Posted in Familial Unit

A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Final Good-Bye

“I will be right by my Dad’s side, covering his six.  I Love You, Dad, you will survive for many years to come if I have anything to say or do about it.” ~Me, November 21, 2015

Event-01-CD1We only made 9 months, Dad.  My heart is empty without you here with me.

Our Journey together was short-lived but full of many fun and scary memories.

On November 21, 2015, I wrote my first blog entry about my Dad, A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Battle, and almost nine months to that day, I felt my Dad take his last breath.

On February 17, 2016, I wrote my second blog entry about my Dad, A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Twist, in which I shared with you, Dear Bloggites, that my Dad’s Doctor told me he was on his downhill slope and we had to take it one day at a time now.  The doctor also told me he did not want any of my family members to even inquire about “three months from now” because he could not guarantee that my Dad would be here in three months.

We made it 6 months, Dad.  I still cannot believe you are not here with me.

Our Battle together was strong, I kept your six until the very end.

It was a Monday morning, July 11, 2016.  See, Dad was struck down by a massive stroke followed by many mini-strokes out of left field.  We were not expecting that at all.  I rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital that specialized in strokes.  We were in the hospital fighting this new battle my Dad faced for almost a week.

The following Saturday, July 16, 2016, my Dad’s doctor pulled me aside late at night and informed me that if Dad stayed like he currently was (not eating, barely drinking) he had three to seven days to live, three to fucking seven days!  The doctor went on to say if Dad started to eat and drink, we maybe had a few weeks left!  He recommended Hospice because we were at the end of the journey with Dad.

Hospice?  Put Dad on Hospice?  He was just laughing and teasing me two weeks ago and now the damn doctor is telling me we are at the end!

My brain could not compute what was being said.  He just wanted two more years!

We had a family meeting (at this point every one of my brothers and sisters were in town and at the hospital with Mom), and on Sunday, July 17, 2016, we all, sans one, agreed to put Dad on Hospice.  He came home July 18, 2016, Monday, a week after the first massive stroke that put him in the hospital for the last time.

We made it 1 month, Dad.  I feel lost without you here with me.

Our twists were many during this journey and we faced them together side-by-side.

On August 19, 2016, my journey with my Dad ended.  The battles we fought have left scars on my heart and soul, scars that will never fully heal.  My Dad, My Hero, My Constant Companion passed from this life into the Ever After.

He took his final breath at 6:47am; officially pronounced dead at 8:32am.

My hand was on his chest feeling his heart beat until it beat no more.

Now, I must continue this Journey alone, with only fond memories and a huge empty space in my heart.  I Love You, Daddy!  Keep up the party with the J-Dude until I can join in!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Hidden Lives by R.W. Ley

Hidden Lives by R. W. LeyHello, Dear Bloggites.  Today’s book review is on my friend’s first book ever released.  As you all know, I love to read the first books by authors and then watch them grow and flourish as writers throughout their career.

The book I am reviewing is called Hidden Lives by R. W. Ley.  This is a Christian Fiction novel.  The storyline is about a woman, Jana Mahoney, who runs a boarding house of sorts in a small town.  The new boarder, Kevin Gilman, brings intrigue into the life of Jana and her children.  While Kevin works to figure out Jana’s story, Jana works on bring him to Christ.

The story is well written for a first time novel.  I was very pleased with the mystery and intrigue R. W. Ley brought into the story.  The characters were all well developed and each one had a back story that was briefly touched on throughout the book.  I was captured right away which I love when reading a book.  The only thing I found that broke up the storyline was the constant interjecting of talking about giving your life to Christ.  I think at points in the book, the conversation between characters broke up the ability to fully delve into the story.  That being said, I loved how R. W. Ley was able to work in talking about Christ within the conversations of the characters.

