Happy New Year!

I hope things go better this year.  It’s another holiday and that means it’s another rough day of memories. Every new holiday brings renewed grief.  Last night, my cell phone was ringing with well-wishers calling at midnight to wish me a happy new year.  I didn’t answer any of the calls and then the texts started coming in. I didn’t acknowledge them.  I was hanging by a thread with tears just a heartbeat away and I knew if I started talking to friends and family I’d lose it.  So I ignored everyone.  Hoping they’d think I went to bed early.  I was desperate for something to do so I scanned through the movie channel and found a movie called “The Face of Love”.  It had Annette Benning, Ed Harris, and Robin Williams so I figured it would have to be pretty good.  Five minutes into the movie, Annette Benning’s husband dies and she spends the rest of the movie grieving and trying to recapture the past by forming a relationship with a man who looks just like her deceased husband.  The movie begins five years after losing her husband and she’s still grieving.  I can understand and relate.

I meant to get back on track with blogging and dieting and exercising a couple of days ago but I got sick. Coughing and runny nose and general misery.  I’m feeling better today and I’m trying to start again.  What better time than the new year?

On the agenda today, I want to finish painting the kitchen, fix some trim in the kitchen and have David follow me to Elizabethtown to return Donna’s van that we borrowed for the trip to Miami.

I guess it’s time to start blogging and entering weight and diet again.  I did weigh myself yesterday and came in at a whopping 206 pounds.  Can’t get much worse than that.


Get UP!

It’s 2:30 in the afternoon and I’ve done nothing.  I got up at 10:00 and had to take Jake and Scout home at 11:30 so I just sat around and played games on the computer until it was time to take them home.  Got back at 12:30 and checked my e-mail, Facebook, and store website.  Played a few more games, took a couple of phone calls and then realized that it was 2:00 and I hadn’t done anything.  I literally made myself get up from the computer and take my shower.

Yesterday was a pretty good day.  I played my workout music and worked really hard on the kitchen.  I made some low cal soup for dinner and fixed a salad.  My salad had baby spring mix, sweet cherry tomatoes, and a few slices of Asian pear. I topped it with lemon vinaigrette and was surprised at how good it tasted to me. I haven’t been eating fresh foods for a long time.

I have another soup planned for dinner and more salad.  Right now, I’m going to turn on the music and get to work.  I’ll make a commitment to log on this evening and do an update.  That may give me some incentive to get something done.

In preparation for beginning to work out again, I downloaded an album from iTunes.  Looked under the category “workout” music and bought an album with 55 songs that are fast paced remixes of current hits.  I had problems with my iTunes account yesterday because my purse was stolen last month and I had to get all new debit cards and credit cards.  It took forever to get my account set up again.

It took so long to get everything done that I never got around to working out yesterday. I considered it a victory just to get the damn music burned onto a CD.

This morning I got up and sat around playing games on the computer for an hour or so and then decided to see what the album sounded like.  I started playing it and then found myself getting up and scrubbing the kitchen cabinets.  That led to scrubbing walls and that led to scrubbing counters and cleaning out drawers. Before long, I found myself doing low-impact aerobics to the music for a while.

Upbeat music has always been a vital part of my exercise program.  It makes the exercise seem more like dancing that working and I’ve always enjoyed it.

I haven’t done much in the way of cleaning the last couple of years.  More like continual “straightening” and things have really gotten out of hand.  I used to scrub my house until it sparkled.  I find it hard to really care about that anymore and it shows.  David encouraged me to make changes after Donnie died in an effort to keep me occupied but it reached a point where there were too many projects started and very few finished.
Rooms are half painted, the baseboards are off in a few places.  They were stripped and stained and never put back up.  Lots of half finished stuff and I just couldn’t find the energy or desire to do anything about it.

Today, the music really helped me.  I made a list of all the things I need to do to get the projects finished and plan on checking them off as I do them.  I cleaned and organized for five hours and was totally focused on the task at hand.  I never go to bed with dirty dishes, always change the sheets weekly, never eat in bed or leave dirty dishes around the house.  Those things are just habit.  Still, the last couple of years, I’ve just given everything a quick straighten and haven’t really cleaned for ages.  The floors gets swept and mopped but they don’t get waxed.  The bathroom gets a quick going over with scrubbing bubbles but it doesn’t get a solid cleaning with scrubbies and old toothbrushes.  Clutter is everywhere.

I feel good about what I did today.  At least half the kitchen is sparkling again and I’ve spent hours organizing some of the clutter.  The outlet covers have been off the walls for weeks and I found a screwdriver and put them all back on.  I’ve even made a decision about what to fix for dinner.  It will be a low calorie Italian soup that we all really enjoy.

