Thursday, September 18, 2008

Busy busy busy

I honestly do mean to keep up with this blog. It is one of my goals to blog at least twice a week. The girls are back in school. OldestTween is doing after school activites, YoungestTween is just busy all the time.
OldestTween has ADD, only been diagnosed since the first of the year. She brought up her grades from Ds & Fs to As & Bs. But since she started the new middle school, she has started having problems, not turning in homework on time, forgetting books and assignments at school. So today we are off to the doctor to see what we need to do. The school is acting so-so on the matter. Her teachers all love her, say she is the most polite student they have ever had, she is a joy to have in class. Right now, she has a D in Math and Communication Arts. School has only been in session since August. Talk about exhausting, trying to get her to do homework after school, help around the house. It is all drama constantly. I'm about to pull my hair out!

And I have been just exhausted lately. Just tired. I've started taking an iron pill and some ginko biloba to help my memory. Don't tell me that I am just getting old?! I'm only going to be 32 next week. And in my book that is not old.
I think I need a day off. Away from the drama of 2 tweens fighting over who took whose clothes, brush and jewelry, and doing the mounds of laundry that seem to mulitply overnight.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

As you can tell from the title of this post. September is ovarian cancer awareness month. This is very dear to my heart as my mom had ovarian cancer. She died less than a few years after she was diagnosed.

It is often called the silent killer because there are no real symptoms and a pelvic exam doesn't always detect it. Early symptoms can be bloating, pelvic/abdominal pain, difficulty with eating or feeling full too soon.

My mom knew something was wrong. She knew that the weight she was gaining wasn't just that. She was bloating. She went to one doctor, who told her nothing was wrong, that she was just going through menopause. He was wrong. By the time, she finally went to another doctor for a second opinion. She was carrying a tumor that was the size of a 6 month utero baby. The removed everything she had there. But it was Stage 4 cancer by that time. She underwent chemo that caused all her hair to fall out, and she had to wear a wig that itched and she hated. But she wore it for me, in her mind I would have been embarrassed by her bald head.

She kept on going though. Working, taking me to school, going in and taking her chemo, which at that time required an overnight stay at the hospital. It was those times that she didn't allow me to visit her. She didn't want me to see her like that.
Hunched over a bedpan, sick as a dog, unable to eat, her hair falling out by the handfulls. She just wanted my childhood to go on, with me not having a clue as to how sick she really was. She never sat down and talked with me about her cancer. She would just tell me that everything was okay. And even being a young teen, I believed her. She had never lied to me before. She didn't want me to have to worry.
Her mother had moved in with us several years before and was by the time the above picture was taken was bedridden and on hospice. My mom would sleep in the extra bed in her mother's room, getting up to help her mother to the bathroom, cleaning her up when she didn't make it. Her mother was beginning to show the early signs of dementia. Often talking about a little boy standing in the corner of her room, smiling at her. Finally in June of 1991, her mother slipped away from this world and onto the next.
By this time, the doctors had given my mother the all clear, she was in remission. They still wanted her to continue her radiation. She took a few treatments, but they made her so tired and sick that she refused to take anymore. Her hair had grown back and instead of being the dark brown that it was naturally, it came back snow white and curly.
I was a freshman in high school now and getting ready to get my license. I was growing up, slipping away and I know that it bothered her that often she couldn't do more with me.

The above picture was taken in June of 1991. She looked healthy, she was doing more now. Things seemed to be getting back to normal. I turned 15 that September and got my driver's license. She was still my over-protective mom though. She wouldn't let me drive alone, but she would always let me drive her to Wal-Mart or to a check-up.

Why is it you can remember some days as clear as if they just happened, but after that everything is a complete void. Like someone has suddenly cut out parts of your life, and you can only see them in small clips.

I can remember that day down to the T. I remember what I was wearing. An outfit my mom had bought me.
A maroon, white and navy striped shirt from the Gap, a pair of Gerbeau jeans, and a pair of dexters.
I was in Chemistry class taking a quiz when the headmaster came in. I swear for some reason I knew she was there for me. Something in my heart lurched when I saw her. But I didn't know it was for that.
She tried to make small talk with me as we walked from the Senior High building to the Jr High building, but I was too nervous to do anything more than say 'yes maim" back to her. But when I saw my brother standing in the office. I just knew, I just knew this was bad. Very very bad.
He was standing there in my private prep school, wearing a ratty t-shirt, his torn blue jeans, and his barn boots, the pants legs of the jeans half tucked in, half out, as if he had thrown them on in such a hurry that it didn't matter.
I remember one of the secretaries asking if he wanted to use one of the rooms in the back. He had shook his head and just clutched me so tight I couldn't breathe. As we walked out, I noticed that he hadn't driven to the school, his good friend had driven him.
When we got in, he just held on to me. And then said. "Momma's gone, sis."
I remember saying, "Huh?" It just didn't compute with me. How could she be gone? I had just kissed her good-bye that morning, less than 3 hours before. She had a cold, which was common for all of us once fall started to set in.
"She's gone. Momma died." He was crying and I couldn't move. I couldn't function. My mind had gone to shut down mode. I don't even remember crying at that moment.
By the time we got home, they had already taken her to the morgue, I guess. My dad was gone too. I think that maybe my mom's brother had come and her sister. But I really don't remember.
I just remember going to look for her. But she wasn't there. I just wanted to be alone then. But no one would let me. My sister-in-law's friend took me and my best friend to get pizza. Then my cousin took me to the football game that night.
It started to sink in once people there started coming up to me and saying how sorry they were. I didn't know what to say. I would just nod. Everything after that point is a blur, the missing movie clips to my life. Maybe they are right when they say that the brain has a way of shutting down when faced with something too traumatic for the body to deal with.

