Saturday, March 31, 2007


So, over all, pain decreasing today. But the localized, sharp pain on the right (deep pain, not surface or muscular) is more intense. Taking two lortab will knock it out, but I can't be doing that much longer - I really don't want to get hooked! I know it's only been a week, but I wonder when that will ease up?

Tomorrow, I go to interview/try out? for a job. As a nanny. For a little boy. I THINK he's five months old, but I'm not sure - I could be wrong on that. I'm hoping this is a good fit - I really would like the extra income ($200 a week isn't a LOT, but it is when it's the compensation for basically hanging out with a little kid for three days). :)

Anyway, I have to go to bed. I'm not really wanting to - I wanna stay up and do mindless things to keep from thinking or feeling, so that I don't miss her, I don't worry about finances, I don't consider that I've been a pretty lousy spouse the past few months... but, I'll go. I'll get past the racing thoughts. And I'll sleep.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Sad night...

I don't know if it's just extra emotions from the painkillers, or from fighting infection (and all the sleep that comes with doing so) or what, but I miss her more than normal right now. I wish so much that I could talk to her. I tried to talk to my husband about it tonight - but all he did was jump in with talking about how cute she was and stuff like that. And laughing about his memories of her. How can I talk about how much I miss her, how much I hurt, when that would take this away from him? I LIKE that he remembers her that way - I LIKE that he's not so upset about it. I LIKE that he can smile and laugh when he thinks about her. I wish it were that same way for me... but it's not. I AM happy for her - and I KNOW she's in heaven, and I know that's for the best (at least for her). I know it's selfish, but I'm sad for me. I don't HAVE any close friends, other than my husband. No women that I can call and talk to about stuff like this. Especially missing the fact that she used to be my advisor. When I didn't know what to do - I could ask her. I don't HAVE that anymore. With anybody. And not only does that hurt, and not only is it hard - I also NEED someone like that. I NEED a Godly woman, one of faith, one who is older, one who is wise, one who is gentle, easy to approach... one who is the sort of person (or at least has some of the qualities) that I want to see myself be. And I don't have it. Selfish though it is, that's one of the hardest things right now.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007


Gonna re-visit the entries regarding my surgery. To say it went well is an understatement. As was explained again today...
The extent of the endometriosis was a shock to the doctor. Not because it's such a horrible disease, but because I am really quite young. And because this is one of those .5% of cases where the complications of the disease could readily become life-threatening. The implants surrounding my ureter would have caused major issues, causing me to possibly loose the kidney (or my life or the life of our baby) had I had a progressing pregnancy, as the flow of urine was obstructed. Had the disease gone undiagnosed for another few years, same problem. One ureter was very bad, the other not quite as bad - but getting there.
Meanwhile, I'm hurting a bit more today in a localized spot on the right. As I think about reasons why, one thing jumps out at me... the implants behind my uterus and to the right were located very very close to a nerve. Meaning that any irritation and/or bleeding would affect that nerve. Meaning that as it heals, there will be more localized pain. Meaning I am no longer worried about that. (Well, the fact that the doctor said as much might play into the not worrying a little too).
There was endometriosis on my uterus, on my tubes, on my ovaries, on my bladder, on my ureters, and my large intestine (as well as abdominal lining, apparently) that she removed. Also, there were a couple small spots on my diaphragm and small intestine, she didn't touch those because they were small and would have been VERY difficult to remove. A lot of adhesions were found, as well, and she released/cauterized/cut those.

As of today, I've got an early infection trying to start in one of the incisions, and possibly a bladder infection. So I'm starting on antibiotics (Ceflax) which will take care of them. If the cultures come back as some unusual strain of bacteria, may add another antibiotic, but the doctor thinks that's pretty unlikely.

