Thursday, July 31, 2008

Alex and grandma

On tuesday we went to see Dr. Tomasso who will be mom's primary care physician while she is living with us and mom seemed to be comfortable with him. Interestingly enough he took over the practice from Dr. Redvanly who used to be mom and dad's doctor many years ago before he retired and mom took a while to be able to tell me (her speech is still not back to where it should be) that he actually signed my father's death certificate back in 1985 so we were talking to Dr. Tomasso about that. Alex thought it would be fun to try out grandma's beanie while the doctor was cleaning out one of her ears that is giving her trouble lately.

Of course in the evening we had some quality grandma/Alex time as usual and she really seems to enjoy that Alex likes to pamper her. (Of course the $2 she gives him doesn't hurt, either! hahaha)

Yesterday Sylvie came over for a while and I took Alex out to lunch at Chuck E Cheese and we had a nice time together just playing the games and getting out a bit was good for both of us.

Dinner time around here is something that I try to make into time spent with grandma whenever possible and the therapy is great for everyone. Alex and grandma made the meatballs for our spaghetti dinner and then they rolled up our crescent rolls. I think mom really enjoyed the dinner and it made her feel good that she was able to participate in the preparation.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Busy week!

For those of you that read my blog for updates on mom, I apologize for the lack of it this week but it's been busy.

On sunday we had a monsoonal rain storm that passed through here and the rain was insane! We lost power for about 2 hours and I set out in search of something open to get food and finally found the Wendy's in Moriches still had power and was open, thankfully.

Monday I went to work while my next door neighbor, Nilda, came over to stay and visit with mom. The rain from sunday really did some damage to the library where I work, there were leaks where I had never seen them before, ceiling tiles were filled with water and close to collapsing and just general wet spots everywhere!! Hopefully the insurance will approve a quick fix and the roof can be replace once and for all, I can't believe how many books were wet and damaged and will have to be thrown goes against everything I believe in but there isn't anything I can do about mother nature's hand.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's the weekend

What have we been doing? Alex and Pookie like to hang out and watch TV with grandma, I'm not sure what they were watching here but I'm thinking it was some cooking show, maybe 30 minute meals. I find it really interesting that Robert used to watch Emeril Lagasse all the time and now Alex enjoys watching the cooking shows too.

Mom has been enjoying sitting out on our deck and having her breakfast out there in the mornings. Last night we had dinner out there as a family since my dining room is construction central meaning that Jim's tools have taken over!!

They say that every caregiver needs to make time for themselves and last night I went out with my friend Laura and enjoyed a great concert. We saw Rick Springfield at the Planting Fields Arboretum and it was outdoors and what a beautiful night it was and a gorgeous place for a concert, the flowers and trees were amazing there.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Random thoughts

So today I went to work and it was great to get out and be with my friends and co-workers. Sylvie was nervous about being alone with mom but she was fine and there were no problems at all.

Alex loves to spend time with grandma and these are precious memories that he is making now and can never be taken away from him...he will always remember these special times he spent with his grandma, no matter what happens.

I was so happy to see mom pick up her knitting yesterday that I just had to snap a photo to remember it, knitting is something that she always loves and enjoys and it is very therapeutic for her as well.

And lastly for tonight, a picture of the little dog that is driving me crazy but loves mom unconditionally and no matter what I'm glad that she is here....even with the barking.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trying to get up to date...

My computer time is limited and while mom is napping I will try to get caught up a bit but you never know how much time I have before I'm interrupted so we'll see.

My wonderful husband was right there to help mom get out of the car so that she could come inside and see her new room that he worked so hard on. I'm lucky to have such a wonderful man in my life, aren't I??

Jesse was next to greet his grandma and she was so happy to see him. I know that when Robert comes home in December she will be thrilled to see him too, we just hope and pray that she is still well by the time he comes home and we will do everything in our power to see to that. Of course, we believe that only God can make that happen so prayer is very important.

Sadly this next photo came out a bit blurry and that's partly because I was so shaky and nervous to see her reaction that I rushed to get the shot but you can still see her smile when she saw her beautiful new room. :)

And I wanted to share why I went through everything to be able to bring mom's dog, Pookie, to live with us too. You only have to look at this photo to know why...she is a comfort to her and is her protector, even though the barking makes me crazy I know that having her dog here makes mom feel better no matter what ever else happens with her.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Continuing my little story....

....on sunday it was all hands on deck here as we were preparing for mom to arrive. We had no bathroom on the first floor since the demolition took everything out but I had faith that it would get done in time. My brother in law, Jack, showed up at 7:30am on sunday and I had the coffee ready to go for the long work day ahead. Pookie and Alex even got in the spirit of the day as we had to go to Home Depot for some supplies.

We had people working all afternoon here and everyone pitched in to get all of the construction debris cleaned up and the house dusted and vaccuumed. I want to thank everyone who came over to help us, we wouldn't have been able to get it done without all of the help that we received on sunday.

