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My mom's wigs

Feb 07, 2013 - 0 comments
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Cancer

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wig

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chemo

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american cancer society



December 6, 2011, my mom left a voicemail on my phone, all giddy and happy explaining she'd just gotten out of her radiology appointment and her doctor felt optimistic and she did too because the tumors showed signs of shrinking. She was so happy. It wasn't often she felt upbeat and optimistic when she discussed the cancer. She wrapped up the message saying, "I'll see you at 1:00 at Eunice's and we'll pick out a wig or two and have some fun together!"
I listen to that message a lot. It's the last voicemail I got from her where she sounded like HER--her happy, radiant, smiling, humorous self. I still remember that day vividly. We goofed around in the store with hats and crazy looking wigs that were totally not her style and had such a great time. She bought three wigs and a few hats and scarves that day. One of the wigs was her favorite. It was a long style that was shoulder length. She wore that one often; said it made her feel like a CoverGirl because long hair on her naturally never looked so good and she usually kept her hair no longer than jaw-length. The other two wigs she bought were shorter styles, much like what she often wore naturally.
I don't think she ever got a chance to wear those two wigs. They were still wrapped in tissue paper in their little boxes. I had her funeral and cremation done in the long wig.
After she died and I got her house packed up and emptied and ready to sell, I found those two other wigs and the emotions welled up pretty badly. I decided to keep them but in a way, I didn't want them either--what am I going to do with them? But I wasn't ready to let them go, nor did I really have any idea what to do with them if I did. Sell them? I didn't know. I wasn't thinking straight, so I just put the boxes in another box and they got packed and moved into our home when we moved into our new house recently. I never knew what box they were in other than some random box in our garage.
My husband found them while unpacking earlier this week. He asked me what I wanted to do with them--he's always so careful how he approaches these subjects with me, which I appreciate. He said, "I know you'd probably like to keep these, so where would you like me to put them?"
That's when I knew, as if I wasn't even telling myself I had to do it, but like my mom's very presence was right there at that moment and gave me a sense of release of those wigs. I replied, "I want to donate them. I don't know why I didn't think of that before. I should donate them to a cancer clinic or some place like that."
Today, I went to the local American Cancer Society location and walked in the tiny building, clutching those two little boxes. The woman there asked if she could help me, and I said, "I had called the day before yesterday about donating my mother's wigs here. I have them to give to you."
She was such a sweet woman, and saw that in that moment, the emotions were building up fast and I was probably going to lose it. She told me I was so kind to do this and that they would be so appreciated, and she opened the boxes to look at them and told me they were absolutely beautiful and in exceptional condition. I said, "I don't think she had a chance to ever wear them."
She asked if I would like to see where they'd be placed so other women could browse and find what was suitable for them, and I said okay and walked into a small room behind her desk area, where a small selection of wigs, scarves, and hats were displayed. There were not as many there as I had expected. She said, "We are so grateful to receive donations like yours, because many women come in and this is a small moment of joy they have, getting to pick the hairstyle they can have while losing their own to chemo."
I replied, "I know. I know how much it means. I helped my mom pick out the ones I'm donating, and we had so much fun together."
She told me they let any woman who comes in battling cancer and chemo pick out a wig and piece of headwear of their choice at no cost.
I hope and pray that the lovely women who choose my mom's wigs win their battle.
I walked out of there barely keeping myself together, but I didn't cry. I am now, though. Ha.

My little boy is THREE!