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Monday, March 26, 2007


To be honest, I'm relieved. For starters, this surgery should have a VERY positive impact on my fertility. AND it will help each cycle not to be so very miserable. As in no more throwing up, sleeping 16 hours at a shot, and so on. And, to be honest, one of the biggest sources of relief is the fact that this IS NOT all in my head. I've been told by numerous people that our "fertility" issues are there because I need to "just relax" or because it's "not God's time yet" or because we are doing it wrong - wrong position or wrong time. Yes, people have actually said that. Who? Not telling.
Anyway, I still really, really miss Gramma. I wish she was here to celebrate with us - to celebrate this milestone that makes it much more likely that we'll conceive our miracle soon. Wish I could call her up, talk to her on the phone... wish I could hug her, tell her she was loved. Make her something. Write her something. Anything for her...
It's late, though. 12:30 AM. Waiting for the Lortab to kick in... as it is right now, my belly is too sore for sleep. Soon, VERY soon, it will ease off, and I'll have my six hours of relief. Then I'll take a Tramadol and that will hold the edge off enough to sleep a couple more hours, and then I'll take the second tramadol later on (about noon) and that'll see me through the afternoon. I'm HOPING not to need any more tomorrow night, but if I do, that's okay too. I'd like to go down to church tomorrow and talk to Patti about the surgery, let her know how well it went... but if I am all dopey, no can do. We shall see - the pharmacist thought that with the Tramadol I might be able to drive... That would be a bonus.

I feel bad for Derek... he wiped out on his bike today. I haven't checked the bike over, I hope it's not hurt. He'd feel awful if it was. It was a silly mistake on his part - bad angle to cross railroad tracks and down he went. Skinned up his knee and hands, and got a bit of a scrape on his elbow and chin and chest. The way he was whining earlier, I think either he's way over-tired and feeling pain more than normal, or else he's probably got some stuff still in the scrapes. I'll have to have a better look tomorrow - perhaps dope him up with one of my lortab first... We shall see. Meanwhile, he's sleeping peacefully, and I'm grateful.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Had the surgery.

I had the laparoscopy done yesterday. Turns out I'm NOT just a wimp - there was extensive endometriosis (Stage 3), and the doctor was quite suprised - says usually it doesn't get this extensive until later in life (early to mid thirties). She was able to remove a lot of it with a blade, and most of the rest with a laser. There were a few spots she didn't touch, but they were very small and located too close to other structures to be worth the risk. The doctor believes this will not only positively impact fertility, but that it will also drastically improve the monthly symptoms I used to battle.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm not INfertile... the correct term is SUBfertile...


Friday is the day I go in for surgery. If I DON'T have endometriosis, I don't know what my problem is... my periods have gotten progressively worse each cycle for the last two years. Before that, I didn't HAVE periods more than two or three times a year, so I wouldn't know if they got worse then... This one, I can hardly eat I'm so sick to my stomach, and I'm SO tired (sleeping 12-16 hours a night, with an afternoon nap), and my pelvic area isn't just crampy - it hurts, a lot. Told Derek that if I didn't KNOW this was from my period, we'd be in the emergency room until it was figured out. I'm so bloated that I wish I had maternity pants - just so I could have something nice to wear in public that didn't cause even more pain. Each time I take a deep breath, my diaphragm hurts all the way across, and pain shoots through my shoulders. I'm dizzy.

Basically, everything that would indicate endometriosis is there... but what if I don't have it? What if I'm just a total and utter wimp? What if it's all in my head? What if it's not all in my head, but they tell me it is? What if they find some reason that the only thing that will ever work for us is IVF? We can't do that. For one, we can't afford that. Although I could find myself more work and generate money specifically for that, I guess... but second, we can't do that because there isn't anywhere around here to do it. Closest is Rochester. Driving there each day for scans, staying overnight for retrieval, staying for 72 hours of bed rest after the transfer... we can't do that. Just can't. Not won't... can't.

