Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sibling Obligations

I am new to this whole Brother is sick and needs my help thing so I'm sure that I am making a lot of mistakes which in the future, long after he has recovered and is home, will make themselves known and will make me think, "Fuck.  I could have done it that way and it would have been easier."  There is no handbook with a map insert showing you how to navigate all this.  It's a heavy load to carry and yes, it's tiresome and draining but I do it because the alternative is not an option.  To continue to have my brother in my life is the only option I have and I refuse to think of living a life without him.  2 months ago was the worst.  I cried like I have never cried before, my heart hurt so very much because I came face to face with losing him.  Having the Quality of Life Talk with his doctor, consenting to a DNR, is gut wrenching.  I dreamt of eulogizing him.  For real.  WTF was that dream all about?  But now, with the little strides we have made, I now fantasize about the humongous homecoming party we are going to have.

He is awake and responsive with a move to an LTAC (long term acute care) hospital being planned.

Soon. Don't care how long it takes.


Friday, February 14, 2014

18 Months!

My son went and turned 18 months without asking me and it got me right in the feels.  I'm trying my hardest to remember the feeling of his breath on my neck, or how it feels to have him sleep in my arms as his legs dangle over the edge of my lap.

Aside from delayed talking, The Kid is normal in length, weight and noggin size.  I'll take it.





A photo of (L-R) my Momma, my Grandma, myself and The Kid.  4 generations.  I didn't know how badly I wanted this picture until I saw my Grandma and bawled.  It had been a few years.  



Vital Statistics:
Weight: 25.2 lbs.
Length: 32"
Likes: His books, his cats, playing with Grandpa's tools, cooking with Grandma and rough housing with Dad, sleeping next to Mom, balloons, baths, the Houston Rockets, the outdoors, people who join the National Registry, and his family
Dislikes: Getting changed, getting his toenails clipped, mean people

Happy 18 months, Baby.  Momma and Dad love you so much.  Thank you for keeping us sane.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Liz Lemon!

Everything reminds me of my brother.  Everything.  I see a Liz Lemon quote, I laugh and think, "OMG, I have to call B!" only to quickly remember he's still hospitalized in ICU.  This morning, while watching Sportscenter, it happened again.  I plan on making spaghetti and realize that I can't save him any because he won't be eating it for a while.

God help me if anything happens to my brother....God help me indeed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Heartache

Nothing I have experienced in my 37 years could have prepared me witnessing my brother in ICU, hooked up to a breathing machine, with arms restrained.  I mean nothing.  How does one not shed a tear?  How does one not go up to their brother and say, "I'm here, Brother.  I'm here.  I'm always here." with tears in their eyes, with a knot in their throat?  How does one not run to his beside, when you are getting ready to leave because he is trying to grasp your hand, trying to say something?  "I'm here, Brother.  I'm here.  No, don't talk.  It's okay.  I love you, Brother.  I miss you.  Please, please, get better.  I need you, Brother."

This is hard.  My heart hurts all the time.  I want to puke my insides out all the time.  It took so much strength to not carry my brother in my arms when I left him yesterday.

This is all I have to say.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good-bye 2013, Hello 2014

The second half of 2013 was definitely hard on us.  My brother's leukemia has dominated everything, almost overshadowing the good things of 2013.  However, it's those good things that kept me from falling apart.

For example, this kid here helped keep my sanity intact.




All the drooly smiles, the hearty laughs, the raspberries, kept a smile on my face and in my heart.




I thoroughly enjoyed watching my son learn and discover the art of walking, eating, playing and gnawing on a cat.  




The screams of joy on the swing, or watching himself on my cameraphone are not to be missed.




The speed at which he is growing is astounding.  His foot is measuring at 7 and he's in size 24-month clothes.  Yikes.



Great sleeper, eater and extremely active.  It's how I know something's wrong; when he wants to cuddle.







And he loves to read.  I have caught him several times "reading" and I love it.  I'm hopeful that he's continue this love of books, like his momma, throughout his life.



So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, gentle reader.



May 2014 be special and magical for you.  Only you can make it so because I believe everyone is magical.  Just look at Noah.  He can light up a room with his toothy smile and silly laughs.  My son the magician continues to save us all from the heartache of leukemia as well as anything that may ail ya.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Wishes

My apologies for the heavy lack of posts.  Shit happens and when shit happens, you don't blog a lot even though you have so much to say about the shitty time you find yourself in.

My brother is in the hospital again.  4th time this year.  Today marks 2 weeks and I miss him dearly.  His daughter turned 1 yesterday.  It's heartbreaking.  My Christmas wish is to have my brother home for Christmas.  I want to make him the lasagna he craves.  The turkey I didn't make for Thanksgiving.  The birthday dinner I'm waiting to cook for my niece/Goddaughter.  Everything.

But, there is a silver lining.  Our long estranged old brother is my younger brother's match for the bone marrow transplant which will occur next month.  The Lord works in mysterious ways because what I once thought was an irretrievably broken relationship with my older brother now has a stepping stone towards reconciliation.  So, on Saturday, while my mom answered his call, I asked to speak with him, my brother, whom I had no contact with for over 4 years (because of prison and whatnot) and thanked him for helping our younger brother in his time of need.  He went on to tell me that it was hard to see our brother that way but he is happy to help and looking forward to helping our brother with his disease.  And with that, my mom was happy.  My heart was happy.  My younger brother was happy.  I said to JC, "Okay.  I get it.  Stop pushing."  And I laughed because I like to make jokes about a lot of stuff especially about some things that people think are blasphemous.

