Happy New Year 2011!

Hi everyone!

Boy, it’s been a while. I think it’s time for a catch-up post.

In case you’re new here, let me reintroduce the cast of characters:

Chiquita is my mom. She turned 72 in December. Three years ago, we moved her to the Pittsburgh area from Chicago. Medically speaking, she’s a hot mess. She has heart trouble (a pacemaker, 15 stents, congestive heart failure), diabetes, kidney failure. She was also diagnosed last spring with lung cancer, which has since progressed to Stage IV. It is no longer being treated at this time, since the treatments are worse than the disease itself (she is symptom-free at the moment). She is living in the independent apartments at a nearby senior campus, about 5 minutes away from me. She has refused to consider assisted living at this point, but has help with showers and getting dressed 7 days a week.

Since I last posted, she was hospitalized for a week with pneumonia and congestive heart failure symptoms. She’s recovered from that, but stubbed a toe, and it appeared to be infected. After a week of antibiotics, it didn’t look much better, so her PCP is sending us to see a vascular surgeon today.

Dr. Hoagie is my husband of 14 years. He turned 40 last month. He is an engineer who holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering (he hates when I mention that, but I’m so dang PROUD…and it tells a lot about him). The man is an amazing father and an absolute saint who picks up the pieces left behind when I have to drop everything to help Chiquita. ‘Nuff said.

Big Sis is nine and in fourth grade. She’s a Junior Girl Scout and takes piano lessons. She’s a HUGE Star Wars fan, and has just spent the last year doing chores to earn a Tauntaun sleeping bag. She is bright and and an excellent student, though she sometimes takes herself—and life in general—a bit too seriously. We’re working on that. 🙂  When she grows up she’d like to be an astronaut or an inventor.

Little Sis is six and in first grade. She is a Daisy Girl Scout and plays soccer in the spring and fall. She loves to cook and even to wash the dishes. She is amazingly patient, considering she spent all of her preschool years cheerfully ferrying her grandmother to doctors’ appointments. She also gets good grades, and seems to have a special knack for taking care of people. When she grows up, she plans to have three jobs: a masseuse in the morning, a boss of car makers in the afternoon, and she plans to run her own restaurant (complete with a dance floor and disco ball) in the evenings. She’s offered to custom-design cars for all of us for free, so I’m keeping her close. 😉

Me? I am a work in progress. (Aren’t we all, really?) I’m not exactly where I thought I’d be by now, but I’m not too far off, either.

Last year, 2010, was a rough one for me, dealing with a potential kidney transplant for Mom at the beginning of the year, then with her cancer diagnosis and treatment. Now that she’s declined further cancer treatment, the pace of Mom’s doctors’ appointments have slowed, and I’ve had a chance to breathe a bit. I’ve realized that putting my life on hold to deal with Mom’s health issues isn’t doing anyone any favors.

Mom’s the one dying, not me.

And for the record, if I had a nickel for every time a medical professional told me that Mom was done for, I’d have…well, only a quarter. But still.

Check me out over at my other blog, …So Help Me, God, for updates on my quest to avoid developing the same health issues as my mom.

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2011 for all of you! Happy New Year!


About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to http://about.me/kathleendheuer.
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