Jan 24, 2013 - 0 comments

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It really does not seem like three years have flown by already and my "baby" boy, Greydon, is going to have a birthday this weekend. Three years old! And you know what? I swear this boy is three going on 23, lol. Each new day brings something new out of his blossoming, intelligent personality.
He is so smart...and SO mischievous! And a spitfire of a little thing! He is so independent and so funny. He has this giggle that never fails to light up any situation, even when he should be in trouble for some prank he's successfully pulled off. Oh yes, this boy is a handful and a half of wit and daredevil combined. He keeps Daddy and me on our toes, that's for sure! Greydon is the kind of kid that, when all gets quiet and he is not in sight, you don't need to worry that he's eating something he shouldn't or drawing on the walls or attempting an escape, no--you should probably worry that he's figured out how to take something apart and will rebuild it into some sort of booby trap, lol.
Oh my goodness, this boy--he is a ray of sunshine in our lives, packed into the form of a firecracker. That impish smile, mischievous giggle, those cherub-like bleach-blonde curls, and those puppydog brown eyes--he can light up a room and have anyone wrapped around those little fingers in a heartbeat. He is so sweet and affectionate and has this way of wrapping himself around you when he snuggles up, and that's how he wound up with the nickname "Koala Bear."
But don't be fooled, as the general image that comes to mind with koalas are cute, snuggly, laid-back little critters, right? Ah, but they are known to have quite a temper, especially if they don't eat enough eucalyptus is what I've heard, which keeps them kind of sedated. There is this picture that can be found with a google image search of "wet koala."
Yeah...without a doubt, Greydon can be the wet koala. He has got a fiery little temper that has gotten us a few meetings with his school teachers and daycare providers on occasion. Whenever this little temper ignites, which is usually first thing in the morning upon waking up (he is most definitely NOT a morning person, lol) or when he believes with every ounce of his being that he should be able to do something by his independent, willful little self with no interferences--we say the "wet koala" comes out, lol. I will admit, the "wet koala" has been a challenge to tame this year, but he is making wonderful progress and I am SO proud of him! He is maturing and gaining such a wonderful sense of self control with each passing week.
I love everything about who he is and who he is becoming. I love how he has a complete obsession with trains and the Thomas the Train characters, I love how he loves music and will sometimes sing along to songs in the car with me or hears a tune and starts busting out the moves and dancing, I love how he talks in a thick southern twang (which is funny because our immediate family either has no southern accent or a hardly noticeable one) and says certain words, and I love how his favorite color is red and how that color matches everything about who he is.
But what makes my heart swell most with him is just how much he reminds me in SO many ways of my mom, from the wavy hair (my husband and I have completely straight hair; Greydon has hair that looks JUST like my mom's) to talking in his sleep, and that strong will and radiant spitfire personality. There is so much of her in him, even my husband regularly says things like, "That's all Grandma Laurie coming out right there!" And it's true, lol. It would have been so fun to see the two of them have more time together to bond if she was still alive. It's just so funny--for as much as my older son, Trevor, is me made over in personality and the clone of my own father in his appearance, and Greydon looks like my husband's twin, he sure is my mom's personality twin without a doubt! It keeps me smiling every time I see it come through in him a little each day.
I can't wait for the years ahead with this precious little boy of mine. Well...then again, maybe I can wait just a little. I wouldn't mind if time would slow down just a touch. I know he's going to become a wonderful little boy just like his big brother and he's going to be a great big brother himself in a few short months.
Happy birthday, my sweet little Koala Bear! I love you beyond words and I am so proud of everything about you!

10 week count-up

Jan 23, 2013 - 0 comments

I had my 27 week OB appointment this morning that included the glucose test, which I passed. I also got the Rhogam shot, which I don't remember hurting as badly with my last two pregnancies as it did this time--it was like 20 bee stings in the butt cheek and then I spent the next half hour with half my rear end feeling like it was on fire, lol.
My blood pressure checked out normal as did my iron levels, so I'm not anemic like I had been in my last two pregnancies. I kind of thought I would be considering the last 2-3 weeks I've been getting lightheaded, shakey, fatigued and sluggish feeling, and my heartbeat feels like it's pounding too hard most of the time. Anemia would be an easy fix--just start an iron supplement. But, my hemoglobin levels were perfectly normal, so I'm not anemic, which is good but...confusing. Not to mention concerning.
I had all those same symptoms for weeks with my second pregancy, which led to a severe episode of preterm labor at 33 weeks. I was hospitalized for four days and on a magnesium sulfate drip for three days before the labor stopped. I was sent home on bed rest and Procardia, a heart and blood pressure medication used to treat preterm labor conditions by slowing and weakening contractions. Thanks to immediate intervention with mag sulfate, steroids, and followed up with four weeks of Procardia, I managed to make it to 38 weeks before giving birth. But it was without a doubt the most physically taxing, worst pain experience I have ever been through in my life. The pain of the mag sulfate was excruciating, and bed rest with a medication that has the most miserable side effects ever when you're already miserable was without question worse than being in actual labor and giving birth.
Anyway, I've been getting concerned over the last two weeks because many of the same symptoms have been appearing and getting consistent every day: the overwhelming fatigue, shakiness, lightheadedness, pounding heartbeat, feeling extremely weak, horrible intensifying pressure on my pubic bone that radiates through my hips and lower back, and braxton-hicks contractions that sporadically happen 2-3 times a day in 1-2 hour intervals, with 6 or more contractions in that interval (painless now, but if history repeats itself, these contractions will get far more regular each day and much more painful).
My OB did a cervix check and so far, everything is just as it should be. No dilation, no effacement. But she decided to go ahead and prescribe me Procardia to use as a preventative right now. I am to take it as needed when I get the intervals of contractions. If the contractions become more intense and pick up to more intervals than twice a day, then I should start taking the Procardia daily.
No problem. I will do whatever it takes to avoid preterm labor again, especially a dose or two of magnesium sulfate. No thank you to that. And bed rest too. Bed rest *****.
I have 10 weeks left before I'm considered full term. I am determined to make it for 10 weeks with no complications if I can help it.
Just 10 weeks. Then my body can decide to do whatever it wants. Evict my lil guy or keep him cookin' another three or more weeks...doesn't matter. Just as long as I don't go into labor in the next 10 weeks, I'll be happy.

