Thursday, September 26, 2013
The Flood 9/26/13 Friday morning 9/20 we woke up to a mess. Scott went downstairs at 4:45 am to take the last step off of the stairs into a puddle of water. He yelled up to me and I headed down to see the downstairs flooded. I couldn’t believe it. We were calling the insurance company to tell them that the hardwoods were all finished and we were satisfied so they could cut the final check. You could hear the water gushing in. The faucet was running full blast. Luckily we have a shut off valve in the hall closet and I turned the water off immediately. The hose to the freezer for water and ice had come off of the faucet and so that water was just shooting in full blast. We have no idea how long it ran. It covered the hardwoods and flooded the laundry room. The family room carpet was all soaked but one small corner of the room. The water got into the living room and dining room about four feet in. I scooped up water with a dustpan into a big garbage can. I filled the garbage can three times. Scott cut the thresh hold off of the front doorway so we could just push the water out of the front door. That worked well. Then we soaked up the rest with towels. When I laid a towel on the family room floor it soaked up water instantly. Then the cleaning crew can. 18 fans and dehumidifiers were set up in the house and several under the house. The floors were covered with special mats that had hoses running to and from them and plastic covered the floors. The plants all had to be removed as well as candles or anything that couldn’t with stand temperatures of 96-99 degrees. The upstairs was tented off so getting to our bedroom meant we had to go through a zipper tent. 20 garbage bags of insulation were gathered form under the house. The laundry room floor was all cut out and thrown away. Oh and all the ductwork was taken apart under the house and the insulation from it thrown out too. What a mess!! In spite of it all I kept a good attitude. What can you do? I made it to work about an hour late. One of my students actually picked the perfect day to tell me, “You are always so happy Mrs. Bradley and it makes me happy every time I come into your room.” Wow, I guess I must be doing ok for a student to say that. Later in the week my friend told me her aunt said she couldn’t believe how calm I am about all of this. She said that I have been through so much in my life that this was nothing. She’s right. I have been through so much and this is just a little tiny deal. Nothing to get worked up about at all. Saturday I went to Woodenville to do some wine tasting with friends. There were 7 of us including Richard. He was the only man in the group. It was supposed to be all girls but two people canceled last minute so I told him he should come with Bee. It was fun and several of us ended up buying some wine. We also had dinner and there was live music. On Sunday I saw a little girl sucking her thumb with her blanket. When Kathryn was little she sucked her thumb. Richard did too. When Kathryn went to kindergarten she decided that sucking her thumb was not something she should be doing at school. She had all of these cute little tops that had a satin bow on the collar. She would rub that bow and suck her thumb. One day she told me she couldn’t wear the shirts with the bows to school because they made her suck her thumb. She amazed me at 5 years old how she could see that she had to stay away from the bows to stop sucking her thumb. It worked! On Sunday there was fabulous Rainbow. Most of you here in our area saw it. It was the most crisp rainbow I have every seen. The colors were so clear and bright. Usually the colors fade into each other and are fuzzy. I Bought a Panda Watch in Hot Pink, skinny black jeans and sparkly blue shoes. All in Kathryn’s memory. She would have loved the outfit I wore to school on Monday. Most of my students commented. Even a Mom I met with after school commented on my shoes. Kathryn would have been so proud of me. I was kind of stepping out of my comfort zone. Out to dinner every night because our kitchen is not useable. The fans are loud, the plastic on the floors and the hoses running everywhere are dangerous to walk around. And, let’s not forget the 96-99 degrees in that part of the house. While at El Toro’s I heard a family behind me ordering a grilled cheese sandwich. That was what Kathryn ordered there for years. She said they made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. Better than any other restaurant. She did move on the Taco Salads when she got older. Taco salad with beans, no meat. Wore the beautiful pink heart pendent Kathryn bought me while in Europe with People to People. I love it. I will wear it more now that I have a chain that I feel comfortable with. I had a chain but it had a bad spot in it that I always feared would break and I would lose the pendent. Now I have a nice strong chain that is shinny and beautiful just perfect for the pendent. I will never forget how Kathryn ran to me at the airport when she returned home from that trip. It was the first time that she had spent away from her family for more than a couple of nights. She was gone 3 weeks. She ran to me crying as I ran to her crying. We hugged so tight and gave each other a kiss. She said, “I’m never going on a trip like that again.” Than she explained that she did have a good time but she would never go on a trip without us for that long again. We both missed each other so much. I was so happy to have my little girl back home. I sure wish she would come home now. I spoke to God again today about letting me see her or at the very least dream about her. I told Kathryn that I know we will be together soon as this lifetime is just a blip in time. A short little period that will someday be filled with life everlasting and time with Kathryn once again. It’s already Thursday 9/26. Time is flying as usual. Our house is still a mess and will be for a while. The floors need to be replaced because of the flooding. That means more dust and mess. 160 gallons was removed by the machines plus the 40 gallons