Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I feel the need to apologize to all you millions of people out there in cyber space that actually care about the details of my life. I just get so busy that I can not find time to actually "relax" enough to come here and somehow put my day on paper! And if I don't relax enough to do that, then it somehow comes off as more of a rant, or a vent. Neither of those options are what I truly want to use this for.

In my bible study this past week, I was reading in Matthew, the 24th and 25th chapters. I was reading over the parables that Jesus used to teach important things to his people. The one that the study zeroed in on was about the ten virgins and their ten lamps. They all filled their lamps and went out to look and wait for the bridegroom. It apparently was a longer wait than some of them anticipated. Their "lights" went out before he came for them. When they realized he was coming, they had to run find some oil for their lamps so that they could somehow get their "light" back. The others were prepared, they had not allowed their lamp to go out, they had not run out of oil.....they were prepared for the long haul. No matter how much time it took, no matter how hard it was to be ready, they were faithful. And when the bridegroom came, there they were, ready and prepared, lights shinning brightly for the bridegroom. After they went in with the bridegroom, he closed the door behind them. When the others returned, having tried the "I will get ready at the last minute, and then I will be able to go" theology, they were not allowed to enter. Those that continued to live a life of faith, those that continued to let their light shine, those that continued to watch for His return, were the ones that actually were allowed to enter. It just breaks my heart to see so many, even those in my own family, continue to make decisions that are so opposite to Christ's teachings. Everyone will say they are Christians, but continue to live in sin. Open sin, daily, consciously choosing to live in sin that the bible teaches against. They live a life that God condemns! And what's worse, I don't think they even have any guilt at all. The Bible says, "it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that, the judgement." Do they not understand to willfully sin, willfully live daily in sin, that they will be judged some day? How can they live with that? How can they do what they do, every day, knowing that in the blink of an eye, they will be standing before the Lord Jesus, and they will be judged for every mindless thought, every willful disobedience, every choice, and every motive they made against God. This is why self-control is so very very important. When you are standing in front of God himself, you will not be able to use any lame excuses or rationalization of why you did what you did. You will be judged. We will all be judged for not only our actions, but our motives for those actions. So even if you are doing something that looks good to all those around you, if your reason for doing it is inherently bad, then you won't get "credit" for doing it! Understand? It's kind of like my brother-in-law said a few years back, "You don't get credit for being submissive if you are kicking and screaming while you are being submissive." You have to have joy in the journey, no matter what journey you are on. It's the ability to say "whatever, Lord, whatever." I remember telling my daddy that, as he was fighting Leukemia. He was tired of the fight so to speak. He kept telling me that if this was the way he was going to live, if this was his life from now on, then he didn't want to do it anymore. It was more about quality than quantity. We had many long discussions about picking and choosing our ministry. Many discussions about how he had taught me to walk the path that was laid before me. He had taught me that we were not allowed to quit, just because the path was uphill or hard. Living the life the Lord had chosen for us was all that mattered. For some that was a life in prison (Paul), for others it was a life as a slave. But both lives mattered to God, and they were doing what God asked them to do. In one of those discussions, I compared his 25+ years as pastor of a large congregation, in a nice church, living in a comfortable home, and driving a Cadillac to his ministry opportunity now in St. Louis University Hospital. Maybe now he was to minister to these folks up here. I smile as I remember those heart to heart talks with my daddy. I miss him so very much. I miss those challenging discussions about interpretation of scripture. I still remember him giving me a 4 page "sermon" complete with 3 points and a closing shortly after I told him I was going to have a home birth, without a doctor present! I remember us discussing the peace that passes all understanding regarding that decision. I also remember him telling me that I added ten years to his life every time I had a home birth. I told him he added ten years to my life every time he went to Florida in the middle of hurricane season!! Oh how I miss those playful jabs at each other. This current path I am walking is not one that I am walking by choice. As a matter of fact, I don't like it at all. I hate Alzheimer's Disease with every bone in my body. When someone has a disease such as cancer, there is always some degree of compassion for what people are going through, some understanding of what people are going through. With Alzheimer's, it is considered a mental disease, and not much is known about it. Nobody knows what causes it, nor is there a cure for it. And it is so much more than "wandering and burning things". This disease takes away the ability to think....logically. It is slow to progress, but progress it does. I am watching my momma decline daily. I can place her in front of the mirror and tell her that we are getting ready to go to bible study, so she needs to put on her makeup. I will stand there until she reaches for her makeup bag, and pulls out her makeup. At that point, I will sometimes walk away to go do something else to get ready to go. When I return, she has not put on her makeup. I can fix her a plate of dinner and she will eat it. I will then take the plate and put it in the sink. Later, as we are cleaning up and putting food away, she will inform us that she has not eaten yet, and would like to have a plate before all the food is put away. This is what it is like to live with someone who has no short term memory. She has now been living with us for over a year. And yet, every single night she will ask if she brought a toothbrush or a gown to sleep in. Every single night she will wonder if she has clothes to wear tomorrow, or if she will have to rinse these out in the sink and wear them again tomorrow. And yet, occasionally, she will say she has been here long enough and needs to pack up and go back to her house. When she is upset about something, she will ask me where her car is, and if it is at her house. She will ask that I take her to her house so she can check on things, and when I take her there, she won't even go inside the house. She will get out of the car, set down in her swing, and stay there until we get ready to go. At that point, I will remind her it is an hour drive and she might need to go potty before we leave. Usually at that point, she will go inside and go potty before coming back outside and getting in the car and coming back here with me. If the ceiling fan is on and the air conditioning is set on 76, she will insist that the girls put on socks and shoes instead of flip flops because "winter's coming on". Today, I actually bumped up the A.C. a bit higher. Momma asked me if I was hot or cold, what I was doing to the thermostat. I told her I was bumping it up so the AC unit would not kick on as much. Later, my daughter was laying in the floor saying it was soooo hot in here. Momma quickly told her she should go outside for awhile, and cool off so she could appreciate this heat inside here! I know that is a circulation problem, so I usually keep a blanket close for momma. It