Saturday, August 2, 2014

Beauty in the breakdown

Oh, hello there, friends. It's been about two weeks since I was last here.

Many of you know what has been going on, but for those who do not, here is a quick spark notes version:

My parents returned home from a trip to PA last Tuesday. From Tuesday-Thursday, my dad spent most of his time sleeping. It became a bit worrisome by Thursday afternoon. We were all concerned that there was something wrong. It became even more worrisome when his exhaustion was paired with confusion and slow speech. At that point, we knew we had to take him to the ER.

It was determined that he has increased swelling in the brain. It was about a 15% increase since his last visit to the doctor, which is quite a significant jump. We spent from Thursday-Tuesday at the hospital. He was finally released Tuesday afternoon. We were told he would need to come back in 4 weeks for a more intense MRI to determine the exact cause of the swelling. They believe it is radiation necrosis, which is a side effect from gamma knife radiation. We will know more soon. In the meantime, we need to keep a close eye on him to watch for signs of confusion. He is also not able to drive until we determine the cause of the swelling.

On Tuesday, my birthday, I had to leave my family to go on a conference for work. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Ft. Wayne, IN with my peers. It was hard for me to be away from home on my birthday, but even harder to be away from my family at the scary time. When I got back home on Wednesday, I met up with my parents for dinner. We had a great dinner, and talked all about how positive we were all going to be and how my dad was going to be okay.

As we were leaving, my dad got a phone call from his brother, Joe. Joe was delivering the shocking, heartbreaking news that Mike, their other brother, had passed away suddenly. This was a shock to all of us, and I will never forget the look on my daddy's face when he was told what happened. Mike had just been in the hospital to visit with my dad. There was no medical condition that we knew of, and he was his jolly self at the hospital.

Mike's death hit each of us pretty hard right in the gut. The only silver lining I can find is that we DID get to see him recently. But that also makes it all the more shocking.

Needless to say, the past week has been incredibly difficult. It's been terrifying, and it's brought on a lot of emotions. There were times I wanted to break, times I wanted to yell. And that's just me. I can't imagine how my dad, going through this diagnosis and losing his brother, is feeling, or how my mom, who has become a caregiver for my dad, is dealing with all of this.

Luckily, we've had fantastic support from our friends and family. I really am not sure we could do it without the love spread to us. Everyone who has taken the time to ask how we are doing, or to offer assistance with driving my dad around or to help my mom get her classroom ready for the fall....all of that means the world to us. We are a strong family, but the love that surrounds us makes us stronger.

Times like these are tough, but also beautiful. Because even in the dark, scary times, you can still see and feel the love. You see the good in people and you are reminded of the importance of relationships, and of human interaction. We'll get through this because we have each other to lean on and to carry one another.

Much love.

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