Monday, November 15, 2010

O'Connors head back to Illinois

So, I got tickets to go back to Illinois for our family to spend some time with Mom. I had talked to Mom and told her that we were coming because it was my birthday and I wanted to be with her...that was my only wish!! She was so excited, she just started crying. So, we put the tickets on the debit card (yep, the debit card-you know, the one with the daily limit). So, Jason received an email 2 days later saying that the card was declined due to it being over the limit...however, Jason just deleted the email, without reading it, so our tickets were cancelled. Yep...cancelled!!!

So we were to leave first thing on Saturday morning, Jason went on to print our tickets and they were not there. So, he immediately got on the phone to find out what we could do. Does anyone know how mad I was at that point....nope, no idea. I could not believe it. We found out that they could get us back to Champaign the next day, but it wouldn't be till 9pm. That was not going to work...we would miss an entire day with Mom. So, they finally figured out that they could get us into Springfield (because Mom was still there) around 2pm...and Uncle Rick would pick us up and take us to see Mom. That works!!!!

So, we fly into Springfield on September 4th and Uncle Rick picks us up and takes us to St. Johns. We walked into Mom's room and she looked SO GOOD!!! OMG...she had put on some weight, and she looked great. I was so surprised!! The kids ran up to her to hug her and kiss her, and I was right behind. She started crying and so did I. Knowing in my heart that this would be the last trip home to spend with her while she was alive. At this point no one had told her the we knew what her future held, while she was still fighting to live, because she didn't know what the Dr. had told me. The next day was my birthday, and I spent it with was the best present ever!!!

The nurses were trying their hardest to get Mom back over to Champaign. The insurance was trying to say that she could stay in Springfield because there was nothing they couldn't do that Champaign couldn't do. It was the biggest mess I have ever seen. Finally they got a hold of her Dr. in Champaign and he wanted her back as soon as the insurance worked a bit harder with the hospitals and got her moved. She got back to Champaign at 10pm on Monday...and we were thrilled to have her back there!!! The nurses in Champaign were crying, Mom was crying, I was was great to be HOME!!!!

Tuesday the Dr. came in and said that he wanted the OT/PT people to come in and start working with her (she hadn't been out of bed in 12 days or so), so they came in and finally I said she can't get up and walk around (with the fistulas) they said they would go back and figure out what the Dr. wanted. Dr. came back in on Wednesday, the whole family was there with her and her friends, and he gave her the news that there was nothing more he could do for her. To sit in a room and hear those words about the one person in your life that has known you the longest, loved you unconditionally your entire life, been there with you through thick and thin and everything in between, it was something that I will never forget. My mom is dying....and I am going to lose her.

We were suppose to fly out on thursday to head back home, but they wanted to move her back to the nursing home, or send her home. We had a lot to figure out so Jason called and got our tickets moved to Sunday, so we would have a bit more time to "plan". Thursday was the best day ever!! Mom was alert, and awake almost the entire day. She was laughing and carrying on conversations with everyone. It was the most amazing thing ever. I will look back, and that is the day I will remember!!!

We got her moved to the nursing home on Friday evening and I stayed with her that night. Saturday she pretty much slept the entire day. I got really worried about her, she did not wake up till about 1pm that afternoon and even then it was just for a little bit. The kids and Jason were leaving the next morning at 6am, so they came to say their goodbyes that evening. Wow, what an emotional time that was. I think I was dreading this more than saying goodbye to her on my own. Jason was a mess, he was so shaken up. My mom loved him like a son and treated him like one too for the entire 14 years we've been together. He came out of the room and was devastated. Bradley too. He never cries...and he was truly shaken up. Rebecca holds everything in...and she did that day too. I'm not sure that Becca understood what was going on, or what it meant. Saying "goodbye" for the last time...I don't think that sunk in till it was too late. James and I weren't leaving till 5 the next afternoon, so we were going to spend the next day with had some time still