I think some people question the idea that we are doing this so soon after Gramma's death. It's been 49 days. Not even a full two months. But back in probably September, or maybe as late as November, we discussed this. And again in December. Before that VERY brief pregnancy... the one with gradually darkening positive HPT results, the negative blood test at 3 weeks 5 days, the dark positive at 4 weeks 1 day, the negative HPT at 4 weeks 3 days, the bleeding and cramping at 4 weeks 4 days... Anyway, that's off topic. We'd discussed that if we had not successfully attained pregnancy, we'd discuss the surgery in March. It's March. Derek and I need to keep living our life. It's not a dishonor to Gramma... in some ways, it's an honor. It's saying "We love you enough, and you taught us enough, and helped us enough, that we can be strong. We can keep going."

And when our little Aileen is born, and Grampa is there to meet her... and her daddy is there and whispers the first words she hears after birth "Jesus is Lord. He loves you, and He always will. Daddy and mommy love you." That will honor her, too. Something she wrote in her cancer journal was that she wondered if she'd get to meet her great-grandkids. On earth, her answer is no... she never did. But in heaven... she's got a head start on the rest of us. She's with Anna now... knows her better than we ever did.

Anyway, that's it for tonight.

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Friday, March 9, 2007


It's 1:30 AM, Friday the 9 of March. 37 days since she left earth. I was going through e-mails from her, and I found one that simply says... "As the Bible says, "LOVE NEVER FAILS". As long as God remains at the center of your life, nothing will ever be too hard to get through." Another says, "I wish I could comfort you, but there is not a thing that I can say that would be the right words. So I will pray for the Spirit to dwell in you and bring comfort to you. I love you both so much. God is good even in the bad times. His timing is not always ours. Love, Gramma." I hope she's able to see how much her words, in spite of the fact that I cry as I read them, are such a source of comfort right now... it's like she wrote them for this time, even though it was almost a year ago that she wrote them.

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Monday, March 5, 2007


Tonight, I had creative writing class. We were asked to write some "flash fiction." Here's mine.
Ian stole Sebastian’s lawnmower. It’s not that he was trying to be mean, or had anything against him... he just wanted the lawnmower. In the preschool world, that is grounds for immediate action. So he took it. Like Ian, Sebastian was subject to the thoughts and motives that govern preschool. Sebastian did the most logical thing he could think of, but his teacher’s response was less than enthusiastic. As he looked over her shoulder and saw his dad entering the playground, she sternly said, “Sebastian, we do not run over our friends’ heads with lawnmowers.”
This morning, Janie showed up for daycare wearing the frilliest dress I had ever seen. Her friend, Carly, seemed unjustifiably fascinated with it. Before lunch, the kids like me to read them a book – and Carly enjoys it more than the rest. But today, she looked concerned when I started, and by page 5, looked ready to explode. Concerned myself, I stopped and asked her if she had something to say.
“Yes, I do. How come Janie looks like a president today?”
I must have looked confused. She clarified, somewhat impatiently, “Her dress. It’s a president dress.”
Ian screams. Not just when he’s scared or hurt – he also screams when he’s upset or happy. So hearing Ian’s screams behind me on the playground didn’t concern me… at least not right away. After eight in a row, I turned to ask him to stop. He stood, arms pinned to his side, howling. Shaw stood facing him, slapping one cheek, then the other. Shaw does not do well with loud noises. They prompt a violent reaction in him. “Shaw, stop!”“But he’s screaming!”“Do you think if you stop hitting him, he’ll stop screaming?”
“Well, maybe!” he answered brightly.

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Sunday, March 4, 2007


It's so weird... in so many ways, I'm afraid to be okay... and I'm not sure why. I don't LIKE being miserable - and yet I am afraid not to be. Partly because I feel like I'm SUPPOSED to be, and partly because I guess I'm afraid that if I get all happy again, something else bad will happen. I'm well aware that that's ridiculous, but here I am anyway.

I am working on a couple long term projects - first one is that I am writing books - one to my husband and one to my child(ren), so that if something did happen to me, they'd have that. Sounds morbid, but really... it's not. Gramma did that for me, and although she didn't write much, it's so precious to me. I don't want anything bad to happen to me, EVER, but if it did... I want those left behind to have these.