I feel pretty good.  I’m really trying to do better and get a grip on reality.


Happy Birthday, Jesus!

I’m home again and it’s Christmas Day.  We drove back from Miami and got home Monday night, rested up and unpacked Tuesday and then had Jake and Scout over for Christmas Eve.  I got Jake a cello and a bunch of odds and ends he wanted and a Wii system for Scout.  David got them notebook computers and phones.  They were thrilled and it made me feel good.   Stacy didn’t put up a tree or get them any presents at all.  She told them they might go out and pick up a couple of things after Christmas.  I don’t even want to go there.

My Christmas present to everyone was the cruise.  I paid for everything for all of us.  I thought it would be easier to get through the season if we had something special planned.  I had hoped it would ease the holidays for all of us.  I suppose it did.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  I really tried to be upbeat and fun but it was so difficult.  Donnie and I took the same cruise last November and, as with everything, I was constantly reminded of him everywhere we went.

I had prayed to ease Donnie’s suffering.  Asked God to ease his pain and let me take on the suffering.  I like to think that’s what happened.  Donnie passed away so quickly.  We were on a cruise in April, going out and doing things in May and June, and then he got weak and tired and died so quickly the first week of July.  I’m so grateful that he didn’t spend months and months lingering in pain.  I tell myself that I’m glad it’s me that has to bear so much pain and not him but I know, in my heart, that God doesn’t want me to suffer for the rest of my life.  I know Donnie wouldn’t want me to feel this way, either.

I wish I could pull out of this but I just don’t know how.  I look in the mirror and I don’t even recognize myself.  It looks like I’ve aged 20 years.  I tell myself that I have to work to be happy again and I really do try but there’s an underlying depression and sadness in me that underscores everything.  I know I’ll get better with time but I don’t think I’ll ever be the same person I was and I don’t like this new person very much.

I looked up a recipe for Christmas on here and when I entered the search words, it brought up some old posts.  I didn’t even recognize myself in them.  I was so happy and upbeat and fun.  I want to get back there so much.  I’m tired of having no drive or joy in my life anymore.  I made a commitment to myself that I’m going to start eating right and exercising tomorrow.  No sense in waiting for the new year because one day is just the same as the next.

I’m going back to the routine that used to work for me.  Writing down everything I eat and exercising every day.  Maybe changing myself for the better physically will help me change emotionally.

In previous years, I would have been shopping, decorating, cleaning and cooking for weeks leading up to today.  The tree would be up in the living room and it would feature special ornaments hand picked over a lifetime.  I’d unwrap an ornament and say, “Look!  Remember this one?  It’s the one we bought in Hawaii with Santa on a surfboard!” or, “Here’s the Grinch ornament that we got when the movie came out.”  When David was a toddler, he fell in love with a small stuffed Raggedy Ann that a friend had.  She stuck it in the tree at Christmas and it’s been a tradition to place Raggedy Ann in the tree each year.  David is 42 years old now, but he still looks for Raggedy Ann every year among the branches.

By now, the presents would be unwrapped and we’d be scrambling to get the mess cleaned up before hosting Christmas dinner for 14 to 20 family members.  I’d be preparing everyone’s favorites and trying to maintain my sanity while timing things so that 10 or 12 recipes get finished at approximately the same time so we could all sit down to eat.

Today is difficult.  It’s Christmas and it’s not like any Christmas we’ve ever had as a family.  Darryl is in North Carolina with friends for a month.  David is off but Stacy has the boys today.  There’s no one here but Andrew, Steven, David and me.  I didn’t put up the tree or any decorations.  Didn’t wrap any gifts.  Didn’t cook dinner and don’t plan to go anywhere for dinner.  I’m going to take Andrew and Steven over to their mother’s house in a little while. She has presents for them and she’s cooking a small dinner.  She invited David and I and I know we’re welcome but it hurt so much to be there for Thanksgiving that I don’t want to do it again.  I’ve always been the one to cook the big dinner and have everyone over and I didn’t do well with Thanksgiving over there.  It felt horrible. I felt useless and detached from the entire event.

Instead, friends have invited David and I to go to a movie this afternoon and then go over to their house for drinks and appetizers.  I know it’s not very Christmasy but it will get me through the day.  Maybe I’ll look back on this post next year and things will be so much better.  I hope so.



