Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wanting More

First off -- Mr. Potatohead (aka Hubby) is coming home tomorrow. He is having dinner with his sister's family tonight and then will get up early in the a.m. and haul booty from Georgia to Maryland. My response when he told me? I think I deafened him with the "YAY!!!" I shouted into the phone.

He's been gone for a month, and while we've spent much more time than that apart (especially during his Marine Corps days), it was particularly hard for me this time. I know some of you may be thinking, "Whine, whine!" No. I'm not feeling sorry for myself at the moment. I know I'm a lucky woman for so many reasons.

But...Bodhi has been difficult for me to deal with on my own. The last 3 days, he has only gotten one walk per day (as has Lily), because of the bitter winds we've had here. You know how it is when the wind is blowing and your eyes start to water and air is getting in around any possible opening in your jacket? Yeah, that plus trying to keep him from eating the pumpkins that the teens smashed all over the neighborhood and the fresh mulch in the flower beds around the complex. Again this morning at 5 a.m., he was puking up grass and mulch. I wanted to strangle him when he went for the stuff as soon as he was back outside. I feed him a high quality food; why in the world does he feel the need to graze every time he leaves the house? So there's tugging and pulling and grazing and coughing and wind in my eyes, tears streaming down my face from the wind, and a poop scoop in my hand. I nearly sat down right in the middle of the walk to throw a tantrum, but it was too cold!

60 degree temps and sunshine will be back Friday and Saturday, so we can clean up the yard, cut the grass, and bag it all up. Plus the walks will be so much easier with two of us. I'm stoked!

Counting my blessings...have to tell you this one.

Again, not to whine, but I've been running a low-grade fever and joint pains for about 2 weeks now (but the headaches have been at bay - Thank God for that! That is a blessing!) So just file this under the-older-you-get-the-more-things-can-go-wrong or maybe check-your-genes-at-the-door. My mom had lupus, and my sisters have lupus. My daughter has lupus, and my niece might have it. So, yeah, my risk is very high. I get checked every so often, when I'm feeling lousy. I finally decided to call my doctor yesterday and tell his nurse what was going on. I had thought I was coming down with a cold at first, but I have no other symptoms - just fever and joint pain (accompanied by fatigue just from feeling lousy). So I isolated. I kept to myself and didn't even go to church services on Sunday. All I wanted to do was bundle up and sleep. He did the right thing and ordered labs for me.

This morning I went to the lab to go through all the testing again - something like 8 vials of blood and a cup of pee on the side. I was blessed to be at the hospital satellite clinic where I used to have physical therapy (after my mild stroke/hemiplegic migraine/whatever it was). I gave and received so many smiles and hugs that it truly made my day. To top it off, I sat next to a beautiful woman who will be 87 years old on Friday. She said that her best friend used to introduce her as "the old witch" in a joking manner (because her birthday is Halloween) and would always have a big party with her every year on her birthday.

She leaned over to me and whispered, "She got me a stripper on my 75th birthday!" I cracked up! What a great lady! That's what I want to be like at 87. In fact, I realized, I want to make it to 87.

And here is where I ask for your prayers...
When I finished work for the day, I decided to rest. It was too windy to take the dogs back out, and the fever had inched up to 100, making me really chilly. I had just curled up under the blankets when my sister called. Her voice was muted, subdued. I wondered, suddenly, if our aunt had died. After all, she's in her 80s and in poor health.

"Is everything okay?" I asked. "What's wrong?"

"Well, I have to go tomorrow to have blood drawn," she said.

That wasn't it. I mean, yes, blood draws are traumatic for her. They usually involve multiple sticks, multiple lab techs, heat packs on her arms, pulling out all the stops. Her veins - if they cooperate enough to be stuck - frequently collapse. Whereas for me, it's one stick and 5 minutes of my day, for her, it is several painful hours of stress. And it's dangerous for her to be there in the first place. Lupus has riddled her body's defenses and left her allergic to most antibiotics and extremely susceptible to infection.

I knew that it had been a tough week for her last week. She'd had her annual mammogram and her annual eye exam. At the eye exam, she found out that her eye pressure is a 2, meaning she has the beginnings of glaucoma. She's 57, and it isn't fair. Her body looks good on the outside, but inside it is all pain and fever, antibodies attacking her body's own cells, and unpredictable wellness. Still, there had to be more.

She said, "Yeah, I have to go for a mammogram next Thursday."

(didn't register with me at first...I was a little tired...)

"Oh, that's good...I'm glad you got it scheduled."

Then it dawned on me. She had a mammogram last week.

"Wait," I said. "Didn't you just -- ?"

"Yeah," she murmured. "They called me today to tell me I need to come back in. They said that I can expect to be there for 2 1/2 hours. I'll have a more in-depth mammogram and an ultrasound. They said someone will probably sit down and talk with me after that."

My blood ran cold in my veins. No. Not my sister. It isn't fair.

