Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Give us this day and our daily bread.
It's not just a prayer that we say before bed.

It's a way of saying thanks for all that we've got.
Even if what we have doesn't seem like a lot.

It means to cherish each day, and not rush too fast.
Because luckily we don't know which day will be last.

Want only in life the things that you earn and are giv'n.
And you'll always get more than you want out of liv'n.

This is my toast and my little way.
Of saying thanks on this Thanksgiving day.

I wrote that poem for my family years ago,
and I still mean every word...

Today am I thankful?    Yes, a friend reminded me that I HAVE what most men aspire, and some never achieve.... 30 wonderful years with the love of my life, successful, healthy, supportive kids. Many friends and jobs that I really love... Thanks God.

Back to Tam's blog:

Yay 2016... Tamara is on Ibrance and letrozol oral chemotherapy, this combination was supposed to stop the progression of cancer for two years...stop. the. progression. In a study of X amount of patients vs Y patients we were happy to hear it. Stop the progression for two years, hell in two years they'll have a cure, right? 

 I don't know how other people and they're spouses are expected to deal with cancer, but for us, it was "okay we got this, we got a plan and we're going to beat this"...never say never...please dear readers never, ever say never...We went on with our LIFE and woke each day forging a future for our family.... Our daughter Elyse was engaged, and there was a future...a shower to plan, a wedding to plan.... (beautiful wedding by the way) a new job (turned into a godsend) ...more friends...more life...more LIVING...Tamara was keeping up with her scans and trudging along with cancer constantly on her mind,  For six months......then

In June, just as we line up to start our new career in title search, excited to do something different with loads of benefits and insurance, Tamara goes for her 6 month scan.... nervous as hell, for this particular test, because it was a brain MRI. Tam is claustrophobic as hell and hated this test like no other.... I know in earlier posts that she described in great detail the anxieties she would have, and I would ask anybody who has not read Tam's blog before to go back and read it, she is waaay more entertaining.

(Tam speak) Anywho, Brain MRI

Tam took two Xanax before the MRI so she could tolerate the clicking, stiff, uncomfortable, claustrophobic machine....and fell asleep during the procedure...The next day she was told that there was some activity/cautious looking spots throughout her brain. I told her that since she fell asleep that what they were seeing was just "dream activity"...cause I'm a doctor or something, right?....It calmed us for the day... NOT... they told her on a Friday....What the a EFF, a whole weekend to GOOGLE brain cancer, not cool....

what she went through....

On Monday they told her that it was, METS (metastasis)... she would need whole head radiation... she was fitted for a mesh "mask" for her face...what is that? 
It's where they wrap your head in a plastic "paper mache" and let it "set" while you lay there like a rock...horrible

10 "rounds" of radiation was in order...That's going to the doctor every day for two weeks, ya get weekends off...woohoo...On one of her last "rounds" as she was checking in I watched....I was sitting there with kindle making believe I'm reading...but I watched... Tamara was working the room, complementing the staff  "wow, y'all look so pretty today!" and chatting up the other patents in the waiting room, she then sat next to me and a woman I thought that she knew from earlier that week. Tam started telling her how handsome her son looked on her previous visit, and how she hoped everything would be okay for her future, you know Tam stuff...Tam was called back...The girl at the counter said "It's so nice that you have a friend like her" to the woman that Tamara was chatting with... "her?" the woman said, "I just met her now, but she just made me feel good"...I'm like, Yeah she did...that's what she did...She made you feel good.

One week later, as I was in the office collecting taxes on a Saturday, Tamara called me and said we need to go to the hospital!! I didn't hang up, I locked the door and ran like hell to our room. Tam told me that she "thinks" she had a seizure and woke up on the floor... Ah yeah, we need to go to the hospital. A weekend of tests and bed rest was everything that she needed, and hated... what she had was a swelling in her noggin from all the radiation and was ordered up two weeks of steroid meds to relieve the throbbing. Steroids have they're own nasty side effect issues as well but "ya gots to do what ya gots to do" was her motto.

The results of the radiation where good, her radiologist, eh, not so good. My daughter Elyse accompanied Tamara to a follow up with said radiologist.

