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Thank you

Jan 06, 2014 - 3 comments

I just wanted to thank you all for your continued prayers and support these last few weeks.  It's been very difficult to say the least and I've been trying to deal with all the pain right now.  At times I'm ok and then I'm not.  My dad seems to be doing pretty good considering and my sister as well.  I feel as though I'm having more difficulty with everything but I'm going to look into some kind of counseling perhaps.  In the meantime, I wanted to share with you two letters that my sister and I wrote to my mom.  We put them out at the funeral home for everyone to read.  I will also post my eulogy I read to everyone before we left the mass.  

I will slowly be back online more often and I'll try to catch up with each one of you.  Thank you again. xoxo

My letter:
Dear Mom,
I’ve been thinking the last couple of days of all the wonderful memories we have together.  If I sat here and wrote them all down, it would take me days to finish.  So I’m going to try to get through the ones that really stand out to me from when I was a little girl to today.
I was always so excited when you were able to be with me during class trips.  I remember you being with me when we went to have breakfast with Santa Claus.   I remember sitting at a table for two, just you and me having breakfast.   The funny thing is I don’t remember Santa Claus at all.  I loved the time we went to see the Circus at Madison Square Garden.   The funny thing about that memory is I don’t remember the circus at all either.  What I do remember is you holding my hand so tightly as we worked our way through the crowds and down the escalator.  
When I was in First grade, you dressed me as a bride for Halloween.  You gave me your blusher to use as a veil.  I remember you telling me to be careful with it.   What I really remember is how I lost your blusher and I was so upset but you weren’t.  At least I don’t remember you being mad.  
I remember putting on your nightgowns and high heels playing dress up when we lived in Harrison.  I remember how you would take me to the beauty parlor and do my make up for all my dance recitals.  
I remember you taking me to the Harrison Library for Story time, arts and crafts.  
I remember how nervous you were to drive us to the Dentist which required you to drive on the highway.  You would tell us to sit quietly until we got there.  
I remember how you ran around last minute trying to find a gown for me to wear for my grammar school graduation.  I had told you just a few days before that everyone is wearing gowns therefore I had to have one to.  
I remember how you told me that I should keep trying out for the Twirling squad when I was so upset I didn’t make it the first year I tried out.  I remember the pizza party you gave me for my sweet sixteen.  I remember all the band competitions you and dad went to see, freezing your butts off while cheering us on.  
I remember how you helped me filling out all my college applications and how you were ready to kill me (sorry about that) when I decided the week before not to go.  
I remember how excited you were the night I got engaged.  I remember how you helped me decide on my wedding dress.   I have such great memories of getting ready the morning of my wedding, how beautiful you looked in your gown.  When I look at my wedding pictures, I will always remember how happy you were that day.  I’m so happy that we were able to share that day together.  I love to watch the video of you smiling, laughing and having a great time.  
I remember calling you the day I found out I was finally pregnant.  You were so happy and excited, even more so when I told you I was having twin boys.  You couldn’t wait for them to arrive! I will always cherish the memories of having you by my side during my exams, ultrasounds and at my baby shower.  
One of my most favorite times and cherished memory is having your help when I first brought the twins home.  I promise you I will always tell my boys how you and daddy stayed with us the first five months of their lives.  I will make sure they know how you took care of them right from the day they came home.   I will tell them how you sang “Love me Tender” to them to help them fall asleep.
These are just some of the memories that come to mind.
I just want to thank you for teaching me love, kindness, respect, friendship and faith. Thank you for always being there for me during the good and the bad times.  For never judging me and always listening when I needed someone to talk to.   For lending me a shoulder to cry and lean on when I needed one.  
Thank you for giving me my love of books, reading and writing.   Thank you for all the wonderful birthday, holidays and family vacations.  Thank you for being such a great mom and teaching me how to be a mom too.   You set the bar so high, I hope one day I’m as good a mom as you are.
I promise I will be there for Patty and Teddy when they have their baby.   I will make sure I pass all the things you taught me about baby care to Patty.  I will throw her the best baby shower ever!
I promise to kiss and hug the boy’s goodnight from Grandma every night.  I promise they will know who you are, how much they meant to you and how much you loved them.  
Lastly, I promise to take care of dad for as long as he is with us.  I will make sure he has happy days, wonderful memories and peaceful nights.  
Mommy, I love you forever to the moon and back.  Until we meet again, I love you.  
Love Always,
Joann
xoxo

My sister's letter:
Dear Mom, my Angel,
I know God needed an angel and he guided you to heaven.  Thank you for teaching me to love with all my heart…. to show kindness to all….but most of all always keeping God and my family in my daily life to guide me in the right direction.

I love you and no matter what I do and No matter where I am, you will always be with me.  
Until the day we meet again in Heaven, I love you always.