Baby name dilemma

Jan 22, 2013 - 9 comments

I'm nearly to my third trimester and I never thought I'd ever have this predicament, considering my husband and I chose two names (boy and girl) a year and a half ago when we planned this pregnancy. We found out last month that we're having our third son, and confindently had a name to call him the moment we knew, a name that we had waiting for him: Asher Zane.
He is known by that name now, not just to our immediate family, but, well...to everyone. Once we knew we were having a son, we announced it to all friends and family along with his name.
The fact that we chose this name so long ago was not just to have the first moments of knowing our child's gender and being able to give him/her an identity, but also because the meaning of the name this time around was very important to us. If this had been a girl, we would have named her Laurel Evangeline; Laurel after my mom, Laurie, who passed away last March, and the name means victory and esteemed stature. Evangeline means "bearer of good news and blessings."
Well obviously, we're not having a girl, and our boy's name, Asher, means "happiness" or "joyful" and Zane means "God's gracious gift." Since I don't necessarily find myself fond of the name Laurence or any other variation of that name for a boy (in order to name him in honor of my mom), we found and decided on Asher Zane since we liked the ease of flow and sound to it as well as the meaning bearing a lot of significance to us, especially since this pregnancy is the biggest blessing and source of joyful anticipation since the passing of my mom 10 months ago. Also, although this pregnancy had been planned over a year and a half for our lives, we did not think or expect that when we started the trying-to-conceive process last August that it would happen on the first try. So it really seems like everything about this conception and expected child has been a source of happiness and a gift from God.
But here's where my recent name dilemma has come into play. While meaning of a name holds the most significance to me, origin is kind of my weird OCD thing about names. Everyone in my immediate family (myself, husband, and two older sons) have names with origins that are either English or Welsh. Personally, I like how all our names "fit" together from the same general location of Europe, the British Isles, my name being Audrey, my husband's, Brandon, my youngest son's, Greydon (all English), and my oldest son's, Trevor (Celtic/Welsh). Even our middle names are of these origins.
Now, as much as I am in love with the name we've chosen for our youngest based on its meaning, it's entirely Hebrew in origin. Asher is a Biblical name (one of the 12 brothers of Joseph) and Zane is a Hebrew variation of John...or so says many of the baby name sites and books. So...to me, as much as I'm used to the name already and have told everyone that this baby will be named this name and everyone is already calling him by this name...in the back of my mind, every time I hear it or say it, I honestly think the name stands as kind of the odd one out in our immediate family. Nothing I can't get used to, I'm sure, and just forget over time. But for now, it's just...like a soundbit that doesn't quite fit with the flow of our names. But I realize this is just my personal weirdo issue and no one else cares, so like I said, this is something that I can get over in a matter of time and not even notice after awhile.
Anyway, a few days ago, I was scanning through a bunch of names on an app to help a friend come up with some ideas for the baby they're expecting a couple of months after ours is due. Naturally, I look up categories of origins that appeal to me first--generally starting with Celtic and moving along into English, Gaelic, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, with many of the names falling into multiple categories (like Gaelic, Celtic, and Welsh, for example, and Irish and Scottish). By chance, I came across two names that immediately stood out to me when I saw them (both of Irish/Scottish origin), each by sight, pronunciation, and meaning. It was like finding two needles in a haystack, honestly. They do not have the same meanings as Asher and Zane, but the meanings they do have give me more connection to the memory of my mom as an individual, rather than meanings surrounding circumstances and emotion. However, these two names, being of Scottish/Irish origin, are spelled uniquely and would almost certainly need to have the pronunciation of them corrected with anyone and everyone who encounters it, BUT they are names that, once you DO know the pronunciation, it's easy to see the phonetic connection and simply adjust your brain to saying it that way with total ease--unlike many of those names that I do like, but would never use simply because the spelling and pronunciation, no matter how many times you look at it and say it...you just can't make the connection unless its a name that is used in that specific realm of origin--know what I mean?
The significance these names have in their meaning to me in connection with my mom is, in the first name, "mighty." My mom, to me, was my hero. She was the strongest person I knew, from her stong-willed personality, intelligence, creativeness, assertiveness, and her zest for life. Nothing could bring her down, nothing could stand in her way, nothing was too much of a challenge for her. She fought into the very last moments of her life, sure to hold on for me and wait for me to rush to be at her side before she let go. She took her last breath as I leaned down to lay my head on her shoulder and told her I was here, and she could let go. She literally fought for every breath, every second of her life, to be sure I could carry on, live with myself after her death, knowing I had been there the moment it mattered to say goodbye and how much I loved her and would miss her. Yes, my mom, to me, was Mighty, which is why this name stood out to me in a way that connection could honor her.

