Category Archives: Love

Surgery, Cancer, Love, and Life

My dad recently spent several days in the hospital after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his colon and connect it back to his intestine. My dad is 83. He has had back surgeries, a quadruple bypass, and other medical issues throughout his life. He admits that he didn’t expect to live so long and his lifestyle didn’t do anything to change that expectation at all. But he is living this long and he is reasonably healthy for being on this earth for 83 years.

The surgery worried me because he was expected to get notes from his cardiologist and his pulmonologist allowing the surgery. I saw the note from his cardiologist and it said he “would be high risk for a major cardiovascular event” associated with this surgery. In my mind, I was sure they wouldn’t do the surgery. But the option was letting the cancer spread. Not a good option. All of his doctors said he was a strong guy and they knew he would do OK. I translate that to say that he’s a tough old bastard. And that he is.

We waited in the waiting room for something like three hours (it’s easy to lose track when you’re sitting for hours). Doing our part for the family and obviously signaling the surgeon that it was time to come talk to everyone, my sister and I went down to get coffee for everyone and the doctor came in so we missed him. The surgery had gone well and Dad was in recovery. He was there for another few hours until they moved him to ICU and we got to see him. He was so thirsty and eventually got some ice chips and made some crude (and hysterical) comments to my mom, so I knew for sure he had made it through and was on the way to recovery. He has had some other issues at the hospital (mostly from a lack of communication by hospital staff), but each time muscles through and keeps going.

The biggest lessons from this entire experience were:

  • My dry sense of humor is all compliments of my dad.
  • I love spending time with my siblings. We were probably laughing inappropriately for a hospital waiting room and ICU, but we are damn funny people.
  • My sister (the retired one I’ve complained about, I mean, mentioned before) is absolutely an amazing human being. She has pretty much single-handedly handled both staying with and advocating for my dad as much as she could in the hospital and taking care of my mom who is suffering from dementia. That task scares the crap out of me and she handles it like a pro. My other sister, brother, and I (the employed ones) have helped as we could, but she has carried the lion’s share of the load. I have no idea what my family would do without her.
  • I need to take care of myself. Family medical histories suck.  I have many health issues–most of which are caused by my excess weight (and some genetics). But I’m not doing anything right now to fix that. And that’s pretty much signing my own death warrant. I know better, I need to do better. And I will. I have too many things to do and too many grandbabies to watch grow into their own lives to screw this up.
  • Hospitals are not fun places. They tell you to rest and then come in every couple of hours to check vitals, give meds, draw blood, etc. But sometimes that’s where you need to be to get the help you need. A whole lot of the experience depends on the people working there. And it is the same in life. Just be nice! You could make a huge difference in someone’s life just by smiling at them, opening a door for them, or paying for their Starbucks in the drive thru lane. Be nice!
  • Love deeply and often and then tell people. In the blink of an eye, we could have lost my dad on the operating table, but we did not. I do not spend nearly enough time with my family and I want to remedy that. We often think that people know we love them and they do, but everyone likes to hear it. Unless you’re a creepy stalker, then don’t do that.
  • Life is indeed a blessing. Make the most of it–every day!


thanksliving-2I just spent the Thanksgiving weekend with my daughter, her three children, and my son’s four children (and my son and his wife part of the time but they didn’t spend their nights here). There was much soda drank, microwave popcorn consumed, cookies baked, and dinners made and eaten.

One of our family traditions is Grandma Cookie Day. With my daughter and her kids living in New Mexico, it is sometimes a real struggle to coordinate time to do it, but the tradition started when my oldest granddaughter was three was carried on this year (and she is 16). While the new cookie recipes didn’t turn out as nicely as I thought they might, they had fun decorating them. We also tried making taffy candy canes, which was an interesting experience and ended up a big pink blob of taffy, but one of them took it all home.

The object of this information is that I’m thankful–thankful that my grandchildren are growing into responsible, loving, and kind young adults; thankful that they continue to all get along together; thankful that my children get along and obviously love each other; thankful that my dad had a very short hospital stay and that my daughter and her kids got to see him while they were here; thankful that family fills my heart.

Traditions are important. As I’m sure I’ve posted before, traditions are much more important than gifts or money. The adults all remind me that once the kids start thinking about Christmas, they start asking about Cookie Day. While the whole Cookie Day experience was completely exhausting, watching the kids get excited about it and spending time decorating all of those cookies was worth it and it will definitely continue as long as they want to do it (and probably even after that!).

I’m going to try to celebrate Thanksliving every day all year long. I’m going to live each day with something to be thankful for. Right now, I’m kind of thankful for quiet. While I love having a houseful, it was definitely a houseful. PLUS I have regained control of my TV remote and I’m very thankful for that!