At about 5:30pm they finally arrived and Alex was the first to welcome his grandma to her new home.

Of course, Pookie jumped in the car and was the next to give 'mommy' her kisses all over her face, she was so excited to be reunited with her mom after that long trip on the plane and being in a new and strange place.

To be continued......

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Safe and sound!

Wow, it's been a whirlwind couple of days so I'll try and catch everyone up because I know there are many family members and friends who read my blog for updates on mom. She is here, safe and I will post pictures and try to keep everyone in contact with her as much as possible so keep checking back on my blog and leave a comment if you pass by. :)

Nancy and Paul arrived on friday night at 7:30 and then Nancy's friend, Linda, landed in Orlando at 10:30 so they drove out to pick her up while I got mom ready for bed since she needed her rest in order to be prepared for the travel ahead of them. Linda who traveled with them in the car is a nurse and we felt more comfortable knowing there was a medical person in the car in case something happened along the way.

After some yummy Dunkin Donuts and coffee we were ready to pack up and head out. With pillows and blankets Nancy made sure that mom would be comfortable in the car.

I stayed behind in order to finish up a few things in the house and then I packed up my precious cargo and headed to the airport thanks to mom's friend and neighbor, Tammy. Mom's dog, Pookie, was flying home with me and overall she did very well, she only started to cry a little bit in the carrier when we were landing so maybe her ears were bothering her, I'm not really sure. I had worked with her all week and I had no problem getting her to go in the carrier as long as I had a treat to give her. :)

Our flight came in early and Jim was stuck in a little traffic so we had to wait for him to get there but he did and we found a patch of grass for Pookie to do her business, she had been holding it in since 8:30 in the morning and now it was after 2:00. She seemed to enjoy the breeze and the ride home to Long Island.

Meanwhile as I was on the road heading back to my house the car kept on driving north to get mom to NY as soon as they could. Nancy sat on the floor in the back so that mom would be able to have the entire seat to stretch out and rest as Paul drove on and on....with Linda in the passenger seat in case they came to a point where medical help might be needed....thankfully it was not but it was good to have her there just in case.

More tomorrow.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mid week update

Just a quick update as the week progresses here. Mom is on her monthly chemotherapy treatment right now (day 3 of 5 days of oral chemo so only 2 more after today!) and she is pretty tired but we managed to make a short trip to Walmart this morning to get a few small groceries and I was pleasantly surprised when I came in from the garage to see mom unloading the food from the bags on the counter. :)

I gave her a nice foot massage this evening and she went to bed early, by 9:30 she was wiped out and for good reason. Tomorrow we are seeing her radiation oncologist for the last time and then she has physical therapy and speech therapy....a busy day.

By the way, for those of you that are keeping track...basically this is what's left of my downstairs bathroom. Yikes...I sure hope it's done by the time I get home this weekend.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No matter what... matter where, it's always home if love is there."

Thank you to Barbara, one of mom's neighbors who came by last night to see her and say goodbye since she's leaving to visit her daughter for 10 days and won't be back by the time we leave this weekend. She gave mom a cute frame to hang in her new room with the saying above...truer words were never spoken and it surely is fitting the situation for us. Barbara has been a Godsend to us in helping mom these past few months, I don't know how we would have made it without her. She is an angel.

On sunday mom and I did some baking and it was good therapy for her. She sat in the chair and gave me direction on the ingredients to the best of her ability and then she actually was able to stand at the counter and wrap each little cake in tin foil after they cooled off. Mom is famous for her banana nut bread and we are going to send some to Billy in Iraq who is the son of one of mom's neighbors and the rest we are keeping to give out to friends and neighbors as they come by to visit mom this week.

We saw Dr. Singh yesterday who has been mom's oncology hematologist down here and he gave me the name of a doctor at Stonybrook hospital near me and when I called to make the appointment I found that he is the director of the cancer center there so I think we will be in good hands with Dr. Gabig.

Today we have Suzy, the physical therapist, coming over and hopefully she will have an answer for us if mom can get a little bit of speech therapy this week before we head up north. Both her PT and OT feel she would benefit from it because she has expressive aphasia which is a result of the seizure she had 2 weeks ago. I am hoping she will continue to improve.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Afternoon

Just taking a few moments to blog while mom is taking her nap. Nancy went home last night and arrived safely and is now enjoying a much needed and well deserved weekend with her husband after being down here taking care of mom for 2 weeks. I am in awe of Nancy's hard work with mom, I honestly think she missed her calling, she would have made a great therapist! I only hope I can be as good as she is when it comes to taking care of mom once she is living with us.

Took the opportunity to snap a shot of mom resting peacefully this morning after we made a very quick trip to the local Walmart. She is doing so much better at getting up and down from her couch whereas a few weeks ago when I was here she couldn't get back up from the couch alone because her legs were so weak.