I assured her that since she had always had fibrocystic breasts, it was probably nothing, and then she told me how the density of her breasts had changed drastically over the last year. She figures it is just the last gasp of menopause. But to be called back in like this. She's freaked out. Nothing I could say could assure her, maybe because I couldn't assure myself. Not my sister. Not fair.

So whatever your beliefs, please pray for my sister's health, that the doctor discovers absolutely nothing on the next round of testing. If you don't pray, send positive thoughts and energy to the general vicinity of Houston, TX, where I wish I could be tonight to hold her hand and assure her, where I wish I could be to hug her and make her laugh. So many things have happened to her. She's had so many close calls. She's a survivor, but she's scared.

I'm scared, too. And we would both appreciate your love and support while we wait out this very long forthcoming week.

Peace - D


Jennifer H said...

Oh honey. Sending good thoughts, and will continue to send them and hope for good news for all of you.

Hope you feel better and that the tests for both of you come back in the clear.

Cloudia said...

Thank you for honoring us with your truth.
I will be praying for your sister and for YOU.
Close your eyes and imagine me under a Waikiki palm tree sending you ALOHA, my friend.

SandyCarlson said...

Your sister is in my prayers, and so are you. What struggles, what anxiety. God's peace to you both.

Hilary said...

Started sending those good thoughts before I even finished reading your post and will continue to do so until you tell us that she's fine. Please keep us posted.

Maggie May said...

Sent a prayer up and sincerely hope that your sister will get a clean bill of health.
Will pop over to find out how she is.

the walking man said...

I will not fear as I pray for your sister and you.

Mental P Mama said...

Sending nothing but prayers and light to you and your sister. Take good care.

Employee No. 3699 said...

Sending positive thoughts toward Texas and Maryland.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I am glad that Pete is coming home! Hurray for you guys!! And we will be sending lots of prayers your way.

Sarah said...

praying for you both...

Marty said...

Both you and your sister have my prayers.

Daryl said...

LOTS of positive energy heading to BOTH of you .... Lots and lots AND LOTS ... (((Doris)))


Jay said...

Oh, sweetie - try not to worry too much! I know how your blood runs cold when you're called back for a second mammogram/ultrasound, because it happened to me earlier this year. I was terrified!

In the event, it was nothing to worry over. Just a few dense areas and a couple of small cysts. I hope and pray that this is true for your sister also.

Just a thought - the mulch that Bodhi is eating isn't cocoa shell mulch is it? It's extremely attractive to dogs, but quite toxic. They can get theobromine poisoning from it.

So glad to hear your husband is coming home!

Lavinia said...

Riverpoet, how disheartening. Count on my prayers for your sister. Starting tonight and continuing. I'll add her to the names of people I pray for--you are a regular on that list by the way---.

Very scary. I'm following Debby's breast cancer odyssey, but I hope it is an odyssey that your sister will not be embarking upon.

My best wishes and love to you, your beautiful dogs, and your family.

Deb said...

Hi ~ I am catching up on visiting my favorite blogs. Prayers, positive energy and happy thoughts are being sent to you and your sister. I am glad that your husband is headed home. Enjoy each other!

RiverPoet said...

Jennifer H - Thanks, my friend. My sister made it through the blood work, and I'm doing better, too.

Cloudia - Can I imagine me under the tree in Waikiki, too? My favorite place in the world.

SandyC - Thanks, my friend. Just a few more days...

Hilary - Thank you so much. I believe in the power of prayer.

Maggie - Ditto to you. I believe in those prayers, and I'm counting on them.

WM/Mark - That's it, my friend - NO FEAR! We will persevere.

MPM - Feeling that good energy, and so is my sis.

3699 - Thank you! We're counting on it.

NATUI - He's here! Unfortunately, "Pete" didn't get to see CMGD when he was down there. She was pretty busy.

Sarah - Thanks, my bloggy friend!

Marty - I appreciate the prayers...

Daryl - Feeling that good energy. I appreciate it!

Jay - I hope Bodhi isn't eating cocoa shell mulch. Looks like plain old cypress mulch to me. The training I'm doing, though, made for a much better walk together. Thanks for the encouragement about my sister's condition, by the way.

Lavinia - I don't know Debby. Maybe you could send me a link to her blog? I hope my sister isn't added to the long tally of women dealing with this dread disease, but if she is, I will be right there with her. Thanks so much for your prayers.

Deb - Thanks so much for your prayers. And yes, I'm so happy to have my hubby safely home.

Peace all - D

Akelamalu said...

First of all wahay that your love is coming home! :)

I'm so sorry to hear your sister has this worry. I will keep her in my thoughts and send Reiki that everything will be well. x

Jay said...

cocoa shell mulch looks quite distinctive, so Bodhi is safe. Yay! :)

I'm happy to hear your sister made it through the bloodwork. Still thinking of her.

CrazyCath said...

I just skimmed through this Doris but I got the gist - I hope your sister is ok and my prayers are with you both.