Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers Day 2014

When a child is born,
                      So is a mother.

If you think you have the best mother, you don't.  Sorry, world, she belongs to me.  But then again, my own children can make a case against that one - oh, and Tiffany could make a strong case for hers as well... OK, so I know and love the top three mothers in the world (I believe they are tied for first, I can't say one is better than the other [either that or I am playing some pretty good PR :) ]).  I know that is not fair for the rest of you, but 4th and 5th place is still up for grabs... maybe yours can take those spots.  That's still pretty good when you consider there is probably somewhere around 2+Billion moms out there.

On this mothers day, I wish to fall from the heights of thanking my mother and wife for all they do.  That is a noble thing, for sure.  Gratitude for them is a most important, and very rewarding, thing to do.  But I hope they know that I love and care for them in the most serious of ways.  I hope that I do not need to publicly do so, for I believe that it is in the confines of our relationships do the most sincere thoughts of love and gratitude should come through.  Or, as a wise old sage (aka, Dad) has said, 'show it, don't say it'.

No, I wish to share with you the love of a mother to her children. 

I sit here on a cozy Sunday morning looking out the hospital windows looking upon a cloudy and gloomy spring sky.  It has been raining most of this week, with but only a few breaks in the clouds and stormy weather.  Tiffany is sleeping and the moment is a very melancholy and reflective moment. 

Tiffany arrived here on Wednesday morning, feeling great and ready to start the next phase in fighting this cancer.  She has gone through radiation treatment the previous two weeks having had a series of 10 radiation treatments to get rid of the tumor that was found next to her spine.  The process seems to have worked, though only another MRI or CT scan will determine for sure.  But her right arm has started to get feeling back into it, which should be proof that it is working.  Of course, however, side affects from treatment have been acting up, with pain swallowing; effects of the radiation being shot through her body, and though targeting the tumor, also impacted her esophagus.  In talking to Dr Glenn that morning, she was concerned about admitting Tiffany and putting her through the new chemo regimen, as the new treatment is known to cause inflammation/deterioration to the gastrointestinal tract, adding to pain already in her esophagus.  She allowed Tiffany a moment to consider if she wanted to act, or wait for some recovery time, before they started the chemo treatment.  Though Tiffany said she thought she could handle the pain, her blood labs came back and showed a decrease to her platelet levels, with no good reason for them to drop.  The theory; the cancer is causing them to drop. 

So no matter what Tiffany ended up desiring, the blood counts caused us all to say, 'to heck with pain, we need to kill this cancer'.  So up the stairs Tiffany went to start her next round of chemo.

Now, you will note that I have not brought up anything about the love of a mother to her children... and I will continue on this story without bringing it up... yet.

So up to the room she went, and hooked up to the IVs she did.  With the new drug they are using, the biggest issue and cause of Tiffany to have to stay in the hospital is the concern for her kidneys.  As this drug goes through her body, the kidneys will do their best to filter out the drug, and we want this.  But the concern is if this drug stays in her kidneys, it will crystallize and then we have bigger issues at hand as kidney failure would be a concern.  So to combat that, they set her up on a huge bag of bicarbonate dripping through her IV.  This, to me, is an amazing process alone.  This bicarbonate, essentially raises her pH in her blood, which causes the kidneys to flush through faster (trying to stabilize her pH) and in so doing, creates a continuous flow that won't allow the drug to stay long enough in the kidneys to crystallize.   I am sure there is more to it that that, but in laymen terms, that is what is going on.  Of course, there are other reasons to need to be admitted into the hospital, for one, they gave the main chemo drug over a 24 hour drip, and then the secondary chemo drugs they had to give her every 12 hours for a couple of days. 

She has been a breath of minty fresh air, I am sure, around this floor in the hospital.  It is the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) floor of Huntsman Cancer Institute and though we are not getting a BMT at this time, this is what we are working towards.  There is no doubt a sense of gloom as many of the patients are getting some very serious treatments.  As you see a few here or there in the halls or glimpses of them in their rooms, one cannot but feel the pain they are all feeling, and the nature of the beastly cancer they are all fighting.  But I cannot say it is a place of despair.  It is one of hope, tempered with the obvious concerns.

But in comes Tiffany.  She has had a bright smile on her face.  For the first couple of hours, one by one, we had what seems like a dozen different people come in and introduce themselves to us; the nurse, the nursing assistant, the head nurse, the nurse practitioner, a couple of doctors, the pharmacist, hospital spiritual advisor, and on and on.  Each one came in and each time, Tiffany had this most sincere, most genuine smile to each of them.  I cannot get across how she looked or the tenderness she gave to each who came in, but there was something special they could all see.  No pain, no treatment, nothing is too much for her.  Or at least this is what they got from her.  And every time they came in during the last four days, they have seen it again and again.  The genuine smile, the good attitude, the breath of fresh air.

For the first three days, all was well - no seeming effects of the treatment.  The last 24 hours, her steroid has worn off and some pain, mainly due to her original tumor in her lower back, has flared up after she tried some exercises the therapist suggested (another person that came in that first day).  She still is smiling, but unfortunately, you can see the wear and tear the treatment is having on her. 

But, you see, here is the thing.  At 4am this morning, as she was getting up to take another restroom break, she turned to me, and said,

'Happy Mothers day, thank you for making me a mother... I love my children.  All my life I wanted to be a mother and my dreams have come true.'

And then she dosed off with a smile on her face. 

Who knows what the future will bring.  Who knows what pain and suffering she will have to go through.  But this I know... the love that Tiffany has of being a mother, brings her the most supreme joy.  No matter what pain or agony she has to go through, the desire to be there for her children in the years to come, she will do any treatment, handle any pain, and do it with a smile on her face.

For why else would you go through what she is going through?  I know not.

Happy Mothers Day,



  1. You guys are amazing! We pray for you everyday. Love you!!!

  2. I have been thinking about tiff all day and being seperated from your children on this day we celebrate mothers. Been praying her heart has been content and peaceful. And will keep praying for her comfort and strength. You guys always make me want to be a better person and live the higher road. Thanks for your example of faith.

  3. K, don't know why it posted under my brother in laws blog name, funny. This is Shannon :)

  4. This made me cry...but with love and hope for you guys. Love you all so much - Tiff is so amazing, lots of prayers to give her strength during this time. Happy Mother's Day, every day. XOXOXO