The Ex Files

I'm sitting in the hospital. Waiting. It's weird how good I am in places like this. The(ex)man is in surgery having a hernia repaired. Each time someone came in prior to the surgery he was asked to recount his "interesting" history. Pretty simple, really. I've heard it a million times but hearing it 5 more times today just reminded me of a few things. Here's how the story goes:

  1. Driving home at age 30 after a day of playing football and a night out on the town, he feels dehydrated and has to pull over to puke
  2. Realizes he can't drive himself after sitting on the side of the road for about 40 minutes, calls his sister
  3. Pukes the rest of the water in his stomach at home. Too weak to get up. Sister calls ambulance
  4. Ambulance gets there. BP: 210/120 (he can't remember the specific # but it was up in this range). Paramedics call hospital, hospital instructs on what meds to give. He gets rushed to the ER. Due to the high BP he "technically" suffers 2 heart attacks
  5. Once at the hospital his organs start to shut down. His sister is told he may not make it through the night. His parents get in the car for what must have been the longest drive ever in the history of driving
  6. Collapsed lungs. Kidneys shut down. He's put on life support. They don't know what's wrong. He is out
  7. On day 6 they discover that he has a malignant pheochromocytoma (if you watch House, it's the episode with LL in it)
  8. Surgery is performed to remove the rare and malignant tumor. Meanwhile he stays "out" for close to 6 weeks losing 40 pounds in the process

And here he is 8 years later. We have not always been cool. Things have not always been well. But how can you not care about the person that shares your heart in the form of a child? We have found a great medium at this point, though and I am so grateful for that. I sometimes see posts & tweets about ex's and their troubles. Though we are not free of issues (who is?). I can say that so many of those things that are, in fact, trivial, have been placed (after much thought, arguing and compromise) outside of our circle. People see us at times and comment on how well we get along. I don't know how else we could do it. Other than to leave our own feelings about the past right where they belong and try hard to focus on the love we feel for our daughter and the love and appreciation we feel and have felt for one another.

It's just a hernia repair, right? Nothing to worry about but I know that he is not loving being in this space.  Not considering all he went through the last time he was in a hospital.

I told him I was going to blog about his antics. His flirting with the nurses, the harassment he received from the EKG tech. The cool lavender gown they gave him. Did you know that gowns now come with a hose that connects to a warmer (yes, people! Look it up!). I won't post the pic tho (I'll save it for later threats).

I try not to dwell on the what if's of life.  The how's or why's. But whenever I hear this story and truly look at the implications of what happened on that one fateful day in December 8 years ago, I can't help but be grateful that he survived it all. After all, the frog princess is here because he made it through.

I Wish She'd Had More Birthdays

Every year for the last 7 or so, I've participated in the Relay for Life.  I loved the idea of doing something to help others, enjoyed the events because it gave me a chance to pull together a team of friends, join for a common cause and generally have a great time at the overnight events.  And so, this became part of my yearly to do list which I very much looked forward to. My dad was diagnosed with stage II Laryngeal cancer in September of 2007.  And the relay had a different meaning for me. But, the odds were good and after 29 days of radiation, it was as if it'd never happened.  He's been cancer-free ever since and has had more birthdays since.

After that, I met the frog princess's dad.  He is a survivor of a pheochromocytoma. He'd been in a coma for 6 days before the doctors found out what was wrong and he remained in a coma for 6 weeks.  And the relay had a different meaning for me.  Malignant pheo's are rare and the survival rate at 5 years is 48%.  But he has been cancer-free since 2004 and has had more birthdays since.

Then, on April 6th, 2010, mami was diagnosed. I remember that the relay certainly had a different meaning for me that May.  Because it seemed that we were fighting a different animal this time.  We had a 10-month battle with cholangiocarcinoma.  We all fought.  We all prayed.  We thought we had a chance even though this type of cancer has a very low rate of survival.  In the end, Randall (it's what we called the tumor) got the best of her.  We don't say that he won because she is pain-free and in heaven now so the joke's on him!

Mami died 4 days before she turned 65.  And oh, I wish she'd had more birthdays!  I will once again sign up for our relay for life this coming spring.  Because I want to make sure that YOU and I have more birthdays. Do you participate in a local Relay?

This post is sponsored by American Cancer Society.