I guess the point I am trying to make with telling the story of my mom and her battle with ovarian cancer is that you need to take care of yourself. My mom was too busy taking care of everyone else to take care of her own health. She knew something was wrong. She even knew the days before she died that something wasn't right. She was bloating again for one. Instead of going to her oncologist, she went to her general practice doctor, who just told her she had a cold.
Her body had begun to retain fluid that spread to her lungs. She died of respiratory failure, due to fluid in her lungs.

Later I have found out more about her battle with cancer. My brother and father had begged her to talk to me about it. To tell me what was going on. But she didn't want to do that. She didn't want me to worry. I was still a child who didn't need to be burdened with that.
I really wish she had talked to me. Told me that she was tired of fighting this horrible beast called cancer and all of its side effects.

My mom was 2 months short of her 50th birthday. A lady who was born just a couple of weeks after Pearl Harbor was bombed. My mom was such a great person. She was a loving mom, who lived to make her children happy. She loved her family, her 2 brothers and 1 sister and all their children. If you had a problem, my mom was the one who would go through hell and high water to help you.

So ladies, please please keep up on your yearly visits. If something doesn't feel right tell you doctor. And keep telling them until they do something, And if they won't listen go to another doctor.
I keep thinking that if only she had gone sooner, her chance of survival would have been so much better. It would have been caught sooner. She would have been alive today to see all her grandchildren here on earth.
And if you are diagnosed, please talk to your children. Tell them what is going on.

To learn more about the symptoms of ovarian cancer and to donate to ovarian cancer research go here:

Me and my mom.

My mom's senior picture.

Helen Heath Hill
Dec. 20, 1941 - October 11, 1991

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Big 3

I've thought long and hard before blogging about this. It is one of those subjects that I tend to avoid because it is one of those things that are the BIG 3. You know the big 3 that you don't discuss. Politics, Religion and Sex. Well, this post involves them.

Can't we just go back to when it is impolite to ask someone who they were voting for or voted for. I remember being a little girl and going with my mom when she cast her ballot back in the Reagan/Bush election. I asked her who she voted for and she very firmly told me that was a private matter and that it was rude to discuss. Now it is commonplace to talk about politics. But anyway, back to what I was originally going to blog about.

Sen. Palin and her 17 year old daughter Bristol's pregnancy: This seems to be causing a huge uproar. There are those who are indifferent to it. They don't care one way or the other. Others feel this shows just what a great family and values she has because Bristol is keeping the baby and marrying the father. Others are just talking about this until it is hashed and rehashed.

Here is what I want to know. If this was a man, say this was Sen. Sam Palin from Alaska, would we be talking about the children, the infant son who has Down Syndrome, or the older daughter who is pregnant? I think we would be focusing on the experience and voting record more.
Would comments such as how can she help run a country if she can't even control her children be said? I think not.

I do have my questions on if she knew her daughter was pregnant and McCain knew it as well, why put your daughter through this media hell storm? I can understand that this is the opportunity of a lifetime. But this is your daughter. Going through what is a very difficult time whether you are 17 or 27.

It is Bristol that has my concern. What she must be thinking and going through right now. Having her life be the spotlight of conversation. She made a choice. Maybe it was a bad choice, but it was her choice none the less. Will her young marriage work? Only time will tell. She has made a choice to keep this baby and raise it. And I wish them well.
Coming from another young mother to another I know that she has a long tough road ahead. But at least she has a strong family behind her. She has the resource available to help her and even the father of the baby to stand beside her.
Some other teens are not so lucky.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Country girl turned city diva

I was born and raised in the country. We had land, lots and lots of land. Cable didn't make it out to our little corner of the world until I was in my teens. And then it didn't have MTV! The guy who started the little country bumpkin cable company didn't want "that filth".
We had horses, at least 7 at most times. Dogs, 23 (that was my dad's hunting dogs inlcuded in the mix), barn cats, and ducks. I grew up fishing, riding in rodeos, and generally being a tomboy.
I was a bona fide country girl, except I went to a prep school.

Then I moved out of Mississippi and went to the city. Yes, complete country mouse goes to the city. Except this little country mouse found out that she LOVED the city.

I love living in the suburbs. I love being close to shopping malls, my many coffee shops, and not having to drive 30 miles to get to a grocery store.
We go home about twice a year and my family is horrified that I have turned my back on my country roots. I no longer own a pair of cowboy boots, have jeans that have Wrangler stamped across the butt. And horror of all horrors I shop at health food stores!!

My husband, the Yankee turned Kansas transplant, is still a country boy. His friends are constantly asking us to go fishing, camping and go on float trips with them. Ummm.. Can we get a cabin to go camping. Ya know, one with air conditioning, running water in the cabin and maybe a Wi-Fi connection?
A float trip? No... Floating means being in water that is not in a pool, water that has snakes in it. Snakes mean a possible encounter with those spawns of the devil. The quickest way too see my admitted to the mental hospital is to put me in contact with a snake. I am getting the shakes just typing about them. I can't even look at pictures of them without having a fit, what makes you think I am going to react any better when I see one in person. Well, person to demon spawn!

The great outdoors. How about the great outdoor shopping mall!