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Archive for the ‘ Cancer ’ Category

See my new Widget???

The time has come….As most of my friends know, my family has been hit by the cancer bus. This deadly bus has picked up 4 of my family members… only one is still riding it alive. Troy Parke… he is my husbands brother. He has multiple myeloma and it is killing him. He is a husband, a daddy, a brother, a son, an uncle, a community caretaker, a get’er’done guy, a friend and an amazing mentor. Troy is a fighter and he wants to live. His chances are greater if he can have access to health that is off the charts un-afforable. I’m begging all who are listening to give anything you can.

I have a new widget! –> see it? A direct linky link to click and give. Even $20 will help a TON! Just think, if 10 people gave $20, that’s $200 towards treatment.

In the 5 years that my brother-in-law has been fighting this incurable cancer, he has NEVER asked for money nor had a fund like this set up for him. I remember there was a fundraiser for him once. That is it. Well, the time has come to help him fight!!!

He needs to walk his daughter down the aisle. She’s 13.

Please help. Please spread the word.

https://www.giveforward.com

You can go to the above link and search for Troy Parke to learn more.

 

I need one.

I had a HORRIBLE nights sleep last night…and if you knew me, even a little bit, you know that means the mind was spinning in circles…and coming to very STRANGE conclusions, such as door to door robbers

I need a GIGANTIC do-over. Or, simply a time machine.

I promise I am NOT going to change anything that would like set the world off balance. (I’ve seen Fringe….WEIRD stuff) Or change the outcome of something bad that happened. Although that would be great.

What I FAILED to do, over and over and OVER again, is actually quite simple.

I thought about doing it all the time.

But I always had an excuse….there’s just not enough time, I don’t know how to do it right, I can do it tomorrow….

Well, I missed my chance.

And it’s keeping me awake at night.

So, with all this said…I feel a tiny bit of weight off my chest, because I am CONFIDENT that someone will be able to help me. Once I have a solution, I actually feel like I will be able to move forward.

Here it is, here is what I failed to do and lost my chance…. UNLESS, any of you brilliant people know how to help me….

I need my entire twitter history.

That feed holds some extremely important dates, times, situations and experiences that are priceless to me. It holds memories of my dad’s battle with cancer.

There, now you can’t make fun of me.

Can you help me?

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today you would have turned 67. 67 would have looked good on you, but there is A LOT of drama in the world that you would HATE.

Instead of being all sappy about how much we miss you, I wanted to post a little Happy Birthday to a man who had many passions…I am molded and shaped by you in a few very specific ways.

Classic Cars, mainly Cadillacs:
You’re love, admiration and respect for genuine classic cars was awesome. If only I was a boy and could justify buying and restoring something old and awesome for you…. remember your green 52 baby?

Or the very few times you strayed away from Cadi’s…how about your Bronco that was a BEAST to drive…

How about your love for Standard Poodles…as much as you complained about them, you were a sucker for a Standard!

How about traveling…you LOVED a fun vacation, whether it was to Vegas, Mexico or Florida…


You especially loved those Florida beaches….

You LOVED fishing…

LOVE is not a strong enough word for your relationship with ice cream

You loved playing any kind of card games.

And I saved the best for last, simply because in all your grumpiness, you LOVED mom more than anything else. We all knew that, even when you pretended to be mean!

So, happy birthday Dad! We love you.

Stupid flippin cancer.

 

Time heals all wounds…blah blah blah

Today marks 1 year.

Old cars make me sad.

Fishing makes me sad.

Flea markets make me sad…and feel dirty..

Broncos make me sad.

Ice cream makes me sad.

Watching the BSU football games makes me sad.

These are just a FEW of the things my dad LOVED.

He was too young. He had BIG dreams. He wanted to be a captain of a boat and take people on guided fishing trips off the Florida Coast. He would have been a GREAT boat captain.

I love you dad.

MISS YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE!!

STUPID CANCER.

You will always be the James Dean I remember!!

 

 


 

 

 

*taptap* Is this thing on? I’m new here!

I’m new. In the land of bloggers. I still don’t really know what I am doing, but I absolutely LOVE it!

I just learned what a widget is, BOOYAH!