Everyone seems to look for and find the Big Dipper.  You’re supposed to use the North Star for navigation.  I can’t ever find either of them.  I just see Orion.  I can look and study and try to find the Dippers and other constellations but Orion has always been right in front of my eyes.  No matter where I go, no matter how far, I’ve always been able to step outside and see Orion without even looking.

We’re in Key Biscayne.  Leaving on a week long cruise in the morning.  This trip has been difficult for me.  I thought it would be better to get away for Christmas.  Darryl, David, Andrew and Steven are with me.  The four constants in my life.  And still, I see Donnie everywhere.

We drove down to the cabin on Thursday and every curve, every town, even the sunset brought on fresh pain.  He is absolutely with me every day.  Perhaps every minute.  Never far from my thoughts.  It was so hard to visit the cabin where we invested so much time, money and dreams.  Difficult to sleep in the king size bed without him.  There was a Diet Coke bottle left upstairs on the nightstand that he must have forgotten the last time we were there.  I walked out to the meadow after everyone was asleep and stared at a million stars and Orion looked down on me.

Now we’re in Key Biscayne and I just walked out on the balcony and there he is.  Always constant.  Always familiar.  Always watching over me.  I like to think Donnie is one of those stars now.  Perhaps one of the three stars that make up his belt.  I just know he’s there, somewhere.


Going out

I’m going out today.  That may not seem like a big deal but it really is. These days, I hate to go out.  I hate going to the store, I hate going to the gas station, I hate going anywhere.  I prefer to sit in the house and watch TV and not do anything I don’t have to.

So it’s making a move in the right direction to go out shopping today.  I’m taking it in small doses.  I received a coupon from Catherine’s for 50% off any and all purchases today as an early “Black Friday” deal.  I know I need some dress pants for the cruise so I can dress for dinner.  I had decided to wear the black pants I bought for Donnie’s funeral but they’re kind of loose and baggy and it feels like they’re too big.  I was going to wear them anyway but….I think I’m going to try to find a better pair.

Might not seem like a big deal but it is.  To me.

It’s so strange.  The entire time Donnie and I were together, I made all the decisions about furniture, travel, hotels, blah, blah, blah.  Now that he’s gone, I often find myself like a deer in the headlights.  Confused and indecisive about the simplest things.  I’ll walk around the store forever and can’t make a decision about dinner. I put off the simplest things because I’m insecure about what to do.

I’m feeling really relieved this morning because I made myself make reservations for a hotel in Miami when we go on the cruise.  I can’t begin to tell you how many hours I’ve spent on the computer looking at hotels and condos, racked with indecision.  I’ll go to make a reservation and then decide to wait and look another time.  Several times, I’ve actually set a goal for myself that I would not go to bed until I’d made a reservation. And still, I just couldn’t make a decision.

As trivial as it seems, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  It’s done.  It’s paid for. Now I can move on to something else.


Let it Begin

Yesterday was a rough day for me.  Sometimes it’s like that.  I have days when I just feel like I’m going to be hurting forever.  I have a cruise coming up with the kids in about three weeks.  I thought it would be good to get away for Christmas and not have to be here with so many memories during the holiday.

My sister, Donna, invited me to join her on another cruise in April and I booked it yesterday.  I also had to book a hotel room and parking at the port and what should have been something to look forward to brought up a lot of memories of trips Donnie and I took.  As the day wore on, it just seemed like all I could think about was how many things we did and how intricately he’s tied to every thought and memory I have.

I spent a good part of the day crying and hurting until I could finally take a couple of Tylenol PMs and go to bed.  I slept till 11:00 and just woke up.

I try to do what I can to get through each day.  I know he wouldn’t want me to be like this.  I have to do the best I can to live my life and savor the memories instead of letting them eat me alive.

I feel like crap.  I’m tired and sluggish and have no energy whatsoever.  I know it would benefit me to start eating right and getting some exercise so I’m taking the first step today.  I made arrangements to get rid of a bed that I’ve had up in the bedroom where my treadmill is.

After Donnie died, I couldn’t sleep in our big king size bed.  I just couldn’t do it.  So I moved it upstairs and dismantled and stored the bed that was in another upstairs bedroom by folding up the base of my treadmill and propping the bed against the wall where the treadmill had been.  Treadmill effectively out of action.

Today, I’m clearing it out.  I don’t know that I’ll get on my treadmill today but I’ll get it ready.  When I feel like jumping on it, it’ll be ready to go.

Our old bedroom doesn’t exist anymore.  I had to redo it so I could sleep without reaching for Donnie every night and seeing all his stuff.  It was like sensory overload and was a lot more than I could handle.

