January 15 - Blue Monday - I'm scared.

I'm sure this blog has been a long time coming, but it's so very hard for me to talk about. VERY few people know what's going on, only because I've felt it's not my news to share, even if it's deeply affecting me.
Even typing this, I'm crying -- which is why I can't actually voice it. So to my friends who are reading and hearing about this for the first time, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I can't say it in person. I wanted to, but it's too hard. I hope you understand why. (I hate crying in front of people, or even my own family.)


My dad has cancer. 


There I said it. Still doesn't make it easier. We just got through my maternal grandfather dying from it on March 14, 2016. And then my maternal grandmother passed on February 4, 2017. In between that I lost two friends, one on November 20th (to cancer) and another on Dec 29th. I'm really tried of Death hanging around. Seriously, it needs to chill out and take a vacation --- far away, like Antarctica or something. In the fall, we dealt with what appeared to be some serious health complications with my 10 year old son -- which THANKFULLY on November 16, turned out to be inaccurate, and my son will NOT need new lungs anytime soon.

I figured that was the end of our medical woes and bad news for 2017. We were on the home stretch and a fresh, new year was on the horizon.


WRONG. 


Wednesday November 29th my world was rocked once again.

My dad is a colourful character, and anyone who's ever met him, will remember him. Even if they've only met him once. He just has a way with people, good, bad and interesting (he has NO issues telling you what's on his mind, and giving you his opinion. In a way, it's refreshing, and irritating. LOL). Call it charisma, call it charm, call it whatever you want. He's okay with that.

Many people say I am just like my father as far as looks, mannerisms and personality, although I tend to err on the side of diplomacy. But there's no mistaking who my father is. None. My dad and I are pretty close, at least I think so.

He started having some pretty bad pains on Tuesday November 21 -- two days after he renewed wedding vows with Mom -- and spent a few hours in emergency, several times over the course of a week. He met with his personal doctor a couple of time. I'll spare you the details but he went from a robust 60+ year old man to being unable to walk because of the pain in the span of a few days. His life went downhill fast.

I thank GOD everyday that he has a kind and caring doctor, who fast tracked him as the whole thing was out of the ordinary for my dad. Tuesday November 28th my parents spent the night in emerg (again) and dad had more tests done. He wasn't supposed to but he saw the results ahead of the doctor he was meeting on November 29th.

My parents phoned and asked to meet me at the McD's near my house. My heart stopped. This wasn't going to be good news, I just knew it, and I figured they wanted to meet me there rather than at my house because I'd cause less of a commotion (as diplomatic as I can be, I'm also highly emotional).

I sat down, and my parents, who usually sit side by side, changed seats. Dad sat beside me, Mom across from me. I could barely hear from the race of my blood as it pounded through my veins. I see my parents every week. I saw Dad on Sunday. Four days later he looked like he'd aged a decade. His eyes were tired, he could barely move. And he dropped the news.

"My kidney is full of little tumors, and one very big one. That one is full of cancer." 

I know he said more, but I couldn't hear. I hugged my dad. I cried inside a McD's as I looked at my mother, who was completely shaken by the news. This isn't what we wanted to hear. We thought it was an infection of the bladder, or as the pain progressed, a kidney infection. We never expected to hear it was kidney cancer.

I offered my kidney, after all, since we're so similar, I'm sure we'd be a perfect match. But he won't need it -- for now, so I'm saving it and making it the best kidney, just in case he does.

I'm thankful for a system that got him in, with the ultrasounds and CT scans and bloodwork and catheters and genuine care he's felt over the past 8 weeks.

Friday he goes in for surgery to remove the bad kidney. 

They are confident that the cancer is located in just the one kidney, but still they are going to look around and check his lymph nodes out, as well as other tissues just to be sure. I am putting my trust into these surgeons that they do a remarkable job, and he comes out of the OR cancer free.

Friday, I will be sitting/pacing/praying at the hospital with my mom and brother, and we will wait (and pray) and worry. One of my dad's so-called friends told him he'll die on the table (WTF? Who says that???) But he has to have more time on Earth as he's not finished yet. Plus, I'm selfish. I'm not ready to lose him.

I'm scared. I'm terrified and I don't know what to do. 

Death needs to be nowhere near the hospital. My kids still need their Papa, and my mom needs her liver (a nickname). Cancer is a bitch, and I'm mad that it's touched someone so close to me. It's always been an arm's length away, as I know several who have had it, or been affected by it. But it's never been this close.

So if you know of any ideas on what I can do, to either help Mom through this, to help Dad post-surgery, lay them on me. I'm completely open. I want a care package for them both but I have no idea what to include??
The hardest day will be Friday for Mom, the night before for Dad.

Thank you for reading, and if you can, say a prayer for my parents. They're going to need it, even if they don't believe.


UPDATE

Dad's kidney was removed Friday Jan 19. It was a long morning as Mom, Brother and I waited in the waiting. It was a relief to have the nurse tell us he was in recovery, and even better when we got to see him. The road to recovery is going to be a rough one, if the past three days are any indication, but the doctor confirmed what we hoped: 
There was no metastasis beyond the kidney and the lymph nodes looked clear. :) Yeah. He is cancer free, and alive. The best news of all.  