This novel was hard to find and I know R. W. Ley mentioned that obtaining a copy would be nice.  I want to thank ‘Clay’ wherever he is for putting this book on sale through Amazon to allow me to purchase it.  I will be turning it over to the author because it will be revamped and re-released (hopefully) for all to enjoy since it is hard to find right now. 🙂

All in all, Dear Bloggites, I give Hidden Lives by R. W. Ley 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Mark your calendars and notate R. W. Ley’s website and purchase the current novels available until the re-release, if any, of this one.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Familial Unit

The Road To Recovery…

…is full of twists, and turns, and loop-de-loops.

Hello, Dear Bloggites.  I am sitting here in the hospital with my Dad, yet again.  We have become frequent fliers, he and I.  So much so, the name tag on the door states, “This patient is a star patient, he gets star treatment” followed by the fact he can have a snack at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight.  Such a frequent flyer are we that the doctors walk in, see me and state, “The important one is here” or “Good to see you again” or “Hey! How have you been” as if greeting a good friend you are fond of.

Yes, this is our life and as hard as it is to live, I would not change a thing of it.  The reason I would not change it is very simple.  It means my Dad is still alive.  It means my Dad has not given up.  It means my Dad is a fighter.

I struggle everyday watching him.   He fights each day and I fight alongside him to help assist where I can.  We make it through each day and rejoice when he doesn’t “wake up dead” (his preferred method of dying, “I want to just wake up dead one day”).  I am proud of the fact that he is fighting death with all he has, yet, I am saddened that this fight – no matter how grand – is weakening him more each day.

It is a quandary.

Our life paradox.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Familial Unit

A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Twist

“A father’s tears and fears are unseen, his love unexpressed, but his care and protection remains as a pillar of strength throughout our lives.” ~Ama H. Vanniarachchy

I just want to yell, and scream, and rage against the world! I want to know WHO thought it would be a good idea. I want to know WHAT happened at the moment this time bomb was assigned. I want to know WHEN the designated countdown began. I want to know WHERE it is going to end. I want to know WHY bad things happen to good people. I want to know HOW to cope at the moment the countdown reaches zero.

The above paragraph was written back on February 3rd, scratched on a paper towel, when I had to take my Paternal Half of the Parental Unit (Dad) to the emergency room due to some bladder issues. We had been going to my Dad’s radiation treatments and only had one more to go to finish the grueling 30-day program to help shrink the Cancer tumor in his Prostate and extend his life a bit longer when the bladder issue reared its ugly head.

In my previous post, A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Battle, I talked about some major issues he is facing from his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.  When we were told his Cancer has metastasized and is in stage 4, it devastated me.  I am the closest one to my Dad and the one most like him.  We began the journey of fighting the Cancer as best we could because he cannot have surgery.  This was our battle, Cancer was the face of the enemy sent to take my Father’s life.  Then, February 3rd happened.  The twist that is tripping up our battle.

*Warning: semi-graphic details & language

Wednesday, the 3rd started off like our regular Radiation Day always did: me driving Dad to the hospital to do his treatments.  Well, this day he noticed blood in his urine when it came out of his catheter he has had for two months.  We had our regular meetings with his Radiation Doc and asked him about it.  The doctor said it was probably a side effect from the radiation in Dad’s system and the blood should go away after two weeks once his treatments were finished.

With that in mind, Dad and I head back home.  Around 3pm that afternoon, I get a phone call from Dad saying that there was no more blood in his urine.  Woo Hooo!  Great News!  Two and a half hours later, I receive another call from Dad saying he was not getting any blood but now he is not even getting urine from the catheter tube.

Dad said it was probably kidney stones (which he is known to pass from time to time).  I told him to keep me posted.  Within the hour we were in the emergency room because of the pain my Father was in.  He started having bladder spasms that shook his whole body as if he was in the throes of an Epileptic seizure.  As we waited for them to call my Father back to be seen by a doctor, his pain only increased.  I will forever have the image burned in to my memory of one moment, when a spasm was hitting Dad, of the look in his eyes.