So I redid the bedroom.  Used a lot of white because that’s something I never could have pulled off with my sweet man constantly eating pizza in bed or tracking in dirt.  I’ll always miss him at night but, at least, I don’t wake up in “our” environment to find that he’s not there.  The new bedroom is very different and the bed is a lot smaller.  I still wake up a lot at night but I’m instantly aware that I’m in a different place and I don’t expect him be there.  I don’t sleep in the dark anymore.  I leave a night light on so the minute I open my eyes, I know things are different.  It helps.

Yesterday was a hard day but it brought an awareness of how miserable I am and a sort of “awakening” that I can’t continue this way.  It may not be much, but getting rid of a bed and providing access to my treadmill is a tiny step to taking better care of myself.



I kept thinking about what to call this post.  I titled it “Starting Over” but then I realized there is no starting over.  Starting over implies that you may, one day, get back to where you were.

And I know I’ll never get to go back to where I was.

Maybe I should title it “Drifting” or “Mindless” or just plain “Lost”.

Because that’s what I am.  Lost.  I sit here day after day just killing time.  Everything I see and everything I do is touched by an undercurrent of sadness.  It’s been four months since Donnie passed away and, although I no longer spend my days crying, I still think about him every single day.  Memories of him touch everything I do, everywhere I go, everyone I see.

I go through the motions, at least some of them, of living but nothing really means the same as it did.  I don’t care if the house falls apart.  I don’t care if it gets cleaned.  I don’t care about seeing anyone or doing anything.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t clean the house or go out with friends or keep things going.  It’s just that there isn’t any joy or excitement in my life anymore.

Maybe I’m where I’m supposed to be.  Who knows what’s normal and what’s not.  I’m still grieving and I think I’ll be grieving the rest of my life.

I keep telling myself that I have to move on.  Go out.  See people.  Act normal.  But nothing feels like it should.  I wear the same clothes over and over and over again.  Two or three “outfits”, if you want to call them that, of tee shirts and knit pants and athletic shoes.  I don’t want to go shopping.  I don’t wear makeup most days.  Sometimes, I never get dressed.

I do keep busy.  I make myself keep up with my little jam and jelly business but I don’t want to do events.  I just want to stand over a stove and mindlessly make jams and jellies and pickles.  Make them, label them, sell them.  It’s just something to keep me busy.  My sister is booking all the shows and pushing the envelope and I just follow along.

I don’t even think about what I eat.  In fact, most days I don’t eat anything until evening and then I eat whatever is convenient.  I might eat a bowl of ice cream or fix a frozen pizza.  It really doesn’t matter.  I’ll sit in front of the TV and mindlessly nibble on stuff.  Then I’ll look down and wonder what happened to a whole bag of candy or chips or whatever crap I’ve been eating and go looking for something else.

I guess what I need to do is to find some way to just start.  Just do something.

I’ve been sitting here for a couple of minutes trying to decide what title to put on this post.  I feel like this is a chronicle of my life for the past few years and I need to log on every once in a while to update it.  I may get to a point where I blog every day like I used to.  The last couple of years have been so difficult to write about.  My life has been full of pain and sorrow and I’ve lost the joy and spontaneity that used to be such an integral part of living.

Donnie passed away last Tuesday evening and I am, to put it in one succinct word, devastated.  I miss every part of him.  I know it will get easier but it’s the most significant loss of my life.  I feel like I’ve been cut in half.  You can’t share your life with someone for 45 years and not be broken when that bond is taken away. It’s still so fresh and raw.

Yes, he had cancer and we knew it would eventually take his life but I wasn’t prepared for how quickly he would be cut down.  A month ago, he was weak from chemo but still walking around, getting in the car and going to the store with me.  I’d let him out at the door and he’d get in a scooter while I parked.  And then, he went for chemo and they wouldn’t do it because they said he had a touch of pneumonia.  They hospitalized him and he was in the hospital for a week and a half before they sent him home on Wednesday.  While he was in the hospital, he was in bed and I didn’t realize how weak he was.  You expect someone to be weak when they’re in the hospital and stuck in bed.  He didn’t want to eat but then, hospital food is horrible so I didn’t think much about it.  He was getting up to go to the bathroom and he was chatting with me.

Coming home was a shock.  He couldn’t walk from the car to the door.  We had to get his scooter.  And then, he could barely get up the three steps of the front porch.  He collapsed in a chair in the living room as soon as he got in the door and had to rest for more than an hour before he felt like he had the strength to walk into the bedroom and get into bed.