is easier to warm her up than make everyone else sweat. I wish it was as simple as telling the same story over and over. I wish it was as simple as repeating herself, and asking the same question over and over. It is being negative all the time, about everybody. When you have no short term memory, you cannot follow directions. She wants to be able to help do this or that, but I am running out of jobs I can actually give her that she can actually do. She is not able to do circle the word books anymore. When I give her the towels to fold, that will take her over an hour. I have to give her 6 forks, or six plates because she cannot remember the answer when she asks "how many do we need?". I will tell her, I will answer the question she asks, but it doesn't matter. She will not remember and will just set the table with as many as she wants. That's ok with me. She feels she is being helpful and more importantly, she feels useful. It is extremely important that she still feels like she has worth, and is able to do things. But I admit, that I live each day with a fear that this will be the day that I will have to stand up against my momma, and tell her that she cannot go back home and live, and that no, she cannot drive her car anymore. Her independence is gone, she just doesn't know it, and for that I am grateful. That is my job, to not let her know, not let her be aware of how much she has lost, and how much she can no longer do. That is a full time job. The absolute highlight of her day is when they bring Quincy to me to babysit. I love having Quincy, my grand-daughter. But momma thinks we should not tell her no for any reason. It's ok if she wants to finger paint in Grandma's eggs, then walk away and finger paint on my couch! It's ok if she wants that jelly toast, "she's hungry", and of course, it's ok if she takes that jelly toast over to my coffee table or couch and smear it across the table. We can just wipe it up, no harm done. So by the time Quincy leaves that night, I am one tired grandma. But the good thing is that she gets Grandma Adams up and out of her chair! I will ignore the toy on the floor, or halfway under the couch. My momma will get up out of her chair and pick up after Quincy all day long as well. She is afraid Quincy will step on a toy and fall over them. I can tell it wears momma out, but she is happy, smiling, giggling like a little girl most of the time. She gets mad if anyone else plays ball with Quincy instead of her, and she will tell you about it!! But there are enough moments that momma shows up, my sweet momma shows up, that keeps me going. I am grateful for those moments. Thank you Lord for those moments.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Yesterday, I got momma up early in case she wanted to go with me to take my daughter Kate to the airport. Kate's roommate for the last year has moved to Hawaii with her family and has invited Kate to come for a visit. They would provide her "room and board", so it would only cost her a plane ticket. What a deal!! She has been saving for quite a while, but finally had enough for a plane ticket, so she put in for time off work, and began looking for a ticket. She finally found one and booked it, leaving March 31st. She had not mentioned needing me at all to take her to the airport so I didn't really plan for that. The night before her flight, I was reading on Facebook, the conversation between her and her sister about how anxious Kate was about the airport security, getting to the right gate, etc. She put on Facebook that her boyfriend was willing to take her, as well as her sister, but she really really wanted her mom to take her! She just needed a mom for that. I laughed out loud and told Keith she had not said a word! Almost instantly, my phone got a text from Kate asking me what my plans for tomorrow (3/31) were. I responded with "I am taking my daughter to the airport!" Knowing how momma is, and how much time it takes to get her out the door for anything, I got her up. I asked her if she wanted me to drop her off at her house, or if she wanted to go along for the ride with me to the airport. I admit I was secretly hoping for the "drop me off at my house" answer. I know how mom is with walking any distance at all, much less from the parking garage, through an airport, etc. I also had plans for getting a security pass so that I could escort Kate all the way to the gate, and felt like that would not be possible if I had momma with me. And truthfully I did not need the stress of both momma and Kate! The last time Kate had an airport experience was when she was flying back from Daytona Beach, and her two sisters got through security fine, and they pulled Kate out of line and took her behind curtains and searched her separately! It was a random search, finding nothing out of the ordinary, but it separated Kate from her sisters, made everyone worry and by the time Kate got on the plane she was in tears and a mess. Needless to say, she still gets anxiety attacks really really bad when approaching security at airports. Anyway, mom told me that she thought she would just let me make that trip with Kate. I said are you sure mom? She assured me she would just like to stay home today. "Why would I want to go to the house? Nobody is there!" OooKkk. I went and started filling my coffee cup, getting my things together and out of the room came mom, with her purse on her arm, asking me if I was ready. We walked to the car, right on time, as I had told Kate I would pick her up at 8:30 a.m. We were in the car, and headed towards Farmington by 8 o'clock! Of course, momma began to ask me why we were going this way, are we going to pick up Q-baby? It is a 15 minute drive to town, at least, and all the way to town, mom asked me if we were going to pick up Q-baby. We get to Kate's apartment, get her loaded, and head to Bauhaus to meet Jen for breakfast. My phone rings and it is my son Nick telling me that Jess, his ex-wife, needs a babysitter for Ruger today, and could I meet her somewhere in Farmington. Hmm, I looked at Kate's flight schedule, did the mental math, and thought, yea, I could do that. It will be close, considering I am planning on dropping mom off at her house, which will take at least 10 minutes, but hey, I can do this. The other options are, dropping off Ruger with Grandma at her house.....nada. Maybe mom will get out at the house with Ruger! We wrap up our muffins, grab our drinks and out the door we go. I zip over to Wal-Mart, where Jess was waiting. We grab his car seat, do the switch, and off I go, heading towards the farm. We pull up in my drive, get Ruger out, get his car seat out, take him and his backpack inside, and run back out the door. Mom has decided to stay in the car and go with me. We head north. I pull up to momma's house, leave the car running, and take her inside. Kelly is still there, since it is her day off. She has tickets to the Opening Day of Cardinal Season! Kelly and momma begin to talk, and I kiss momma goodbye and tell her I will be back soon and run out the door. I jump back in the car, breath, and get back on the interstate and head towards the airport. By this time it is 10:20 and her plane boards at 1:15 and we are still an hour from the airport. When I got back in the car, Kate laughs and says, "Geez mom, if I had known you were so BUSY, I would not have asked you to take me to the airport!" "Pssssshh, this is a normal day in my life Kate!" We made it to the airport in plenty of time, got parked and went inside the airport. We found the American ticket counter to check her bag. We had already checked her in on-line, and printed out her boarding passes. I asked for a security pass so that I could escort her to the gate, and they printed me out one! I admit, I was pretty surprised. She is 20 years old, and perfectly healthy. But I have always said, if you ask with authority, use the right language, you can usually pull it off. I told them she had anxiety attacks when flying, and the last time she flew she was in tears by the time she boarded the plane. That was the truth, and the lady printed