As a spasm was hitting, I watched my Dad’s body convulse from the pain and when I looked into his baby blue eyes I saw tears glistening in them with a painful pleading look that said, “Please help me!  I don’t understand.  Why is this happening to me? Make it stop! Take it away!”

My heart shattered into pieces because I stood helpless by his side unable to alleviate one simple iota of pain for my Father; my Paternal Half; the Indestructible Soldier and All-Around Superman in his daughter’s eyes.  7 of 7, me, “Miss Fix It”, the one who makes all things better, was unable to do anything except stand silently by his side, holding his hand and telling him to breathe through the spasm.

All night, the scene above played out, over and over.  The nurses went through two different catheters, causing additional pain, and still only minimal urine came out.  His Urologist, whom has been with Dad from Day 1 dealing with Dad’s prostate issues, was not on call the night we went into the ER.  We only had the nursing staff and doctor on duty to help.  They took a CAT Scan of Dad’s bladder and saw that his prostate was so enlarged it was pushing up on his bladder and was cutting off the ureters (this explained the loss of urination).  The results of the scan did not explain why only minimal urine was coming out of the new catheter.

The next morning, Thursday the 4th, Dad’s Urologist came into his room.  He was on fire!  The catheters put in by the ER staff were done improperly and with one catheter they filled up the balloon in my Father’s urethra in the penis!  The blockage issue was already present, but the improper placement of the catheters aggravated the issue with my Dad’s bladder.

The Urologist told me we are now on the downhill slope for Dad.  The doctor said that this situation is not going to be a few days but several weeks to potentially find the issue and for us not to get our hopes up because all we can do now is take it day by day.

Doc stated that Dad’s bladder issue has nothing to do with his Cancer, however, the radiation treatments will delay the healing process.  Doc said he was removing the improper catheter and was going to put a scope up through the penis to see into Dad’s bladder and gauge what is going on.  My thoughts circled around two things: 1. Downhill Slope-Dad is dying, but not from the Cancer? & 2. More Pain for Dad-weeks of pain.

The Urologist goes into Dad’s room and proceeds to try and scope him.  YES, you read that sentence right-TRY.  A few minutes later, Doc comes out with a grim look on his face (my brain kept repeating-Downhill Slope, Downhill Slope-in my head).  The doctor says, “There is an obstruction in your Dad’s penis.  I cannot get the scope to his bladder.  We are going to have to put a suprapubic catheter into your Dad’s belly.  If that does not work, I will have to put a tube running from each of his kidneys out of his body to get the urine out of his bladder.  If that does not work, I will have to take your Dad to the operating room and you know what that means.”

Stunned, I said, “Yes. Broken neck to intubate. Paralysis or Death.” (Read 1st blog here to understand about the broken neck part)

I asked the doctor what was going on with my Father.  The doctor said, “I don’t know.  We have too many unknown variables.  Until I can get into your Dad’s bladder, we can only take it day-to-day.  Today, right now, I have to figure out a way to reroute the urine in the bladder or else your Dad will go into kidney failure.”

I said to the doctor, “I understand.  Do what you need to do to help Dad.”

(My mind was yelling, “SH*T! F*CK! MY DAD COULD BE DYING AND IT IS NOT EVEN THE F*CKING CANCER THAT WILL KILL HIM!”)

The suprapubic catheter worked, however, my Dad was touch and go the rest of the day and night on Thursday.  Dad was disoriented and confused.  He thought it was 1965 during the procedure and he was looking for his wife (Mom, the Maternal Half of the Parental Unit).

After the procedure it was still 1965 and when Mom asked Dad if he found her, he said, “I caught you.”  Throughout the night, I had to be the Reaper of Doom to all the Sub-Units (siblings/kids) retelling and reliving my conversation with the doctor.

