Saturday, August 28, 2010

Glimpses into the future...

It's hard to say what the future holds. It's hard to say how I will feel in the future... only time will tell.

During the day the kids are usually running around doing their own things. Eden is at school, Oliver and Jaren play games, watch tv, or play around with each other while I'm cleaning or tending to Finny's needs. I'm not used to being away from Oliver for any long periods of time. Yesterday Ollie went trout fishing with my brother, Bryan, and was gone for the entire afternoon and into the evening. They were still gone around dinnertime and so we started eating without him. As I sat there and looked directly across the table at the empty chair where Oliver usually sits, I suddenly felt sick to my stomach and teared up as I thought of the future... possibly without him here physically. His laughter, his quick one-liners, his smile... how am I going to be able to handle the sadness that will come? I feel like I've been grieving from the first moment of diagnosis.

I've had someone say (behind my back) that I need to get it together because it's just going to get harder. Oh... ya think?! How am I supposed to be behaving??? It's interesting how people are toward me now. People don't talk to me as much anymore. There is more talking around me and not to me. People actually look at me and turn away. I know that people don't know exactly what to say so just say 'HI' or 'I'm here if you want to talk'... something... ANYTHING. I watched an episode of Dr. Phil the other day about a parent who has an ill child and they talked about this exact thing. I was thinking... 'EXACTLY!!! That's exactly what is going on right now." I just don't get it. Google it... google 'What to say to a parent with a terminally ill child'... I'm sure something will pop up. 'It's just too much work', 'I don't know what to say so I'll just ignore her' -- these what I feel people are thinking -- it's definitely what is portrayed. Actions definitely speak louder than words.

I've been keeping to myself lately because of certain things that have been happening and the distrust of others that has arisen. I know it's probably a coping mechanism, but I feel like I have to be guarded right now. I feel like I can't be honest with people anymore. People either can't handle it or they just don't care. Anyways... it's been difficult to feel so alone since I'm a social person. I'm just sick of putting myself out there to be judged and shrugged off.

I've started to see a counselor which has provided a safe outlet for me to speak freely and confidentially. It seems like lately people act like they care and then can't seem to keep their mouths shut, twisting things I say in the process. That is where the distrust of others is stemming from lately. It's helpful to be able to get an unbiased view of what is going on in my life and to have someone that knows about the grieving process be able to help me cope.

Please continue to pray for Oliver as well as my entire family. Pray for Oliver to continue to improve physically as well as mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He's been doing really well physically, but he's been struggling emotionally. He has also seen a psychologist, but he didn't care for it. The psychologist asked Oliver if he was afraid and Ed said that Oliver just started to cry. Who wouldn't be afraid?! I think it's difficult for him to realize and think about what is actually happening to him. He will change the subject or leave the room if something is bothering him. We just let him cry and offer an ear and a shoulder to cry on. We understand that it is the tumor that is affecting his emotions. These things were the first symptoms of his tumor, but we didn't know it at the time. Looking back, around October/November of last year (2009) he was more anxious, frustrated, aggressive -- things that he never was before. We were going to talk to his teacher and counselor to see what we could do for him. Back then we thought it may be signs of depression or side effects from his asthma medication, but now we now it was a symptom of the tumor. We are grateful that he is doing well physically. Today he was tossing the football around with Ed with his LEFT hand again! VERY good to see!

Please pray for Eden that she will be comforted at this time while we are concerned about Oliver. I'm sure she feels like everything is about him even though I try my hardest to divide my time and attention on all of them.

Please pray for Jaren and Finn as they are not aware of what is going on at this time. I pray that they will be able to enjoy the time they have with Ollie.

Please pray for Ed and I that we will know what to do and what to say to Oliver if and when he asks us questions. Please pray that we will be strong and filled with the Spirit so that he can feel love from Heavenly Father. I pray that I will be able to feel that love as well.

Sometimes I feel as if people think we have given up. We have chosen to stay in Iowa with family and not travel for medical care, thus splitting up the family. We have chosen to forgo chemo at this time because we don't want Oliver to be sick. We feel that there just isn't enough evidence that it helps lengthen life. It just destroys the quality of life. We have been able to go places and do things as a family and watch him play and fish and laugh and run -- things he wouldn't be able to do otherwise. I know that we are in the minority in our decision. As parents we have to make those tough decisions and not judge others by what they feel is best for their child and their family. I haven't given up on Oliver. I haven't given up on the prospect of a miracle. I believe in miracles and I believe that he can be healed IF it is Heavenly Father's will. It doesn't matter how much faith we have, but WHO we have faith in and having faith that His will be done. He knows the when and the why. I pray that I will be blessed with peace to deal with whatever comes... whatever emotions come my way. I pray that we can get through this time together -- make memories that will last this lifetime and sustain us until we can be together again, if that is His will. I'm trying to prepare spiritually for what will happen emotionally later on. It's been a struggle I'm not going to lie. This has by far been the hardest thing I've had to go through. I've never imaged that I would be dealing with the possible death of a child... never ever thought this would happen to me, but it is and I have to go through it. I have to do what I can and rely on Heavenly Father for the rest. It's in His hands... it always has been.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

ER Visit

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tonight Ed and I were still up chatting at about 11:30 pm when Ollie came out of his room and said that his throat felt like it was closing in on him and was really scratchy. Ed gave him Benedryl and started him on his Albuterol breathing treatment.