Up next Mini T

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Three weeks ago a light went out
you moved it from it's place
The light was getting weaker there
We could see it in your face
It shined so bright and for so long
It showed us all the way
The fact that it was on all the time
Helped us through our day
Your glow was always that of morning shine
and afternoons of fun
We never wanted to think about the setting of the sun
Your light has moved and not visible
in any normal speaking sense
But for those you love, the heat and
focus are becoming more intense.
So, when I need your help, and I'm overwhelmed
with days that I can't handle
I'll relocate your light again in the flicker of a candle

-Your Knight, Your Love 

Yes, it's been three weeks, life goes on...
Mine is stuck....I've got to get back on track...

Thank you to all that have encouraged me to continue Tamara's blog and I promise this is the last bummer post. Promise.

Tamara was the most positive person anyone would ever have the pleasure to meet, she was the yin to my yang. I want to be her yin from now on.

I said I'd tell you all what happened...

When stage four reared it's ugly head we immediately made the battle plan to do whatever was necessary to stave off the inevitable.... it's inevitable 

On December 24th 2015, yes Christmas Eve, Tamara underwent hysterectomy surgery so that the new chemo drug "Ibrance"  would be effective. She did this because she never went through menopause and this drug is meant for post-menopausal women.

Funny story here, yes we're talking about Tamara there's always a funny story.

Before surgery the anesthesiologist came in to introduce himself and prepare Tam for what will happen next (poor guy probably didn't realize that Tam has been through a dozen surgeries before this)  

He instructed Tam to remove all jewelry...yes Tamara went to an early morning, scheduled surgery, wearing her watch, bracelet, necklace, earrings and rings on her fingers. Not to mention she got up extra early so she could get on her makeup (false eyelashes included)

She removed all of it except her wedding ring... He's all "please remove all of it because we don't want any swelling and complications while you're under"...Makes sense too me, I'm all safety and pragmatist I said Tam it's okay we've done this over and over take it off.

Tamara, the forever romantic...asked him why he would be the first anesthesiologist ever to insist that she remove her wedding ring. He again explained the dangers and I convinced her to begrudgingly remove the ring that has never left her hand in 27 years.

Well like a tree that has a rope on it as a sapling grows, so do you fingers...In comes nurses with vaseline then baby oil then a string to somehow wrap around the ring and finger to magically remove the ring. Finally they brought in a doctor with an industrial pair of wire cutters and snapped in off and handed it to me.

Off she went to surgery and all went well.

Of course I had it repaired. I returned it to her finger and didn't remove it until three weeks ago today.

Okay that was the last bummer....promise

Saturday, November 17, 2018

This is Matt

I think it would be something Tamara would want me to do and tell you all that her journey with cancer has come to the inevitable conclusion. Tamara passed at our little lake house on October 28th.
Yes October, breast cancer AWARENESS month. She found the whole awareness a ridiculous concept, especially for those battling this insidious disease.

I don't know...I want to do all things Tamara....I'm nowhere close to the talented writer that my wife is, but I want to continue this blog in her honor....I'm not sure if anyone is going to read it but I feel like doing this will be sort of cathartic and maybe she will inspire me to write things as inspirational as she did.

How did it happen? What happened since she wrote last?

We started doing title search work together in 2016. a: to do something together (we did everything together) b: INSURANCE the most important thing to us was this amazing company that we worked for and the wonderful benefit of stellar insurance coverage they provided. Tamara's cancer was back with a vengeance, but you all know from her writings, that Tamara always walked on the sunny-side of the street, and there was no way that this was going to get her, publicly. Privately....I think the reason that she stopped blogging was that she crossed the street...she never let on but I noticed that her blogging stopped and I think she didn't want to scare you all (Tam sic y'all). Tamara stayed unbelievably strong for her many friends and loving family and she moved on with the many treatments that she was offered. Whole brain radiation, targeted radiation all of the chemotherapy that the body can tolerate. I'll write more of how Tamara reacted to each and every one for those that care to read and learn, I think that was her intention from the beginning, and that was to inform other really scared women what they will encounter. I also don't want to be the guy to scare off the many readers that Tamara has. This ended for Tamara, not how we would have intended, and not necessarily the same way that it will for others, new treatments are becoming available all the time.

Tamara was diagnosed in October 2009 and has had many joys and milestones achieved since that horrible day. And I'll get into them as well because she did all of them while living with cancer.  
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