Thursday, February 20, 2014

My kids and I have been confined to home this week. They brought home some childhood disease and decided to wrap it up for my birthday. Yay! The kids were excited because I had to make a grocery store run yesterday. We made it two blocks before Alyssa started coughing and couldn't breathe. So we turned around and I gathered up the inhalers and administered them. It's that time of year when I have to carry a nebulizer in the car and inhalers in my purse. And here I thought we lucked out this year.

As you might have figured out that means that we can't go anywhere near my mom or dad. She's a bit blah, which is to be expected, but I would love to at least take a walk around the block with her. Not going to happen for a couple of weeks I guess.

For now my girls are playing nicely while I continue to work. It's challenging to have to sick kids home and two-hour conference calls. Boy do I love my mute button. Now that they're older they can handle being alone for two hours; we've raised them well enough that they understand boundaries and how to behave when mom and dad aren't looking.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Home again

Thursday of last week my mom came home from UCSF. Her numbers went up exponentially from Wednesday to Thursday (from 10 to 67 on platelet count, for example). She got the OK to come home. She was so excited.

In the hospital, she was expected to get at least a minimum of 1,000 calories a day, which she was barely hitting. At home, however, she's a champ. I bet she's getting 1,000 calories at breakfast. Now that she can control what she eats and eats what she wants, she's doing much better. She's been getting back in the grind slowly, with lots of breaks in between.

My kids decided to go and get sick this week with some respiratory virus and so it will be a while before I get to see her. I'm bummed, but more that my kids are sick with no end in sight.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Last week I was trying to be an encouraging mother, to advise Samantha on the choreography for the upcoming talent show. Instead it came out like this: you aren't good enough, you'll make a fool out of yourselfyou don't know what you are doing. I didn't actually say those words, but my ability to articulate words of encouragement came out off cue. I figured this all out when a defeated look came across Samantha's face and tears trickled silently down her cheeks. At that point, no matter the apologies and hugs, I couldn't fix it. 

She put herself to bed--didn't want me to giver her a kiss or tuck her in. 

How can I be a better mom and not intentionally put my children down but build up their confidence? I want them to be self-confident girls. So many times I wonder if I really know what I am doing raising girls. I struggle daily with trying to figure out how to be a better parent. 

I'm currently on a bumpy path with infinite obstacles and very few successes; I don't know how to navigate this course. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Halfway point

This Thursday, the 6th, my mom reached her halfway point or the lowest point, depending on how you look at it.

She is halfway through her stay at UCSF. She'll likely come home by Valentine's Day even though she'll feel lousy. Her numbers will be near normal or better than they were upon her entry, but her body will not feel like it's ready to go.

Her platelets and hematocrit were near zero on Thursday and Friday. On Friday she received two units of blood and one unit of platelets on Saturday. She had been doing well until then, walking one to two miles a day around the halls. Then she was hit with all of the expected side effects. The nausea has been particularly bad as the levels have dropped. On Saturday morning the nurses gave her a different, stronger anti-nausea drug. It made her so groggy that she couldn't stay awake long enough to eat much.

My dad and I drove up on Saturday to visit, but considering the side effects my mom couldn't converse with us. So instead my dad and I teased her a bit, otherwise we read the day-old SF Chronicle and watched some lame program on Animal Planet.

My poor mom kept apologizing to us, which is about all she could do. Although it was a bit of a wash, it was nice to lay eyes on her.

It'll be much easier when she gets home. She won't feel great, but she'll be at home.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Happy Birthday--transplant day

Yesterday, at about noon, my mom received her cells. She received them over a 45-minute period. There was no violent illness this time, just a funny tickle in the throat that a hard candy cured. Last night the nurses came in singing "Happy Birthday" and brought my mom a cupcake. That was day 0.

A stem cell transplant is a reboot. Today is Day 1. On Day 6 my mom will start Neupogen shots again to help produce more cells. She'll bottom out, as they call it, be the most vulnerable about days 8 - 10. They want to keep ahead of that drop by administering the Neupogen.

She's in her own private room, where she'll stay until she gets to come home. She's near another man from Hollister, and they'll get to visit one another while they're there.

I felt down yesterday and I realized that it was because I couldn't be there while she got her transplant. It's something to be celebrated and she did it alone this time. My brother and sister in law were able to go visit yesterday afternoon, which seemed to perk her up, too.