I couldn’t figure out why they sent him home.  He was ten times worse than when he went in the hospital and yet they sent him home. It was after 6:00 by the time we were home and I knew his doctors were gone for the day so I decided to make a few calls early Thursday to find out what was going on.  I tried to call his oncologist but he was on vacation and out of the country.  Then I tried to call his pulmonologist but he was on vacation, too.  Donnie said he just needed to rest and he’d probably feel better on Friday.

Friday was the Fourth Of July and no one was available to speak with.  We discussed it and decided if he wasn’t better on Monday, we’d take him back to the hospital.

Saturday, he continued to weaken and his breathing was difficult.  He was on oxygen at home but he still felt like he wasn’t getting enough air.  He had to sit up in bed, propped up on a dozen pillows to get relief but he still felt bad.  Finally, on Sunday evening he told me he thought he should go to the hospital.  He said he knew he couldn’t walk out to the car and so I called an ambulance.

I changed clothes and arrived at the hospital about ten or fifteen minutes after the ambulance.  He was in the emergency room and they had placed a Bipap mask on him.  It covered his nose and mouth so he couldn’t speak.  He indicated to me that it really helped and he felt much better but he couldn’t talk because an alarm would go off every time he tried to remove the mask. They told me they were admitting him back in the hospital and would let us know when a room was available for him.  After three or four hours, they told me they were moving him to ICU.  I was shocked but they said it was just a precaution they took whenever a patient was on a Bipap machine and had previously had open heart surgery.

He finally got settled in the ICU and wrote me a note telling me to go home because it was almost 2:00 a.m. and we were both exhausted.

The next morning, I called the ICU to see how he was doing and the nurse said he was a “very, very sick man” and that I should get up there.

Another shock, seeing how much weaker he was on Monday morning.  He was still writing me notes but I noticed how shaky his handwriting was and I was so confused I couldn’t grasp the overall picture of what was going on with him.  They were talking about Hospice and it broke my heart because I knew that Hospice meant there was no chance of him getting better.  He told me that he knew he’d lost the battle and he just wanted to come home and be with us as much as possible before he died.  I figured we’d have nurses in and out of the house and they told me they would train me to give him his meds and treatments and someone would come by every few days to check on him.  They told me it was mostly about pain management and making him as comfortable as possible.  I spent the day with him and he slept a lot but I knew he was exhausted and on pain pills.  I finally headed home for the night around midnight when he was sleeping.

On Tuesday morning, I went to the hospital and the minute I walked into the unit, he heard my voice as I spoke to the nurse and became very agitated,  motioning for me to come to him.  I went and I saw how desperate and agitated he was and asked the nurses what was going on.  They said the doctor would be in shortly to talk to us.  Donnie and I listened as the doctor said his pneumonia wasn’t responding to treatment and he wanted to do a CT scan to see what was going on.  The doctor said he didn’t know if the mass in his lungs was pneumonia or cancer.  I told him that his oncologist had just told him, the week before, that his cancer was not that critical yet, no where near hopeless, and that they had a lot of things they could still do to treat it.  The doctor said he wasn’t responding to the antibiotics and he hoped the scan would help us figure out what was going on.

They came back an hour later and said they couldn’t do the CT scan because he was too agitated and it was difficult to do with a Bipap machine anyway.  He said he thought Donnie was within a few days of dying.  I was devastated.  I had thought he would probably have a slow decline with more and more visits to the hospital and a continual weakening interspersed with periods at home.

Donnie and I tried to discuss what was happening but he was weak and he couldn’t talk so he was using hand signals and short written words to communicate.  He was telling me that the electric bill was due and I needed to pay it.  Telling me that he wanted me to make the decision, if it came to it, not to resuscitate and that he didn’t want anymore treatment.  Just wanted to be free of pain and able to rest as much as possible. He absolutely hated the Bipap mask and kept trying to rip it off but then the alarms would go off and the nurses would rush in and restrain him enough to put it back on.

I made the phone calls I’d been dreading.  Called his sisters in Florida, called our sons and told them he was very weak and I thought they should come and see him NOW because I was afraid he was approaching the point where he would be receiving more and more medication and his time for being lucid and communicating with them was limited.  David told me he was leaving work immediately and would be with me in a few minutes.  He arrived just 20 or 30 minutes later but Donnie was not able to communicate because he was struggling to breath and he had been given morphine as a part of the Hospice treatment. He kept trying to take the Bipap mask off his face.  He hated that thing.  David stayed about an hour and told me he was going to pick up Darryl, Andrew and Steven and would be back in a few minutes.  As soon as David left, they told me that they were going to move Donnie out of ICU and up to a private room so we could have more privacy and room for family to visit since the ICU room was so crowded and because they would be simply trying to keep him comfortable but he wouldn’t be receiving any more treatment.  They removed the Bipap mask from his face and he immediately became very calm and serene. They replaced the Bipap with a bag and mask and he tried to fight it but he was too weak to take it off.