Show Your Love . . . Before It’s Too Late

Tell ThemI heard news today that tore at my heart. The father of my grandchildrens’ friends was killed yesterday in a traffic accident. I had never met him nor had I met his family. But the fact that it will affect my family affected me.

I’m not going to go into detail about exactly what happened to him other than to make a few points, and these don’t necessarily have anything to do with the details, just things that come into my mind:

  1. You never know when you will lose a loved one or good friend. Tell them today that you love them. Don’t wait! Treat them each day like it will be the last time you see them.
  2. Please, please be careful when you’re driving. Put your phone away and concentrate on what you’re doing. Pay attention. When you are driving, drive. Don’t drive distracted. Don’t Snapchat in your car. Don’t record your carpool karaoke for YouTube. Don’t have crazy conversations with your friends. Just. Drive.
  3. Recognize that your vehicle is a weapon. It is very capable of killing someone and I can’t imagine the horror of living with that for the rest of your life.
  4. Pray for everyone. Pray for his family that is now tasked with learning to live without his physical presence. Pray for the young woman who was behind the wheel of the car that killed him that she can somehow learn to deal with that knowledge. Pray for the police officers who came upon the horrific scene and now have to investigate exactly what happened. Pray for all of the people who knew him and didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. And say a little prayer for yourself that you can do the things I’ve mentioned above to prevent another senseless tragedy.

Take care of yourself and all of your loved ones, whether related by blood or by love. And please tell people how much they mean to you TODAY.

The Heart of The Matter

The Hear Of The MatterSix years ago today (as I write this), my life changed forever. My 32 year old son had a quadruple bypass. He was in cardiac ICU for something like 10 days. I don’t know exactly because I spent every day and night there so had no real concept of time. I went home to shower and nap every few days, but spent the bulk of my time at the hospital.

You don’t expect your children to have such a major surgery at such a young age. He nearly died–more than once–which really gives you an appreciation for life. It can be taken from you in an instant.

The heart is a fragile thing, yet also one of the strongest. It can be broken, healed, bypassed, and filled with love. All of that with one small organ. It is in charge of the fact that we are alive, pumping blood and oxygen throughout our body so other organs and cells and other scientific things (sorry–science was not my favorite subject in school) can function as they are intended to.

It is the center of your emotional being. You either love or hate with the same heart. Typically your heart acts long before your brain kicks in. But when your heart is full of love, it is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. However, when you allow hate to creep in, it eats some of that away.

Hate is a horrible emotion. There are things that I dislike (like liver!) and even things I intensely dislike (like bullying), but I try not to hate things or people. There isn’t enough room in my heart for hate. It would push some of the love out of the way and “ain’t nobody got time for that”! I would much rather fill my heart with love.

So take care of your heart, eat healthfully, love intensely, exercise, and don’t hate. Your heart (and your cardiologist) will thank you. You only get one heart and it is so much more fun and rewarding to keep it full of love. In fact, just when I think my heart is full, something or someone else comes along and I add just a little bit more and somehow it seems to fit just fine. Love of other people, love of new books or movies, love of pets, love of new parts of the world, love of new parts of your neighborhood, love of anything you think is worthy of your love. And that’s part of the fun of this thing called life–finding more and more things to love. Don’t waste a minute of your life on hate. That only really affects you. The person or thing you are prepared to hate probably doesn’t even realize it or doesn’t really care, so it is only impacting your life. Is that what you want impacting your life? Or would you rather have things that you love making an impact? My choice is the latter.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand!

Let's hold hands!There is no greater feeling than a small child’s hand in yours. Except maybe an older child’s hand in yours. Or maybe the hand of the love of your life in yours.

Holding hands with anyone is a great feeling. It is a connection to another person in a tangible way. It is a way of speeding up or slowing down and keeping up with someone else. It is–by far–the ONLY PDA (public display of affection) I want to see from anyone!

When I see people holding hands, my brain immediately says “Aww” and it makes me happy for them. My husband and I are not big hand holders, although we do when we’re out together (but I think mostly to keep me from speeding off ahead of him or wandering off).

I love (and have loved) holding my childrens’ and grandchildrens’ hands. It just makes me feel like I have a great responsibility, I have another person to take care of, I have someone depending on me. And they are (or have been) so very small. But they fit just perfectly in mine–as if they were designed to fit together.

So the next time you are with someone you love (don’t try this with strangers or you could be charged with kidnapping!), grab their hand and hang on. Pretty soon, they will relax and hold your hand back. And they will probably look at you and smile! Plus plus! It’s an unobtrusive way to show love in a pda (private display of affection–in all small letters because it isn’t screaming out for attention like the PDA!).

My husband always says that women love getting flowers, but they love getting flowers at work more so they can be the envy of all of their coworkers. The same holds true with hand holding. It is nice on your couch watching a movie, but it is better in public. What better way to scream “THIS PERSON LOVES ME!” than by holding their hand.