we mopped up! That’s 200 gallons, a lot of water!! The rest of the blog is a letter I wrote to help you understand a little bit about pediatric cancer and Camp Goodtimes. Cancer Sucks as we all know. It has touched everyone in some way. You may not be the one who has had cancer but maybe you know someone who has had to deal with it. Or even someone who has died from it. For myself I know way too many people who have died from cancer. I have always expected that some day I would hear the words you have cancer. It does run in my family. But, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined my child having cancer. I didn’t even know that children got cancer until it hit my child. Yes, Cancer Sucks! It really sucks if you are a child. Your life is just taking off but you have no idea what is happening to you. You may not feel good so you go to the doctor and they start poking you. You are told you have cancer. This makes your parents very sad. It makes other people act very strange around you. Then you are told you have to get treatments and those treatments make you feel even sicker. You lose your hair and you are just a child. Only old people are bald! Maybe you were a girl with long flowing hair or a boy with nice wavy hair. Now there is not one hair left on your head. People stare at you as they try to understand why you might be bald. Your classmates may treat you differently. Well, that is if you are allowed to go to school. Your blood counts may be low and you may need to stay home or even worse be hospitalized (again). You have a thing stuck in your chest to ease the pain of being poked regularly. The radiation makes you so weak and tired. You were an athlete or at least a kid full of energy. But now you can hardly handle a day. Naps become something you naturally take to like you were 2 again. People just don’t understand that you are suffering. You have lost your childhood maybe even your friends. You just can’t be yourself any more. Cancer has changed everything. But then you find a place. There is this place in the world where everyone understands because they are just like you. Even the adults have had cancer experiences. They understand your limits yet encourage you to participate and have fun. Your baldhead is not different just part of who you are. You may have even found a new friend who is bald too. Your feeding tube is not stared at or questioned. There may be another child with a feeding tube. The scare from your surgery is normal and may look just like others in the group. You may even compare scares with other kids here. You feel loved and accepted. You have a spirit in you that is brought alive. What is this place? It is Camp Goodtimes. It is a place where kids with cancer can go and feel normal for a week. A place where cancer is put on the back burner and forgotten for a week. A child gains back their childhood for a week. It may only be a week but it is enough to carry this child through a year until the next week of camp. And if this child survives this bought of cancer then he or she may grow into an adult who has learned to give. This child may become a volunteer at camp to help those other children gain back a week of their childhood to carry them through a year that can be filled with disappointment and pain. Not just physical pain but emotional pain too. This place also gives the parents hope. Hope that their child will grow with happiness in their heart. Hope that their child can be a child not a cancer patient waiting for results and suffering from the side effects of treatment. Even if for only a week. Parents also see the sibling of the patient come back from what could be some deep depression as they have had to watch their sister or brother go through so much and not understanding why. Well, no one really understands the why. The sibling gets a week of rest. Rest from protecting their brother or sister from any more pain. Protecting them from cruel people. They too get to be a child again if only for a week. It doesn’t sound like a week is very long but this week of camp builds new relationships. It has built a community, a family that works together for each other. They support one another and now this family is in danger. The American Cancer Society supported Camp Goodtimes for 30 years. But the ACS has decided to put all of their focus on finding a cure so we won’t have to have cancer camps but regular summer camps. Without the ACS we (the Camp Goodtimes Family) need to work hard to bring in funds to keep this week of camp going. We actually have three weeks of camp. Two separate regular weeks of Camp for about 260 kids and one week of Kayak camp for older young adults. My two children have benefitted greatly from camp Goodtimes. Kathryn called it the Happiest Place on Earth. Richard continues to volunteer and is a driving force for fundraising to make sure camp continues. My children learned to love with their whole hearts, to give to others and care for others. They learned to give back too. I could not imagine our lives without camp. This camp gave my children a wonderful childhood and allowed them to blossom into grateful and loving adults. So, I am asking for you to make a donation. It will be in memory of Kathryn Panda Bradley. Any amount will help. It is truly a special place that deserves to continue. The kids deserve to have a childhood, if only for a week. I would love to have all donations collected by Kathryn’s birthday February 5th. Thank you so much! Carol Flower Bradley Checks can be made out to The Goodtimes Project memo: Kathryn Panda or just Panda Send checks to me at: Carol Bradley 6711 71st St Ct W Lakewood, WA 98499 The tax ID # 46-2489916 it is a tax deductable donation. http://www.dwellable.com/u/add_post/2776
Thursday, September 19, 2013
September 2nd marked 19 months since Kathryn’s passing. It seems like it just happened. Actually it is still something that doesn’t seem real. It still feels like she will be coming home to see me and we will talk and hug or maybe go to Starbucks and have a cup of coffee. It won’t happen but it does in my mind.