I created a mess of a website 2 years ago when I was at a loss for what to do in life. My perfect little world was shaken to the core when not 1, not 2, but 3 (THREE) immediate family members were diagnosed with cancer within months of each other. I left my cushy little life in Idaho to care for my dad in Florida and then against my will but ONLY FOR MY FAMILY, moved and settled into a new life in here in northern California.

Why the name Jennheffer? My brother couldn’t pronounce Jennifer when I was a baby so it sounded like heffer. My dad called me that all my life until he passed away last year. So, I will keep that nickname alive as long as I can! All for you DAD!

At first I didn’t want to move back in CA, but now I LOVE IT! I need sunshine to breathe!

I’m a nerd. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY but mainly Apple products!

I’m am FULL of energy! Always bouncin around. I don’t walk often, I run! ;0)

I work out. A lot. Because it makes me feel good. That could be why I am bouncy. (P90x Baby!)

I was in gymnastics for years as a child. I do cartwheels everywhere. (Maybe that’s why I’m bouncy??)

I’m spoiled. I have this adorable (smokin hot) husband whom I have been madly in love with since I was 17. I told him I would only move back to CA (I wasn’t totally serious…) if we got a house with a pool and I got a Cadillac CTS (another thing I wanted for my dad, he LOVED Cadi’s). I now have both. *spoiled*

My husband looks like he’s 13.  But HE IS OLDER THAN ME. Yes, I have been called his mom before. I still *STRONGLY DISLIKE* (we don’t use the word HATE in my house) you lady at the movie theater ticket window.

I have a sister who is 11 years younger than me. Yes, people *have* thought her and my husband were the couple and I was the mom. *STRONG DISLIKE*

My mom hands me down her clothes that are too big for her. She’s the size of a glorified blade of grass.

I love Starbucks.  A lot. I also have a fancy smancy espresso machine at home, but I will only use Starbucks espresso roast beans and Starbucks syrups. (This could fall into the spoiled catagory)

I’m funny. I know this because I keep track of everytime someone says ‘lol’ or ‘haha’ and even the occasional ‘bahaha’ to me on twitter or Facebook. So, if you don’t mean it, DON’T SAY IT.

My signature smiley face is this ;o) because I completely lack the ability to wink in real life. My face distorts in a way that only an animal could pull off.

I laugh A LOT! I am super positive and optimistic. I don’t get stressed out. About anything. I believe in God and am thankful that Jesus died for me! Maybe that is why I don’t ever worry.

I love nice shoes. My husband calls me a hoarder when he walks into the closet.

I shop and forget what I bought and find it MONTHS later and SQUEAL like a little girl! Today was one of those days, I found THIS top in my closet and was SUPAH excited…not only cuz it was super cute, but it matches a GREAT pair of shoes!

And finally, yes, I am a mom. I have a girl and a boy whom I adore!

I write about everything. Even the normal is not so normal in this house and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

*PS* – I don’t like chocolate or bacon. Don’t hate me.

The words we have learned to NEVER EVER trust.  These are words that we have also heard MANY times over the last year and a half.  Words that I would bet 98% of the population hears and TRUSTS.

Have you heard them before? Have you believed your health care professional to be giving you the absolute most accurate diagnosis of your loved one?  At first, we did

My dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer in April of last year.  He was given 2-6 months.  It has been almost 16 months and he has been on the worst roller coaster ride of his life.  I have been called multiple times with the “he only has a few days to a week left” speech.  I had him and my mom move in with me last November so that I could help and be more involved in his care, while also caring for my own husband and children.

My dads first oncologist was a gal in Florida with a name closer to something we would order at a sushi restaurant than a name we could pronounce. We thought she was fabulous. At first.  She wore designer shoes and always had the best handbags.  She was new.  Lack of experience meant diagnosing from statistics.

Statistics in my dads case meant he was a walking dead man.  That left us ZERO hope.

After months of arguing, chemo, CT scans, blood work and the dreaded “its just the disease progressing..” we decided it was time for change. We got a second opinion.  Then a third.  Then a fourth.  And a fifth…..

Each doctor was amazed at the appearance of my dad when they read his condition.  He shouldn’t be alive.  The fifth opinion even said “you are defying all the “rules” of this cancer”.