I followed him up to the room and the nurses brought out a roll away bed so I could stay in the room with him for the next few days.  We were getting him settled and he became very calm and quiet and his breathing became very slow.  I realized that he was leaving me right then.  I don’t know how I knew but I did.  He just became so quiet and peaceful.  I sat down beside him on the bed and held his hand.  It was just a matter of a minute or two when I became aware that my brother was standing beside me with his hands on my shoulders and my sister was on the other side of the bed holding his other hand.  The roll away bed was gone and all the doctors and nurses had left and there was no one else in the room.  My sister said, “Do you want to take his mask off?” and I told her I did.  We removed it and I watched him relax and then he slowly quit breathing. I was so grateful that he seemed so peaceful.  No more gasping for air or fighting that damn mask.  Just a few slow, peaceful breaths and then he was gone.  I had been focused only on Donnie and those private, quiet moments we were sharing and my sister went out in the hall and motioned for the doctors and nurses to come in.  They checked for a heartbeat and then told me I could stay as long as I wanted and everyone left.  It all felt so right.  It was so hard to watch him fade away but I never doubted what I was doing for a minute.  I knew what he wanted and he had trusted me to follow his wishes.  And I wasn’t torn with indecision or doubt.  I knew I did exactly what he wanted and exactly what I should have done.  I know I’m going to suffer for a long, long time but he didn’t.

I am crushed.  Heartbroken.  And yet I would not have wanted him to suffer a slow agonizing death.  We lay in bed together holding hands and talking Saturday night and he was gone by Tuesday afternoon  No long lingering weakness or loss of dignity.  I still don’t understand how he died.  The pulmonary specialist said he didn’t have pneumonia or he would have responded to the antibiotics.  The oncologist says his cancer was not advanced to the point that it would have caused this.  I don’t understand what took possession of him and advanced so rapidly.  I’ve given up trying to figure it out.  I don’t know that the answer would help me and, if he was not going to survive this cancer, I’m glad he went quickly and didn’t suffer a lot.  I watched my mother and father die slow deaths and was praying for them to die simply to ease their suffering.  I’d much rather be the one suffering than Donnie.  I loved him too much to be able to bear that.

We’ve known for a long time what we wanted to do about funerals.  Neither of us want one.  We were shocked and appalled at the traditional funeral fiasco and wanted to avoid falling into that trap.  Donnie was cremated and his remains were placed in a beautiful gold and emerald green urn. I arranged for a memorial service and rented a lovely room at a local funeral home for the day.  Friends and family gathered to share memories and celebrate his life.  It was lovely.  We’d grown quite attached to the chaplain at the hospital who talked with him and visited him often during his illness.  She and I cried together and I felt very comfortable with her and felt like she understood and recognized our love for each other.  She invited people to share memories and many did.  It was a moving memorial to him.

I actually have a fairly large insurance policy on myself that I took out some time ago.  When I die, I want to be cremated and my ashes placed with his in our urn.  The insurance will pay for my memorial service and provide for our children and grandchildren to travel to Hawaii (our favorite place in the world) and scatter our ashes off the Na Pali coast of the island of Kauai.



It’s been so long since I’ve blogged.  I get so depressed and everything just hangs in limbo.

Donnie is in the hospital battling pneumonia.  His cancer came back last January and he remains in treatment.  Unfortunately, the chemo makes him so weak he’s susceptible to so much illness.  He began chemo again in February.  Took a few treatments but it seems like every time he goes in his white blood cell count is too low or his magnesium is too low or something gets in the way of his treatment so he only manages to get chemo about once every three weeks instead of weekly.

He developed pneumonia in April and has been hospitalized three times for it.  Just can’t seem to get over the hurdle.  His back is really hurting him and they say he has a bulging disc and spinal stenosis.  Surgery is the answer but he’s way too compromised to attempt anything right now.

He’s been in the hospital since last Friday and I miss him.

It just seems like one thing after another gets piled on him and he’s in a slow decline.  His doctors keep saying there are still lots of things we can try but it’s so painful to see him like this.  He’s nothing but skin and bones and I have to help him get dressed and hold on to him when he walks a few steps.  Heart breaking.