We listened to Dad’s incoherent babble all night as well: he said my sister, Debbie (4 of 7), had to fix the blender; he and Mom were going for a ride to see Frannie (his sister who died of Cancer last year in Philadelphia) and Joey (his brother who is alive and in Tennessee) which will take an hour; he informed us ‘Ch’ahlie (Charlie) will take care of it (Vietnam flashback); he also wanted to go talk to those people “over there” whom he did not know (to this I informed him he is in no way, shape, or form to go talk to those people).

We all survived that scary night.  Dad’s doctor came to check on him the next day making sure they were irrigating (flushing) Dad’s bladder every two hours.  I told the doc that Dad was in his “right mind” again and appears to be doing well.

The doc looked at me and said, “He is no way out of the woods.  I don’t believe in sugar coating information.  That is why many people hate me.  I believe in total honesty in all situations.” (Side-note: this is why my Dad and I love this doctor)

The doc continued saying, “I told you yesterday this is a long-term temporary situation with the suprapubic catheter.  He cannot be alone again once he goes home.  Your Dad will need to be watched and cared for 24/7 and your Mom cannot do it.  Until his penis heals, if it heals, and the obstruction goes away for me to look into the bladder, we can only take it day-by-day.  Tell the family that I do not want to hear any questions about three months from now because I don’t even know if he will be here in three months.”

(“SH*T! SH*T! F*CK, F*CK, F*CK!” says my brain)

“I understand and appreciate your honesty.  That is why we love you.” I said to the doctor.

Two weeks have gone by now.  We have had some good days, but more bad days over the good.  My brain is still trying to process it all and my lack of sleep does not help.  We go see the Doc on Thursday the 18th to see what is in store for Dad.

I have been my Paternal Half’s constant companion with the assistance of the Sub-Units: 1 of 7, 2 of 7, 4 of 7, 5 of 7, and 6 of 7 respectively (3 of 7-Ray-is squaring things away in Cali then he will be here to assist as well).

2 of 7 (Glory) left Sunday to go back to Georgia.  1 of 7 (Kathy) will go back to her home in the Houston area on Friday. 4 of 7 (Debbie), 5 of 7 (Nancy), 6 of 7 (James), and yours truly, 7 of 7, will keep watch 24/7 over our Parental Units until it is all said and done.

~4-Ever, P

 

Posted in #BloggiteBits Campaign

#BloggiteBits-Tranquil W.O.R.L.D.

Tranquil W.O.R.L.D.: Wistfully serene, One with peace, Restful nature, Leisurely style, Deliberate calmness

#BloggiteBits-Tranquil World
Tranquil W.O.R.L.D.

Calm is the Heart, Tranquil is the Mind.  I love this statement.  It is my saying I tell myself every morning when I wake up to start my day.  This world is so hectic and go, go, go all the time, I have to make myself remember that I am in control of my world.  In this installment of the ABCs of encouragement with the #BloggiteBits Campaign, I am going to tell you how I choose to live in my Tranquil W.O.R.L.D. while life rushes all around me: Wistfully serene, One with peace, Restful nature, Leisurely style, & Deliberate calmness.

Wistfully serene: Wistful.  Such a wonderful word that is hardly ever heard of now.  Serene, just saying the word and you can feel the tranquility overcome you.  When I wake up in the morning, I remind myself that there is only so much I have control over that happens throughout the day and I need to accept the things I have no control over.  I also remind myself that putting my mind in a wistfully serene mode when faced with things out of my control will help me keep control over my responses.  This little exercise goes a long way in assuring I maintain a tranquil world.  Try some of your own personal encouraging mantras when you wake up and see how it affects your day.

One with peace: Peace.  We all preach “let there be peace in the world” but how many of you allow yourself to be one with peace in your personal life?  Each day I remind myself that I will intentionally keep myself one with peace.  I say intentionally because peace has to be intentional.  People default to defense when faced with things that make them feel uncomfortable, so in order to fight that default you have to intentionally channel the peace within.  I am not going to lie, Dear Bloggites, it is a challenge for me to channel my inner peace when I have to deal with the personal challenges that are surrounding my life with my loved ones, but I do make it a point.  Funny, I find it easier to become one with peace than I do raging against the disease, but it can be challenging.  I do not let it stop me, I always find that peace in the end and my tranquil world is once again in my control.