The name is Raighne. It is pronounced "RAY-nee" or "REH-nee," either way. I prefer "ray-nee."

The second name, which I'd use as the middle name because the spelling and pronunciation are just a little more "unique," is Achaius. It is pronounced "ah-KEE-us." It means "Horseman" (Irish) or "Friend of horses" (Scottish).
This name has a special connection to memories with my mom because one of her most favorite animals were horses. She grew up with horses and often told me stories of her childhood and being labelled by her teachers and classmates as the "horse-crazy girl." I think she knew every classic horse story ever written, from Black Beauty to Misty of Chincoteague to collections of books in general filled with short stories and non-fiction about horses. She kept many of those books from her childhood and I have them on my bookshelves now. Her love for horses never ceased with age, and I inherited the same passion for horses and horseback riding as she had herself, so it was a really special connection. When we had two "pasture ponies" for years, some of my fondest memories I have spending time with my mom were on long trail rides around our ranch. A couple of years before she passed away, she got to fulfill a lifelong dream she had, and that was to purchase a saddlebred horse and learn to ride either saddleseat or drassage. She found a local stable that provided saddleseat lessons. Her gelding she bought was a giant gray goofball named Charlie, and my gosh that horse was the definition of gorgeous (I recently had to sell him, which broke my heart).
Also, horses to me signify a lot of just who my mom was. Elegant, strong-willed, graceful, beautiful.
So you can see why that name also holds much significance to me. Along with that, well...to be honest it just flows with our last name in its meaning too, because our last name ALSO means "lover of horses," lol. Redundant, perhaps, but...I love horses so what does it matter?!

So here lies my name dilemma, and it's not as simple as just "plan to use the name for your next child." That is not realistic, in my opinion. First of all, I don't know if we are going to have another child. By golly, I'm about to have THREE boys (along with a husband who instigates as much mischief, if not more, than my sons) and honestly, I'm overwhelmed with that thought at the moment. IF we do decide to have a fourth, number four may turn out to be a girl. And going for a fourth is a BIG "maybe."
I can't imagine five. Even so...in the exremely low nearly impossible most likely never will happen chance of having five, again, who's to say the fifth won't be yet another girl?
What I'm getting at here is that there is no guarantee I'll never get to use one boy name or the other ever again. So it's either choose Asher Zane and stick with it, or change it to Raighne Achaius (and obviously, he will go by his first name only--middle name will only be used on documentation and when he's in trouble, lol).
My husband is completely fine with whichever I want to choose. I know he's leaning more toward the preference of Asher but that's only because he's used to it, as is everyone else. But he said if I feel that strongly about changing the name, that he doesn't mind at all and will support the decision I make since, as he tells me, "You're the one going through the physical demands of growing a human inside your body and you're the one who has to push him out, so you are totally entitled to the final say on his name as far as I'm concerned."
I've honestly not only spent the last few days deliberating this in my head and heart, but it has seriously been stressing me out! I truly feel like both names are absolutely perfect in their own significant ways and I'd probably do myself a favor to just flip a coin already, I don't know. With the name Asher Zane, I feel like I'm giving my child a name that carries a meaning of joy and healing in the midst of the toughest trial I've ever faced in my life so far, and with the name Raighne Achaius, I feel the meaning carries a strong connection to honoring the wonderful memories I have of my mom and her personality. Asher is an easy, culturally familiar name no one will have any issues reading or pronouncing. Raighne is of origins that "fit" with our family names and, once you tell people how it's pronounced, they'll "get it," much like with my son Greydon's middle name, Rhys (the original Welsh spelling of Reese, pronounced the same).
Trouble is, if I do decide to go with Raighne, then I don't think it'll be received too well by friends and family because like I said, everyone is already used to calling him Asher. Ultimately, it's a choice that falls only on myself and my husband, and Brandon has already told me that he's basically leaving it entirely up to me. If I change the name to Raighne and people don't like it, so what, right?
I don't know. I'm thinking maybe the best way to go is to wait until he's born and see which name suits him best, but until then, I don't think I can bear having people keep calling him Asher if I'm undecided and then just throwing everyone for a loop the day he's born and he is given a different name--that would be inconsiderate, in my opinion. Especially if some people plan on having little gifts personalized with the name Asher and ready to give for him when he's born.
Not really sure what to go with here.