Friday, March 14, 2014

Bellies, Beds, and Body Bags

I have a Monster growing inside of me.  There is no denying his existence, nor his growth.  Yesterday, I looked like myself.  A little rough, yes, because I was in dire need of a good hair-washing and some fresh pajamas.  But other than that, I looked like me.  This morning I got up and I look like me .... at 5-months pregnant!  Seriously.  I called Nurse in a bit of a frenzied panic.  How could this happen just...overnight?!?  She calmly told me a story about abdominal disease and fluid build-up.  I not-so-calmly asked her what we could do about it.  Her answer?  Nothing.  That's what.  We do NOTHING about so much accumulation of fluid that I look like my former pregnant self.  Wha..........????  This just keeps getting better.

Then, I went on a little field trip with Hubby and Daddy.  We went to a funeral home.  I'd been there before, when my friend lost her own daddy in a sad and sudden way.  I had no real emotion going in.  Actually, I felt a little detached.  Maybe that's why I was so surprised to see a dead person first thing upon entry.  She was just laying there in a room off to the side, surrounded by floral sprays, waiting for her friends and family to come pay their respects.  I actually whispered out loud, "There's a dead person over there."  Stating the obvious didn't help, but it broke the ice when the funeral director came out at that exact moment.

He seated us in a conference room that was not spectacular by any means.  I could have been at any company in Anytown, USA.  This room was only set apart by the collection of urns in a glass case in the corner.  The Director took a seat at the head of the table and started his spiel.  He did a good job.  We were well-armed with a list of questions and ideas, and Mr. Director provided all the answers that we needed.  He also gave us some good information about cemeteries in the area.  Since I am lacking in this area of expertise, I felt grateful.  Did you know that not all cemeteries have perpetual care?  If you are a local, this might explain a lot to you like it did for me.

I never realized how many decisions there are to make for a funeral.  I have been working on a few things on my own at home, but WOW!  Who knew?  One of the most important decisions to make is the choosing of the casket.  We were quickly educated about the differences in steel grades, wood types, and then we were allowed to enter The Casket Room.  It wasn't like the casket rooms that you see on TV and such.  There were only 8 full-size caskets in the room.  The rest of the displays were just cut pieces of the casket with a pull-out display from the wall.  Weird, but efficient.

I found one I liked.  I mean, I guess I like it.  Again, weird.  Mr. Director regaled us with a tale of a husband and wife who visited The Casket Room and asked him to take their pictures inside their caskets of choice.  Why?  What in the world is wrong with people?!?  I guess that's one way you can really be sure you're getting what you like.

While I held up pretty well through the funeral home experience, I must confess that I am a little freaked out by the thought of bugs and creepy-crawlies and, um, elements getting through.  Hence the need for an outer burial container, but still....ew.  That's the only thing that really bothered me.  I was pretty calm as Mr. Director went down the list of  his a la carte menu.  We selected some things we really wanted, and drew question marks beside others that require decisions.  Then we thanked him for his time and went on our way.

For as much as I had been dreading this visit, I suppose it went relatively well.  I did it, and I'm proud of myself for that.  I feel like taking care of these things is a way that I can take care of my family.  They don't need to see to all these little details and worries if I can do it for them while I'm still here.

Right now I am waiting for Nurse to come.  This will be the third appearance she has made at my house this week.  Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking a 3/5 ratio of nurse needs isn't that great.  She's coming to access my port (which I haven't used since last spring--almost one year).  They are going to "feed" me some of my medications through my port so I have fewer pills to take.  It's a lovely thought, because I have got some pills!  Mom bought me one of those old-people pill organizers.  It's the supreme version:


Nifty, huh?  Every one of those little spaces is filled up with pills for me to take.  Every. Single. Day.  It's a lot.

Update:  Nurse has come and gone.  She totally threw me under the bus to Hubby and Daddy about not wanting to use the wheelchair.  Which I don't.  I was thinking maybe we could take it when we go to look at cemeteries.  Seems appropriate.  She managed to access the port with minimal discomfort to me.  I am most thankful.  The port has always been a difficult thing to deal with.  Maybe now I know that the medical staff just weren't doing it right!

I now am receiving methadone through the mediport.  I am hooked up to it, which means I must carry it with me all the time, everywhere I go.  Ugh...I hate that.  Just looking at the unattractive bag which houses it, I am already freaking out, wondering how I will carry it around and what I can possibly wear that will hide the tube sticking out of my chest (and disguise my giant belly).  Again:  ugh.  These are problems I didn't sign up for when Monster came nosing around.