But please, JC, please bring my brother(s) home for Christmas.  Please.




As for Noah, he is great.  16 months and thriving.  I promise to try and have a year in recap.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Leukemia

For the past month and a half, my beloved brother has been dealing with his leukemia and it's been shitty.  Real shitty.  I don't know how to adequately describe how I've been feeling because my emotions have been all over the place.  I'm sad, angry, sad, heartbroken, super sad, anxious, stressed, burnt out, and super fucking sad.  I want to scream all the time.  I want to scream as loud as I can from the top of a building.  I want to shout, "FUCK!" until my throat is raw.  I want to take a bat to the ground until I don't have the strength to lift it up anymore.  I want to punch the walls.  I want to run.  I want to run so far away.  I want to cry and scream and not wake up until the leukemia is gone.  As I type this, I want to puke.  I want to puke all of my insides out.  This isn't supposed to happen.  It wasn't supposed to happen.  Anyone but my brother.  Why not me?  Not my brother.

From one moment to the next, things can change.  It did here.  Brother's body started resisting his meds for CML and, in a week, it accelerated into ALL, a very aggressive form of leukemia.  It grew so rapidly and my brother was in so much pain that briefly, I feared the worse.  And yet, I didn't cry.  I held it in.  I didn't want to cry like I did last time.  And yet, one day, while I was visiting, I was informed that brother needed a lumbar puncture to check if the leukemia was in his spine, which is bad.  And they wheeled him away and I stood there, holding in those tears, screaming at them from the inside, "Don't you dare fall.  Don't you dare trickle out of my eye because I know you won't be the only tear. You'll bring your friends. DON'T YOU DARE FALL OUT!"  As soon as brother was out of the room and down the hall, I sat down, held my face in the palms of my hands and cried.  I cried puddles of tears into my hands and sobbed.  The BNC, who must have developed ninja skills because I didn't hear him creep up to me, all while holding The Kid, stroked my hair, held his hand on my head and then left.  He knew I didn't want Noah to see me like this.  

The sleepless nights I endured when I was younger have returned.  I lay awake at night, hiding my insomnia from the BNC, and think horrible thoughts.  The Kid never really kept me up but my brother's disease does.  I think of all that he has gone through and all that he will have to go through.  I think about how I need to not cry in his presence.  How I need to keep it together for his sake and for our parents' sake.  I think about The Kid and how he can't see me upset because kids are smart.  Brother was upset one day and Noah came over and stood in front of him and held his knee.  I'm sure he knows something's up and I'm preparing myself should he ever ask me about memories he has from this time.

All the doctor appointments, the special tests, the blood transfusions, the chemo treatments, the dialysis for his blood, the lumbar punctures, the loss of hair, the pneumonia, the biopsies, the bruises on his back and his arms, the port on his chest, the morphine-filled phone calls in the middle of the night because he was so doped up he didn't know what time it was, the special clean room he was in, the move to the ICU because he developed heart arrhythmia, the throat infection, talk of a bone marrow transplant, Sportscenter all day, and my brother laying there, doing it all, fighting back his tears, not wanting to be there, and slowly breaking my heart watching this, this is what we've been through otherwise known as my family's darkest hour.  

I thought a lot about my brother during this time but also of my mom.  Now that I am a mother, I have looked at her in a whole different light and have grown to admire her so much more than I already had.  However, I cannot imagine what she went through, and still is, as her son, her youngest child, battles leukemia.  I prayed for her.  I asked people to pray for her.  I don't know what I would have done had it been my own kid going through all of this, feeling powerless because the one thing you want, enduring this rather than your kid, isn't going to happen.  My momma had already lost a son, born before me, and I know it changed her.  She still thinks of her lost son, mourns for him, wonders what he would have been doing now so watching her 33 year-old son lay there, broke her heart all over again.  My dad, watching all of this, crying, begging God to spare his son, all while my brother shed hair and spoke incoherently to people who were not in the room.  

And is spite of this awful time, I look to my faith to help me keep it together.  I don't question why or how because it can drive you mad, but rather, I seek strength during these most difficult times and I must be getting it because I've made it this far without cracking.  I do beg.  I beg just like I did that time 4+ years ago.  I beg for my brother and I won't stop begging.  I also have had the BNC, who has been a rock to me and my family.  He's run errands for us and checked in on Brother when we couldn't.  The support of family and friends has been overwhelming.  Just this past Saturday, a benefit was held to help raise some funds for Brother whose short term disability will end soon and, if he's not back at work in January, will have to be let go.  Our goal more than doubled.  It was amazing and so emotional and I wish I could thank everyone who is praying for us.  It was quite the job to handle all the phone calls and texts from people wanting to help.  My brother's friends are amazing.  I started coordinating who could visit and take food otherwise Brother would have had about 10 dinners taken to him each evening.  I'm glad we aren't alone.

I also have my Noah who celebrated his first birthday while B was in the hospital.  He's hit several milestones during this time as well such as walking, drinking milk, dancing, learning to be gentle with the cats, etc.  He's been a joy and part of my salvation.





My beloved B, the light of my life, my growing-up partner in crime, one of my bestest friends, one of my favorite people, how I love thee...