2018 Goals

Alright 2018 - I'm ready for you! Bring it on. 


My goals are lofty and ambitious, but I think I can achieve them. 

Professionally: 
To do more giveaways. Watch my twitter and facebook pages for more details.
Finish up Joy's story by Jan 30.
Write Meghan's story by March 15. 
Select covers for the four books in the Westside Series by March 30. 
Secure editing for all four books. 
To swallow my fear and talk to the powers that be at our local book store that carries local authors.
Contact bloggers for the fall release of the entire series. 
Release the books 4 - 6 weeks apart starting mid to late September. 
Continue to promote the hell out of other books.
Continue blogging. Perhaps even streamline it a bit, but we'll see. I like showing you parts of me that aren't always writerly. 
To stop be a stepping stone for others who abuse my time and generosity. 


Personally: 
To read 30 books or more.
To walk over 1000 kms. My treadmill's been neglected lately and I miss the feeling I got after a solid workout.
To pamper myself a little more; whether it be massages, facials or pedicures. 
To have more coffees/lunches with my friends. 
To de-clutter and rid my house of extra things - I'm having a wicked garage sale in the spring. Watch out! 
To reconnect with a lost friend - this will be a work in progress as a lot of hurt happened in the fallout.
To have a couple of great vacations. Planning on something wonderful for my 20th wedding anniversary, and something in the summer. 
To cherish time with my kids. It won't be long before hanging with mom will no longer be cool, got to max it out while I can. 



What about you? Do you have any goals for the upcoming year? 

2017 - A Year in Review - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

What a year 2017 was! It didn't start out so well, with two celebrations of life within the first week. It marginally improved until I lost my beloved Grandmother on February 4. At least now she and my grandfather are together again, and that gives me some peace, even if I miss her every day. 
2017 was also the year I dealt with my youngest's health issues. At each respirology visit, he got worse, and his medications were increased. It wasn't until October, after a really bad visit where we were told my young son would need new lungs, that we got referred to a new pediatric Respirologist. That visit in November changed things for us. My son wasn't as sick as the other doctor was reporting (and to his credit, he was going based off the breathing test report done in another part of his office). It seems like that may have been where things went south. But I know now. He's on meds he was on 2 years ago, and is doing fine! Amen! 

In November, my Momma Bear came out with full claws when my oldest child was attacked at school. Grr... My son was okay as it was an isolated issue, and I dealt with the situation with tact and restrain (I think) and eventually the child was transferred to another school. It stirred up some very mixed emotions in me. As happy as I was to learn he was gone, I worried what kind of home life that child had to be so destructive in his life. And my heart broke a little. I hope wherever he is, that there are some programs he can access. 

But there were a lot of good things that happened as well, both personally and professionally. 
We went on an amazing trip to the US to take in the Total Solar Eclipse. You can read about the highlights here

I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a trip down the North Saskatchewan River in a canoe. Too many people filled my head with doubt and all the things that could go wrong. None did (thankfully) and we had an amazing time. So much so, we'll be doing it again! Read and see the pictures I took here.

Also, the limits of my daytime job were tested. Gutting the huge library in June and packing/moving thousands of books was a taxing endeavor. Putting it all back together starting at the end of August was grueling. I built tables and shelves, and moved some sections of books 4-5 times until the new placement was just right. However, I'm pleased to say, most of the people I've talked to who have changed their libraries into learning commons took about a year to reorganize their literary collections, and somehow I managed to do it in 4 months. Now when I return next week, I can focus on getting the rest of the commons set up with the non-book portion and work on behind the scenes things. I'll blog about it soon.

Ended the year with some devastating news about someone very close to me. My dad has kidney cancer -- however -- the doctors & specialists are uber confident that when they remove his kidney in mid-January, that he will be cancer free. We can only hope they are correct. Considering the speed from diagnosis to removal will be less than two months, I pray they are right and chemo and radiation may not be needed. Any prayers are most welcome!


So, did I make my 2017 goals? I need to see high to set the bar for 2018.

My 2017 Goals were:
-Release Two Books - DONE! That Summer came out Feb 19, If You Say Yes on October 17.
-Budget for Advertising - I did, and sadly the ROI wasn't very high. Need to rethink my marketing.
-Find an affordable and GOOD editor - Still searching for this.  
-Promote the hell out of my friend's books - YES! So many great books this year.
-To blog more - Did it - 40 times to be exact. 
-To unsubscribe from mailing lists - DONE! And my inbox has never been happier. 
-To let go Still working on this, but I managed to let some things go. 
-To be more "selfish" YES. 
- To have more date nights It was a weird year for this, but something to focus on in 2018. 

In retrospect, it was a good year. Had room for improvement, to be sure, but we survived and lived to tell about it.
What about you? Looking back at 2017, how was your year overall?