Also, this afternoon we are expecting delivery of a hospital bed.  Nurse asked me how I had been sleeping, and the answer is, "Not well."  I even take Ambien, the magic med, every night, and I am still waking up several times each night because I am crazy-uncomfortable.  It's like she can read my mind.  Nurse said that is due to the swelling in my abdomen, and that laying flat will become increasingly difficult.  Then she gently reminded me that I could have a hospital bed that can elevate my head and/or feet, and it would probably be a great time for it.  I agreed, even though it's about the last thing in the world I want to have in my possession (except a wheelchair).  So there is one coming.  I think that the only twin sheets we have left are Goliath's old ones with the camo pattern.  Mom suggested that I send Daddy to Target to buy pretty new ones for my "new" bed.  Or maybe I'll just sleep on the camo sheets for a few days.

P.S.  Just in case you ever need to know, "disaster pouch" is a nice way of saying "body bag."

56 comments:

Liz said...

I really should learn to pay attention to what account I'm logged into when I type up comments on blogs. Let's just say this is my 4th attempt at commenting here. The other 3 were when I was logged into my work email account. Grrr.

I just want you to know you are so very loved. Your ability to take me with you on this journey, even if it's just through reading blog posts and things on Facebook, is both a great joy & horrible all at once. But it is reality. It's truth. And that is how life is. Some of life sucks really bad.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your life, even the really hard stuff. You are such a blessing to me & we've never even met face to face.

Love ya girl!

Abby Boerger said...

lET'S JUST ALL WEAR MU-MUs AND CARRY BAGS OF FLUID SO YOU WON'T FEEL LIKE YOURS IS SO OBVIOUS. i COULD HANDLE AN IV OF COFFEE OR.....
(((hugs))) Abb

Anonymous said...

Hi Allyson, I'm one of those "you-don't-know-me-but-I've-been-in-love-with-your-blog" types. And we share a name.

Thank you for allowing us to go with you on your full of grace journey. Please know that here in Richmond, Texas, you have someone else you don't know praying for you and for your family.

You have a legacy.

Allison

Anonymous said...

Hey Allyson, I have followed your journey for a while now. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Nan Dinkle Dallas, TX

Anonymous said...

Hi Allyson,

Thank you for sharing your life and experience. I, too, have never met you but I feel as if I've known your forever. Please stay encouraged and continue to trust God. Praying for you in Tomball, TX.

Keith Johnson said...

Allyson,

I am a friend of your Mom and Dad through our church. I have been blessed, inspired, encouraged, and humored by your blog. I am so thankful that you have taken the time to share your life and experiences with all of us. You have a real gift and talent for writing. My family continues to pray for you and your daily challenge. Your courage to face it head and share it is how I believe God wants us to face it. Keep swinging the Sword, His Word, at the Monster! Your Admirer, Keith

Anonymous said...

Allyson, I am a high school classmate of your mom's. I just want to let you know that I think you are the most courageous woman I have ever known. Your faith and your candor amaze me. My love and prayers are with you and your family. God Bless.

Shannon said...

I don't know but am friends with a friend of yours and have followed part of your journey on your blog. You are in my prayers.

Lori (Maine) said...

There are no words for the things you are having to deal with...and yet I still struggle to find them. Even knowing that not ONE word--even the very BEST words I could ever find, would be enough--on their own, to take "Monster" away. But I am grateful for words anyway, because it has given me a chance to "know" you, to know the tremendous faith you have, the precious family and the wonderful woman you are through your blog. Thank you for that! I continue to pray for your comfort, and esp. for your healing and your family's wellbeing. However if God chooses not to grant healing to you on this side of heaven, you can be sure, when I get there, you are one of the first people I want to "look up", see pain and worry free and ask if I may give you a hug! In the meantime, sending prayers and hugs anyway!

Jenny said...

I've tried to comment many times and every time it won't go through, but I'm hoping it will this time. I'm another "you-don't-know-me-but-I-love-and-greatly-admire-you" and I pray for you daily. Your strength through this journey has been amazing. I just wanted you to know I'm here in Grand Prairie....begging God for a miracle, asking that He provide comfort and strength for your precious family and relief from any pain for you. I often come and read and wish for the right words, but there just isn't anything right to say for everything you've dealt with and are dealing with on a daily basis. I do pray every day for you though and wish so badly I could make it better.

Love,
Jenny

Laura said...

You have such grace. Praying for you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Words seem so shallow in light of all that you're experiencing. Thank you for your transparency, Allyson. Being real is the quality I admire most in people and you've always been VERY real about your struggles to find peace and spiritual rest throughout your illness. I pray that you will be filled with peace, rest, comfort, joy, and with God Himself for all the days of your life however long that might be. Hugs for you, sweet woman.