The other project is that I am making a dollhouse for my future daughter (or if I'm too slow, for my future granddaughter). :) It's almost cathartic to work on it.

Today, I took my final two Lortab - which means tomorrow I'm totally without any serious pain relief, meaning that tomorrow, the knee HAS to start improving.

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Friday, March 2, 2007


After trading e-mails back and forth, my family doctor has suggested that I should talk to someone before this "gets set too much"... He might be right, but who's to say? There really aren't many people that I would talk to anyway. Derek talked to someone who we typically get along with quite well about how to help me shortly after the accident - and I ended up getting a big lecture about how it was time to move on (this was a week afterward) and to quit being sad and how I was just having a pity party... and "don't you DARE start feeling sorry for yourself." I guess there's merit to that, but...
Yes, I do feel a bit sorry for myself. Not as in "woe is me, pity me, poor poor Jenna" though. More as in... "I miss her. She was so much a part of me, and part of my life... and part of my plans." And yes, I depended on her and I'm feeling a lot like I've been turned loose without an advisor. I know that ultimately, all insight and wisdom and good comes from God. But He's used her for so much of that in my life. She, really, was the ONLY one other than Derek that I have ever talked to about so much... things like hopes, dreams... hurts... frustrations... dealing with infertility, wondering what to do next, how far to take it... faith... hope... the Bible... heaven (we talked about Heaven and the rapture and such a lot).
There isn't another woman that I know that I am even remotely that close to... especially not one old enough to have the wisdom and experience to help me through. One that gives good hugs, doesn't mind tears, and understands that expressing uncertainty or questioning what to do doesn't mean I have lost faith in God... one that isn't afraid to address any issue...
Gramma and I had a special, special bond. Her mom died when she was very young - she remembers it though. She had so much hurt tied in to that... it helped her understand me. And it helped her understand why, no matter what happened between my mom and the rest of the world, I loved her. And I needed her.
She had a miscarriage - and it hurt her so much. And that meant that when we've lost kids, she was able to comfort more effectively than other people. She had the same love for children that I have (I'm pretty sure I got it from her), and so she understood how in spite of the cost, in spite of the risk, in spite of the pain of loss, in spite of all of that - we keep pushing ahead with fertility treatments. She understood that deep longing for a child of our own.
I talked to her about everything... and it's not that I can't talk to Derek. I can. And I do. About everything. But he's not a woman. He's not a grandparent. He hasn't raised two generations of kids, been through the Depression, hasn't had the experiences and gained the wisdom she had. What I'd really like to be able to do is talk to HER about all this. But I can't. And while there are a FEW people I would be willing to talk to, as the good doctor has suggested, I wouldn't know where to start. One of them simply doesn't have the time, and has things far more important than listening to me. Another is not really in a position to do so - it probably wouldn't look good. A third is the doctor himself - but he's an MD, and how much counsel could he provide? A fourth tends to recommend an approach that I just can't do right now. A fifth seems unapproachable, and there's no solid basis for that. A sixth, while I would be okay with talking to them, isn't in a position to do so because they have other responisibilities, and if I did talk to them just as "friends"... it might help, as would most of the others... but I can't bring myself to do so.
All that to say... I wish there WAS someone I could talk to about this... someone who it would be appropriate to do so, someone who I trust, someone who shares the same stance faith-wise, someone who will either understand or else admit that they don't, someone who will be supportive and gentle... and someone who has the wisdom to actually HELP, not just listen.

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I should be asleep... I took two lortab (5 mg) three hours ago... and it did take the edge off the pain in my knee. Ordinarily, it would alsoknock me out. But tonight, it's as if I'm stuck on being awake. I need God's help like I don't remember ever needing it before. I will finish this off, and then maybe edit some images, and then will try for at least a little sleep - I've gotta get up five hours from now. :(

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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Final Good-night

Today, I'm writing about when Grampa said goodnight to Gramma for the last time... and I'm writing about their last kiss... and the last time he saw her.