Restful nature: Restful.  Having a tranquil world helps you have a restful nature, however, having a restful nature will improve your tranquil world.  I know, strange statement; but basically, a restful nature and a tranquil world go hand-in-hand.  If you find you are restless, try and do something that will help you relax.  Reading is a good go-to for me when I feel restless.  I have many things around me that I can pick up and do in order to regain my restful nature.  Make a list of things that you know relaxes you and try and surround yourself with a few, if not all, of these things to turn to on bad days.

Leisurely style: Leisure.  Most of us tend to go all out from the moment we wake up until we go back to bed.  A tranquil world needs a leisurely style from you each day.  My leisurely style time is late at night once I go to my bedroom.  I am a very active person mentally and slowing my mind down to a leisurely pace is hard.  I make sure to unplug from the world once I go to my bedroom and allow my mind to decompress either by reading or listening to a good book.  As my mind focuses on the story unfolding, it begins to slow down to my leisurely style of thinking.  Find your leisurely style to tap into each day, it will help your tranquil world to flow over you.

Deliberate calmness: Calm.  Just saying the word out loud relaxes me.  Like peace, calmness requires a deliberate, intentional mental act on your part.  To find your tranquil world, you need to embrace a deliberate calmness when life throws those screw balls at you.  Each day, before I walk into a new situation, I take a deep breath and let it out slowly while mentally calming my mind and body down.  I do this from the simple act of shopping in a store (which I do not like to do) to walking into the latest visit to my Paternal Half’s (Dad’s/Dah’s) Oncologist’s office.  It only takes a moment to find your deliberate calmness each time and you will find your tranquil world waiting for you.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in #BloggiteBits Campaign

#BloggiteBits-New V.I.S.I.O.N.

New V.I.S.I.O.N.: Verbal encouragement, Increase karma, Spark creativity, Inspire minds, Open worlds, Noteworthy attributes

#BloggiteBits-New Vision
New V.I.S.I.O.N.

We are all dreamers in our own rights.  Some have simple dreams of having enough money to pay their bills and put food on the table each month while others dream they will someday travel the world and change it for the better.  It is the dreamers that build better worlds and it is the dreamers who keep us young at heart.  One of the great things about being a dreamer is that you can help impact so many lives by tapping into other people’s dreams and building them up.  In this installment of the ABCs of encouragement with the #BloggiteBits Campaign, I am going to give you some tricks that will increase your ability to dream of a better life.  I will encourage people to have a New V.I.S.I.O.N. of their life they are currently living and impact the lives of other dreamers they come into contact with: Verbal encouragement, Increase karma, Spark creativity, Inspire minds, Open worlds, & Noteworthy attributes.

Verbal encouragement: Everyone loves to hear encouraging words.  A simple, “Way to go!” given to someone has a massive impact on that person’s day.  As dreamers (which we all are), we love to feel the positive energy surge when someone gives a verbal encouragement to us.  As you encounter others on your daily trek through life, be sure to provide at least five people with some kind of verbal encouragement.  I say five, but even if you only verbalize one encouragement a day, it is still impacting others as well as yourself.  When you make a point to share verbal encouragement, that sharing lifts your own spirits which will help you have a new vision in your life daily.

Increase karma:  We have all heard the adage, “Karma is a bitch” but did you know karma is both good and bad?  When I suggest you increase karma, I am meaning the good karma that is out there to share.  Increasing someone’s good karma is as simple as only focusing positive vibes at that person you are engaging with.  Positivity in mind, body, and soul helps a person feel like they are living under the good karma cloud.  As you go about your daily life, be sure to increase other’s karma by showing encouraging signs of love and support when you share a positive word with them.

