and down form the bank so she would help me out. She took good care of me.
I also read that our dear friend is still having seizers. I feel so bad for her. I just hope they stop or get under control. Also read an article about sugar. Sugar is so tasty but so bad. Cancer thrives on sugar too. Please limit your sugar intake. The article I read was how sugar has bad affects on your brain.
There was also a video that I listened to on FB. I shared it earlier. This young lady was singing about a friend who died. It made me think of Kathryn and this song could easily be about her. It was very touching and made me think of Kathryn dancing and singing in heaven.
Friday 8/16 I went to the track with Scott. I helped out with registration. Our Friend Tom is the owner of Turn2 and was the one in charge of the track day. He has October 19th as a fundraiser day at the track for Camp Goodtimes. The owners of the track said they would let Tom have the track for free that day so all the money he charges with go to camp. Well, there still are a few expenses like the corner workers, insurance and ambulance but the rest will go to camp. This is a big deal! They are also going to auction off things that day too. Tom is a great guy and the track owners Joe and Rod are really doing a fantastic thing to offer the track for free.
Our neighbors above us had a birthday party this weekend. Wow, did that ever bring back memories. There were kids laughing and playing in the back yard. Then they sang happy birthday and later watched a movie. I don’t know if it went through the night but ours did. At our parties the kids would play in the yard (slip and slide, the pool and hot tub), then we would have dinner, a back yard movie, and bondfire. They would sleep over and in the morning I would make pancakes, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, hot chocolate, juice and milk. By noon they were all gone. I loved those days. So it was good to hear the neighbors having so much fun just like our days.
I was talking to a lady on the phone about a vitamin supplement. She was talking about cancer and I said I knew a lot about cancer and told her about Kathryn. She too had lost a child. Her 10 year old son was killed while gong to school. She buried him on his 10th birthday. She could connect and understand how I felt. She said, others say they understand but they really don’t. Only those who have lost a child really understand. There are a lot of people who have lost their children. One again I feel blessed to have had Kathryn in my life. She had a wonderful life full of happiness and love.
Today (Tuesday 8/20) I read a name in the obituaries. I recognized the name as one of my former students back when I taught at Mason in Tacoma. That was 20 plus years ago. This student had given me mug that she had etched. I thought she had put her name on it so I went to the cupboard to see if this was truly her. Well, the mug was from her sister. Maybe they were both students of mine. I remember them and the parents. Mom was really involved in the community and I just remember them as a great family. The obituary talked about her three year battle with brain cancer. Well, I decided to cut this one out. It is at least the 10th one I have read that has died of brain cancer since Kathryn’s passing. Several have been under 40. Now I wish I would have cut them all out and saved them. There has to be a connection. There must be something that can be found in common. As I talked to my Mom this morning about this she reminded me about the neighbors in my area that have died or had brain impairments. Yes, there have been a lot. Too many rare diseases in one area! Brain cancer is not that common, Lou Gehrig’s disease even more rare, seizers, stroke and other brain diseases in one 56 house neighborhood that has only been around since 1989. Too Many! I bet there are other neighborhoods in the Tacoma/Lakewood area with these too.
Maybe some day I can help find the connection. So far no one knows what causes the initial brain cancer Kathryn had. Her second form was caused by her initial radiation but others get it for unknown reason’s. Questions need to be asked and information gathered. I think science is stuck on trying to fix cancer after it happens rather than finding the cause and stopping it from ever happening. I know they have found some causes but it still strikes without reason.
I will be heading out to do more yard work. I enjoy it and enjoy being in the sun.
Have a great day!