The morning of January 31st, she stayed in bed while he showered and shaved. He came in to get her up, and kissed her on the forehead. I've seen these moments in years past, when I would pretend to be asleep between them. He'd bend down, stroke her hair so softly... then he'd kiss her forehead and whisper, "Mornin', ma..." and then go downstairs to eat. This morning wasn't any different. Except it was their last kiss.

They left my house at about 12:45, maybe 1:00... they went to wendy's to eat, and decided they would skip going to Penny's to buy t-shirts for grampa. A couple weeks before, I had taken pictures of the bald eagles down on the river. Gramma wanted to see it for herself, so Grampa took her down to the park before leaving for home. They watched, and she counted 31 of them. They left town...

About 2 miles out, the road begins to wind. Around the first left hand turn, and you pass a greenhouse on the right. At that point, Grampa looked over at Gramma in the passenger seat. The van they were in was the first brand new vehicle they'd ever purchased. Grampa insisted they pay the extra money to literally surround the passenger (normally Gramma) in airbags, to keep the love of his life safe. When he looked over at her, she had her head back on the headrest, and her eyes closed. He says her face looked so peaceful, and she seemed to be sleeping soundly. He glanced only briefly, but it was the last time he saw her alive. The picture will be burned forever into his memory, I'm sure. The next turn, combined with snow, rain, ice, wind, and a milk truck took her from us.

Because of the fact that Grampa was in the hospital for several days, her visitation didn't happen until February 6th. It wasn't as bad as I'd expected... I mostly got to sit with my knee propped up, and my best friend from school was there - she got there early, and left late. What a wonderful friend she is... I wouldn't have handled it very well without her.

After everyone left, we ("The Family") had some time alone with her. Grampa wanted us to have pictures with her - And, not because we wanted to, but because we love him, we did as he asked. Last of all, he wanted a final picture of the two of them. I took it, and then he turned to tell her goodnight. That final picture, the one he doesn't know I took - I hope it turns out. The expression on his face, the tenderness in his stance, all of it was there.

First he looked at her for a while, and whispered... I'm pretty sure the words were "I love you... I'm so sorry." All of me wanted to go to him, comfort him, but I knew that what he needed was to have these last few moments alone with her.

Finally, he reached for her hand, but seemed to pull back at the last instant, and settle for simply caressing her skin. It was covered in makeup to hide the bruises, but he didn't see that - he saw the hand he'd been holding for over 50 years. He stared into her face. I'm sure they did the best they could, but the morticians didn't have her looking anything like herself. It was like she'd had a really bad facelift. The makeup to hide the bruises was so thick, it looked like she had tiny pieces of tissue paper glued to her face. Her eyes looked like they'd been stretched all out of shape, and were slanted up... in short, it looked NOTHING like her. But I guess kindness, love, compassion - those things can't be seen on a dead face. After staring a few moments, he turned to me and said "She looks just like she's asleep... so peaceful." Then he turned back to her. Stroking her hair, like he'd done so many mornings, he bent and kissed her forehead. He cupped her face, and whispered, "Goodnight, Ma. I love you. I'm so sorry... so sorry. You're so beautiful... I miss you." Tears were flowing down more than just his cheeks. He kissed her again, and said "Goodnight." That, more than anything I've witnessed myself, spoke of what love is supposed to be. To look at what was left of her, and say she was beautiful, and to bring himself to touch her, and even kiss her - the most moving, sweetest, saddest, best and worst moments of my life. And it made me realize that I've never seen, never heard, never read a sweeter love story.

The next day, we put her body into the ground. After everyone else had left, and my husband and I, the other grandkids, and their children were all that remained, grandpa stroked the casket as gently as though it were her face. He softly whispered "Goodbye." And walked away, alone. It was cold, below zero... snow was blowing in a clear sky.

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