Kim Gregson said...

I have pancreatic cancer. My own consuming monster. I had that fluid buildup. In my case it was a one time thing from the hydration at the hospital leaking out because my albumin was too low. Anyway...they put a needle in my side and drained the fluid out. Had to do it 3 times. They mentioned that some patients come every week. Getting the fluid drained made a huge difference. I could sleep and get out of bed by myself. And no pain.my doc didn't mention it for two weeks till I insisted ythey do SOMETHING because the pain was awful vthey were like oh sure we could drain it. I was so mad. Why did they wait to mention it. Seems like it was called paracentesis. Ask them about it. Good luck...Kim

Anonymous said...

God bless you, sweet girl.

Anonymous said...

God bless you, Allyson.
I pray for you, and your cowboys -little & big - & am so inspired by your courage; even when I know you're terrified. God be with you.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you for doing the "ugly " work for your family. My mother died when I was very young. My dad thought it would be good for me to be involved in the last decisions. It wasn't.
Things I would love to hear....my mom 's laugh, her testimony, her dreams for my life. I would love to know her favorite food, color, Bible verse& story. What were her dreams.

She told us that she saw Jesus and her daddy waiting for her. She loved us and we knew that. She loved Jesus more and I am good with that.

God has used you in an amazing way to touch so many hearts. Praying still for God's perfect will.

Anonymous said...

My dear precious friend! I only know you through your blog spot but you are a real inspiration to me. Praying for you and be assured that as you walk this road there is one set of footprints...Jesus is carrying you through. As you rest in His arms may you draw strength to finish the race that is set before you. My prayers and love! -Faith from WI

Dawn Claunch said...

I Worked For Your Mom For A Short Time At Sagemont. Reading Your Blog Has Been Such A Blessing! I Know Someone Else Going Through A Similar Monster And You've Given Me A Window Into Their Situation. Thank You For That! I'm Praying For You And Your Family! I'm Amazed At Your Courage And Ability To Express Your Journey So Wonderfully!

Anonymous said...

Dear Dear Allyson,
I do not know you but my cousin Angela told me about you and your blog several years ago and I have been reading ever since.

Your words always touch me as I am going through Stage IV breast cancer with liver mets since 2006.

I am so so sorry that stupid MONSTER is treating you this way. I pray for you to have comfort with less suffering and for you to be at peace about this as much as one can be. I pray for those little cowboys of yours and your hubby, parents, sibling, and all those that you love and those that love you so.

You have touched so many of us through your blog and I hope you know that. I thank you so much for sharing it with us even these most difficult things as it is a real help to me knowing that some of the same stuff will one day come in my future as well.

I have never met you here on earth but I hope that makes no difference when we meet in heaven one day as you are a person I would most like to meet. Your endurance and grace while fighting MONSTER has been amazing and encourages me along the way.

The verse God gave me at the beginning of my journey was Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I share this verse with you now and hope it will bring you some help in these most difficult days you are facing.

You will remain in my prayers.

Grace, peace, and hugs,
Kelly S. (Kansas)

Anonymous said...

Love you!!!
Nanette Foster

Anonymous said...

I don't know you, but I too have grown to love you and have been anxiously awaiting an update. Prayers.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog. I am getting insight into how it is with the monster inside....a dear friend has the same cancer and is going through the same thing. I understand her better and your courage in the difficult days, encourages her. Thank you for being so honest and sharing these private days with us. Love In Christ

Sheila said...

I love the life lessons that you so boldly share, sweet Allyson. As a mom, getting the details out of the way is probably the kindest thing you can do for your family. Then enjoy them, and tell them how much you do. I love you so much for who you are and for knowing you. I can't imagine doing my own burial prep while I'm sick. You are the most incredible woman for sharing your life, including the crappy parts along with the good. You have a major impact, Allyson.... you are reaching so many for Christ. I love you and am so glad that I know you!!

Anonymous said...

I am praying for you and your family.

Lori

Lori (Maine) said...

Allyson, I just thought of this as I was reading some of the comments. If you need twin sheets for the hospital bed, I'd love to buy a set and send them to you if that would help. Still praying...

Anonymous said...

I'm another who "knows" you only through this blog but you are a true example of a Christian woman. I admire your strength. Praying for you.

Anonymous said...

I so want your words published. You bring tears to my ever so jaded students. YOU are bringing them to Christ through your words!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Allyson,
I don't know you personally but my aunt and mother taught your boys in Sunday School. They always talked about Allyson and her great strength and courage. And her absolute love for her sweet boys. Our family continues to pray every day for you and your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Anonymous said...