I had a dream that I was in a car with Kathryn and Princess and the road became very icy and undriveable. Kathryn and I ended up having to leave the car and walk leaving Princess for some odd reason. As we arrived to our destination we were wondering about Princess and then she came running up to us, all wiggles and smiles. This did kind of happen on time. Kathryn and I were driving home from our cabin in Packwood. It was in April and it was a beautiful sunny day. I decided to take Skate Creek Road so we could shave 30 minutes off of our drive time. I was hoping we would make it back in time to go watch the school play at the school where I work. Well just like in the dream the road became icy and snowy. I started to slide and all there is to my right is a cliff with a small river at the bottom. I slow and crawl along. I finally realize that my car is not going to make this trip as we climbed a small hill. It would not climb even a small hill. I didn’t exactly have tires for the snow on my car but rather I had track tires on my car. I think both Kathryn and I were relieved to have found a spot to make a turn around. The road had only gotten worse the farther we went so turning around was a great idea. So we didn’t make the play but we made it home safely.
Tuesday 9/3 was the first day of school. I always have a letter that I write that tells a bit about my family and myself. I do tell about Kathryn and her passing. It gets very quiet at that time. Kids are very respectful and I appreciate this. Sierra, who knows me well said, “this is sad” as she read through the part about Kathryn. I don’t know if I should stop mentioning this but for now it is who I am and this is my life so I will continue to include it.
On Wednesday (9/4) I wrote to a man who was just diagnosed with a GBM (the same brain tumor Kathryn died from) on September 2nd. He’s concerned about telling his children that he is going to die. My first letter never went through but then I tried again and did get a second one to go through. I hope that my words were hopeful and helpful. I know what the doctors have told him as they told me I would be lucky to have Kathryn one year. They told me it would come back and kill her. He has heard those same words. If he gets even a little extra time there could be a new method of treating this beast. They are working on it and coming up with new things all of the time. It is just that, a matter of time. I think writing to him helped me because as I walked Princess that evening I found myself signing aloud. I don’t do this or at least haven’t sung out loud for a very long time. There was happiness in my heart.
On Thursday I had a student ask if that was my daughter on the wall. She asked if she could look at my pictures and I said yes of course. I love it when they take an interest. She said Kathryn was beautiful. I couldn’t agree more. Her smile was so beautiful. She was perfect in every way as far as I am concerned.
I read more about GBM Patients on this site for brain cancer research. It is the most common brain tumor and the most deadly. Some people live just a few days after diagnoses. One woman wrote about her husband who only lived 126 days while there was one who lived 5 or 6 years. The author of the book, Surviving Terminal Cancer is still alive. He is the only GBM survivor that I know of. It has been 19 years for him. I think it is because he is a scientist in the medical field and he would switch form one treatment to another if it appeared one wasn’t working. He continued to change his treatments and also live a very pure life and using natural products to the hilt. I tried this with Kathryn but… well we all know how that turned out.
Ambulances Everywhere – I have been behind or next to an ambulance every day for that past too weeks. Of course they make me think of my ride in the ambulance with Kathryn. I always wonder if I will see those two guys again. For that matter will I see any of the nurses or doctors again? They were all so good to us. The one doctor called to see how Kathryn was doing. She had passed by the time he called. He was so concerned. He wrote us a nice card. Not all doctors take the time to do this. He was the doctor who got Kathryn to a place where she could come home.
On Friday (9/6) some of my boys asked me if I was going to the football game. It sounded like they were playing as they were also dressed in their jerseys. It was the High school varsity team that was playing but my boys were there. I told them I would go if it wasn’t pouring down rain. Well, the sky cleared and it was a gorgeous evening. I really enjoyed talking to the kids there and watching the game. We won too!
I’m really enjoying my students more this year. They are good kids. My yearbook class is amazing. I discuss with them what they should be doing and then they just get to it.
