Missing In Action
To put it bluntly, the last half of last year was a nightmare. We have been without an elevator in our building since December 2021. It wasn’t so bad until the building we are attached to also had its elevator become out of service. Living on the fourth floor, means there are six flights of stairs to climb every time I leave my home. While exercise is good – especially for me since I hate doing it- climbing all those stairs over an extended period makes my body revolt in several unfun ways. When you’re in your fifties living with cancer, it definitely doesn’t help.
At the end of summer, I was in a world of pain. My back, hip, and leg hurt terribly, and my whole lower leg was numb. We were pretty sure it wasn’t a cancer issue, but it couldn’t be ruled out, so I was sent for a few MRIs. I had two pinched nerves. One at the bottom of my lumbar spine and the other at the top of my sacral joint. There are also herniated & bulging disc’s all down my spine. I was sent to a doctor that specializes in pain.
He recommended I undergo an epidural nerve block to help with the pain. At that time, I would have agreed to put bamboo under my toenails if it would help. I have gotten some relief though I still have numbness in my lower leg, which may be permanent. Time will tell how long that block will work. Would I repeat the procedure if I needed to? ABSOLUTELY NOT. That procedure was the worse thirty minutes of my life. God bless those who do that regularly because I will never do that again. If you’ve been following me for a while, this was worse than my acupuncture experience.
I was looking forward to the holidays. It would be My Beauty’s first Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know she won’t have memories of this holiday, but I sure will. She liked all the food – Turkey, Green Beans, Stuffing & Mashed Potatoes.
We Make Plans & The Universe Laughs
I traveled to Florida the Friday after Thanksgiving to see Oldest and his family. Oldest recently had a baby boy with his girlfriend. He is two months younger than My Beauty. I hadn’t been in Florida for 4 hours when I found out my Dad had a bad fall. Dad fractured the top of his femur near his hip. This wasn’t good. Dad already has two artificial hips. He didn’t just fracture it in one place; he had a fracture on either side of his femur. I would realize later that my life, in that moment suddenly and significantly changed. Since I wasn’t in NY, my Mom was alone until I got back. In my absence, my son helped out as much as he could. I wasn’t sure if Dad would have surgery or how long he would be laid up. Regardless, I knew I would be tied up with my folks for a while. Surgery had been declined. The doctors felt trying to heal it on its own would be better in the long run.
I stayed with my Mom for 28 days until Dad was back home. I can’t even put into words how stressful that time was.
Everyone Needs An Advocate
Growing up, we believe our parents were superheroes that could do anything. As we grow up and become adults, reality slaps us back to earth and the realization that one day we will have to be responsible for our parents hits us like a ton of bricks. Those bricks came down on me hard in the form of panic attacks.
After a week in the hospital, he would be transitioned to a physical rehabilitation center. It seemed simple enough; until we were told we had to choose where he would go. We were given four double-sided pages of options. However, not all of them take the same Insurance plans. Of course, the one place we wanted him to go to didn’t accept the Insurance he had. It became evident that I would have to take the wheel and do what I had to so he wouldn’t end up in a nursing home situation. The only option I had was to switch my father’s health insurance plan to get him into our preferred rehab center.
Insurance Is Complicated
I contacted the ONLY person I knew could help with this – Hector DeSessis. Hector has a long-standing relationship with my folks concerning health insurance. He also helped me choose a Gap plan that would be right for me. Hector found a plan that not only would the rehab center accept but was a better value overall and offered more benefits. The best part was that this new policy would be effective on December 1st, the day he was going to be moved to rehab. This all happened on November 28th. When I say Hector was a miracle worker, He is brilliant.
Thankfully, it all worked out. Dad spent 20 days in rehab getting the care and physical & occupational therapy he needed in order to come home. Every day, twice a day, Mom and I spent time with Dad. We ensured he had fresh water, helped him shave, and made sure he had whatever he needed. Even if we didn’t spend the whole time talking, he knew we were there with him and not alone. Finally, on December 23rd, Dad could finally get discharged. It would continue to be a relatively long recovery process while his leg continued to heal. But all that mattered was that he was home for Christmas.
A Magical (unconventional) First Christmas
2022 wasn’t a typical Christmas. There were no homemade cookies or a Christmas Tree. But that’s not what Christmas is supposed to be about. I put up some Christmas decorations to make the house feel more festive. I put up decorations that would be easy to add around the house and take down. I wanted Dad to come home to a festive environment, not to mention this would be My Beauty’s first Christmas!! Everyone was excited to see her and watch her open presents! This child is always happy and has the biggest grin ever. It melts my heart every time.
It’s astonishing to me that her first birthday is aroud the corner! She’s walking (more like running) and ‘talking’ to everyone, including her stuffed animals. I get the most joy seeing her happy smiling face and spending time with her.
Back To Reality
Aside from the issues with my back, I’ve recently been having issues with my blood pressure. Apparently, 150/110 is frowned upon. All the tests I’ve had in the last year indicate all is well with the mechanics of my ticker. The next step is seeing my pulmonologist. I will have a V/Q Test scheduled. My regular scans will be in March, and I have a separate MRI later in March at Sloan Kettering to check on a cancerous lesion in my kidney.
I sincerely hope everyone had a joyous holiday and stayed as healthy as possible.
Look out for newsletter updates soon…..
Did I mention that My Beauty has an affinity for The Grinch?? She’s a girl after my cold black heart!