I remember it like it was yesterday, it's only gotten a little blurry. This chain of events that changed my life and I'm sure a few more. I got there and waddled inside. "Mom, I'm so tired of being pregnant". She turned smiled and gave me a quick squeeze, "sit down, put your feet up". I did as she said but looked at her suspiciously. She hands me her phone as she starts to explain " I have my procedure tomorrow, I can't take my phone. Last time I left it with Michele she went over on the minutes and it cost me two hundred dollars. So emergency calls only until after 7pm, you can two- way your dad if you need anything. Please listen for it, he ran out of gas last week and I had to save him." I could tell she is nervous, I had some how completely forgotten about her appointment. My mom wasn't the nervous type, she handled everything. I'm sitting there 9 months pregnant, feet on the table, just staring at her. She glanced at me to try to get a read. Then she continued " your aunt Lisa is taking me in, I should be home tomorrow night. When you get out of work I need you to swing by and get dinner going for your dad. Just get the stuff out of the freezer and get it going in the crockpot. It should be done when he gets home. I'll have Lisa let you know how it went and when to expect me home so you can tell your dad." I hadn't said a word, I was as content as a pig in mud. It was hot out they had air conditioning, I just worked another 10 hour shift on my feet. My toes looked like sausages, my feet were throbbing and I still couldn't remember what this procedure was for. She looked at me waiting for some kind of response. So I rubbed my baby belly and asked " remind me again what this one is for, your done with your foot surgeries right?" She laughed, and started rubbing my belly, she liked to wake him up so she could see him move around. She said " I thought for sure I told you, but this was for that spot on my lung, shop Doctor did an xray and found it". I said " no, I hadn't heard that, last I knew the doctor said it was bronchitis and gave you an inhaler". So now we are looking at each other. I said " I'm sure I would have remembered this one. Did you already tell Jared?" She said " I really thought that I told you. No I didn't tell your brother I didn't want anything to be misconstrued with Michele. You know she will make more out of it than what it is. My doctor gave me the inhaler before your dad and I went on vacation. It's been 2 months and I'm still coughing. Lisa made me go the shop Doctor and they did an xray and found a spot. The appointment tomorrow is to do a biopsy to see what it is. It's an outpatient procedure so Lisa is taking me. That way your dad doesn't have to sit up there and wait." I don't know, she seemed okay telling me. She seemed less nervous now.
Walking / waddling around the plant. Getting there at 4am makes for a long day. People keep asking me when I'm going off on maternity leave, as they watch me push tubs of parts across the floor. I planned on working right up until my due date of 9/11/2002. My pocket starts vibrating, it startled me, I'm not used to carrying a phone. I look it says Jared, I'm debating on answering it because I don't want to have to explain why I have moms phone and why she didn't tell him about the appointment. It went to Voice mail, probably for the best. It starts ringing again. I answer "Hello".. I didn't realize how loud it was out on the floor. It sounded like someone breathing heavy in the phone. So I said it again "hello, Jared are you okay?" Then " Jess, this is michele, your mom has cancer". I'm like " what.. what are you talking about, it's just a biopsy." She said " no I called Jake and he was at the hospital and it sounded like he was crying". So now I'm trying to piece this together, he wasn't going to the hospital, Lisa took her. He would only go if it were bad. My dad has never cried, he helped bury my uncle, his best friends little boy, his brother.. he has been gorged by the horns of a bull, knocked his front tooth out, he has NEVER cried. I said" thanks chele".. and I hung up. My ears started ringing, felt like I was punched in the gut, I grabbed my pregnant belly and started leaning on a rack of parts. I didn't have time for this, I had to get to the hospital. I went to human resources, I told them I have to leave. I will let them know later what my plan of action is. The HR manager handed me FMLA papers just in case.
I got to the hospital and my aunt Lisa greets me and leads me to the room. Dad was sitting there, he just looked at me. He hadn't been crying, we tend to not freak out too early. Mom was awake but doped up, she called me over to her bedside. I stand by her and she puts her hand on my belly and says " I had a terrible dream, they told me I wasn't going to see the baby". I said " what, who told you that". She said the people in " white told me they were sorry". I was trying to get more out of her, my aunt interrupted and said " alice, stop it, you are talking crazy and are going to put her into labor". I wanted to hear more. I believe in that stuff. My dad was just pacing, I have never seen him look so helpless. My dad, can fix any engine, and build anything. I know he didn't want to be there but couldn't bring himself to leave. My brother and wife got there and doctors came in, really nothing to tell us. Just it is cancer, we would like to keep her until we find out what kind, and they had to get a bigger chunk than they had originally anticipated. They were going to keep her over night.
I filled out the FMLA papers and dropped them off at work on the way to the hospital. Aunt Lisa stayed the night, and I stayed all day. My mom and I talked here and there, they kept giving her stuff for pain and she would sleep. My body wasn't liking sitting all day, my legs were getting out of hand. I tired walking around, it was just to that point where no matter what I couldn't get comfortable. She wasn't used to laying around either, but to get a good chunk they had gone in through her back and between her ribs. Her legs were starting to swell and her cough was getting worse, but it hurt her so bad to cough she resisted. By day 3 they took her for a walk, got her back to the room. They wanted her to sit in a chair for a bit. I had been getting there earlier and earlier trying to catch her doctor. So by 7 at night I needed to go home. My dad was there and my aunt Mary so I headed home. I was on the express way and the phone started going off. It was my dad. I needed to go back. She started coughing and had a stroke. The days all started being the same. I started getting there at 4am because I refused to miss the doctor again. We found out what kind it was. She couldn't talk, they put in a tube feed for her. They started physical therapy. While running more tests we found out the cancer was everywhere. She was getting better though could communicate, they got her up to walk. It was 7pm I was heading home and the phone rang. It was my dad, I had to go back. She got a blood clot in her lung the had to ventilate her.
My appointments were at the hospital so that was nice. I was retaining too much water and the stress wasn't doing me any favors. They scheduled me to be induced 9/09/2002. I kept getting there early, we were hopeful the inflammation would reside so she could get better. She started getting fluid on her lungs and we had to keep suctioning it out. We had to make a decision to pull the plug or not. We called everyone together. All of our aunts and uncles. After tallying up the votes. It was decided to pull the plug. Some how in this I lost my Dad, he fasted to prove his faith and by the end of this 2 weeks. He had become weak and frail. After hearing the results he wept. The man that had always fixed everything of mine needed me to fix him.
She passed away 9/07/2002, I had my son 2 days later. We had her viewing the next day and her funeral on 9/11. I moved in with my dad to help him adjust and not make him stay alone in his house or loniness. He loved having the baby and I there. I was able to go through my Moms stuff while off on maternity leave. I fixed him the best I could. It's been 18 years and to this day that is the one time I've ever seen him cry.