I’ve thought and said many times that I wish I was the one with cancer instead of him.  I’d do it for him if I could. I’ve always been a fighter and he’s always been passive.  I can’t help thinking that I’d put up a bigger fight and, even if the cancer got the best of me, I’d handle it better.  Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’d be too tired or too weak to fight it but I’d gladly take his place.  It’s so hard to watch this disease ravaging him.

I just do mindless things to keep from thinking about it.  The house is a mess and I just can’t seem to get motivated to do any heavy cleaning.  It seems so trivial and pointless. We have a hospital bed and an oxygen machine in the living room.  They are extra tanks so Donnie can use them when he leaves the house.  There’s a scooter in the hall and a shower chair in the bathroom.  A walker and a cane sit in the bedroom next to the potty chair.  A respiratory machine for breathing treatments takes up counter space in the kitchen along with too many pills and prescriptions to count.  Cleaning or bringing any kind of order to the chaos feels overwhelming.  My old refrigerator quit working and we replaced it with a bigger one.  The old one was recessed into the wall and the new one was bigger.  We cut out a larger space in the drywall and the refrigerator sits there, unfinished broken plaster enclosing it.  We need to redo the wall but I just don’t want to think about working with drywall and trim and plaster dust right now.  So I just stare at a hole in the wall.

I spend hours playing mindless games on facebook and watching TV.  It keeps me from thinking.  Keeps my mind numb.

I look back at the entries when I began this blog and I don’t even recognize the strong, happy, confident woman I used to be.   Things have changed so much in the last few years and I never knew how good my life was.

Yes, Donnie survived his heart surgery and he’s in remission from his cancer.  He stopped drinking months ago.  But he’s not the same man.  He’s lost so much weight he’s nothing but skin and bones.  Has to use a scooter when we go to Kroger.  He’s so weak and it scares me.  I know that even having him still with us is a miracle but it breaks my heart to see him so weak and listless.

Stacy is still totally nuts. She hasn’t worked since last April.  David pays her child support, pays her rent, pays her utilities and pays for her phone.  She gets food stamps and sits on her ass all day and goes out at night.  David bought each of the boys a laptop for Christmas and she went ballistic today.  She said there are no presents from her.  He told her he was going to sign the tag from both of them but she said they already knew that he bought the laptops and it makes her look like a bad mother because he should have given her at least $500 so she could buy them some gifts to put under her tree.  Donnie and I gave David $300 to buy gifts from us and she wanted to take those presents and tell the boys they were from her.  David refused so she told the boys that David was supposed to give her money to shop for them and he didn’t so they wouldn’t have a Christmas and she wanted them to know that it wasn’t her but David that ruined their Christmas.  Then she told him they weren’t coming over here and he wasn’t going to see them today or tomorrow.  So I guess they really don’t get a Christmas.



29 Pounds to go!

29 pounds and 106 days to get rid of it.  Things are going well.  I got off track for a week or so while we were on a mini vacation with little sister and her foster kids.  Even then, I did a lot of walking around Dollywood and Gatlinburg and went horseback riding so I only gained a pound.  Took it off quickly after we got home and a couple more since.  I’ve now lost 11 pounds and I’m feeling good about it.

I’m logging all my exercise and food on My Fitness Pal and keeping track of it there.  I wish 3FC had a better tool for doing so but it doesn’t….  Or does it?  I’ve been blogging on here so many years, I haven’t really looked at other tools they have in ages.  Maybe I’ll check it out.

At any rate, I’m bicycling for 25 minutes once, sometimes twice, a day and doing 100 laps in the pool each day.  Occasionally, I’ll do 120 laps just to make it an even hour.

Donnie is doing okay but I still feel like he should be recovering more quickly than he is.  He used a scooter in Gatlinburg and has fallen several times.  He’ll just get up and start walking and his legs will collapse.  He’s currently nursing a sprained ankle from a fall he took a few days ago.

I just finished riding my bicycle in 90 degrees and I’m ready for a shower and change of clothes.




I lost another pound!  I KNOW this can’t keep going as well as it has been and I’m surprised that I keep losing as quickly as I am.  I’m eating well, blogging, recording everything on My Fitness Pal and exercising like crazy.  Just hope I can keep to the plan when we go on a little mini vacation with little sister in a couple of days.

I’m proud of myself for doing my bicycling this morning.  It was brutal.  Temps already in the 90s and humidity so high you can cut it with a knife.  My thighs burned, my throat was parched, I was dripping sweat and my back hurt. Add that to the constant pain in the crotch from riding a bike anyway and it made for a miserable ride.  Still, I hung in there and got it done, came home and parked my bike and then jumped in the pool fully clothed.