me out a security pass. We went through security without any problems, and got to the gate with a good hour and a half to spare. We walked around, and found a place to eat lunch and sit and relax. Once Kate was boarded on the plane, I made my way back to my car and headed back to pick up momma at her house. Kelly had already called me to let me know how momma was doing. Kelly was there when I dropped mom off, but it was her day off, so I knew she was going to the Cardinal Game later (it was opening day). Kelly said she talked to Grandma a bit, then got up to go to the bathroom downstairs and finish getting ready, and when she came back upstairs, Grandma was asleep, and Kelly woke her up to tell her goodbye and that she was leaving, and when Grandma first woke up she was "Kelly Girl! What are you doing here? Are you off today?" Even though Mom was with me when we picked up Kate, and we talked of Kate going to Hawaii, and how excited she was all the way up to Herky (45 minutes), mom did not remember that. She told Kelly I was gone to a doctor's appointment. When I dropped mom off, she had on her black sweater that has appliqued fruit all over it, with jeans. It is the one she bought in Colorado when we were there. When I picked her up, the jeans were gone, and wait for it.....she had on a pair of beige and black print shorts. I asked her where her jeans were and she said, "well, I wasn't planning on going anywhere, and these are comfortable so I just put these on." She still had on her black knee socks and her dress shoes. I went to the bathroom and looked for mom's jeans so I could bring them home and wash them, but could NOT find them! They were not in her laundry hamper or the washer. I checked her "usual" hiding spots (the shower or tub) and I could not find them. I don't know what she did with them! I have texted Kelly and told her to look for them when she gets home tonight. I should have taken a picture of her with her appliqued sweater, her printed shorts and her black knee socks with her black patton shoes. I did not make any stops between her house and mine, teehee. When we got home, Quincy and Jenna was here. I found some jeans for mom and came around and came back in and handed them to mom and said, "mom, here's your jeans" and she took them to her room and came back out with them on. I was back at mom's by 2:30, and I truly think she slept the whole time. Tuesday, we went up and had lunch with Mary Maharrey in House Springs. It was a good visit with a very dear friend. When we were in the car coming home, mom said to me..."Did you have a good report today?" I looked at her and said, momma, I didn't go anywhere today, I was with you all day, what are you talking about? She sad, "Oh, I thought you dropped me off and went to a doctor appointment." I did do that back when I was doing treatments. One time, we met Mary for lunch, and mom went home with Mary and I went on to my treatment, and swung back by and picked up mom from Mary's that day. I guess she has never forgotten me leaving her with Mary while I went to a doctor appointment. Since she went to her house, she asked if she "brought anything down here to sleep in tonight". She doesn't do well on road trips. I do try and document all of the details with momma, but with tax season in full swing, in addition to my already full schedule, life is busy. I too have a husband, kids, school activities, adult kids, grand-kids that I watch regularly, church activities and mom. Life is full and busy and I have a hard time finding time or energy to write down the details of this journey. I do like to do it though, just so some day, I can take the time to read about this journey. As you all know, when you are in the middle of the "storm", it is sometimes hard to see the blessings of the moments, the God moments. When I write it all down, and come back and read through it for myself, it helps me sometimes to regain a better perspective. This is not an easy path to walk, but it is a necessary path. Sometimes, we all have to do hard things, we have to go through hard things, in order for God to mold us into the person He needs us to be in order for Him to accomplish His plan. I pray that God can use me. I pray that God WILL use me. I want to be a willing vessel.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yesterday, my momma turned 74 years old. Celebrating a birthday with someone who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease is, well, different. The first thing in the morning, we wish her happy birthday, "today's your birthday momma!" Then when the next person comes downstairs and wishes her a happy birthday, she acts all surprised, and says "I didn't know today was my birthday!" That goes on a couple more times. When we do the cake and ice cream, pictures and gifts, she is again, surprised because she did not know today was her birthday. When she opens the gifts, and she is told who this one is from, who this one is from, she responds with thank you and hugs and puts them to the side, and moves on to the next one. She holds the cake, blows out the candles while we take pictures, and we serve everyone. Then later, she sees the gifts and asks where they came from and who they belong to. This past weekend, momma and I took a road trip to hear my brother preach in West Plains, MO at the Brandsville Church of God, 10 miles outside of West Plains. All the way there, three hours of curvy roads, she tells me "we have been here before, at this point, we were here, today". No mom, we are traveling south, and we are not there yet, but we are not going in circles, I promise you. We get to the motel, get settled in, and momma says she does not want to get back in the car. Mike was preaching Saturday night as well as Sunday morning. We were going to go to both, but momma decided we could just hear him in the morning, that would be fine. Tonight, the people would probably want to talk to just him and we would be interfering. Ok, so she suggested I just go and get something to eat and bring it back to the room to eat. Are you sure mom? You will be ok with me running out to get some pizza or whatever I can find? Sure, I will be fine. Ok, I leave and I find a pizza place, wait the 15 or so minutes and head back to the room. When I get to the room, and open the door, I know there has been a "problem". I see the "laundry" in the sink and I smell an unpleasant aroma, and ask momma about it. She denies there has been an accident and says she has "worn these jeans for several days and thought they needed to be rinsed out". I serve momma up some pizza and make her a drink, then go to work on the "laundry". I am suddenly not very hungry. The aroma in the room is not conducive to eating. It doesn't seem to bother momma at all. After spending at least 45 minutes rinsing and cleaning up, momma asked me if I was done with my laundry. I was wishing I had brought some Febreeze. I don't think I slept very well that night. The next morning, we got to the church early enough to visit with Mike and Judy. Momma walks in the door, hugs Mike, then turns to Judy and hugs her, then turns back to Mike and says, "did I walk right past you? Give me a hug!" After church, there was a luncheon downstairs in the church basement/fellowship hall. Momma tells one guy that he looks like my daughter Kelly's boyfriend, at least 5 times. He was a young guy that wears the shaved head look, LOL. Once momma asked one of the men if they ever hear from "Bob". He looked confused, and looked at me for help. I had no clue who Bob was, or where mom thought she was so I said, momma this is Church of God, so I don't think you would know their former pastor. Momma just laughed and said, "Oh! I forgot where we were! For some reason I was thinking we were somewhere else!" We eventually go to the point where it was time for us to leave, as they were going to go give Mike and Judy a tour of the parsonage. We left for Little Rock, to visit Martha Barnes. The trip to Little Rock was 3 hours. We got to Little Rock before dark, and in time to attend evening services with her at her church there in Otter Creek. When we got to Martha's, momma had another "accident". She left the evidence in the sink. I went and cleaned it all up, and got momma cleaned up in time to get in the car and go to church. The last time momma had this many accidents of this kind, was when we went to Colorado during Thanksgiving break. Apparently, road trips of any kind really mess with momma. We have been home now since Tuesday night and she has been fine, no accidents of that kind, thank God. I think we have taken our last road trip for a very long time. It actually makes me grateful for the "normal" accidents she has. God is good that way. When I begin to feel sorry for myself, for how hard life is these days, He shows me how it could be worse, and I gain a new perspective and a new appreciation for the way life is these days! I know this is not exactly the upbeat, good news message I have been putting on here, but sometimes I just am too tired to write, but feel the need to document all that is happening on a day to day basis as I walk this path.