A couple months ago, the mrs and I went to a funeral home to ask what we were facing I our future.

It was surreal.

I pray you find peace without pain, and that God helps comfort all your cowboys.

Anonymous said...

Allyson - I love reading your blog, and I pray for you often. Thank you for using your gift of writing to help other people who are going through difficult times. You are truly and inspiration.

Love and prayers from Doha, Qatar,
Susanne

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through a friends post on Facebook and have followed for several months. I pray for God's grace for you and your family every day. Please know that people love you and are praying for you.

Alicia Searl said...

I know you only through your mom, Mrs. Pat, and she is a true inspiration to me. I can tell by your blog you are just like her and have an amazing story of strength, courage and faith that has made me ever so grateful just to know you through your blog and beautiful writing. My prayers are with you daily. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

My Dear Allyson,
I count it a great blessing to have ever met you, to have been your Goliath's 2nd grade teacher, to be allowed to read your journey through life here...you are an amazing inspiration in so many ways to me. You have taught me to be a better mom to my 2 cowboys. Because of you and your honesty, I am a better person. You and your family are in my prayers, daily.
All my love,
Heather Potter

Carolyn June said...

My boys and I are continuing to pray for God's grace and strength on your life as you fight this battle. I remember my mom's legs swelling up while she fought her cancer. Now those legs walk on streets of gold. I want her here more than anything, but find some comfort knowing she's with the Lord. Praying fervently for your family! -Carolyn

Cheree Bates said...

Dear Allyson,
I remember the trip to Waco when your world fell apart. We prayed for you then and we are still praying for you today. What an awesome God we have just to think that he has helped you through this journey for ALL these many years. You have been an inspiration to so many people that our heavenly Father will continue to bless you and your family even after he calls you home. You are truly LOVED by so many friends.
I read your blog often and i have been truly inspired by your great faith and love. I miss the whole gang!

Dianna Hebert in Friendswood said...

You have been an inspiration to many. Your faith shines through. I too do not know you but have followed your blog. I pray for you and your family every day. I pray for peace that passeth understanding for you and your family. I love how you have told your boys that God is good all the time and to keep their faith. You have shown others how to truly love in all the loving things you have done. You have also been so honest and that is refreshing but hard to read sometimes. Life is hard but God's grace shines through in the midst of it all. Thank you for sharing your journey. Your are loved by many.

Kathy said...

Dear Allyson,

I'm saddened and brokenhearted with you. You have graciously allowed us to peek at you as you walk down this path, allowing us to learn grace from you. You are an incredibly brave woman and I'm so very proud of you. You have faced the monster head-on and while he thinks he has won, Jesus has the miraculous victory for you. God is good. Always. And forever.

Rev 21:3-5

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Sherri said...

Alison, you don't know me, but I've read your blog for a while now. You've touched my heart with courage, honesty, and faith. I'm praying for you and your family.

Sherri said...

Alison, you don't know me, but I've read your blog for a while now. You've touched my heart with courage, honesty, and faith. I'm praying for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

To my dear sister in Christ Allyson,
You don't know me. I stumbled across your blog sometime ago. I cannot fathom living thru the fight you have had with the monster. You are the bravest person I have never met. You have inspired me to LIVE my life! Your sons are blessed to have you as their mother, your husband lucky to have you as a wife. Thank you for sharing your journey. May you find comfort wrapped in the loving arms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Krista Evans said...

Allyson,
We've never met but your story has touched my heart. My daughter shares your name - same spelling even - and I pray she'll live with grace, faith, and strength like you so clearly do. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm praying for you!

Jane Childers said...

Heavenly sunshine, Heavenly sunshine flooding my soul with glory divine, Heavenly sunshine, Heavenly sunshine, Hallelujah...JESUS is MINE!!!:) DEAREST ALLYSON & Cowboys... just wanting you to know I have been following your blog all along; praying for HIS healing hand and grace upon each of you!!! Keep walking in HIS LIGHT as you have! Hugs, Jane (Andy T's Momma/ HS days)

Hubby said...

Hubby -
I have thought of you lot this week. I want you to know that I will search through a thousand lives and 10000 worlds to you. in Heaven you shall await but I will search through eternity to find you.

Matt G said...

I can't make it better for you, but I can tell you that your telling of the issue is important to me, so I'll ask you to keep telling it. You're telling it well.

Thanks.

Please know that helping us prepare for our own future end is a superb manner of maintaining your dignity in these last weeks and days. Yours are dispatches from the front.

Old NFO said...

Came over from Matt G's link. Thank you for your strength and willingness to tell us what is on the path we must all take. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

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