Jason and the kids took off and off to the nursing home we went. Katie had spent the night with her, so when we got there we just hung out for a while. Mom wasn't awake much and was not really alert a whole lot. I couldn't believe this was going to be my last day with her and she was so out of it. They had up'ed her pain that was playing a lot into it. I tried and tried to wake her and talk with her, but it didn't really work. Katie, Dave (troy's dad), and James left to go get some lunch, and then Becky Jane came so I talked with her for a while. About 3:30 I finally said I probably need to get thinking about going. I tried and tried to wake her, and I leaned down to kiss her and she turned her head from me. I think I had surprised her, and that is why she moved her head, but it still hurt, it hurt a lot!!! I cried the whole way back to her house, I cried all the way back home on the plane. I would never see my Mom alive again. WOW!!!! Hard to wrap your mind around...still is!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

3 weeks

While Mom was in Springfield she saw her Dr. that did her colonoscopy and he said there was no way he could do surgery on her. She was too weak and he wasn't sure she would make it out of surgery. What?? Why did the Dr.'s in Champaign send her over there anyways?? Becky Jane called and told me that...I couldn't believe it.

I called the Dr. over there and left a message for him to call me back. About 1/2 an hour later he called and we talked. He asked me if her oncologist in Champaign has told us that she had probably 3 weeks to live. WHAT??? The Dr. in Champaign never tells us anything and has never given us a life expectancy. Are you serious?? I kept asking him this on the phone. He said "Have you seen her lately? She is a shell of what she used to be, she isn't vibrant, she looks like she has fought the fight...but she's not winning". He said if we wanted to have any "quality" time, we needed to get back now.

I got off the phone with him and immediately called Jason and we booked a flight for 3 days later to go to Illinois to have our quality time with her. It ended up being Labor Day weekend, and my we just told her that I wanted to see her for my birthday...and we were all coming home. I didn't tell her what the Dr. told me...I didn't want her to quit fighting, and I think that would have done it. I just told her I wanted to be with her...that was my 1 birthday wish. So...we went back to Illinois and our 5 day trip turned into 9 days.

3 do you live those 3 weeks, if you know they are your last days. Your last days to say, do, do you do it? How do you look at your kids, and your grandkids and say goodbye?? How do you say all you want to say in that small amount of time? I had these and many more questions going through my mind. As her do I look at my Mom and tell her that I love her, that she is my inspiration, that she is my hero, that she is my best friend, and I don't think I can go on living if she isn't her with me? I'm not old enough to lose I? It was a long 3 days getting ready to go, and a long plane ride home...not knowing what to expect!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In and out of hospital and nursing home

When we left to move to Texas, Mom was admitted into the hospital and was there for about a week. She then went home and started chemo which took a lot out of her. We came home on July 2nd and she was home with us during that entire month. When we were about to leave she was admitted back into the hospital the day before we were leaving because she was anemic. She was there for about another week, and then she had to go to a nursing home for rehab.

They got her into Heartland on Springfield Ave., on the rehab floor. She seemed to get a lot better, she started eating a lot better, they also had her on TPN (IV nutrition) and she got up and out of bed a lot to do rehab. She rode a bike, did arm exercises, etc. She sounded SO much stronger on the phone...I was so impressed with how she was doing. They then started chemo again and she did pretty well with that. They went over to the clinic for chemo once a week. She also started radiation again on the area in her groin since the cancer had spread to her thigh and was going into the bone...which was the 3rd time for chemo in that area. Which they usually don't do it that much, usually only once, maybe twice, but never 3 times.

She was there maybe 2 weeks and found out she had a large fissula and a couple smaller ones down in her groin area. She had gotten up to go to chemo and a large amount of fecal matter came out through these fissulas and they immediately sent her to the ER. In the ER they immediately said she had to go back over to Springfield to see her Dr. over there to have immediate surgery. So...they loaded her up in the ambulance to go over there. She was there about 10 days before we could get her back over to Champaign and back into the hospital there. They were not able to keep her in the hospital for hospice, so she had to go to the nursing home or home to die. We knew that we would not be able to care for her and her fissulas (they had gotten so bad...the nurses had never seen anything like hers before) she went back to the nursing home and was there for 13 days before she went to heaven. No one should ever have to go through what she did...but she knew that the hospital was where she needed to be when she was so weak and sick. In and out, in and poor mom spent more time in the hospitals in the last year than ever before in her entire life. The wonderful thing...her nurses were AMAZING!!! They cared for her and loved her so much. I have never seen a nurse hug and kiss their patients...but they did with my Mom. She was blessed to have them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

