Thursday, May 17, 2012

Madame President

Yesterday was the last spouses' club luncheon of this year. As I have mentioned, I have been selected to be next year's club President. Why, you ask?  Because the Commanding General's wife asked me and I didn't have the guts to say no.  That's it in a nutshell. And.. I'm always up for a challenge.

We started our luncheon with the "passing of the torch" if you will.  Only we passed flowers. .. roses to be exact. The outgoing president gave a white rose to each of the current board members. The incoming president (me) gave a pink rose to the new board members. I received one white rose as outgoing membership chair, and one pink rose as incoming president. Not sure how I ended up with a vase full of roses, but they were stuck in my bag when I finished yesterday.

I am not complaining.. I do love fresh flowers in my house.

This collection is the contents of a gift bag the outgoing president gave me. Here are each of the items along with her explanation of them.

Claudia told me that when she took over the presidency, she was given a candy bar with nuts in it, because you had to be nuts to volunteer to be president. She gave me a whole jar of nuts...what do you think that even means??

Next was a packet of Motrin, for the headaches that are sure to come, and Tums for the stomach acid.

A bottle of stress relief bubble bath. This I will use, for sure.

Booze...this goes without saying, right?

She ended the little presentation by giving me this bag of chocolates and wishing me nothing but "Bliss" with my presidency.

After the luncheon and the fun Bingo, I met with Claudia to get to the more business side of things. Wow, can you say "overwhelming"?  This is my dining room table this morning. The binder of paperwork that just scratches the surface, my two calendars because one ends at the end of June, a pair of sunglasses someone left at the luncheon that ended up at my house, a new binder that I've started for next year, the AARs (After Action Reviews) from all previous board members on how their year was, and a set of keys that would choke a horse. Seriously. Check this out:

These are all for one building. How can one building have so many locks?  I love the key chain she passed on that says Army Wife. It's not clear here, but I do love it.
So, let the ride begin! I'm taking notes, reading reports and getting ready for my first meetings. I have a feeling the chocolate and alcohol in this gift bag doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what I'll consume this year.

Thanks, Claudia, for a fabulous year. You have left big shoes to fill, but I will do my best :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Keepin' On

First, let me say thank you to everyone who posted sweet comments or sent thoughtful emails to me regarding my last post and the passing of my dad. I have received such an outpouring of love, from my "virtual" friends as well as my real life buddies. I am truly blessed.

Secondly, I want to address my follow up visit to the hospital. I realized, after someone asked me about it, that I never finished that story.

As soon as I came home from Arkansas, my husband pushed me to re-schedule the follow up mammogram. I had it done a few days later.

The second scan was followed by an ultra sound. They never said why, and I didn't ask. I remained calm because there was nothing to be done until I heard it all, right?

The ultra sound showed nothing. I had a real doctor do the ultra sound, something that is not always done in the Army. Our Army doctors are taking care of wounded Soldiers, and I understand that. But, this time, I got the expert. He found a spot and said, there it is.. that's the one I'm looking for. Then he said, no, it's just a cyst. Cysts are good, they're not cancer and they don't bother anyone. Those were his words.

He went on to say that because of the density of my breast tissue, I would probably always need a second scan and possibly an ultra sound because it's hard to read it with just a mammogram. I said, that's fine, I'll be happy to have you smash, poke, scan and smear that gel all over the girls to get a good reading.

As for the rest of me, I'm doing as well as can be expected. I'm staying very busy with all my volunteer activities, not to mention my friends and family. I'm planning another trip in a few weeks to visit my mom and help her with some more business stuff and just spend some time with her.

I'm getting on with my life. I'm taking care of my family and other things I'm committed to. That's what my dad would expect. It's what he would have wanted.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Worst Day Ever

I have been putting off writing this post. I knew it would be emotional, but I just couldn't seem to sit down and write about it. Even now, before I'm even started well, my stomach hurts. I had to do it though, because daily, I think of things I want to blog about, but it didn't seem right to keep writing about every day life when my heart is breaking and I haven't talked about the worst day of my life so far.

Thursday, April 12, started off rocky. I hadn't slept well in three nights and I was cranky, tired and emotional. To top it all off, I felt a cold sore coming.  I had just had one a month earlier and I was like.. "really, again?" 

Then, early afternoon, the hospital called and said I needed a second mammogram, and it needed to be tomorrow. Nothing scary about that, right?  I broke down and cried. I called my husband at work and I never do that.  I talked to my friend Carla and cried to her. She reassured me and reminded me that she's living proof that you can get through breast cancer, if that was even a thought to me.  Nick reassured me as well and told me to lie down and take a nap. He knew I hadn't been sleeping well and that I was exhausted.

I had just taken to the couch with my blankie when my cell phone rang. My sister's name popped up. My sister never calls me. I knew something was wrong. I didn't answer. I wanted to put whatever it was off a little longer. I really thought I couldn't take whatever it was. She left a voice mail, I listened to it and all she said was "call me as soon as you can"  I didn't.

I put my head back down and no more than five minutes later, the back door opens and Nick came in. I knew then it was serious. She had called him. I said oh gosh, did my sister call you? He said yes. I told him it must be bad and he told me my dad had suffered a stroke. Now my dad has had heart disease for years. Heart attacks, open heart surgery, stints etc and has always bounced back. A stroke threw me. I literally lost it. I was sobbing, crying out NO!  Then it dawned on me, I didn't ask how bad it was. I said "He's going to be alright, isn't he?"  Nick said, no babe, he's not.  Then I realized he might already be gone. He said no, but they don't expect him to make it through the night.

Suffice it to say that I was hysterical. The thought of losing my dad was heart breaking.

To make a long story a little shorter, I flew out that night, arrived in Arkansas the next morning in time for them to wheel my dad to test his brain function. He had none. We took him off the life support after telling him our tearful good-byes. It was the worst thing I've ever been through.

It's been over three weeks and it is still so raw and so painful I wonder if I will ever get over it. And my poor mother, if it hurts me like this, how is she living through it? 

The three days after my dad's passing were a blur. Funeral plans, so many people coming by, so much food, so many tears. It was overwhelming.

I will write more about his service later. For now, I have typed out and seen in print that my dad is gone. Maybe I can finish the story of his leaving this world and be able to move on with my thoughts.

My positive encouragement?  My dad was the most Godly man I know. There is no doubt in my mind that he is singing with the angels now and is happier than any of us left here behind.

Here is a photo of my dad, mom and me last October when they came here to visit. It was taken on our drive up Mt. Rainier. My dad had just said something silly and made us laugh. I love to remember him this way.