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I wanted to go up and see a friend's newborn this past week, so I asked Momma if she wanted to go with me. She said she didn't want to go, and she would be fine here at home. She told me I should go ahead and go, and not to worry about her. I made arrangements to go, and as I was ready to walk out the door, asked her one more time if she was sure she didn't want to go with me. She pulled the blanket off of her legs and said, "well let me go potty and I will be ready to go". I put my purse down and followed her into her room to help her get dressed. Forty-five minutes later, we were walking out the door. After I turned towards my daughter's house, my momma asked me again where we were going. I told her St. Louis to see Beto's new baby. She then said, then why are we going this direction? I was amazed! My momma knew that the road we were on was not the road to St. Louis. That was huge. I felt the tears well up in my eyes, but quickly pushed them back in. I reminded her we were going to pick up Jenna and Q, so they could ride along with us. On the way up to the hospital, momma kept trying to make conversation. She would talk about the traffic, "this is the time of day that people are getting off from work and heading home because they have been there all day, and also others are coming in that are glad to be there." It was a little past noon. "Deb, is this going to dump us out where we need to be?" What? "Is this that we are on, going to bring us around to where we need to be?" "Yes, momma, this is the road we are supposed to be on, it will take us right to the parking lot of the hospital." When we finally got there, momma would not get out of the car at the door, she insisted she could walk with me, just find a parking space. I found one, finally, and it was a long way from the front door. By the time we had walked across the entire parking lot, momma was doing what she does when she has used up all her energy. She was leaning forward and walking slower and slower, yet leaning forward as if the forward lean would keep her moving in a forward motion. When she got to the lobby, she practically ran to the chairs and furniture there. I said, "momma, are you alright?" She said she just needed to rest a minute. I recognized her need for a rest as a smoke screen. If we were going to continue on to the second floor, which meant going down the halls to find the elevators, then down more halls to find the NICU where the baby was, we were going to need a wheelchair. Momma was done with the walking thing. I found a wheelchair, and got momma situated in it. All the while, we were laughing and cutting up and teasing her about needing a "stroller". She was cutting up with us, so it was all good. While we were taking our turns in the waiting area, there were a couple of people that were standing and talking in the hall behind Momma's chair. Momma interjected herself into that conversation by telling them "if you are looking for the way out, it is past us and down the hallway that direction". They looked at me, and looked at momma, and looked at me again, then continued to have their conversation. I had to keep myself from laughing. I don't know where momma thought she was, but the way out was not the direction she was pointing those ladies in. When Beto came out of the NICU, momma was all smiles, and told him to come over there and give her a hug. He did, he gave her a big ole bear hug like only Beto could do. He then escorted me back first to see his son. After getting to spend a little time back there with baby Maddox, we went back out to let Jenna come take her turn. When we cleared the doors, momma acted like she had not seen Beto at all! "What are you doing here!? Come over here and give me a hug!!" Beto hugged her obediently, and winked at me. When it was Momma's turn to go see the baby, we had to stop and sign her in at the desk the same way we all had to sign in. When the nurse said something about "signing her in", momma said "Don't sign me in to stay! I'm just here for a visit!" We all laughed, "Momma, this is the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, I think there is an age limit, and you can't stay here, relax." We laughed so much that day. Even with Momma's confusion and memory issues, it was a good day, and I am blessed to have been able to share it with my Momma.

Today, I took her to town to have her hair washed and styled. She didn't even fight me on it. Yes, today was another good day. We met Jenna out for lunch. She kept trying to pick up all the food that Quincy would drop. I thought she was going to fall out on the floor more than once. When we finally got up to leave, there were still crumbs and pieces of french fries under the table, which I pointed out to momma, "Momma, you missed some, let me hold your purse while you get that." She laughed, and said, "let's put Quincy down there and let her pick it all up!" She was really quick witted today. Love those kind of days!!

When she got up to go to bed tonight, she asked if she had a gown and toothbrush here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday! This morning, we all ventured out of the house towards our church in Fredericktown....Calvary Temple. We still have lots of snow on the ground, and lots of ice on the trees and power lines. It was a really beautiful drive to church. But with the beautiful winter wonderland, we also had beautiful sunshine!! The problem was that the sunshine was melting the ice off of the trees at a rapid rate. We were getting bombed all the way to church! Loud bangs all the way there! Thank God it didn't break our windshield, because it sounded like it was several times. By the time we got out of church, all the ice was gone from all trees and power lines. It was 41 degrees with bright sunshine! It was a good service, with spontaneous testimonies, as well as a couple of spontaneous songs being sung. One of my favorite old time retired singers, Ralph Green, goes to our church, and he sang today. I love hearing his deep bass voice sing praises to God!! Afterwards, we stopped by the grocery store to grab some salsa. There we ran into some old friends from back in the Farmington Family Fellowship days. It was so good to run into them, even if it was for only a minute. We did have mom and the kiddos waiting in the car. We have now been home all day, chilling on the couch, watching all the Pre-game festivities, and snacking on wings and chips and salsa. Momma has developed a cough. I hope she is not coming down with some sort of cold. She says she feels fine, thinks it is just a dry cough. I do have the humidifier going full time, right behind her chair though, just in case. Well, guess i will get off of here and get ready to join the family in rooting for whoever. I don't really have a preference. I use to be a fan of the Steelers, back in the day. But truthfully, I don't care. It's football, and I enjoy watching a good game, regardless of who is playing, or who wins, just so it is a good game to watch.