The second week of school has flown by. We had our floors refinished so I have been living out of a suitcase. Other things aren’t going well but that is enough said. School is going well.
I talked to a friend about my classes and I have one young lady who failed my class last year who is earning an A at this time. That means she has completed every assignment so far. She is my project this year. She is a great kid but it is obvious that she has no support at home. At least no one to ask her about homework or help her with homework. So I hope to help fill this spot by keeping a very close eye on her work and using that mothering push to keep her going. There are a couple of others who will need similar attention. I have one boy who is autistic and I have already had a couple of email conversations with his mom. She is on top of it that’s for sure. He came to school after we went over how to put a notebook together with is already to go. He just works a little slower but I think he will be just fine. He has great support at home and that makes all the difference in the world.
Today (9/14) is the funeral for the 10 year old I wrote about. Yes, cancer took her too. It just took a long time Porsche Club member too. Also another friend of ours lost a close friend of his to cancer too. He asked me about the man who sang at Kathryn’s service and about setting up a bank fund for the family for donations. This man left his family with no life insurance and dept. They need help. I told my friend that the wife needs to know that people want to help and giving them an avenue to do so is good. She doesn’t want to look like she is begging but she isn’t. There is a need to fill. My goodness, the bills could be horrendous. I know our 4 months cost us $100,000 to $110,000 but we had a life insurance policy. Anyhow, I gave him all the information I had and thoughts and ideas. It just a shitty position for anyone.
I’m going to end on a good note. Our floors are done and I will return home today. I did look at them from the door way and they look like new floors. Absolutely beautiful! My gym workouts are going great. I can really tell that my right leg has been lazy as it heals. It is so much weaker than my left leg. And when they work together I can feel the left leg doing more. It will all even out. I do feel so much better. I don’t hurt like I did.
Richard is planning on heading out to North Carolina for a camp retreat. Well, it is a big deal for him. He has really been involved in planning events for camp to help raise funds.
He is also enjoying his student teaching. He had open house the other night and it went well. A quick 10 minutes with each class of parents. I remember those nights.
He is doing great!
Well, I didn’t get this out like I thought I would so here’s a little more. I went to the Staff appreciation dinner (9/18) for Camp Goodtimes Staff. I am so proud to have Richard as my son. He and his girlfriend Bee earned the Volunteer of the Year award. Of course I teared up as Beef spoke about my son and his girlfriend and how they have taken their cancer experiences and used them to help others. It was a great evening because I was with such great people. How can you not feel good around people who give so selflessly? I love this Camp Family!!!
So, today I looked at the mail and there was a letter for Kathryn. Well an advertisement for Kathryn. On the envelope it said, “Get a glimpse of your future…. Well if these people only knew. There is no future. It has all been put to an end by cancer.
I have a good weekend ahead. Looking forward to spending some time with friends.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Labor Day 2013
Tdoday 9-2-13 marks 19 months since Kathryn passed away
Tdoday 9-2-13 marks 19 months since Kathryn passed away
This week started with the news of child passing brain cancer and ends with another child passing from brain cancer. Hanna was diagnosed in 2007 and died in 2010 just after her 12th birthday. 8/1/98 to 8/30/10 This really makes me question why. Why did she and so many other children have to die? I don’t know why I was given the news about Hannah but it showed up on my facebook page. She may have been a camper from Camp Goodtimes. Just too many kids.
On Monday on the way home from my Mom’s I pass Mountain View Funeral Home. This is where Kathryn was taken after she passed. I don’t know why we always come home this way. We always go to the cabin or to my Mom’s house a different way but when coming home we always pass the Funeral Home. It makes me see Kathryn lying so still. I see her as she was that last day or in the viewing. I don’t see struggle, just peace and quiet. They took very good care of her and made her look good for her viewing.
I returned to the gym on Tuesday (8/27) after seeing my hip Doctor. I have a new trainer Shawn. He shared a bit about himself with me and I shared with him. I told him about Kathryn and then he shared more with me. His brother passed away in 2010 of an accidental carbon monoxide over dose. It was from a generator that was outside but still too close to the doorway. His mother had a hip replacement about 2 years ago so he knows that I have new limits. We worked on my upper body this day and I felt it for three. It’s nice to get back to the gym and I think Shawn is going to be a good trainer.
Wednesday 8/28 - we had Cougar Kick Off at our school. That is when the families come in and get their picture, buy their ASB and Yearbook, and a chance to go through the school and meet their teachers. I was wearing one of the shirts Kathryn designed (Let a Cure Rain Down). A Dad really liked it and might order one later in the year. This was a good day of meeting students and getting together with my Columbia Family. At Lunch it was decided that I was the most senior teacher. Now that doesn’t mean I am the oldest but the one with the most teaching years. I thought for sure there were a couple of teachers who had me beat but I was wrong.
