FOMO

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Our kids just spent two weeks in Japan together, as our daughter’s flight from Melbourne to Hobart took off I reached for my ‘phone and followed it on my Flight Tracker.

We can see the airport from our place, could actually see her plane approaching and watch it land- my husband saw it land, told me it landed  but the Tracker said it hadn’t- I believed the tracker! What a wake up call!

How much of reality are we missing as we choose to view our life and the lives of others via a device?

Calm water, sun shining, dogs having a ball on the near empty beach, and instead of letting the joy of it all engulf me, I am tripping over as I try to film it to show my husband.

Driving up the Far North Queensland coast as the Coral Sea comes in to view, glistening, but I miss seeing the tip of Port Douglas become visible as my husband tells me to photograph it. I look at the photo, but missed it in reality.

Travelling through Melbourne on  a tram, my husband has his map app open , tracking our journey, he doesn’t see the sites around us right out the window or the characters sharing our ride.

Meeting my granddaughter for the first time, I almost forgot my phone! Grabbed it though and took photos that we will treasure but it meant that one of the  first times I looked at her was through an iPhone 6s.

In this time of almost complete connectivity to each other all around the world, why is  it then that I spend a fair amount of time feeling just a little bit lonely?

Watching a movie or a TV show, my husband will often be looking at his ‘phone at the same time, me too sometimes.He puts his ‘phone so close to my face to show me a meme, I’d rather his face that close to mine with the imminent possibility of a kiss!

When we sit at the bench after work, a time we’d always used to talk and debrief and share the happenings of the day, my day seems less important than that of those on Facebook. I’ve noticed too how often people are in the same room and laughing, but not sharing the laughter, each is watching something different on their ‘phone. Surely the joy of a good laugh is having it with someone else?

My daughter was meeting a friend for lunch, the friend had lost her ‘phone- my daughter wondered how she would let her know if she was running late? How long should she wait before she worried or gave up? This an added layer of anxiety that has crept in for us all as we expect to be able to get in touch immediately. I remember telling mum I’d be home on the 3:15 bus, if I missed that 4:15 and so on. I moved to Darwin for a year and sent the odd letter and called every few weeks. I went to Thailand and got home before my postcard did. She wasn’t worried yet now she expects, well demands really, that we all text her as we board a plane and when we land so ‘she doesn’t worry’.

I’m not saying I’m anti-technology and I love that we can stay in touch so easily now, I love that the world is literally in our pockets at our finger tips but I do wonder if we’re losing touch with those right next to us to stay in touch with those who we would probably never call, visit or often don’t even know.

We have stopped asking  questions of those wiser than us ,preferring to quickly ‘google’ anything we want to know. What rich conversations are we missing out on as we head to Wikipedia instead of to our knowledgeable elders?  Who aren’t we meeting as we use our GPS when we used to stop and ask a real person for directions?

As I ponder this I realise that I’m suffering from FOMO- not brought about my friend’s holiday snaps on Facebook and instagram, or the steaming coffee shots followed by the cocktail later in the day, or the celebrity stories of having it all. Nope, I’m fearful of missing out on my life, of missing out on contented moments with the love of my life, of truly listening to my children when they are talking to me, of meeting new people, of gaining knowledge from my friends:  I’m fearful of missing out on NOW!

So I’m going to limit the device use and enter into a contract with myself to be with people not screens, perhaps I’ll call it INMO- I’m Not Missing Out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the beat goes on

My son has started to blog on here and after reading his first post and re-reading mine I am reminded about how much I too love to write, just like him. What an amazing young man my Matt is, he epitomises seize the day and if there was only one legacy I could leave my children then that would be it. I spent some months on the ledge of despair waiting for him to reclaim his joy in his successes instead of drugs, and he did! I have the utmost faith that he will be all he needs to be. I take great joy in the fact that he and all my children still seem to enjoy spending time with us.

Abby is an intern and really enjoying life again,she looks fabulous, works conscientiously and has a solid handle on work/life balance in so much as she has control over this. How many mothers get to have scrubs in their washing?  Time spent with her continues to be time spent so well.

Our eldest, Trent and his wife are expecting a baby girl in October. We are about to re-invent as Grandad and Grancath. How exciting.

So mum is still so wonderfully still with us, hallelujah for her ‘accepting’ her doctor of indian descent after getting past her initial ‘ I can’t understand a word he’s saying’ He talked her into her treatment and here she still is!