4th of July in Illinois

So, I think we are on track...We moved to San Antonio on June 9th and on July 2nd the kids and I packed up the van and drove back to Illinois for a couple of weeks. Or at least what we thought would be a couple of weeks. :)

We made the drive in 17 hours...and you have no idea how excited I was to see my Mom. I called when we hit Illinois and Katie and her were on the way to the Dr. One of Mom's levels were off, so she had to get some potassium (I think)...when she usually gets this it takes about 4 we thought we might get to the house before they got back. Katie called when we were about an hour away and said they were headed home, so they would be there when we got there. Yay!!

We got off of 57 onto Curtis Road and MAN did it feel good!!! I was so excited. I had talked to my Mom a lot on the phone, pretty much at least once a day, so I knew she was weak and slept a lot. This was due to her starting chemo, and it was kicking her butt!!! She had called me about 10 days before we got there and told me that her hair was falling out, so I knew to expect that...but really wasn't ready for it. We pulled up in front of the house and Kent was outside waiting on us. He came out and hugged the kids, then Katie came out the garage door to meet us. Mom was following her...and OMG...she looked so weak, like she couldn't even make it 10 feet out of the house. She started bawling as soon as I saw her...I ran to her and just hugged and hugged her. She was down to about 90 lbs, her hair was almost all out, and she was just a shell of the person I knew and loved. She cried and cried, as did I!!! We got her turned around and headed back in the house. She was so tired, we talked for a bit and then she layed down to catch a nap. I got the kids together and we went to get lunch. I called Jason and said "Next time I see my Mom it will be to bury her". That's how different she looked from when we left...I was really scared!!!

We pretty much didn't do much while we were in Illinois...we hung out with Mom and kept her company. She pretty much was on the couch 23 hours a day and the hour she wasn't she was walking to the bathroom to empty her bags or to the kitchen to take her meds for the pain. The pain was unbearable and she didn't sleep much at all while we were there. I got to spend a lot of quality time with her and I am so glad that I did. We went home to spend 4th of July with her since this is her favorite holiday and they always have everyone over. She was not up to everyone coming, so we just had Uncle Rick and Aunt Ann over and we hung out at the house all day. We watched the parade on the TV, which was the first time we ever did that. We had dinner and enjoyed being with family.

So, the kids really wanted to go to the fair at the end of the I talked with Jason and we ended up staying till the 28th. Mom continued to go downhill while we were home. She had trouble eating because of no appetite and keeping food down and she became weaker and weaker. Every night she got up at 3am to take her pain pills. I would get up with her to make sure that she made it into the kitchen. We would sit there and talk for about 30 minutes or was GREAT. The day before we were to leave I was going to take her to chemo. We started out to the car and about 3 steps before I got her there she collapsed and was having a hard time breathing. Thank goodness I had my arm around her, I held her up and finally got her in the car. I told her we were not going back in the house, we were either going to the Dr. or to the ER. I drove over to christie and they said to take her immediately to the ER. I got her over there and they couldn't figure out why she was having trouble breathing, all of those tests came back normal. They did do some bloodwork and they found that she was severly anemic. They admitted her again. So...we were to be leaving the next day and she was going to be back in the hospital when we leave. :(

We did end up leaving again the next day, Mom seemed to be in good spirits and was happy that they were able to give her oxygen and that wasn't an "issue" anymore. We didn't know how long she would be there but it was where she needed to be with her health. Another hard day...leaving her again!!! We ate with the Courtneys and then headed out about 8pm. Man...leaving each time just gets harder and harder.