Richard has been filling us in on how things are going and I think he is going to have a great semester. He is so stoked to be there.
Thursday (8/29) was a day of meetings at school for Richard and me. At my school we were well taken care of with breakfast, lunch and then a gathering with food and drink at our principals house afterwards. Once again it was good to sit and talk with my Columbia family. On the way to our principal’s house you go by a cemetery. I thought about how I might feel passing by it each day. I guess it wouldn’t be a big deal since I had no connection with this one. The one Kathryn was sent to has more than just her as a connection. It is the place where I went to my first funeral of a close loved one. I was in third grade and it was for my Grandpa Lee. They had the full 21-gun salute and I remember everything about that day. It’s like it was engraved in my brain. Then when I was in 9th grade my Grandma Peggy passed away at the hands of a doctor who didn’t follow the proper procedures. This one was a real hard one for me as she and I did a lot together. I picked out her casket. I picked out the clothes she would wear. I helped pick every thing about the day we would lay her to rest. Yes, I was 14 years old at the time. It was what I thought would be the hardest thing I would ever have to do. But then I had to do it for my own daughter.
On Friday (8/30) I went in to school to meet with rep from the new yearbook company. He showed me the basics after spending an hour with me. I feel a lot better about the program now and my ability to do everything. Another teacher complemented me on my bulletin boards today. I said, “My daughter made them two years ago.” Yes, Kathryn did my bulletin boards for me in 2011. They are very bright. I think I may have changed the boarder on the calendar board. I went to the gym again today. While I was working out with Shawn two young men came up and said hi to me. I gave them each a big hug, as they are Kathryn’s friends. I love seeing her friends. I love it even more that they came up to me to say hi. They have both graduated from college. One of them is dating my hip doctor’s daughter (Kathryn’s friend Paige). It was great to chat with them and keep up with what they are doing.
Saturday I did a bunch of things around the house like washing windows and cleaning the roof over the carport. I won’t get on the steep roof of the house. In the evening Scott and I took a nice evening walk when Scott said something about the tracks. Those tracks! They are swerving tire tracks from the ambulance making its way up the hill in the snow and ice after bringing Kathryn home from the hospital. They are a constant reminder. It’s a good reminder in that Kathryn made it home. And yet it is a reminder of her struggles.
Sunday morning break down – I lost it! I just cried pretty darn hard. I miss my baby so much. Pulled myself together and got busy. As you know that is how our family handles this. We stay busy. I dropped off a gift for a friend’s Dad. I hope he likes it. Yes, he was stricken by cancer too. First the prostrate and now skin cancer. I was also hit with an email about a young girl (10?) passing away from cancer. Her tumor started in the nasal cavity (I think). It sounded a lot like my Cousin’s husband who passed in May of 2012. As far as this little girl goes I don’t think her cancer lingered on too long. I don’t know if this is bad or a blessing. She has an older brother too. It makes me wonder how he is doing. Is he staying busy or is he hanging around in a fog. It’s so hard for the sibling as they seem to get less attention and need it just as much if not more than the parents. Well, My day went better as I spent some time with my friend Robyn, swimming at her aunts house.
And here is something someone posted:
Don't cry for me Daddy,
I'm right here.
Although you can't see me
I see your tears.
I visit you often,
I go to work with you each day,
And when it's time for you
to close your eyes,
On your pillow is where I lay.
I hold your hand &
stroke your hair,
And whisper in your ear.
If you're sad today Daddy,
Remember, I am here.
God took me home.
This we know is true.
But you'll always be My Daddy
Even though I'm not with you.
We will never be apart,
For everytime you think of me,
Please know I'm in your Heart..........
This is the official last day of summer. A bit cooler but a good day. So many things to be thankful for. I have a great family, good friends and a great place to work with people who are totally awesome. I have a nice home and plenty of food. I Have health and that is really important. And I have so many people who love me. I’m a lucky girl! J
Just received a phone call that Scott was in a car accident in Everett. He’s fine! Not our car but a friend’s big truck. Not the friend’s fault either. Some guy ran a red light. They have a witness who is staying to give a statement to the police. The guy tried to leave – probably doesn’t have insurance. Just glad the guys are all ok.
Have a great Labor Day!http://www.dwellable.com/u/add_post/2776