And so the beat goes on- life keeps happening to us and aren’t we all lucky that it does? Far better than the alternative!!

 

The long and winding road

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Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, lots going on though. Mum is half way through a 3 month stint of immunotherapy- so far no side effects but she looks frail and is a lot more dependent and verbally affectionate than before. She’d originally refused this treatment as there are few guarantees, and a likelihood she will get severely fatigued and nauseated. I think she only agreed as her doctor changed and suggested it, and as my sister and I were with her I think she said yes as she thiught that’s what we’d want. She continues to syphon off $50 notes to my daughter. My sister is still great – she flies in regularly to support both mum and me.

It’s 6 months since we were given 4-12months,  which is pretty disconcerting. We’ve got a few trips booked and each time we organise one I wonder if this will be the one we have to cancel. My fabulous husband asked me to organise a trip to Sydney to see Les Mis, something he knowsI really want to do, I wonder if we’ll get there? Last Friday we went for mum’s second dose of immunotherapy- she was too dehydrated to be cannulated, it took 3 oncology nurses over 45 minutes to succeed. Mum was so upset, it was awful to see her so vulnerable as her veins collapsed. She had thought she’d be ok to go to these appointments on her own but has now conceded that won’t be happening.Easter is approaching. I’m not religous but the significance doesn’t elude me, renewal and new life.

Every new day that mum is still with us is a gift.Each day that she is still with us and feels well is a bonus- I’m focussing on the present and appreciating each moment. My priorities are the clearest they’ve ever been, my love of family is as strong as it’s ever been and I’m gathering strength for the long road ahead.

Glass half full

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We are waiting to see if mum can have some immunotherapy to slow down the progression of her disease. With only 10 weeks between PET scans the tumours have increased in her thigh, lymph node, liver and lungs. She seems more tired and her leg pain has increased. When the doctor examined her, despite claiming she has no pain or symptoms, she winced when he palpated her liver. The lymph node tumour can now be felt. The one on her lung is making her breatheless but she will admit to none of this. The treatment being considered cannot cure her but may buy her some more time, but it’s not an option if her blood tests show that her liver and/or kidney function is not good enough. It seems she probably has between 4 and 6 months left without any treatment😢 Mum wants us to help her decide if she should have the treatment, to weigh up side effects and “down time” against possibly gaining a few months. Big decison, and we may not even get to make it if her liver and kidneys aren’t ok. I guess I need to get my optimism back on and do some cup half full thInking- I’ve still got my mum for now, she’s still enjoying life, we might be able to keep her for a bit longer and it’s only 2 sleeps until we find out if she’s a candidate for the therapy.

My Mischievious Imp

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Last night I felt like I was being dragged backwards by a massive wave, all of my energy being used to try and return to the shore, nothing left to even allow me to tread water for awhile until things calmed. My daughter has been home for 7 weeks and returns to Med School on Sunday, a two hour drive away. I’ll miss her  so much. My son is so excited about his imminent departure to Melbourne to attend Swinburne University and study a Bachelor of Film and Television. God I’ll miss him too!! The house will feel empty and quiet without them both. I know they’re doing the right thing, in fact amazing things and I’m so proud of them both, but at this time I just like to draw my loved ones close. Next week Mum has an oncology appointment, it’s my first week back at school, luckily I can take a couple of hours off. But I’m dreading it…. what good news can they possibly have for us after the last lot? She still looks ok but I can see her getting thinner. She’s syphoning off cash to my daughter each time she sees her and I’m not sure that she has enough to be doing that. She hugged my daughter so hard yesterday as our weekly lunches have come to an end for now. My best friend is a nurse and over lunch she talked about the ‘awful death’ that liver tumours bring; not the cheeriest of lunch time conversations! The fact that mum’s palliative plays on my mind, the knowledge always lurking in the shadows, a trouble making imp ready to give it’s opinion at any moment: Mum comments on a new highway being built and the imp whispers to  me ” she’ll never see it finished will she?” My daughter looks at graduation gowns and the imp is right there saying mischievously ” her grandmother isn’t going to see her in that” My son talks about his 21st and the high pitched voice quips “his nan wont be at that will she?” I need to find a way to quiet the imp!!

Making Memories.