Love Always your little daughter,

Patty
Xoxo

God Took her to his loving home.
God saw her getting tired, a cure was not to be.
He wrapped her in his loving arms and whispered “Come with me.”
She suffered much in silence, her spirit did not bend.
She faced her pain with courage, until the very end.
She tried so hard to stay with us but her fight was not in vain.
God took her to his loving loving home and freed her from the pain.

Eulogy:

My earliest memory of my mom is when I was about 3 years old.  We were both laying down taking a nap and she suddenly sat up and looked at me.  She said to me, “Mommy is going to go to the hospital now to get your brother or sister.”  The next thing I knew, my nanny came upstairs and we watched as she got into a car to go and apparently give birth to my sister, Patty.  For some reason I always remembered that day.  
I have many memories of my mom, as I’m sure this is the case for many of us. Your relationship with your mother is one of the most important relationships you will have during your lifetime.  Your mom is the first person you loved and the first person who taught you how to love.  She’s the first person in your life who taught you many of your first life lessons, if not all of them.  Some of the things she taught you will be obvious in your everyday life and there are the lessons that are hidden until the time you need them.  
I realized about a month ago during a conversation with my mom that she continues to teach me even as an adult.  Many of us go through life questioning our faith, our religion and our ability to believe in things we don’t necessarily see in front of us.    I had a difficult time during my mom’s illness coming to terms with God and his intentions.  
I asked my mom if she had any doubts about her religion, or God with everything that was happening.  She very quickly, said, “No.”  She said to me, “I can’t tell you that I’m not disappointed, as I know I have so many people praying for me.”  I said to her, “This is what I’m struggling with now, why hasn’t he answered our prayers?”  She said, “Well, Father Granada once told her a little story about God answering our prayers.  He hasn’t answered our prayers just yet, not yet, but he still can.  Father Granada told me that when we pray to God, it’s almost like a child asking repeatedly for something they cannot have.  Eventually, we give in, and give it to them.   It’s not a perfect analogy, but he said sometimes you just have to keep praying to get your answer.”  
At that moment, I realized that she still believes in God, our faith and the power of prayer.  I thought to myself if she could still believe and hasn’t given up on God, then I can’t either.  I really believe now this is probably the last lesson she really taught me.  
I am sure my mom was greeted happily by my grandparents, her grandparents and all the pets we lost along the way.  I can sleep a little easier knowing my family and I have our own angel watching over us now.    
My Aunt Rosemarie also reminded me last week this is not the end for my mom but the beginning of her Eternal life with God.  The life we all will live with God one day.   We will all be together again someday, in the meantime, always treasure the time you have here on Earth.  Make the most of each day, love one another and keep God by your side.  No matter what happens in your life, God is always by your side.  
God Bless you all.

One last note,
I just want to take the time to acknowledge my dad and how he took care of my mom the last 13 months.  He was at her side, 24/7.   His devotion, care and  love is what I believe gave my mom the strength to get through each day.  Patty and I want to thank him for being such a rock and taking care of our mom.  We love him very much.  
Lastly,  my dad would always tell my mom every day, sometimes several times a day, but he would always tell her I love you more today than I did yesterday.   Make sure when you go home tonight to your loved ones, you take the time to tell them how much you love them.  



Another update.

Dec 03, 2013 - 3 comments

Thank you ladies for your continued support.  It's been really difficult these last few weeks.  My mom is doing ok.  When we moved her out of the rehab into the hospital at that point I honestly thought she would never get better.  I was preparing myself for the worse.  
Then she started to get all the medical treatment she was not getting at the rehab center and did a total turn around.  Now of course the cancer is still there but she was alert, awake, talking understandably and eating finally.  I was so happy that she was back to her normal self.  I thought I'd never get to talk with her again.  Apparently, the rehab (which is also a nursing  home) was giving her percoset every four hours even though she didn't need it.  She was so drugged up she had no memory of being there.  The nurse told my dad she was asking for it over night.  We don't think she was really, they must have assumed her slur voice was one of pain and just gave it to her.  She never even had any physical therapy while there.  Her regular dr. came in to see her and he made the call to admit her.  Thank God because we discovered more fluid on her other lung and two blood clots in her neck and arm.  Since then all of her numbers, vitals, have been great.  She's on a blood thinner and its been regulated now.  But Sunday she sounded funny to me, yesterday again.  I haven't spoken to her today because she's sleeping.  Once again, she's in that sleepy stage not sure what is going on.  
I talked to my dad about it, but he is getting very upset with me.  They actually wanted to release her today because they felt that she would be good to go back to rehab now.  This was based on how she was over the weekend which I thought yes I think she can actually do it now.  But in the last 24 hours her sodium is up so she will need another iv drip so now they're pushing for a Thursday release.  My sister and I are concerned because we are not sure she is really capable of doing any kind of therapy now. She hasn't been up on her feet at all really.  Its very hard to get her in and out  of bed as she has just started using the porta potty.  
The next issue my mom's family is outraged that she is going back to the same rehab  but this is the closest to my parents house and the hospital.  Should she have to go back in, my dad is able to stay over night with her and that's extremely important to him.  So its been a lot of issues, stress and tension.  I'm trying to keep a clear head but I'm very overwhelmed.  
Thanks for listening.