July was spent in Illinois...and looking back now...I am SO glad!!!! Mom and I got to spend some quality time, and that was something that I will cherish forever!!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Moving to San Antonio

So, Jason and I came down to San Antonio to look for a house at the end of April. We found 1 that we really liked, 5 houses down from the short sale house that we put an offer in on, and we got it!! We signed all of the paperwork to get out of the short sale since we did not get any response from the bank about our offer. We were there for the inspection and everything, and everything seemed in GREAT condition. It is about 400 square feet smaller, but the layout is better for we were really excited!!!

We sold our house in Champaign, and moved in with my Mom for about 2 weeks before we headed out for Texas. This had to have been the best thing for me and my family. We got to spend good quality time with my mom and I will forever be grateful for it!! The day we were to leave for Texas my Mom got admitted into the hospital because we found out that her cancer was back. do I leave when she just got the WORST news possible. I talked with all of my family and with Mom and she said to go. So...we did!! Wow...was that the hardest decision ever. We packed up our van, and said our goodbyes to all of our family and friends at Mom's house. Jason's mom had come down on the train that day and she was going to drive down with us and then fly home after a week, to help us out. I will forever be grateful for that. My Uncle Rick drove us all over to the hospital to say our goodbyes to my Mom. The kids did great, I sat on the edge of her bed and just kept saying "Mom, I don't have to go...I can stay, and head down later". She rubbed my thigh and just kept saying "Go, I am OK, I will be fine...your family needs you and you have to go". I hugged her and held onto her for the longest time and kissed her goodbye.

We got back to the house, said goodbye to Belinda and headed out. is the longest drive ever!!!! We stopped for gas, breakfast, lunch and got to the house around 4:30 in the afternoon. We didn't get all of our "stuff" till the next we slept on the floor in our house the first night. Man it felt good to be here, but man I missed my Mom so much. Our trucks got here the next day and it took most of the day to unload.

We have moved to Texas...that is something that I NEVER thought I would write. I thought we would live in my Grandma's house forever!!! And I never thought I would leave my Mom. I had a few nights where I talked to her on the phone and I got myself into a panic attack, and couldn't was so scary...and she sat on the other end and just said "it's not forever, and you will be back soon, it will be OK Honey... it will be OK. I love you!!" I will never forget those words.

We are now Texans!!! Unimaginable!!! :) I know this is a short and sweet account of our move...but I am so behind...this is the best I can do!!! If you have any questions...feel free to ask!! :)

Christmastime with Shutterfly

Hi there!!! I was informed that Shutterfly was giving away 50 cards if you just talk about here we go!!! I am so excited to have found out about this. I love sending cards, and I love even more sending cards with pictures of my kids. Cards help keep all of our family and friends up to date with our family, and it allows them to see pictures of the kids. I am so excited to try Shutterfly out for our family Christmas card!!! If all goes well, I imagine I will use Shutterfly for all of our cards!! They also offer many other exciting things such as:

wall calendars to

canvas wall art to

new years cards to

All you have to do is blog about Shutterfly and how you are going to use their products or a past experience with them...and you can get 50 free cards also!!! Come on...let's get busy designing our cards!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Catch up!!

Well, this has been the longest break ever. So much has happened since my last post. I think I will just give bullet-points and then I will pick 1 every day or so and talk about them. That will help me not be on here for hours tonight...and it will make me come back here and actually talk about things. Here we go:

*Moved to San Antonio
*Kids and I came back to Illinois for the entire month of July
*Mom was in and out of the hospital and in a nursing home
*Doctors said at the end of August that Mom had about 3 weeks or so
*Jason the kids and I went back to Illinois to spend about 5 days with Mom
*Mom died September 23rd
*Back to Illinois to prepare for visitation and funeral
*Back in San Antonio for the longest period since we moved
*Began doing the in week 3
*Kids are doing well is school and seem to enjoy school here
*James is in Zoo School
*I am a Stay at home Mom

Well, I think that is the list I will work on. I will be back hopefully tomorrow to take on the first bullet point!!!

Hope all is well with everyone!!! I am back, and I will hope to stay up on this blog!!