August 18, 2010

Dear Readers,

So much has happened in the last 2 months, so many thoughts and too many what ifs.
Cancer is a terrible disease, it doesn't only eat at the person suffering from it, but it tears at the very fibre of you family. It irrefutably changes the essence of everyone, including your family dynamic. It leaves you questioning your faith, and living in a world of cynicism. You no longer believe that miracles happen, all you see, feel and experience, is the moment. Your life is filled with Doctor's visits, bad news and waiting for the next symptom to rear it's ugly head. Like wise the reprocutions live for generations, the stigma is attached to you and your family for generations to come. Your child becomes the kid who lost his father/mother to cancer and as they grow they become the adult who lost his father/mother to cancer and eventually it is past on to the next generation.

Yesterday, I lost my friend to this terrible disease. The woman who cared, nurtured and loved Jordan when I had to go back to work. The woman who became my family and who fought with every fibre in her being to stay alive. I cannot describe what it was like to watch an 80 plus kilogram woman, fade away to less than 40 kilograms in less than half a year. It highlighted for me, the enormity of what is to come, not only physically, but emotionally too. It showed me the stigma Syd's children will endure for the rest of their lives.

This has become a deeply personal journey for our family, a journey of loss, not just in the future, but in the right now. I have thought long and hard about my roll as Jordan's mother, and how important it is for me to protect him, even a little, from the stigma that is to be attached to him. As we start the beginning of the end, I have come to realise that perhaps Jordan would not want his father's final months available for the world to see.

For now, I will continue to write for Syd to Jordan on pen and paper. Maybe when he is older, and with his blessing, he will allow people to see what transpired, but that will be his choice to make. Perhaps, at some point I will be able to write about my life again, but not right now.

I will continue to read everyone's updates, and although comments may be few and far between, I will hold each of you in my thoughts.

So, this is goodbye, not forever, just for now. Love fiercely, cherish each moment, hold tightly to your dreams, and enjoy the journey.

June 17, 2010

2 Months After Diagnosis

Dear Jordan,

Your diary is late because I have hit somewhat of a snag. I just don't know how I'm supposed to end this memoir to you. Dad says I'll know when it's the right time. But somehow I'm not too sure.

Dad and I went to Mozambique together. What a magical place. You stayed with your Grumpy and Granny. Dad and I really has so much fun and we spent some quality time together, discussing Dad's wishes and our way forward. By the time we came home though, I was missing you so much. I vowed never to leave you at home again.

After we came back. Dad had his follow up appointment. I don't know what we expected, that perhaps the disease had somehow left him, maybe it was the holiday, and not thinking about it, or maybe it's because Dad looks so good. The cancer has spread to his glands, and both his lungs are filling with fluid again. There is nothing the medical fraternity can do about it. So we wait and see.

I so wish I could freeze time for you my son. I wish there were no discussions about funerals, estates and wishes for remains. I pray for more time, to give you the opportunity to spend it with your Dad. When I see how quickly you are growing I am so very proud, but so very sad too. When you walk down the passage shouting Dad, Dad my heart melts, and my mind races, wondering how long you have left to do that. But for now, we continue to be thankful that you have blessed our lives and that you can grow and feel our love for you.

We love you forever and always our son,

Dad and Mom

April 13, 2010

1 Month After Diagnosis

Dear Jordan,
Your diary entries will be done monthly now as life settles into some sort of normality. Dad is doing so well, despite yet another infection in his original drain incision.
This last month has been spent with friends and family, trying to connect and allowing Dad to be as normal as possible.

Some big things have happened in the last few weeks, and really tough decisions have had to be made. One of our biggest fears have been losing Dad, and losing our house shortly afterward. It is unfortunate, but it is a reality, and will probably happen. The bond is not registered solely in my name, and if one of the members of the bond passes away, the banks recall the entire debt. There is no way that I could ever afford to pay off that debt, and so the decision has been made to sell our house. This is not as bad as it sounds, and as Dad said to me, I have never been happy here. He is right, the best thing that happened in this house was you, everything else is of no consequence, and to be very honest, I will not be sad to see this house disappearing into the distance. We will find a new place, that I can afford by myself, and that you can grow up in.