Thought for the day: "Live you life on FAITH, not FEELINGS".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I was scheduled to go in for my Breast Reconstruction Surgery this coming Wednesday, (tomorrow). The first surgery was to “build a mound”, and this second one will be to “move the mound”. Because of the extensive damage to my breast bone and the skin there, they could not stretch that skin and move it around to the front back then, but feel now my skin has healed sufficiently to move it around to the front, where it should be! Right now, I have a boob under my arm! Which makes it extremely uncomfortable to wear a bra. It is really binding in places that it normally is not. Anyway, sorry to be so blunt and graphic. I will be glad to get it moved. But am glad the surgery got moved. I was way stressed about it. Not so much about the surgery, as much as leaving my momma. She is so very attached to me as her caregiver. I have spoken to others that are dealing with this, and they assured me that it is normal for them to get attached to the caregiver, but this is so crazy. I can’t even drop her off at her house anymore, without her being way “anxious” by the time I get back to pick her up. As a matter of fact, the last couple of times I tried to drop her off there, so I could do some running around without her, she said she preferred to just go with me, she didn’t really “need” to go by the house. When I leave her at home with my husband or my kiddos, it is not long before she is getting mean and demanding, and my family will call me and tell me to pick up the pace and hurry home. By the time I get home, she is normal, and never even mentions wanting to go home. It is almost as if once I am home, she is fine. I did call the doctor and told her what was going on, and explained that I needed something to give her that would calm her down while I am gone to the hospital. I didn’t want zombie, but definitely needed “happy”. She gave me Zyprexa in a small dose to give her twice a day, with some Xanex as a back-up. Hopefully, we won’t have to use either of them, but it is nice to know we have something to fall back on. The thought of leaving my family here to take care of/deal with my momma under normal conditions was stressful enough but throw in bad weather, where she would be worried the whole time of where we were, if this weather was putting us in danger, etc. Well, I was so very glad when they called yesterday morning to re-schedule my surgery for February 16th!! Ahhh, I can relax now………

The good news is that my sister in Chicago came in for a visit last Saturday. I purposefully did not tell momma she was coming, so momma would not get herself all worked up into a negative tizzy. When Lois walked in the door, momma seemed genuinely glad to see her! It was such a beautiful day Saturday, the calm before the storm?? Anyway, because it was so nice, too nice to stay in the house, we decided to go to town and try and get momma’s hair done. Of course, you can’t use that as the reason to go, or momma wouldn’t go. So, we decided to go to town for a salad! We went to Applebee’s for soup and salad. We laughed and cried, and it was such a good time. We then went straight over to Great Clips, where my niece works. She immediately started saying, “why are we coming here? I am not getting anything done today Deb.” I told her it was not for her, it was for me, if she didn’t mind waiting for me, it wouldn’t take long. She agreed to that! So, we got parked, got out, and went in. Momma walked straight up to the counter, and gave them her name, then said, “I don’t know why I am up here, I am not getting anything done today.” She turned and went and sat down beside Lois. I stepped up, and said, yes, she is the one that needs a shampoo and style. Andrea, my niece, was busy, but the girl that has done momma’s hair before, stepped up and said, “I can do her right now, come on back.” Momma got up and went back to the shampoo chair! Even after saying she wasn’t going to like 5 times! Lois just shook her hair and said “unbelievable”. If you fight momma on it, it will be a fight, but if you just keep moving forward motion, she will usually go along, as if it was her idea! After she was done, we then went to Wal-Mart to pick up some more birdseed for the bird feeders (the other reason why we came to town, teehee). Once we got back home, we visited a little longer, then Lois packed up her stuff to leave. It was a good visit, in my opinion. That evening, things went from good to bad in a very short time. Momma stood up to go to bed, around 7ish, and she said “I am over-flowing”. I put my laptop to the side and stood up and went over to see what she was talking about. She was standing in the middle of a “brown puddle”. I moved her towards the bathroom to clean her up. I got her into the shower, got her cleaned up. She just kept saying, "Oh my word! Oh my word! Forever more!" I tried to lighten the mood and said, "No more French Onion soup for you woman!" She laughed!! When we went to Applebee's, she had a house salad, and a small bowl of French Onion soup. Anyway, I then left her there in the shower, while I ran back into the living room to clean up that mess. Thank God all my kiddos were upstairs playing in their rooms, so there was no one in the living room when this all went down. Once I got that all cleaned up, I went back into her bathroom to see if she was done. She had said she wanted to finish up on her own. She was still in the shower. I got it turned off and helped her out. That is when I realized I didn’t have enough grab handles. Momma seemed to be grabbing for the shower handle, the towel rack, even the toilet paper holder, anything to hold on to. Mental note to myself….more grab bars. Anyway, we got her all cleaned up, into her nightgown, and into bed. Again, I suggested the “night time panties” (Depends) and she balked again. She said, "I saw you had put them in here, I don't need those." I said "momma, at least at night". She said, "well when I get to where I need them I will wear them, but I don’t need them yet". The next morning, I sent Keith and the kids towards church. The older kiddos were going to a competition with the horses (barrels and roping). Kim stayed home with me to help me with Grandma. Momma seemed to be sleeping in her chair, so I got in the truck and headed to town to get some Pepto or Immodium, some grab bars for the shower, and a new mattress and mattress cover. By the time I got all that done, Keith got home from church before me! Kelly and Dave came for dinner after church, as well. They had attended church at FBC-Festus. Keith had the boys help him get the mattress and box springs out and carried up to the burn pile, while the other boys got the new mattress and box springs put back in there. I had her sheets done up and put her bed all back together. She pretty much slept off and on all day in her chair. Monday, she came out of her room dressed and went straight to her chair. I got her coffee and fixed her breakfast. She was not eating much all day. I figured it probably scared her, and so she wasn’t going to eat much. She would eat bananas with no argument. This morning, she came out of her room dressed. I went into her room, and sure enough, a mess on her bed. I pulled the sheets off, wiped down the mattress cover (so easy!!) with cleaner. Her sheets are now in the dryer, and I will have her bed back together in no time. I think tonight we will have the Depends talk again, this time with a little more intensity.

I hope all of you in Missouri are dealing well with this “state wide emergency”. The ice cycles (?) are about an inch long at this time. The electric flickered, and went off for a few seconds, but came back on thankfully!! We all just looked at each other as if "it's here". I have a cake baked, and a big pot of soup on the stove. I have made coffee and filled all the thermos containers. We have a fire in the fireplace and in the wood stove, and we are toasty warm. Hopefully we won’t lose electric like they are saying, but if we do, we will deal.