Nancy got a ton of goodies to work with mom on her fine motor, memory and physical skills. Little by little we are getting her back stronger and better but it is very challenging. A small 24 piece puzzle can present difficulty to someone who has recently had a seizure much less has brain cancer so we work with mom on even the smallest things like this to try to get her better. She completed the puzzle with moderate help from me and we will try it again later and see how she does with the same puzzle.

Jesse was able to get a shot of mom's bed in her room that was delivered today, I think it looks great and the height is going to be perfect because as you can see we got a 'low profile' boxspring for her. I can hardly wait to put the sheets and bedspread on it and attach my headboard and see how it all looks.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

So many things to remember...

Thursday night July 10th 8:50pm

I'm on a flight heading to Orlando at the moment and it's getting a little bumpy but nothing too bad. The sunset to my right out the window was absolutely glorious with hues of oranges and yellows and bright reds. I'll be in Florida until next saturday and at that time I am bringing mom's little Yorkie with me on the flight back, now that should be an adventure in itself as I've never flown with a dog before!! Have any of my blog readers flown with a small dog before and can you offer up any advice??

This afternoon before I left home Jim came home from work and had stopped in to pick up the recliner that I bought last night for mom's room and I think it looks really nice in there. I brought down a small white accent table that I had upstairs in my scrap room that I really wasn't using for anything special and I think it is perfect for the lamp I found at a thrift store last week for only $10! The flower motif on the lamp base really matches the bedding and the picture hanging on the wall that disguises the circuit breaker box. The room is really starting to come together so nicely and you wouldn't believe that years ago this used to be a garage in the house when my mom and dad first bought it although the garage door was gone and it was being used for a room and not a garage.

I am going to miss the demolition that will take place in the first floor bathroom but it's all well and good and probably better that I'm not there for the huge mess that is going to take place in the next couple of days! I have left Alex with the camera and strict instructions to take pictures and have his big brother Jesse email them to me so I can see what is going on while I'm gone this coming week. Here is a picture of Alex in Home Depot holding up one of the tiles that is going in the bathroom, they are so pretty.

I think about all of the changes that are about to take place for us and it can become overwhelming but I know deep in my heart that God will not give me more than I can handle and that He will walk every step with me and when I can't walk he will carry me through every challenge that will come up. I am so blessed that I have a husband who is supportive and is working himself ragged to make mom's time with us the best that it can be, her room is going to be safe, comfortable and warm for her and her bathroom will be accessible in every way possible and completely safe so that she can be as independent as possible. We have a large house but because Jim's music studio/office is on the first floor he has willingly and without even batting an eye given up his space for my mom and I am so grateful to him for that. I married a man who is dedicated and puts family before anything else, no matter what!

It's pretty hard to believe it but in about 10 days mom will be living with us and my days of commuting back and forth to Orlando will come to an end for now. We pray for a miracle and that mom will beat this cancer beast and will be well enough to go home and be independent again in the future but until then I along with my husband and my sons will do everything in our power to make her time with us happy and safe. She will know that she is loved and she will know that no harm will come to her while she is with us.

Please continue to keep our family in your daily prayers.

Moving right along!

We are almost done with mom's new bedroom! Yesterday Jason's best friend, Joe, came by and installed the rug for us. We are blessed that he used to install carpeting for a living and still has all of his tools so he got that in pretty quickly! Here I am teasing him that I know he's camera shy but that he is going to be on my blog anyway.

Making sure that the doorway is safe for mom to navigate with her walker and there is no way she will trip getting into her room.

After Joe was done we all shared a nice meal together and then Alex surveyed the room and of course had to make sure that the new walker is good on the carpeting and he said it rolls nice and smooth.

Testing out the seat for comfiness...yep, it works good!

Waiting for our guest to arrive soon!
Just a few more finished touches need to be added like a couple pictures on the walls and last night I picked up a small recliner for the room so Jim is picking that up today on his way home from work with his van.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A day in the life of Alex

It was a busy day for Alex and it started first thing this morning when he discovered that there was some leftover goodies from my headboard project and he went to work creating something special that he could put in grandma's bedroom.

Testing it out for fluffiness before continuing on to the next step.

Sewing the muslin fabric over the batting after he stuffed it 'just right' and of course I had to test it out too.

Working and concentrating so hard to make it perfect! I think it's pretty funny that I don't sew at all and yet here he is using a needle like a pro.

The finished product and I think it turned out fantastic! Alex wants to put a big "W" on it since that is grandma's last initial. We will have to see what we can find in the craft store.

Tonight was the last regular season baseball game and Alex had a good time. He got to do some catching and I think he enjoyed playing that position. I told him that his brother Jesse was the catcher quite a bit during his little league career days.
How lucky can a kid get? He plays baseball and has a great time but the icing on the cake is that his coach is also his dad. :)