Saturday, September 21, 2013

Based on a true story: part 1

I'm currently sitting on my deck at home in Iowa. Just covered in blankets and a sweatshirt looking at the stars. That was always one of my favorite things to do growing up. It's nice and chilly but not freezing, it's perfect.

I turned 24 today. 

It's weird because after 21 you kind of stop counting your age because it doesn't really matter (unless you can't wait for the day that you can get a rental car without a deposit).  And it's weird because I don't feel like 24. But how are you supposed to feel at that age? I remember thinking that 23 was the age I would get married because that seemed like the perfect time plus it would be 2013 (13 being my favorite number). And now that 23 had come and gone and 2013 is about to be over soon, I realized how young 24 really is! 
It's a great place to be because Pete Kozma is 25 the Louis Tomlinson is 21, Liam Payne is 20, Niall Horan is 20, Zayn Malik is 20. So not too far away. Harry is still 19 bit that's okay because we would be just friends anyways. 

But onto my story... 

Today was the 3rd annual Get Your Rear in Gear (GYRIG) 5k walk/run. It's the reason I came back from Arizona. It was a great turn out and I was able to see a lot of people I haven't seen in ages. I remember last year when my dad started planning for '13 race it was going to be on the 21st, my birthday. 

I wondered how long it would be before I shared my story with the public/everyone on the Internet. But being back here, I decided it was time. 

I always thought I would write a book and I remember my friend Kristen asked me if I read many books, and I said no. So while I work on the book reading/writing I'll blog it. 

It was August 2009. I was going into my sophomore year at Iowa State University. I was really excited for that year because I had secured a job for the fall that was related to my major, I was moving into my sorority and was starting to make friends. 

It was moving day at 302 Ash Ave and my mom and dad were helping me move in. I remember me and dad unloading the car while my mom found a chair and watched.

I had bought an office chair of some sort and my dad was trying to put it together while I was putting my clothes away and my mom was sitting on the futon. I asked her if she wanted to help me unpack and she said no, she was supervising dad put the chair together. I think the only thing she really did that day was bring the pillows in from the car so she could lay on them. 

After the emotional good byes and the crazy week that was recruitment, I felt really good about everything. It was after pref night and we were putting everything away when I got a call from my dad saying they took my mom into the hospital because she was dehydrated and needed fluids but not to worry. I wasn't overly concerns because this has happened several times before. I was really excited because we were able to sleep in the next day which was very much needed after recruitment. 

I went to my bed in the 2nd add cold air, the top bunk, all the way in the back on the left side. Went to sleep excited to see what new members would be joining out house. 

Then I got a call from my brother. 

Let's be honest for a second. I screen all my calls from him. So I didn't answer. 

Then he called. 

And called. 

And called again. 

Finally my dad's number came up on the caller ID so I picked up and it was Jared. He yelled at me for not picking up my phone. 

Then I heard my dad's voice and I knew something was not right. He was very calm but I could tell he was fighting back the pain and worry in his voice. 
He said, "mom got very sick last night and they found out her cancer has spread to her brain. We're on way to Iowa City. Sweetie, you need to pack a bag with a few weeks worth of clothes. Grandma and grandpa are going to pick you up to bring you to the hospital. Everything is going to be fine, there's nothing we know for sure, but we'll see you in Iowa City." 

I felt bad for the other 15 girls that were in the cold air because I screamed and cried and wailed. No one knew what just happened. No one knew I had a mother sick with cancer. No one. 

I briefly explained the situation and started packing. My adrenaline was racing. I needed to get to Iowa City and I needed to get there now. 

My cousin Jill ended up getting me because she was closer. Although she ended up wandering through the Delta Zeta house instead of the Tri Delta house. 

We got to the hospital and found out what room she was in. When we got there my brother, my aunts, uncles, friends were there and they all gave me a hug. They told me my mom and dad went across the street for radiation treatment and that they were waiting. I said I'm going to find them now. I remember going outside, seeing my dad across the street and I just ran. I didn't care if I got hit by a car, I didn't care that I didn't have a bra on. I just ran. 

We embraced and hugged and sobbed together. He explained that she would be wearing a mask over her face for the radiation and that her memory might be shaken. I gathered as much strength as I possibly could and walked in. 

Her sapphire blue eyes were in a bit of a haze and she looked at me and said, "Hey Jen, how's it going?"

As if nothing was wrong, as if they weren't about to take her for her first session of radiation on her brain. 

I gave her a hug and she asked me if I was wearing a bra. I guess it was pretty obvious. The doctor came in and they put her face guard on. I remember she said, "this is what it must feel like when a bug gets smashed through a windshield." 

I remember when we finally got her settled in her room, it was her first night there. The nurse came in and asked if we needed anything. And that's when I broke down. I sobbed and was hyperventilating and couldn't breathe. The nurse asked if I was alright and my dad told her that everything was hitting me at that moment.

And it was.  

It all happened so fast. I realized she's not going to be around when I graduate from college. She won't be able to fight with me when picking out a wedding dress. She's not going to be at my wedding. She'll never meet her grandkids. 

After taking a deep breath and I drank some water I stopped. I did not cry again for at least another 6 months after that moment. 

That night everyone left for the day but there was no way I was leaving her side. Mr and my dad refer to that night as the night from hell. They warned us that patients who are at this stage tend to start doing random thing like taking their clothes off, hallucinating, anything. 

My mom would yank out her monitors every 5 minutes and then the alarm would go off and it would be 10 minutes before a nurse could come in and turned it into this happened once every half hour.
If she wasn't doing that, she was trying to yank her catheter out. Kept on saying she needed to get the jump rope out which was ironically funny as she was in charge of jump rope for life for years and years. 

(she was successful at getting it out once but that's a different and slightly disturbing and funny story for later) 
Well I think that's what I'll call part one or chapter one. There's a lot of details and funny stories that have to come but I don't want to overwhelm people with a 30 page blog post 

But, as always thank you to everyone who helped today at the race. Muscatine is a great community and I truly believe it strongly contributed to her staying healthy longer.

Hopefully I will be writing more frequently but for now this excerpt will have to do til next time. 

Thanks for reading as always! 



Ps I wrote this on my phone so excuse any misspellings or errors. 

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