Thanks for the prayers

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Well, we are down to the ten day count down. I feel kind of like I did when I was pregnant. Anxious. When you have been carrying the baby around for 9 months, you are READY to hold the baby, ready for THIS to be over. But it is mixed with a touch of fear when you think of the labor and delivery part. You know you can't be done with the pregnancy until you experience and endure the labor and delivery part. You can't cross the bridge, so to speak. That is where I am. I want this to be DONE. I want my body to look normal (will it ever be normal again?). But I am anxious about the whole anesthesia, surgery and recovery thing again. I am anxious about the pain!! I know I am not to be anxious about anything. But I am human, and I am anxious. I worry about my momma and how she will handle me going into the hospital again. When she gets stressed or anxious, she gets harder to "handle". Meaning, her moods are not as pleasant. At this present stage, dropping her off at her house to stay by herself all day is just no longer a comfortable option. As my husband said, the last time we did that..."it's like we are dropping off Emma Jean to stay by herself at this house all day, except that Emma Jean can dial the telephone." It is sad, but that is what it felt like. She fell down last week. On carpet, so no slipping sliding falling down, just falling down. Again, since I was not in the same room at the time, I don't know what happened, or how it happened, or why it happened, just know that it did happen. I am extremely grateful that she was here in my house, so as soon as she needed assistance, she had it within seconds. I do know that it was NOT dehydration, so who knows why she lost her balance? She says she got "woozy", and "must have passed out". But as soon as I heard the boom, I ran in there and she was already trying to roll over and get up. We are talking seconds here folks, so there was no "passing out". But anyway, I got off topic. I don't really know how to describe mom when she gets really really rattled. But suffice it to say that bad things happen, things nobody wants to deal with or clean up. And of course, momma will continue to act as if nothing is wrong with her, and whatever is happening is somebody's fault, and she will be mad, yet she won't know what she is mad about. And when anybody tries to make any "suggestions" to momma, she will dig in her heels and rebel, and usually refuse to even try what is being suggested. She was complaining her feet were cold the other morning, and I said, "that's because you have not gotten your socks on yet woman", and I got up to head to her room to grab her some socks. She was saying "I do to!" as I went past her, and kept saying, "Deb, I do have my socks on! Your wasting your time!" I got the socks, and came back to her chair, picked up her bare foot and said "really? what color are they?" She looked honestly surprised that she was barefooted! That's my momma. It takes an extra dose of patience to be able to do what you need to do to take care of my momma, when all the while she is trying to tell you she doesn't need any help. It truly is a full time job, being the caregiver to an Alzheimer's patient, especially when that Alzheimer's patient is at this stage.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On Saturday, I got the word that another very dear friend of our family had gone to be with the Lord Jesus. This has been a busy year for funerals. Bro. Bill Brown was our State Farm insurance agent in Portageville Missouri for many years. He was a deacon in our church. His daughters and I were very close friends. They were both in my wedding. We have remained close all these years through phone calls, emails and visits. Bro. Bill Brown had Alzheimer's Disease. Somewhere in those ten years of marriage, not only did she take care of Bro. Bill, but she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. This lady and I have some things in common, don't you think? I truly believe I could have talked with her for days. I felt like we could have been best friends. She was easy to talk to. I doubt that I will ever see her again. As you can imagine, when you attend a visitation and funeral for a loved one that died of Alzheimer's, no matter where you went, there were small groups discussing his "condition", and when it first began to show, when it first became evident to others, how they knew, etc. I found myself sitting on the back pew, talking with a friend I graduated high school with. My momma was sitting in the front, on a pew filled with ladies her age and older, including "T", one of momma's best friends. As my friend and I were engrossed in our own conversation, suddenly Thelma was there telling me I needed to come up and sit with momma for awhile. Thelma said momma was afraid they were going to turn the lights off on us, if we didn't make a move towards the door. It was 6:00 p.m. I came up there and joined those ladies. Momma had made the rounds and talked to all three of Bro. Bill's children, Billy Gene, Tammy and Kristi. Yet any time someone would make a comment on how Tammy didn't look any different, momma would ask which one was Tammy. Then she would say something like, "I would not have recognized her! I need to go and speak to her, I have not talked to her yet!" After that being repeated several times, people began to look at me funny. Yea, it was very noticeable to others. A couple of people felt it necessary to point it out to me that momma was showing some signs of Alzheimer's. Ya think?? Before long, someone else came up and got me and led me back to "meet someone" else. I saw all kinds of people from my past!! Then, here came Thelma and momma, coats on and purses on their arms, Thelma giving me the look that said "momma was ready to leave". As we were leaving, we hugged the Brown kids one more time, and each and every time, momma made some statement eluding to the fact that she had not talked to them yet, would "not have recognized you!" We loaded up and left the visitation at 6:30 p.m. After we got to Thelma's, momma sat down in the chair and kicked off her shoes. Thelma offered us cake and ice cream. Keith said that would be great, but momma declined. As Keith walked by with his dish of ice cream and cake, momma said, "well, I didn't get any ice cream!" I said, "momma, can I get you some?" She said, "Yes, just a small portion, very small, and no cake for me, just ice cream." I fixed her some, and after I sat down, Keith gave Thelma a compliment on the cake, how it was delicious. And yep, you guessed it...momma said, "I didn't get any cake!" I got up, took her dish, and went and put her a small piece of cake on the side of her ice cream. Momma didn't go to bed until nearly 10 o'clock!! I laid awake, I could not shut my mind off, running all the topics of conversation, everything momma had done, and everything I had learned about Bro. Bill and his speed of progression in this disease. The next morning, we had breakfast, and got ready to head to the church for the funeral. It was a hard service. Music played a huge part in their family life. They used to sing together all the time, as a family in church services. As a tribute to Bill, they all got up at the scheduled time and gathered around the piano, and as Tammy played the piano, the family, his daughters, his son, their grandchildren, nieces and nephews, etc., all gathered around and sang a medly of his favorite songs. It was very moving, and brought back all kinds of memories of the times we all joined their family, in their family home in Portageville, pushing back the chairs and furniture and joined around the piano with Bill and Alta and the family and had old fashioned sing alongs!! Then we went to the grave side service, where full military honors were bestowed. The guns were loud, but very impressive. The young man playing taps on the trumpet was equally impressive. It never ceases to impress me, no matter how many military funerals I attend. Although it was very cold and windy, I was grateful that the rain had ceased long enough for us to gather around the tent as all this was happening. Once it was done, we all joined back together at the church, as First Baptist Church of Portageville, Missouri