**Oliver has had asthma since he was 2 years old and has many food and environmental allergies. He was allergic to wheat and eggs and is still allergic to milk, peanuts and tree nuts. He's also allergic to maple and oak trees, mold, dust mites, timothy grass, pigweed, ragweed and cockleburs. He's had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital several times the past 7 years so we know the signs of an attack, but this one was the worst by far.**

His breathing was extremely labored and beads of sweat were forming on his face. He was warm to the touch and I could tell he was very uncomfortable. The first treatment wasn't working and through labored breaths he asked us to call the ambulance. I have to admit that I was getting scared the more time that had passed without any sign of his breathing getting better. It was getting so bad that I thought he might lose consciousness. VERY SCARY. Ed called 911 and a fire engine came first and then the ambulance. There must have been around 5 or 6 men in our living room. Eden had gotten up and was really worried about Oliver. They had us give him a second treatment. His heart rate was at about 150 beats per minute. Ed's brother and his wife came over to stay with the rest of the kids so Ed and I could both go to the hospital with him. They got him on the stretcher and loaded him into the ambulance where they put in an IV and gave him a third breathing treatment.

So many thoughts were running through my mind. What if his lungs were filling with fluids?What if he stops breathing? I know the doctors say that the heart and lung function eventually shuts down and his lungs are already compromised and have been for years but is this when it is supposed to end? What if he dies tonight? No one would have been able to say goodbye. My brother is in another state for work and would be crushed if he were gone when he passed. It was a flurry of fears that took place in such a short amount of time.

In the ER, they gave him a fourth treatment and then oxygen. After a while he seemed to be breathing easier, but kept complaining that his nose was running. He was hooked up to several different things and after a while he felt better and said that he wanted to 'get all this junk off my body' and go home. They did some blood work and found that his potassium was a bit low. He also had some chest x-rays to rule out pneumonia. The doctor had said there was some 'fluff' in his x-ray but he didn't know what it was. He said that he was glad the treatments were helping, gave us some orapred, a steroid, and told us to call back if anything else happened. He also told us to follow up with our doctor in Iowa City as well as Ollie's pediatrician.

Hickory Hills - Fishing

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Today we decided to get our fishing licenses and head out to Hickory Hills park to go fishing with my brother, Bryan and the kiddies. First we stopped at Hanks for some worms and suckers for the kiddos, of course. I love the huge hook on the sign out front!

A beautiful Iowa cornfield on a sunny afternoon.

Another glimpse of the Iowa countryside.

Jaren and Uncle Bryan

I loved the reflection in the water.

Is that not the cutest kid... ever?!

Eden getting the first catch of the day!

Oliver and his little fishy...

Bear and Ollie

Jaren not quite sure how to 'hold the fish'... hehe

Ed and his lovely prize!

The kids fishing off the dock.

Ollie caught the biggest fish, a bluegill. We threw it back though and he didn't like that too much.

Oliver and his Uncle Bryan

Searching for some shade. It was a HOT one!

This kid LOVES fishing!

Mr. Finny - His outfit says, "I caught a fish this big!"

Finn (7 months) and Eden (7 years)

The other kids and I were watching the clouds rolling by. This one kind of looked like a guy doing a belly flop!

We didn't see many of the animals, but we saw an albino deer that Jaren loved to feed through the fence. He didn't want to leave.

MOM DATE - Black Light Mini Golf

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Today I dropped off Bear and Finn at my mom's house and surprised the kiddos with a MOM DATE! We went out to eat at Panera Bread and then Black Light Mini Golfing at the mall. We also shopped a bit and I let them play at the play area in the mall as well. I think they had a fun time!

I LOVE the murals that are painted on the walls!

Oliver trying to get the ball onto the platform and jumping out of his own way!

Focusing on making a hole in one!


Ollie yelling at me that I never see him hit it. I told him I was going to stuff him in the treasure chest to his left!!!

Water Balloon Fight at Grandma's House

July 20, 2010

Saandi, Jaren, Oliver

Eden, Amanda, Sanda

Breaking into teams and finished the last few balloons.

Ollie gets a good one on Saandi... hey... isn't he on YOUR team, Ollie?!

The boys are making their move.




Ollie's revenge...

Saandi helping Jaren with the balloons...

The boys are ready for round 2!

I LOVE the look on Bear's face when he's running away from the balloons and one almost hits him!

The gang's all here! I love their poses!

Jaren modeling his new after swim wear...