Spark creativity: We all know that little spark.  The spark in the dark that illuminates everything around it.  Creativity is usually ignited with a spark.  Sparking creativity in yourself and others is so much fun to do and witness once it takes place.  Allow yourself time to day dream like you used to do as a child.  Day dreams allow our minds to wander into the world of creativity.  When you engage others, think of ways to spark their creativity.  Find out what they dream about and help them brainstorm ways to be able to realize their passions in life with a new vision.

Inspire minds: The mind is a terrible thing to waste.  A mind should be exercised and one of the best exercises for a mind is to find inspiration.  When you inspire minds, you will see a mental shift in the person whose mind is being inspired.  People get so busy in their day to day lives, they tend to forget to exercise their mind with fun, day dreamy stuff.  As adults, many people think they have to all of a sudden become serious and not allow fun into their lives anymore.  This is not the case.  As an adult, a person should work to inspire their mind on a daily basis if for no other reason than to see the hope in the world.  Make sure when you are interacting with others that you try and inspire their minds.  They will appreciate you more for it.

Open worlds: Having an active mind with an ability to inspire and create things, you are able to find new vision in your life.  Finding new vision helps open new worlds in your life as well as others.  When you come across a fellow dreamer, engage their mind in such animated conversation that their mind will begin to open to new worlds of opportunity.  Having the ability to open yourself to new worlds of opportunity will help you achieve goals and dreams, who doesn’t love that idea?

Noteworthy attributes: What is one trait that draws you to a person?  Someone who has noteworthy attributes will always stand out in a crowd.  Noteworthy attributes are things that stick out on a person in a very good way.  An example is someone who donates their time to help feed the homeless.  They do it because they honestly care and not because it is expected of them.  When engaging others in conversations, make sure to always show the attributes you have that are positive and effective.  Being a person with noteworthy attributes means you truly do embrace all people equally and strive to help as many as you can.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in #BloggiteBits Campaign

#BloggiteBits-Magnificent V.A.L.U.E.

Magnificent V.A.L.U.E.: Virtuous intent, Above reproach, Lead by example, Uphold your word, Ethical principles

#BloggiteBits-Magnificent Value
Magnificent V.A.L.U.E.

Value is important to everyone.  Not the value that money can provide, but the value that comes from validation by others.  Everyone feels they have value and most do.  In this installment of the ABCs of encouragement with the #BloggiteBits Campaign, I am going to help turn your value into the Magnificent V.A.L.U.E. it can truly be: Virtuous intent, Above reproach, Lead by example, Uphold your word, & Ethical principles.

Virtuous intent: We make decisions with an intent each day.  Have you ever thought about how your emotions dictate the result of the intent?  To bring your value into the magnificent level, you should always have a virtuous intent behind all that you do.  Be sure to treat people kindly and when you are going to do something, have a virtuous intent in your actions.  People will look at you with honor and respect.

Above reproach: When you have dealings with others, be sure to always have actions that will be above reproach.  Have magnificent value, you have to conduct yourself in such a way that you will always be above reproach when you are being scrutinized by others.  Living a life above reproach and with respect to all, you will be thought of by others as a person with magnificent values.

Lead by example: People are very good at giving lip service to those they interact with, however, when it is time to follow up the lip service with action, most people are nowhere to be found.  One way to be viewed as a person with magnificent values, lead by example.  Say what you mean and mean what you say and make sure your actions support your words.  Leading by example helps people know you are a person of worth.

Uphold your word: This one goes hand in hand with leading by example.  If you say something and give your word to another, be sure to follow through with your promises.  People in this day tend to be flippant about what they say or promise to others because they have the ‘me’ mentality that does not consider the feelings of others.  Upholding your word will make people realize you are a person with magnificent values.

Ethical principles: A person’s value is usually dictated by their ethical principles.  When you guide your decisions with sound ethical principles, others will take note.  Using your ethical principles to guide you in life will help you achieve magnificent value in other’s eyes.

~4-Ever, P