Another girl, another blog


February 24, 2009, 7:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Aaron passed away at 2:35pm yesterday, February 23, 2009.

He was surrounded by love, family and friends. He was comfortable and went peacefully.

I’m not okay, but I’m hanging in there. I’ve got my friends surrounding me, holding me up. I won’t be back here for awhile, but please know that having this blog for the past few months has helped me to deal with the pain of this illness, and I am incredibly grateful for the support you have all given to me.

Love to you all-
jamie

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Six years
February 16, 2009, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Aaron and I have a very interesting story. From our first date (he made me dinner; I didn’t drink wine so I had a Coke); to moving in quickly (four months after our 1st date); to getting engaged (I proposed on Leap Day), nothing about us has been traditional, normal or expected.

Our wedding was no different. We got engaged in 2000. Broke up in January 2001. Aaron was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2001, I moved back in later that month and on Sept. 12, 2001, he had his Whipple Procedure. That following Valentine’s Day, Aaron wasn’t feeling well and I was making soup for dinner. I turned around and he was on one knee, proposing marriage to me. We had an initial wedding date set for July 4, 2002. We hadn’t saved up enough money and kept bickering back and forth about all the details. We called off the wedding (not the engagement) and were living fairly happily in Huntington Beach.

One night we got into a fight about setting a date. I remember saying something along the lines like, “I need you to man up and set a date. I don’t want to be engaged forever, and if you do, then we need to rethink what we’re doing.” A few days later he was being very secretive with our roommates at the time. A few weeks later Aaron asked me, “What type of dress do you want to wear? A-line or princess cut?” This question surprised me, because this was a man who didn’t know the difference between white and ivory. We were helping Aaron’s mom move into her place in Mission Viejo and his Aunt Rosie spilled the beans–she asked us where we were registered and said she was excited to go to Vegas for the wedding.

I had about a week to get ready for the wedding. Aaron had taken care of all the details. He had plans to rent me a dress, but I ended up getting a dress at the Jessica Mclintock outlet in Huntington Beach which was on super-super-SUPER clearance. It cost me $24.24. And no, that is not a typo and the decimal is in the right spot.

We got married at the Paris Hotel on the Vegas strip. Aaron had a hook-up through work and we had our suite, for an entire week, comped. The room was amazing. It had a separate jacuzzi tub and a bidet in the bathroom (the bidet amused me to no end). We had a queen-sized bed with a princess canopy around it. Others who attended the wedding  were able to get their rooms free for one night and discounted for the rest of the weekend.

The ceremony was simple, but lovely. My dad walked me down the aisle like he couldn’t wait to get rid of me (my dad is 6’5″ and speeds up when he’s nervous), but clutched my hand like he didn’t want to let go. When I got to the alter, Aaron had been crying (I gave him a sappy card before the ceremony started), and I couldn’t stop smiling. From ear to ear, I grinned and grinned and grinned. 

Afterwards, we all had dinner at the italian restaurant at the Paris. Josh and Scott gave lovely best-man toasts and then Aaron and I walked the Strip in our wedding clothes. I, however, changed out of my heels and put on my blue and white Vans. 

Today is my sixth wedding anniversary. We had a beautiful Valentine’s Day dinner here at home (grilled ahi tuna, green beans, champagne) and tonight Aaron wasn’t feeling well so we scraped plans to go to our favorite romantic restaurant in Costa Mesa and stayed home instead. 

Earlier today the hospice nurse increased the morphine dose from 10mg/hour to 15mg/hour. The swelling is still awful and his breathing has become labored and difficult. He’s drifting in and out of sleep, uncomfortable and his bedsore isn’t healing.

Despite all of this horribleness, today I look back on that day six years ago and I smile. I smile because I’ve had six beautiful (sometimes rocky, sometimes REALLY rocky) years and have made countless memories with this wonderful man. Tonight I remember that walk up the Strip, freezing my behind off, and how he simply, effortlessly took his jacket off and gave it to me. Always protecting me, always looking out for me, always making sure that I was okay.

As this life I’ve been leading winds down (and it’s winding down far too soon, and much quicker than I imagined it would), I know that Aaron will continue to look out for me, and will protect me everyday for the rest of my life, from wherever he may be. He’s been fighting so hard, and for so long that the fact that he’s got any strength left now is an effort to take care of me and to stay here as long as he can for me.

After six years, two cancer diagnoses, being enrolled on hospice and seeing the decline in his health, the phrase “In sickness and in health, till death do you part,” has never been as true as it is today. But today I celebrate. Today I smile. Today I love.



Learning new things…
February 11, 2009, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Things I have learned while dealing with a husband with cancer:

-Bedsores are a pain in the ass to treat. They are often a precursor to a more serious condition or infection.

-Marijuana is sometimes more effective than compozine at controlling nausea.

-Marijuana is sometimes more effective than morphine at controlling pain.

-Liver failure is a bitch.

-Fatigue is contagious. Or so it seems.

-One person alone cannot do everything. No matter how hard they try.

-After draining fluid from the body, said body will try very hard to replace and replenish that fluid. Especially because you do not want the body to do this. The body can sense this, and works extra hard against you.

-It’s difficult to get a person with fluid build-up in their legs to get them to keep their legs elevated at night because of the pain. This causes more swelling, less elevation, etc, etc.

-Without the kindness and generosity of others, it would be impossible to deal and cope with any of this.



Conflict within
February 8, 2009, 9:15 pm
Filed under: life | Tags:

When everything with Aaron started happening in 2006, I was quite fond of using denial as my main defense mechanism. It was easy because I didn’t have to acknowledge reality, and I most certainly did not have to admit to myself or anybody else that my husband was going to die far too young.

Lately I’ve been suffering a crisis of conflict. I’ve written before about accepting the reality of the situation and there’s nothing new to say on that front. No, the conflict stems mostly from guilt. Of course I don’t want Aaron to die. I don’t. I wish I could miraculously cure cancer and save his life.

But then there is a part of me that is done. Done watching my husband be miserable and in pain all day, every day. Done waiting for the inevitable. Done wondering when it’s going to happen. Done taking care of people all day at work to come home and do it all night. Done working all day at work and then coming home and doing all of the work around the house. I’m exhausted. I want Aaron to be out of pain, I want this to be over. I want to move on with my life. I want to find happiness, where it may be.

And this is where my conflict comes from. I want Aaron to live, but I want this battle to be done. I don’t want him to leave, but I want to move on. I am so tired of these feelings being in my head, so tired of feeling bad for wanting my life to move on.

I think I need a good night of sleep and a back rub. 🙂