Update

Nov 20, 2013 - 7 comments

Thank you ladies for all your prayers.  It's been really hard the last few days.  
On Friday she was admitted and after that it went down hill.     I started to write this journal yesterday so the days are off as to what is happening but I will add the update at the end.  

My mom had the procedure for her lungs, its a external tube that comes out of her back.  They said it would be temporary.  Once she starts having chemo and its effective, there will be less fluid in her lungs, so later on they can remove it.  It's just been very painful for her, the pulmonary dr said it could take a couple of weeks to adjust to it.  So its been really slow going for her.  Since she is mostly on morphine and percoset, she's been sleeping a lot.  Yesterday she slipped in the bathroom.  Even though the nurse and my dad helped her in, they told her to pull the string when she was finished, but she didn't.  She got up and went to wash her hands and the wires and tubes twisted under her feet and she went down.  So it was a big production because for her its very dangerous with the tube coming out the back.  If it moved it could puncture or really do a lot of damage.  Luckily, she's ok.  Ugh.  I feel so bad for her going through all of this.  In the meantime, my dad has been staying with us.  At first on Friday when he brought her to the emergency room he was aggravated.  He's not use to the big "city" hospital and was upset they didn't have private rooms in the ER.  I had to tell him that it wasn't important that her care would be more advanced and better than the community hospital she was going to.  He finally settled down but he was so nervous and very unfocused.  I wanted to meet them there but he was giving me a really hard time.  I knew he was going to have a hard time with it being in a new hospital and my dad's hearing isn't that great.  I'm sure he was struggling to hear the dr's and nurses.  He said to me its too noisy in here.  He also feels bad that he hasn't been able to stay over and that she doesn't have a private room.  Her roommate is a little mental so its hard to sleep because she is off the wall.  Last night they finally sedated her so my mom could get some rest.  They tried to get her a private room, but there isn't any available.  The other issue is he has been suffering with a bad toothache.  He went early Saturday to the dentist.  It turned out he needed to refill a filling.  But later that night, his other tooth started.  He hasn't been back to the dentist because he's been trying to be at the hospital as much as possible.  Today the oncologist is suppose to come in, but she has yet to visit.  So he doesn't want to leave just in case and a little while ago, they told him they are trying to make arrangements with the visiting nurse in their area to come and help with tube and she would be going home possibly tomorrow.  I'm not sure how I feel about this really.  She hasn't been up moving around at all.  They did say they are ordering a wheel chair too.  I'm a little confused because the other day the pulmonary dr. sounded like they had a plan.  They would get her up and moving around before she went home.  So I'm not sure what's going on with that.  They pulmonary dr. is in about 3 times a day though so that's great they are really watching her.  The new chemo doesn't start until she is healed from this procedure.  

****UPDATE  Ok well today finally we are getting somewhere.  I spoke to her new oncologist yesterday she was concerned about her as well.  Especially her stomach.  So this morning they did an xray and ultrasound, it showed she had fluid in the stomach as well.  So they drained it today.  She's actually more awake and alert today.  And she ate a good portion of her lunch.  Thank God because she wasn't eating anything.  Also her mental state seems better.  She was very disoriented and not making any sense when she talked to us.  Which she hardly said anything.  Thank God today she seems to be better.  So that's the news for now.  

The oncologist said we have to get her back to be strong for the chemo.  So I'm hoping in the next few days she will improve.  

I'm sorry if this made no sense I was writing half asleep lol.  Thank you all again for your continued prayers and support. xoxo

Hope!!

Nov 13, 2013 - 14 comments

We got some great hopeful news this morning!  This doctor, the nurses and staff is absolutely wonderful.  From the moment we arrived, I knew we were finally in the right place.  What a difference.  
First, this dr. said we needed to address her issues with the fluid in her lungs.  There are two possible solutions but one would require actual surgery, and a 2-3 day stay in the hospital.  The other procedure would be an outpatient option.  However, she is referring her to an Oncologist Pulmonary dr.  right there in the same cancer center.  Everything is under one roof! So my mom will be calling him tomorrow to get that started first.  
After that is addressed, she can start a new chemo.  This chemo is very effective in this type of cancer.  She said many of her patients have had great success with this type of chemo.  She also said she has other treatment options as well.  
So my mom was exhausted but I think she is really feeling relieved after being told there was no hope.  This dr today said There is always hope.  
Thank you so much ladies, I hope that I am here for each one of you as you all have been for me.  I'm not going anywhere so please know that you can turn to me for whatever you need.

xoxo