Easter came and went. You had such a wonderful time hunting for eggs with Emma, and giving your poor Granny heart failure when you stuffed an entire white candy egg into your mouth. Watching you and your excitement was amazing, but somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I wondered if this would be the last Easter you would have with your Father, and how that would affect you. For some reason I just cannot get my mind around not having him with us. Perhaps it’s because he is so well now, or because it we cannot see the disease, but most of the time it feels like a dream, that he’ll definitely be with us tomorrow and nothing will change.

It was Jayden’s 1st birthday party last weekend, and we travelled up to East London to celebrate. It was Dad’s 1st long car journey since his diagnosis. He handled it so well, and you were an absolute star in your new big boy seat. The way that you interact with Jayden makes me long for a sibling for you, but while my heart says yes, my head says not yet. We have so much more to enjoy from watching you grow.

Dad and I are off on Friday to Mozambique for Dad’s dream holiday. I am so very excited to experience this dream with Dad, but am also incredibly apprehensive about leaving you behind. I have no anxiety about who you’ll stay with, but rather that you would have grown too quickly, or that I’ll miss out on a big milestone. Perhaps fate will deal me a good hand, and the only milestone will be those molars of yours that will finally show their face after months of irritating you.

Taking photos of you this month has been a stark reminder of how time waits for no man. You are no longer a baby, you no longer look like one, nor do you act like you. You are a fiercely independent little boy, just like your Dad.

Remember we love you always,
Dad and Mom

March 29, 2010

Weeks 3 and 4 After Diagnosis

Dear Jordan,
These last 2 weeks have flown by, I sometimes wish I could slow time down, and prolong the inevitable. It would be so nice to know we could somehow stay in this happy time, and know that nothing is going to change.

We spent last week Friday with your Aunties Carmen, Nats, Uncles Ian and Neil and Emma and Hannah. It was somehow strange, but comforting to be normal for one night. In the back of my mind I kept thinking of Dad, and if he was tired, and how he was coping. People are afraid to ask, or broach the subject of Dad’s sickness; he however, talks freely and jokes willingly about this stage in his life.

You, Danette and I, went for breakfast with Aunties Marthie and Megan. Hearing them say how big you have got, and seeing how tiny little Quan is growing, really was an eye opener for me. You were, as always, a real charmer.

The human psyche is a strange being. It seems that we have moved from anger, denial and tears, to an acceptance of what is going to happen. That somehow, we realize the inevitable, and we are trying desperately to carry on. I have the business to run, and Dad keeps himself busy with household chores. There are times when for no explicable reason, tears will flow, but they have become fewer and further apart. While we pray for a miracle, and sometimes bargain, somehow we have moved on, to acceptance.

Gran told me of someone dear to us, saying that loneliness creeps up and that it is horrible. The fear of losing Dad has been replaced with the fear of being alone, that no one will ever fill the hole in my heart, he filled when we met. The unknown has always been an issue for me, and as you may well have learned by this stage of your life, I am a planner. The fact that our dreams, and plans are no longer, seems to have created a sense of feeling lost. The fact that the white picket fence, dog and 2 happy little children running around are not in the plan anymore, terrifies me, and that should I decide to give you the sibling you so deserve, I will have to do it alone. That is not to say that Grumpy, Granny and rest of your family will not be there to support us, but to do it without Dad, just seems senseless.

For now, we are thankful that Dad’s infection in his incision is clearing up again, that we can still have our holiday, and that I can hold his hand and talk to him. We are so grateful that you are with us, and that you give us each a smile, a kiss and a hug every morning and that at least a little bit of our dream has become a reality.

