Today we say good bye

This past week has been a rough one. I have been writing on this blog about my brother’s wife Diane and her battle with cancer. Diane passed peacefully on the evening of Aug 25. She was diagnosed exactly one year earlier, and my brother and niece were optimistic about the bone marrow transplant, but it was not to be. Tom is taking it well, because he knows she is no longer in pain.

It was evident that Diane and Tom had touched many, many lives. The wake for Diane was on Friday, and to see a line out the door of the funeral home with people waiting for as much as an hour and a half to talk to Tom and Debbie. Well that was just amazing to see.

The funeral was held on Saturday, that was hard for everyone. Tom was doing very well up to that.. He was good at the wake, but I could tell that this was going to be a very hard day. Diane was laid to rest in the plot is right next to her daughter Cindy.

 

Fighting the good fight

My sister-in-law has been fighting acute myelogenous leukemia cancer for the past year. Tom and Diane have taken every tack in fighting this foe, chemotherapy, radiation even a bone marrow transplant. They went after this foe with every tool that the medial community had to offer. They have put up a hard fought battle against a foe that was equally tough.

I talked to Tom last Thursday, the cancer is back. Tom and Diane thought they had turned a corner with the bone marrow transplant, but the cancer is just too aggressive. They had a meeting with her oncologist yesterday, Tuesday, and he broke the horrible news to them that my lovely sister-in-law has but 1-2 months left in this fight. When Tom called last week, I think everyone in the family had the same idea that if the end would come we would have more time to say our goodbye. No one would have guessed that her time with us would be less than 2 months.

When I talked to Tom he sounded beat, I cannot imagine what he is going through. I feel so helpless living a thousand miles from them. He is going through one of the most stressful times in his life and there is nothing I can do to help him.

Dentist Appointments

So why is it that everytime you go to the dentist, it’s always bad news. I just visited my dentist today and it’s been 8 months. I thought that it was Spring when I visited him last. So, it’s never good news. I have to go back for a crown to repair a cracked filling. Because I have worn out the enamel on my tooth. I now have to have a crown. Fun!

You are WHERE?

So we were at my parents this past weekend, myself, Mitz, Amanda, Erika and her boyfriend Bradley. We flew into Kansas City Thursday because it was cheaper and Erika was suppose to fly into Des Moines on Friday. As we were having our breakfast at my sister’s, Erika calls somewhat in a panic.

Mom, I am at the wrong airport. I was suppose to fly out of Raleigh NC, but I am at the wrong airport in Charlotte NC and it is a 3 hour drive and my flight leaves in about 2 hours.

..and with that, we started trying to arrange her flight in Raleigh without it costing her an arm and a leg. She eventually drove to Raleigh and paid the smallish fee to change her flight and got to Des Moines late Friday evening. But she will never live this down.

Family Reunion

We went to Iowa for the weekend.  Originally, we were supposed to go for a wedding, but plans changed.  Instead of changing our tickets and paying some outrageous airline fees, we decided to use the tickets and head to see the family anyway.  So, instead of a wedding, we had a nice small family reunion.  We were able to see most of the relatives with the exception of our one nephew and sister-in-law who are in Washington.  One thing that our daughter learned on this trip and I’m sure she’ll never forget this is to always look at your itinerary and pay close attention to the departing airport location.   She’ll never live this one down.  We did have some fun with that.

Good News!!

Tom posted this on the CaringBridge blog…

9-12 We have some good news today. The results of the bone marrow biopsy is back and it did NOT show any cancer cells. So right now it is a waiting game for her counts to come up. She will still get some outpatient Chemo I believe that will be over some months and I am not sure how often she will need to come in to receive it. The prayers you have prayed has helped. Thanks.

That is a relief for everyone in our family. Since Diane was put in the hospital, Tom has spent every waking moment with her. I pray with outpatient Chemo, things will get back to normal in the family.

Irritated at Self-Centered People

I’m waiting in line at the bank drive-thru window. I’m excited because I’m going home and I’m next in line. There is one car behind me. The lady at the window had children in the back seat. She must have not had everything she needed because I could see the tube go back and forth a few times. I had been waiting a few minutes now, and getting frustrated because I just don’t understand what kind of transaction would take so long. However, the last time the tube came back, it was obvious that there were suckers inside. Instead of taking the suckers out of the tube, handing them to the children, and driving off, she hands the tube with the suckers inside to the children. Let’s not forget that I’ve been waiting now 5 minutes and patiently waiting for her children to finish picking the suckers they wanted. I wanted to get out of my car or honk my horn and give her a piece of my mind. I just can’t understand how someone can be that self-centered that they are oblivious at the world around them. I know when I go to the drive thru, I make sure that I have everything ready and try to be as speedy as possible because I know how much I hate waiting so I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through that–as the Bible verse says “Do unto others.”

…just to be there.

I talked to my parents today to nail down some of the details on us traveling to Des Moines later this month. We were going to change our tickets to fly out in November for the wedding, but the airlines wanted a 120% premium to change our tickets to a flight in November. Unreal.

Our conversation was dominated with talk of Diane and Tom. Tom has been spending most of his time at the hospital. He told mom that Diane is having good days and bad days… Sunday was a bad day. The type of leukemia Diane has is called Acute myeloid leukemia, she will be in the hospital for the next 3-4 weeks. Tom created a page at CaringBridge so family and friends can communicate with Diane while she is in the hospital.

Since we have the ticket to Des Moines, we are going to use them to be with my brother and sister in law. I feel that there is really nothing I can do than just be there. Maybe that is all that is needed.. just to be there.

A Long Road Ahead

We talked to my brother last night. He is doing as well as you would expect. My sister in law has started chemotherapy and had her bone marrow checked. They still don’t know how aggressive they need to be with treatment, they will wait until after this round of chemo to make that determination. I can only imagine what Tom, Diane and my niece are going through.

Because of this my niece has decided to postpone her wedding until Nov 22. So we are scrambling around to change flights and hotel rooms and paying the stupid fees to the airlines to do this. I can’t say it is unexpected, I would have been very surprised if the wedding was not postponed. Right now we are leaning toward keeping the flight to KC on the 18th then driving to the wedding in November. The airlines want way too much money to change flights.

Cancer… a scary disease that effects everyone

I got a call Monday night from my sister Jan informing me that my sister-in-law was just diagnosed with leukemia. This is devastating to the whole Anderson family. Tom, my brother, told our parents face to face, I am glad about that. Mom does not handle this type of information well.

I talked to Mom last night and she told me that Diane was admitted to the hospital and would be there for the next month. That was a surprise that they would admit her so soon and for such a long time. This is putting all too much pressure on my brother’s family because my niece’s wedding is just 3-4 weeks away. Right now, everything is up in the air.