Energizer Bunny!

I’m doing great.  Still doing 100 laps in the pool every day and 20 minutes on my bicycle.  Today was the first day that I didn’t lose weight.  I’ve been losing a pound each day and I knew it couldn’t continue forever.  My weight is at 211 pounds.  I lost 8 pounds in as many days.

DH and I are going to Gatlinberg with little sister for a few days. She’s taking her foster kids and invited us along.  We’re heading out Sunday morning  and will return Thursday.  I’m planning on staying strong.  There’s only one cheat that I’ll allow myself.  They make these wonderful “slurpy” drinks at Dollywood in wonderful flavors like tangerine and mango.  I know I’m going to have a couple but that the only treat I’m allowing.

Feeling better every day.  I’m still eating healthy and working out.  This week, I’m bicycling 3 miles each day and doing 100 laps of jogging in the pool.  Weighed in this morning and found that I’ve lost another half pound so the total is 6 pounds since last Sunday.  Of course, that won’t last.  I know it’s just because I just started to diet again and things will slow down but I’m sure enjoying it while it lasts.  I swear, I can already tell that I feel better and my clothes are looser.

Today marks one week of being seriously back on track and I’m happy with the results.  I’ve gone from 3 times around the long block on my bike to five times.  That’s around 3 miles.  I know it’s not a lot but I’m getting there.  If it wasn’t for my back and crotch killing me, I could go farther but it’s a start.

I’ve eaten healthy all week and logged all my food and exercise into My Fitness Pal.  I’ve gone from jogging 30 laps in the pool to jogging 90 and I’m upping it to 100 today.

Most important, I’ve started blogging again and it help me stay focused and on track.

This weeks results:

from 30 to 90 laps in the pool

from 2.3 to 3.0 miles bicycling

And, best of all, a weight loss of 5.5 pounds!


Hangin in there

Today’s weather was downright weird.  HEAVY thunderstorm yesterday afternoon followed by a cold front today.  I feels like the end of September instead of the middle of July.

I got irritated yesterday.  Felt like the weather was challenging me.  I thought the storm was supposed to arrive late afternoon or evening but it came early.  I was out in the pool doing my laps and the weather changed from hot and humid to wicked in just a matter of about ten minutes.  Dark clouds rolled in and it looked like a scene from “Something Wicked this way Comes”.  I only managed to get 40 of my 60 laps in before all Hell broke loose.  Heavy winds and really strong gusts blew the patio umbrella inside out and there was lightning and hail.  I went in the house and I was pissed off.  Felt like nature was throwing obstacles in my way.

After the storm, I went back out and did the other 20 laps but it’s just not the same when you don’t get a continuous workout.

Today I rode my bicycle and did 80 laps.  DH and I went to see White House Down and now I’m going to fix something to eat.  Guess I’ll use up all the veggies the garden is providing.  Blanched green beans, sauteed squash with Parmesan and sliced home-grown tomatoes.  Wish I had a slice of mozzarella.  I’d fix Ensalada Caprese.


Heat Stroke!

It’s miserable outside.  I did my bicycle ride early and I was still burning up by the time I finished.  Went over to work in the garden and could barely manage to get today’s harvest and stagger back across the street.  Temps in the 90s and stifling humidity.  The weather man says storms are coming in this evening so I’d like to get the grass cut but don’t know if I can manage.

I did good yesterday.  Still having problems with the evening binges but I’m sticking to low fat, low cal snacks like sugar free jello and 5 calories popsicles.  Hopefully, I’ll figure out a way to get beyond stuffing my face every evening.

Haven’t weighed myself in a couple of days but it should be good.  I always weigh after my shower and I haven’t been taking my daily shower till later in the day because I get up and ride my bicycle early and do the gardening and it leaves me drenched in sweat and totally gross.

I’m going to get my bathing suit on and try to cut the grass in the back yard.  Guess I’ll cut a little, swim a little, cut a little, swim a little.

It’s so HOT outside!  Not only is it 90 degrees but the humidity is 70%. I worked in the garden for about 30 minutes and came in drenched in sweat.  I already rode my bicycle today.  Did 4 laps which is around 2 miles.  Not much, I know, but it’s a start.

I started bingeing last night.  Good thing I had grapes and sugar-free jello with Kool Whip.  I ate a lot but it didn’t add up to too many calories.  I stayed below 1,200 calories.  Each sugar-free jello only has 5 calories and the Kool Whip added another 25 so I ate three of them and only used 90 calories.  Good to know that there’s something I can pig out on and not have to regret it too much.