We love you forever and always,
Dad and Mom

March 15, 2010

Two Weeks After Diagnosis

Dear Jordan,
This past week has been spent making arrangements for our trip to Mozambique and finding out all the necessary precautions we’ll have to take while travelling with someone who is sick. It’s a bit harrowing to think that something could go wrong in a foreign country, but all things considered we are very close by air to Johannesburg. Dad needs to live this dream of his and the fresh air, white beaches and turquoise seas will do just that I’m sure.

On Friday, we were surprised by Granny, and our friends, Aunties Marthie, Karien and Jahni. I knew they had arranged for you to sleep at Granny and Grumpy’s house, but we never expected this.

Granny desperately tried to set up quickly, but you were having none of it, and insisted on moving the candles around and eating the flowers. Dad and I realized just how incredibly blessed we are to have people like these in our lives. You spent that night at your Grandparents, and Dad and I spent the night eating, talking, eating, watching movies and eating some more. It was truly wonderful.

Family day we bought you some bubbles and various wands, in hopes that you would be thoroughly enchanted,
but your fascination lasted about this long,

before something else peaked your interest.

You were quite content to allow Dad and Greg to continue playing with your bubbles,

while Natalie and I watched you go off to do a little adventuring,
bird watching,
Garden cleaning,

and of course avo picking.
Yet again, you couldn’t get them off the tree and between you and the dogs, the poor tree will have produced 50 fruit and yielded none. You pleaded with me to help you, at first you tried the non subtle approach, of stamping your feet and crying,
and then decided to try the begging approach.
Finally something caught your attention at the bottom of the garden
You stood there for ages, wagging your little finger and hand talking to that bush. It took me back to the days when I believed wholeheartedly that there were faeries and gnomes in the forests at Hogsback. We will take you this year to see those forests and to play in the snow. I still believe that that Hogsback is the most magical place on earth.

Part of me hurts so deeply that you will not know your Dad intimately, that he will not be able to raise you physically, but another part of me is glad that you will be spared this part of our families journey and that you will see these times, the happy ones, and know that you are loved.

All our love forever and always,
Dad and Mom

March 10, 2010

One Week After Diagnosis

Dear Jordan,

One of my friends, Kandis, suggested Dad write you a diary. Your father was never good with words, and because of this, he jots down notes for me to write in this space.

We have chosen to write this diary for you together, because together we made you, together we love you, and together we are a family. We have also decided to put it up for people to see, because without these people, some who we have met, and some who we haven't, the validation of Dad's life would be incomplete. I will have these entries printed and bound for you when this chapter of our lives is closed, and this will be a testament of how much Dad loves you for eternity.

It's been a week since we heard the news that Dad was sick with cancer. It's been a week of ups and downs, times where we cry together for the things we will lose and other times where we all stand back and laugh at Dad for his stubbornness and determination. At times I think people may think us callous because we still dare to laugh, but that is the essence of who your father is as a person. He always says he doesn't mind people making fun of him, because they're leaving others alone.

Dad is still very sore from his surgery and drains and has caught a little bit of flu with his weakened immune system. Not to be outdone, you have developed rivers of snot and a nasty cough. We maintain you've done it on purpose so that you can get away with doing this

instead of sleeping in your own cot.

We received some very good news this week, that Dad's cancer has not spread to his bones, and that although his hips are still very sore, we can treat them for the correct issue. This is the 1st positive diagnosis we've received on his hip in almost 11 years. We took you to the oncology ward on Tuesday for the follow up. Yet again you proved what an amazing little boy you are. There wasn't a sick person waiting there that you didn't walk up to, touch, fake laugh or smile at. In a room filled with such sadness, you made every one of them smile. Dad was so very proud of you and I had to fight with him not to pick you up and strain his wounds.

We have been doing enquiries into going on Dad's dream holiday. Unfortunately you'll be too small to come with, but there are still so many places you and I will see together.

This week we are positive that Dad is getting better, he is already becoming belligerent again and that is a very good sign.

Remember we love you forever and always our special son,

Dad and Mom

March 02, 2010

We sat there, in that cold room government hospital room, joking about the smell of car air freshener, skirting the subject, not wanting to say what was on our minds. The grip of his hand on mine told me he expected what I did.

