• Mama & Mema

    Date: 2013.06.11 | Category: Family Life | Tags:

    My Mama:

    I’m a very blessed girl.  I am lucky enough to be best friends with my mama.  We have been friends forever.  We didn’t have that usual teenage daughter/mother angst period when I was growing up.  We talk a couple of times a day.  I enjoy shopping with her.  I enjoy just being with her.   I have felt this way about her through all of my life.  She is just a good, kind person.  She is a strong, independent woman.  She has always been tough and able to handle anything life sent her way.  She has supported me through some of the hardest times of my life and she has always been there for me.

    These past few weeks with my mom have been very, very difficult.  It’s hard to watch someone you love when they are hurting.   While we were in China, my mom had a perforated gastric ulcer.  On May 22nd, while they were doing emergency surgery, they noticed a fairly large mass in her stomach.  They tried to biopsy it but couldn’t get a good specimen. What they obtained came back non-cancerous, but they need to do an endoscopy, the end of June, to get a better specimen to be sure.

    On May 26th, she was sent home and we figured as time went on she would slowly start to get back to old self.  It just wasn’t happening.  We watched as she slowly got worse.  She pretty much quit eating.  She was too fatigued to walk very far at all.  She was pasty white.  We were all very worried.  We had an appointment on June 3rd with her surgeon.  We explained her fatigue and he worried about anemia.  We talked about her getting worse instead of better.  We decided she needed to also see her family physician.

    We called in and they said they could get her in June 12th.  I argued and they still said we couldn’t be seen until June 5th.  No one seemed overly concerned with how slowly she seemed to be recovering.  On Wednesday, we had her seen and they sent her home on antibiotics because she had been diagnosed with a bowel infection (C-Diff) and was on the borderline of needing a transfusion (8.6 hemoglobin).  She looked so horrible. We kept thinking a couple days of antibiotics and she’d be looking better.  By the time Saturday rolled around, she looked worse and not better.   We called the surgeon again and he said bring her in to the emergency room.

    Well, what we found out was shocking.  Mom was in congestive heart failure.  They started running more and more tests.  I suppose it shouldn’t have been to hard to figure out that she had excess fluid – since the poor girl had put on 21 pounds in 2 weeks.  (Although her family doctor thought nothing of it.)  We found out her kidneys and liver were in failure due to the heart problems.   We found out that her ejection fraction was 20% – normal is 50% to 75%.  She was anemic.  The final decision through it all?  Since her EKG before surgery was fine and she felt no pain any time after surgery.  It is believed that she had a heart attack during surgery.

    They told us she needed an angiogram but she was too sick to have them do one at this time.  Shortly after her echo, they decided she needed one right away.  Tonight she had an angiogram and we found out even more bad news.  She has arteries that are blocked 80%, 85% and 90%.  She needs bypass surgery and she is most likely too ill to receive it.  The surgeon will be in and talk to us tomorrow about all of our options.  Wow!  That is a lot to take in.   She went from being fairly healthy to barely able to get around.  I am still in shock that all of this has happened.

    So in honor of my mama – here is my lecture for you.  If you have a family history of cardiac disease or high cholesterol, get a calcium scoring test.  Fairly cheap ($99) and easy to do.  They can tell you if you have any plaque and save you a lot of trouble down the road.  Don’t pretend just because you feel pretty good that everything is okay.  Don’t make your daughter cry too!

    (and now on to happier grandma news)


    Today is Mema’s birthday.  Mema is my mother-in-love.  I am lucky enough to have her be one of my best friends too.  I talk to her daily on the phone too.   My children love to be around her.  She is funny and kind.  One of my favorite things about Linda is her strength through hard times.  She has a strong faith.   A couple of years ago she lost her husband, and then in the same year, her sister and her father.  Instead of wallowing in her self-pity she started a Bible study in her home for the women in her neighborhood.  She has been very sad but knows that God still has a plan for her life. She uses her time to encourage others.  Courage is what she has.

    One of my favorite stories of my mom (Nana) and Mema is from when Cassie was about 10.   Cassie was at the dance studio and a car pulled up to pick her up.  In that car was my mom and mema, who both happen to be friends.  They weren’t always friends, they became friends after Dan and I married.  Everyone asked her who was there to pick her up and Cassie said her grandmas. Everyone was shocked that her two grandmas hung out together.  They kept going on and on about how cool it was that both of her grandmas came to get her.  It wasn’t until that moment that Cassie realized that most people’s grandmas don’t hang out together and she realized just how lucky she was.

    Up until just a few years ago, our group included Linda’s sister, Kay, too.  We would all go shopping together.  We celebrated birthdays together.  They would come to my children’s birthdays together.  We did craft sales together and our business was called “Three Friends Crafts”.  We go to Women of Faith conferences together.   They drive together from Fort Dodge to visit their grandchildren.  They are always there to support the kids in all they do.  When it was decided mom couldn’t go home and take care of herself, Linda even offered to let her stay with her.  It was Linda who drove my mom down so I could take her to the ER on Saturday.

    I have been a blessed mama to have these to women in my life.   They have both taught me so much through their kindness, strength, courage and faith.  They have been our biggest cheerleaders with the adoptions and they love all their grandchildren the same.  So today I want to take a moment to celebrate both of their lives.  I pray that I have many, many more years to enjoy their friendship, encouragement and love.

    mom & mema