put out a meal that was fit for a king. There we all got to relax and visit some more with the family members. I walked down the halls to the nursery. I walked to where the church offices used to be, as I remembered walking to the church after school, coming in through those back doors, and walking into daddy's office. We always stopped at the store that was right across the street and got some penny candy first, teehee. Oh man, those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end. Before long, we knew it was time for us to pack up and head north. By the time we got home, it was close to five o'clock and I was pretty tired, emotionally and physically. But here came my daughter Jenna and Cole, and we get to baby-sit my grand-daughter, Quincy Alice!! Just to let you know how tired my momma was, momma would hear Quincy make a noise behind her chair, like in the dining room, and momma would say "Quincy Alice is here??!!" We would say, yes she is! Then a few minutes (seconds??) later, Quincy would make another sound or noise, and sure enough...."Quincy Alice is here?" She did that like 6 times!! I finally motioned to my girls to bring her over here in the living room, and play with her right in front of momma please. Eventually, momma went to bed. This morning, as I was picking up some of Quincy's toys and putting them in the toy basket we leave in the living room, momma said, "when will we ever see Quincy again? She doesn't bring her for you to watch anymore?" I ever so gently remind her that the reason I am picking up these toys is that Quincy was here last nite, and we had her from about 6 until 10:30. With the impending snow, I needed to go get some groceries. Momma asked me if I was going to Festus or down here. I told her "down here, Farmington", so she said she thought she would just stay here under her blanky, sitting by the fire. I got Jessy to go with me, and away we went to town. We went to Wal-Mart and got the groceries, then the feed store and got some feed. After our "chores" were done, my daughters Kate and Jenna met us at the Chinese restaurant and we relaxed a bit and enjoyed some much needed laughter around the table. Now, supper is finished, and we are relaxed around the TV watching "Minute to Win It". Ah, to be back home and know I don't "have" to go anywhere the next few days.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

This morning, as I was whipping up some waffles and pancakes for my crew, I heard a "boom". I looked around the corner, into the dining room, and questioned Emma, my five year old. "Was that you?" "No, it came from Gramma"s room!" I ran into momma's addition, and as I rounded the corner, there was my momma, laying in the floor. She was trying to get up, she was not passed out, mind you, but was trying to roll over and pick herself up. I asked her what she was doing on the floor, and she went into her explanation. "I was getting up from the potty, and felt woozy, so I was trying to make it back to the bedroom I guess, and I just passed out before I got there?" It made sense to me, so I got some pillows from her bed and picked up her shoulders and put the pillows there so she could lay there a few minutes and get some color back into her face. In the meantime, I sent one of my kiddos to get Keith, who was down in his shop. Within minutes, here he came. We stood there and talked to her a few minutes, as she began to be momma, meaning she was cracking jokes trying to play down the serious moment. "I didn't like that bed, so I thought I would see if this floor was more comfortable for me and actually it is quite comfortable." After a few moments, of us picking at each other, she said she felt like she could get up and get back in her bed now. Keith picked her up, and let her stand there a few moments to get her bearings, and then as he was right there, we let her walk to her bed, which was only about 4 steps, but far enough for us to see if she was in any pain when she walked. She didn't wince or show any kind of pain whatsoever. Thank God, she did not hit the door frame or anything that could have made her bleed!! We talked a bit, as I sat on the chair there beside her bed, about what may have caused her to be light headed this morning. She ate three meals yesterday. She has a glass of some liquid, be it tea or water or coffee, being refilled all day. She did stay up later last nite than usual. She didn't go to bed until 9 o'clock! She got up and I walked her to her room last nite, gave her the night time pills, and then closed the doors to her part of the house, so she could "brush her teeth, wash her face and put on her night gown", her bedtime routine. Before we go to bed, we turn out all the lights, and open those french doors. One, so we can heat that part of the house with the wood heat, and it keeps her furnace from running so often, and two, so we can hear anything that might happen in the night if she comes out of her room. She did eat her breakfast, eventually. I gave her a plate of eggs and bacon and toast, as I do every morning. She ate it all! She is sleeping now. I have been in there several times to check on her and she is still propped up on her pillows, resting. I had planned on taking her to town to get her hair done today, for church tomorrow. I guess those plans might need to be postponed. I will play it by ear and see if she gets out of bed today, before I even consider taking her to church tomorrow. Thank you God for watching over my momma, even when she is here at my house.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year! I have been doing a lot of thinking and pondering over this idea of "suffering for Christ". What does that mean exactly? I don't mean to sound all holier than thou, but if it is the Lord's will that I suffer, and it is the Lord's will that I suffer for a long time, am I suffering for Christ? And, even worse, does that mean I am supposed to be "glad in it"? Don't tell me you haven't given any of this any thought before, when your life was turned upside down. This has been an exceptionally hard time for our family. My son's wife left him, and says she wants a divorce. She left him several months ago, and took his son, my grandson. She is being "good about it". She lets Nick see Ruger anytime he wants. But that is not every night, which is what Nick really wants. While she is at the home of her mom and dad's house, she has people around her, someone to talk to. Nick sits at home, in an empty house. And with this season of our life, comes winter, which means, he is also sitting at home alone most of the days as well. Work is extremely slow, worse this year than any year I can remember. Nick needs the distraction of work, to give his mind something else to focus on besides how lonely he is without his family. Hard times are so much easier to get through when you have someone by your side, to go through those hard times with you. I have even been looking on Craig's List trying to find him a job! A different job, one that perhaps is not so weather related? I asked him if he wanted to go to school, and he said no, he felt like work would pick up and if he could just make it through the next couple of months, he would be fine. His wife, has filled out all the paper work needed for her to go to school. She is a "single mom", so therefore, the government is picking up the tab, she is going to school on government grants. And yea, if Ruger gets sick, or she gets sick, again, she is a "single mom", so you guessed it, the government will pick up the tab. This society is set up to reward divorce. What a huge carrot that is to dangle in front of young women these days. If you divorce your husband, your money problems will be over?? We will take care of you medically, and you can go to college for free. I know this is a real hot topic for both sides of the fence. I know people that actually need the government to help them, since they are single moms who could not make it without the government helping them. There is just no good answers here. I just know that society in general, our tax breaks in general, reward those that choose to walk away from their marriage. There is way more support out there for single moms. Where is the help for the single dads? O.K., I need to move on to a different subject.