It has taken massive amounts of time, energy and research for us to learn what we have learned.  It as even taken several hospital stays.  We have even learned the term “snow”.  To “snow” the patient means to heavily drug them up so they have no pain (a good thing) but it also means your chances are over.  Done.  That, in my opinion, is hospice.  Don’t get me wrong, I know cancer kills.  I know hospice is a fabulous program that is much needed in time.  But if we would have said ok when they first told us it was “time” for hospice, we would have lost my dad over a year ago

We have fought over and over for proof.  We are now with our 7th oncologist.  He has been great.  I say that because he doesn’t run the show.  WE DO.

Today we were told AGAIN that “he is declining rapidly”.  I smiled and said “not to be disrespectful, but if we believed that every time we heard that, my dad would have been dead a year ago.”  The nurse was in shock.

So, again, I say PROVE IT.

His condition does look bad.  Today he looks terrible.  BUT, every time we have been in this exact situation before, it has been side-effects from medication.  EVERY TIME.  So, after his meds are reduced and/or changed and his condition continues to decline, I will NOT choose to believe that the cancer is progressing and he is rapidly declining.

I HIGHLY recommend if you are someone you know is going through the cancer battle with someone, please don’t just take the advice of your doctor or nurse.  Get a second, third, fourth…opinion.  Change meds and fight for the patient.  Don’t let your loved one get “snowed” too soon.

This picture was taken 9 months AFTER they told us he had 3 days to live.

Well, it happened today.  I hit my breaking point.  My rock-bottom.  My worst experience of my life.  I didn’t think I would ever write a super downer post, and I’m totally fine if you stop reading RIGHT now.

I have been crying today.  Almost ALL day.

I actually read a blog someone wrote about pulling up to a stop light and looking over at the car next to her and the driver was just crying.  This particular woman looked so broken.  And the writer of this blog beautifully wrote about not knowing her situation but having such compassion.  By the way, if you happen to stumble across this post and you are the author I am referring to, please let me know so I can give you proper credit.

POINT being – TODAY I was that girl.  Sobbing hysterically in the car while driving from the hospital to the house I am currently staying at.  Every stop light I try to hide my face from any other people.

I can barely eat.  I feel so incredibly sick.

I actually feel like my heart is no longer in my body.  Like I am a walking shell that is only useful to fill up space in a very lonely world.  I am of no value except companionship.  Oh awesome…..I am now apparently a dog.

Today is day 24.  24 days that I have been away from my husband and kids.  I am not in the military.  I could never choose a career that would possibly take me away from my home for more than a week at a time.  I’m not just down the road either, I’m across the country.  I’m in Florida.  My family is in California.

I have been busy here with my parents, which helps keep me distracted, but today I broke.  I went through every scenario to determine my actual value here. I looked at airline tickets.

My heart is in California.  With my 7 year old girl named Lexi.

She is a sweet & beautiful little smarty pants.  She is super helpful and independent.

My heart is also with my 5 year old boy named Brayden.

He is unreal!  He’s super handsome and soooo funny and incredibly tender-hearted.  He also loves to snuggle.  He is NOT independent.  He loves to hang out.

My heart is also with my husband.

He stole my heart 14 years ago and I haven’t questioned that for 1 minute of our history!

My perfect husband drove me to the airport on November 1st.  I haven’t seen him since.  He asks me often what the “plan” is.  It seems to change daily.  The big picture is to liquidate all my parents stuff and move them to California to be near us.  Great plan, but next to impossible.  They have soooo much stuff.  Plus we are dealing with a lot of emotions here, NOT including mine.

I am normally seen as the steady headed, honest, common-sense member of the family.

My little boy asks me often on the phone when I am coming home.  One night he was crying for ever on phone trying to understand when I would be home.  He would say “are you coming home tomorrow?”  “The next day?”  And of course they “Buy why not????”  Each word would break my heart a little more.

Today was the end of me.

After a long conversation with my sweet hubby, he tells me last night before bed Brayden asked him if I was EVER coming home.

And that is when my heart actually left my body.

TRUE STORY. Each. and. Every. Word.

So dads been actin a little crazy today, even crazier than he was yesterday. Very nervous, insecure, in pain and afraid. I feel for him. I really do. None of us could ever understand what it would be like to be told you might have another week left to live.