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Been quite awhile since I had a cathartic write. A lot has gone on, but at the same time nothing has gone on. Mum doesn’t know that all of us kids and grand kids know she’s got a ‘use by’, having said that , one grand kid doesn’t actually know- her mum took her interstate years ago and she’s had no contact with her dad ( my little brother) she’s let me follow her on instagram so at least i have a way of contacting her if/when it’s necessary.

Christmas Day was 8/9 parts great. My 2 brothers, little sister and her husband along with mum came for a late lunch and dinner. We feasted and drank too much; well, again, 8/9 of us drank too much. My big brother insisted on driving, refused to relax, looks awful in the family photos and abused me for taking photos with my new selfie stick!! Apart from that, if that was mum’s last Christmas, as we’ve been told, it was a pretty good one. I really got on well with my little brother, which is such a gift as we’ve never been very close. Mum is trying hard to make sure I’ve forgiven my big brother as she’s clearly worried about him after she goes. He’s a total dick but I’ll never leave him alone at Christmas.

It’s funny in a way, but her biggest cause of pain and discomfort is her arthritic knee, not her metastatic cancer! We’ve been out for lunch since Christmas, had her down for lunch and a movie and lots of ‘phone calls. She’s keeping up a very brave front and is a great role model for us all.

My little sister struggles with it all as she lives away and can’t maintain the very easy contact that the other 3 of us can. She’ll be ok though, because like me, she is her mother’s daughter and we cope, as my daughter will too as she inherits our strong genes.

I’m struggling with my son also moving interstate in a couple of weeks. Have you seen the movie “Boyhood’? That really struck a cord with me, at the end when the son moved out. I’m really going to miss the afternoon coffee meets he, mum and I have during the working week.

Her next oncology appointment is 22nd January and I’ll be interstate helping my son move, so I’ve asked her if she’d like to change it or if she’s happy with my med student daughter taking her- she’s thinking on it.

For the meantime, I’m on summer holidays and have lots of time to make memories with my mum.

Rocket Man

space stationSo discombobulated, I can’t think straight, I can’t eat. My brother came down and ‘let’ me tell him about mum. He was nasty- I know it’s because he’s an emotional luddite but it was still horrible. My little sister is coming home for Christmas, but she’s staying at a hotel instead of with mum so she doesn’t get stuck with our brother too ( 53 and lives with mum!!). Mum’s sad about that now- even though she understands that she’ll actually get to spend more time with my sister as she’ll come and get Mum and take her out each day while she’s down. Our brother made it very clear he wouldn’t be going out of his way just because it’s mum’s last Christmas, but he’ll go out of his mind if the rest of us do stuff with her and he’s left out.

Parents are supposed to die, it’s still not ok when it’s happening, but it is a normal part of living.I can do death- I know my feelings are normal reactions to learning that my mum is on limited time. But why oh why do others have to complicate everything with selfish attitudes and ostrich behaviours? A lighthouse doesn’t seem far enough away at the moment, might need to consider a space station….

Stormy Weather

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Feel so flat- mum’s oncologist called me today. She’s palliative. Luckily she is still largely asymptomatic, so there will only be intervention to manage any symptoms as they arrive. The time frame is back to a few months to a year with strong advice to make this Christmas special.

The thing that is really pissing me off is that my older brother still refuses to be told anything about it. It seems pretty selfish to me- I could do with his support. Also he lives with mum so he really should be aware of signs to look out for and just have an idea of what’s she’s going through.

She told the oncologist she was satisfied with her life, that her kids were all ok and that she misses her husband ( dad died 16 years ago at 59 of Renal cancer) so I guess she’s accepted things BUT she wont actually tell any of us kids what she know about the prognosis, which is why the oncologist rang me.

On a scale of light breeze to Hurricane , things certainly feel very stormy at the moment.

Just Checking

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Had a bit of a check up last week, and left with a referral for an ultrasound of my kidneys, bladder and gall bladder plus a bowel test kit!!   Mind you Dad died of kidney cancer and with Mum’s recent diagnosis I’m happy to have every screening procedure out there! Reminds me of what a lucky country Australia is though, none of this cost me a cent and so far none of Mum’s stuff has either – and she has another CT this week and an MRI next week. I wish someone had been just checking her skin a bit earlier though- could have saved a lot of procedures, a lot of angst and a lot of Mum.