Mom has been doing well. Even my kids have noticed that she has been more "settled", and not nearly as irritated. Woot! Woot! Thanks for the prayers people! Of course, we have not been going and doing very much. As long as momma stays pretty close to her routine, she is easy to get along with, she is an easy keeper, LOL. And maybe it has something to do with her sleeping schedule? If she goes to bed early every night, like say 6, she sleeps until 9 or so, she wakes up in a good mood. Her closet fell down on Christmas morning. We fixed it that morning, with a temporary fix. Yesterday, we picked up one of those closet organizers with the wire shelving and put it in for her. The whole time we were in there putting that together, she was asking why we were doing that, she wasn't aware that the closet rod broke, and who broke it, and it wasn't her that broke it, etc. Oh well, we are getting used to that kind of behaviour. The things she does remember and the things she doesn't remember still amazes me. She does frequently get her stories mixed up, the details from a story from years ago, mixed in with a recent story is not uncommon. As we drive past the small church next to the interstate 55, she starts to tell me a story, "I never pass this church without thinking about your daddy and about Bro. Godair, and how he wanted your daddy to fill his pulpit, but your daddy never got the chance. I wonder if Bro. Godair is still the pastor there." I am pretty sure that Bro. Godair pastored a church down around Portageville, where I graduated high school. Or, as we pass a restaurant, she will say, "we used to go to that restaurant with another couple every Friday night, and then go home and play dominoes with them every Friday night". The restaurant we are passing is always different, but the story is always the same. Today, she picked up Kim's Bible, and opened it up and said "Look at this! I have never heard of this! You have heard of the New Testament? This is the Old Testament!" I nearly choked on my coffee!! Yesterday, she looked at her jacket and said, "this is the first time I have worn this jacket this year. I haven't worn it in a long time." I said, "well, momma, it is the first time you have worn it this year because it is January 3rd, 2011!" She laughed, and the moment passed. Never mind the fact that she has worn it to church the past two Sunday's. Life is sure interesting living with an Alzheimer's patient. Like one lady said, "you've seen one Alzheimer's patient, you've seen ONE Alzheimer's patient". Every one of them is different, yet every one of them have some common ground. There are similarities in all Alzheimer's patients, yet each and every one of them travel this path at a different speed.

My window of opportunity has closed at this point, so I will write about my doctor's appointment today, later. Perhaps tomorrow? Bottom line, I am healing good and it is time to schedule Phase II. My surgery was scheduled for February 2nd. Report to the hospital at 6:15am. Plan to be in the hospital 2-3 days, perhaps one drain. Here we go again......ready or not.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

When you have had cancer, it seems like every little "new" ache or pain sends you into a small panic attack, wondering if your cancer has returned. Last week, on Wednesday, on my way home from bible study in Festus, I began to feel "funny". Like a pain on my right side, that was kind of in my lower back on my right side, but it came around to my side, and my stomach, but only on my right side. At another time, and another place, my first thought would probably be, "oh, I must have pulled a muscle". But in this post-cancer stage of my life, that always seems to color my thinking. It always seems to rattle me a bit, mess with my focus a bit, and depending on how tired I am, may even cause me to have a little panic attack. I laugh as I write that. Again, in my pre-cancer days, I would laugh at the thought that I would even have a panic attack. To tell you the truth, I never really believed in panic attacks, having never experienced one myself. But now that I have actually experienced one, I now believe them to be real, teehee. I feel like that line from the Amy Grant song,

"People say that I'm amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don't see inside of me
I'm hiding all the tears
They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
'Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child"

I guess once cancer invades your world, it never seems to go away. When you are going through all that mess, you meet and chat with all kinds of people that are on their second and third recurrence. It kind of messes with the ideas you have that once you beat this, you will get on with your life. It will always be in the back of your mind, waiting for a weak moment, a pain, a lump, a twinge, anything that seems like it came from nowhere, and the next thing you know, you find yourself wondering, toying with the idea, that it is possible that your cancer has returned. Even though I had not been on any of the breast cancer web sites in quite awhile, I found myself going there again, and asking the girls if they too had these same fears every time they had a pain or twinge, and sure enough they did. Whew, that made me feel like I was normal, LOL! I know what you are thinking, what is normal exactly. Fine, I have never been normal, but at least the fears that I am having are common among those of us that have faced cancer. As Keith and I were discussing the pain I was having, where it was located, he was the one that reminded me that the kids did tell him that I had carried a two-drawer filing cabinet case downstairs by myself, that maybe I did indeed have a pulled muscle. I did take the drawers out first!! But yes, it was heavy enough that I only carried the one, then made Adam carry the other one for me. My kids looked at me when I came down the stairs with the cabinet in my arms, and it was Kimberly that said, "uh, mom, I thought you weren't supposed to be lifting heavy things". Everything in life is relative. Just when you think you have your focus back, and life is going along ok, a pebble is thrown, breaks your glass and your view is no longer clear, everything is out of focus. I remember thinking, when daddy was going through the Leukemia battle for his life, that I would be glad when life would get back to "normal". Then the Lord took my daddy home to be with Him. And I knew then, that no, my life would never get back to "normal". From now on, there would be a new kind of normal. This new kind of normal includes dealing on a daily basis with the fears that my breast cancer will indeed return and mess up my life again. This new kind of normal includes dealing on a daily basis with the stupid disease that has a death grip on my momma's mind....Alzheimer's. This new kind of normal includes me learning a whole new level of faith, and what it truly means to walk in the dark most of the time, with nothing to guide me except my faith. I don't know how people do it without faith, this life that is filled with fears that seem to cause even the strongest believers to fall to their knees on a regular basis. I love my Lord, and am proud to know that He loves me and calls me friend. I love that He still loves me, even when I fail Him on a regular basis, and He lovingly guides me gently back on the narrow path that He wants me to walk. He forgives me when I get lost in my pity party of "why is this happening to me, to my family?" He knows in my heart of hearts, that I love HIM and want only to please HIM with my life. I am grateful that HE continues to help me do that.