So he is scared. He starts talking crazy, like after 36 years he is done being married to my mom. She sticks by him and takes great care of him through all this and now HE is done! Whatever!

He believes my mom is “involved” with every man who looks her direction. Eeeeew! Men around here have no teeth!!!

So, mom has a little discussion with his cancer doctor and the nurses. They say they don’t like what they are hearing. They think we are in danger.

So….THEY call and say the SHERIFF is on his way and we better not fight them. OMG. What? Dads a complete basket case, and the cops are coming?

We panic. I tell my dad… THEY’RE COMING!

WHAT-DO-WE-DO????

Panic some more. Dad says let’s go. He gets in a car.

I HEAR sirens.

Mom can’t find keys. The dog gets out. The gate needs to be opened.

I see the sheriff. He’s coming.

I move another car around to the front. I drive to the gate. I push my sick and mentally unstable dad in the back seat. I jump out of the drivers seat because I AM NOT harboring a fugitive…or whatever this would be called.

I open the gate. Mom jumps in the drivers seat.

She drives at light speed to ESCAPE! I stay at the house. I wait. Seriously, I’m ready for the cops to come down the driveway. I’m gonna have a nice talk with them. My sisters boyfriend (or ex as I am told) calls his dad. He’s a cop. He asks his dad if we broke any laws. I am a little nervous about breaking laws. Not really my thing. His dad says in Texas, we haven’t broken any laws. Well, that’s better than nothing…except we’re NOT IN TEXAS!

My mom calls and asks if the cops came yet. I say not yet, 2 Sheriff cars flew by but they haven’t been back by the driveway.

After my mom drives in circles for about 30 minutes, she calls back. The Sheriff CALLED her…..and SHE ANSWERED! Hahahaha! Who answers the PHONE when your running from the cops????

OMG! What a riot. So, my mom tells the cops that the doctor wants to send my dad to the hospital that almost killed him, twice. She doesn’t want him at that hospital. The cop AGREES with her and says the doctor is crazy.

Oh, you might be wondering WHY the cops called her cell phone…….BECAUSE……..

THEY COULDN’T FIND THE HOUSE!

Thank goodness there wasn’t a REAL emergency, we would still be waiting for those cops to find the house.

My dad has always been the strong one.  The one who could fix anything, and I mean anything.  As I was growing up he collected old Cadillacs.  He would rebuild the engines, sometimes restore the interior and then would re-sell the car and make some cash.  We never had less than 65 or so cars on our property.  Out of all these cars, only a handful were drivable.  They all needed something.  But they were ALL special to him.  He even named them.  He called them his savings accounts.  He knew that even when he had NO money, he had these cars and he knew than in a bind, he could get money fast.  I always dreamed of restoring an old car with him and keeping it forever.

He always had BIG dreams.  He wanted to retire early to fish for the rest of his life.  So when he was almost 60, he talked my mom into moving to Florida.  The rest of the family was in Idaho, but he was determined to get warm and close to the part of the ocean he wanted to fish in.  He went to Marine Mechanics school and graduated at the top of his class.  He toyed with becoming a fishing guide.  My mom got a job at Disney World to pay the bills while my dad was in school.  After my dads schooling, he got a job at Sea World.  They never made it to the water.  They got comfortable.  Its been 5 years and they are still in the Orlando area…and miserable.

But worse…dad started getting sick.  He started loosing weight so fast and had no desire to eat.  Doctor said it was his gall bladder.  They scheduled to remove it but when my dad couldn’t even get out of bed because he was in so much pain, my mom took him to the emergency room.  That’s when they found the spots.  On his pancreas.  And his liver.  And…his lungs.  Just the month before my brother-in-law was diagnosed with Multiple Meyloma (cancer of the stem cells) and my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in January.

Its been 8 months since he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer, metastasized to his liver and lungs and its been hard.  We (me, my husband and our 2 kids) moved to Florida to be with my dad.  Then as he was recovering and my husbands mom was getting worse, we moved to California to be with my MIL.  We stood by her side as she fought a loosing battle.  She was strong, but the cancer was stronger.  She passed away on September 1st.  She will be GREATLY missed.  She was a legendary woman.