She came in, looked at his file, checked his X rays, biopsy results and did one further examination. He told her: "don't beat around the bush, tell us so that we know". She looked at him and said: "Cancer can only be cured 3 ways. Surgery. Not an option for you. Chemotherapy. You're not type specific enough. Radiation. Impossible because of where your cancer is. We can manage your symptoms and treat your pain, but that is all. I'm sorry". I felt the grip of his hand tighten, it mimicked the feeling in my throat, constricting, a lack of air. "How long"? he asked.

"Not long".

I don't know what I expected. A rush of tears? Words expressing how unfair this was? Instead, I was met with silence, and his gaze, that implored me to say something. Anything. I couldn't. I had no words. My mind was reeling, but my mouth couldn't say what my heart was feeling.

And then she said these words, words that will stay with me forever. "None of us have tomorrow. This is it. Today is all we have, and today you are alive. Today you can hold your wife's hand, and tell your children you love them. You're going to have good days, and you're going to have bad ones. Make a list, and on the good days, do those things you want to do. Live your life".

All I could muster was a thank you.

Right now, all I can muster is a thank you to my family and to my friends, those I have met and those I haven't. I do not have the words to tell you how loved we feel, how your emails, text messages and phone calls have validated my husbands life and have made these dark days a little brighter.

In all this madness, we all need to really hear what that Doctor said.

Today is all with have. Live your life.

February 23, 2010

Surgery, Infections and throat closing?

D day today. My husband goes in for his biopsies, scopes and maybe another drain. We took the dressing off yesterday, he was complaining of immense pain. Not a pretty sight, and it's safe to say there is a pretty nasty infection around his original drain incision.

In other news, did you know that stress can manifest itself by making you feel like you're being strangled? I didn't, now I do, and I refuse to take the sleeping tablets our GP prescribed because I have a house, and a business to run, and a baby to wake up for, and a life to live.

Thank you all for your wonderful messages.

Today's step, making it past surgery.

February 19, 2010

The Long and the short of it...

My blog is going to change, it's going to morph, and quite possibly it is not going to be the happy space it once was, all the time.

This last week I've had to imagine my life without my other half, about the uncertainty of life and how quickly it can be cut short.

I've learned that a single mother is an amazing creature, that one copes when they have to, and that you can in deed cry every night. That empty bed syndrome is very real, that the state of our Government Hospitals is so shocking that it's difficult to comprehend. That a child misses his father, even when he cannot speak and that your heart can break by looking at an X Ray. I've seen that I can be more angry than I ever imagined and that you can only bargain with God for so long before you no longer believe.

This week I've had to imagine my life without my husband, and the uncertainty of how long his life will be...

February 11, 2010

What Happened?

I've not wanted to write lately because I feel utterly lost and disillusioned.

It seems the whole world has been turned on its head. Where good people suffer and bad people prosper.

At what point did bad people earn more, obtain jobs, win money and live a generally happy life? While good, honest, hardworking people are made to sit and suffer, financially and emotionally. Where children fast their favourite foods in a bid to get God to answer their Mom and Dad's prayers for financial salvation, not through wealth, but through the sale of their home. Where women who have endured the unthinkable loss of their babies, have to watch other women who don't want children, fall pregnant everyday. When an educated, loving women has to endure the abuse of wealthy children everyday to earn a salary, far below what she is worth, and to somehow scrape the last cent to live.

I don't know. Something is seriously amiss in the world today. I feel that the obtainable is no longer, because I refuse to be anything less good than what I am.

January 18, 2010

Happy birthday my son

You turned 1 on Friday, and I can scarcely believe where time has flown.

You've gone from a tiny helpless creature to a fiercely independent, clever little boy.

We love you with all our hearts little man.

Daddy and Mommy


January 12, 2010

Totally uninspired

That's me.

I have so much to write about, but just can't seem to pen a comprehensible sentence.

I will really try to come up with something legible soon.