Through my dad’s roller-coaster ride of chemo, hospitalizations and the regular pharmacy that is on the  kitchen counter that consists of his hourly medicines, we have watched him battle and do well.  He has amazed the doctors.  Pancreatic Cancer is the most “lethal” cancer.  It is detected so late that there is only a 4% survival rate.  His original prognosis was 6 months to a year.

His dreams have changed.  He just wants my mom by his side at ALL times.  She had to quit her job to be with him.  How do you handle this when you still have bills to pay.

Its been 8 months.

My mom can’t do this alone.  I flew back to FL to help.  I convinced them that we want to help and care for them both, but we have to do it in California.  That is where the rest of the family is.  So we are in the middle of a massive liquidation sell.  Everything must go.  Our time is short.

And now I am seeing the signs I don’t want to see.  Dad is falling asleep in the middle of meals.  Even if we are at a restaurant.  Mid-bite he falls into a deep unconscious state.

He is confused.  As he is staring at my feet while I was driving him to the doctor this morning he asks me where the dog is.  As if I had the dog the size of a small horse down by my feet.  He’s confused and I’m getting scared.

I am not ready to watch him fade away and the cancer take over his body.  I need my husband by my side to help me.  I need to be back in California where we will be surrounded by support and people who truly understand.  I need a shoulder.  And if I need this support, love and personal touch so bad, I can NOT even imagine how bad my mom needs it.

We don’t have much time left and I’m scared.

UGH! In Hell…errr..I mean Florida.

Is that even an ok blog title?

I guess I really don’t care, hence the title….ugh!

It’s ugh because I am in Downerville, with sadness, crazies, waterfalls of tears and dirt….oh and HUGE bugs, frogs, turtles and dogs. (the rhyming was totally NOT planned)

My husband and 2 awesome kids are in California.  I am in Florida.  That’s enough Uggghhhhhh for anyone, but for me its just the icing on the cake (a phrase I actually think is really dumb cuz nobody calls it icing, it’s FROSTING…..).

My dad has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer, metastasized to his liver and lungs.  Yes, the same cancer Patrick Swayze fought and just died from.  My dad (waaayyyyy more important to me than Patrick Swayze, even though I have probably watched Dirty Dancing a few dozen times..) is going through difficult stages.  He was taken off chemo after the doctor said it was no longer working.  He was not doing well, the doc said he had 2-3 weeks.  I fly here to hell Florida ONE week ago.  Now my dad is actually doing quite well.  He is feeling good.  He has a few side effects from meds that are making me and my mom crazy (considering popping a few of his pills) but it’s not about us…..

So, since dad’s feeling good, parents decide they want to pack up and move to California to be near us (my family, my kids…).  Great, excellent, wonderful, but have you seen their house?  Or their vehicles?  Or their crap stuff?  OMG….throw me a friggin bone here people.

They ask me to help them.  You have to know me, I don’t like “stuff”.  I don’t like pretty little trinkets that fit perfectly between the 176 other trinkets squeezed within a 10 square inch space on top of the cable box.  I also don’t like things that don’t work, and that goes for clocks, tv’s, lawnmowers, golf carts OR vehicles….in case you were wondering.  I don’t really care about the “value” it has when it is all fixed and clean.

So, my first suggestion, sell a couple vehicles.  Done.  One (yes, my dad has more than one) of his trucks and the old uhaul moving van (that clearly can’t be used for moving) are on Craigslist.  I then say, “Hey, how about a Moving Sale?”.  They say sure, let’s do it this weekend.

Here we go.  Oh gosh, I totally forgot to mention we are in a part of Florida that is simple described as EWWWW!  We set up the tables and as we take stuff out to the tables, my dad takes the stuff off and hides it.  I totally forgot he wanted to keep that dusty old weird beer thingy that has a horse on it…..silly me.  So, we painfully make it through the 2 longest weekend days of my life to make a total of $187.00.  Sweet.  That will get us from Polk county to just shy of the neighboring county.

Now what.  I’ll tell you what.  My parents are both asleep.  I have my laptop and my camera.  I also have skillz.  8 new Craigslist ad’s.  Yep.  Bring it on.  If only I could send them away for a few days.

I am ready to go home.  I am ready to snuggle on the couch with my kids.  I am ready to kiss my hubby.