Friday, December 12, 2008

Hope, Fears and Sheer Determination

Hi everyone. Cheryl here actually speaking up… Beth gives me a hard time regularly because I don’t talk. I think it comes from lots of time in solitude as a ranger.

Over the last several weeks I was at Beth and Linda’s place for more than my usual weekend treks. With Linda’s current medical and work-life issues she was becoming rapidly overwhelmed. Beth was, of course, making every effort to help Linda at the cost of her own health. So, I came over to help shoulder the load and get them both to a more stable place. Spending lots more time with Beth and Linda is great because they are both lovely, caring, generous people.

There’s only one thing… being there for extended periods forces one to accept some hard realities. Beth is getting rapidly weaker over all and no longer has any reserves. Yes, there are days where she is strong and it is easy to fall into the trap of hope. Hope whispers in your mind, “Gee, Beth is doing great today. Maybe we will hit a remission so we can get her reserves built back up.” Then the next day Beth is paying for the strong day with extreme pain, fever, seizures, weakness, passing out and stopping breathing. (Laura –thank you so much for the ambubag!)

That is when it becomes impossible to ignore the truth. Beth is dying and sooner than any of us are prepared for. No, I don’t have a prognosis for how long it will be. I just know I can’t deny that death will come. That brings us to the fear. In a very short time Beth has become family in every unconditionally loving sense of the word. She is a large and important part of my life. I am afraid of losing her. I am afraid I won’t be strong enough to (1) say good-bye to Beth and (2) be there for Linda through it all. I am scared and feeling helpless. Feeling helpless also scares me. I have strong medical skills, I am capable in an emergency but this isn’t anything I can fix.

So I am holding on to a few hopes like they are a security blanket. I am well aware of what a formidable will Beth has. Now that she has said she wants to be here in May I am hoping her strong will and sheer determination will carry her through to that point in time. If there is anyone who can put off death through determination and will power it is definitely Beth. I tease her that the salmon must be her spirit animal since it is supposed to represent determination.

I am also hoping that the doctors in Seattle give us some help. Any improvement in quality of life would be a blessing. The possibility of slowing this disease would be a gift beyond price. Of course, we have to get to Seattle with the least amount of stress for Linda and Beth. That means fundraisers.

You are all probably aware of the rubber wristbands used to raise money and awareness for various causes. We have wristbands for Beth. They are colored to look like a cloud streaked sky and they say, “Gotta Fly”.
Now you can help raise money and show your support for Beth. Get your wristband(s) today. We are asking for a $2 donation for a bracelet. Feel free to give more. If you want more than one bracelet let us know with a message through paypal. If you are not receiving mail through the postcard project you will need to supply an address.

Thank you all for caring and helping!


Veralidaine said...

It's great to hear from you, Cheryl. I am thankful that you are part of Beth's life and that you are there to support Linda as well.

Also, I think the bracelets are wonderful. I like to have something on my right wrist at all times. It's been like a security blanket for me to always wear something on that wrist since I was a child. First it was where I wore my watch, then as I got older I hated the tan line from the watch so I got a piece of chain for hanging stained glass from woodshop and soldered it into a bracelet that was just small enough not to come off. Then that broke and got lost, and I found something else, then something else, and so on. Right now I have an embroidery thread bracelet that I wove in a spiral pattern with four colors of blue as a sign of support for a friend when he left town and his four pets were lost by his petsitter. And it is down to a single thread still holding it in place in one spot.

So, I will order some bracelets once I receive my next paycheck on the 15th, and those will be what I wear once this last thread finally gives out.

yanub said...

The bracelets look very nice, though I won't wear a bracelet or watch. Way too clumsy. I just manage to get them hung on things. I have to think if I should ask for one or not. What to do with it, what to do....

Cheryl, I can't thank you enough for being there for Elizabeth and Linda. If Beth is determined to make it to May, I too believe she can do it. January and the Seattle trip can't come soon enough.

Lisa Moon said...

Thank you for posting, Cheryl! We hear so much of you, so it's great to get a sense of your own voice, too.

I'm impressed and thankful for your honesty about what's to come for Beth. I can't imagine how tough it must be, but I can imagine how lucky you each are to have one another. I envy you your family connection, though that sounds selfish, I know.

Great idea with the bracelets, as they are an inexpensive way to convey the message and raise a little money, too.

I've a question for you: I've a small package for Beth that I'd like to send to her ASAP. I had just emailed her asking if there was some way I could get it to her (I live here in Victoria, too!) without sending to the US and back - while still respecting her privacy of personal address. I suggested perhaps if you were around, we could meet up somewhere public - a coffee shop?

Just an idea, but please feel free to contact me via my own blog.

Thank you again for being a loving part of Beth and Linda's life. I have such a fondness for you all, just getting to know you all a bit online!

Friendship and support and love to you all,

Neil said...

Hello Cheryl. It's great to read your thoughts.

Your honesty is insp- awesome, and as hard to read as Beth's entry for today. And the bracelets are a wonderful idea. It would be kinda weird if I meet anyone else wearing one!!

I also can't thank you enough for being there for Beth and Linda. And I understand that they are family now, but thanks anyway.

Zen hugs to you too!

Lene Andersen said...

Thank you for posting that, Cheryl. I've delayed reading it because... well, because I'm chicken and prefer to close my eyes to the reality that Beth is dying way before I'd expected and can be ready for. Of course, I don't think I'd ever be ready. We'll continue to be there for each other.

Love the bracelets! One question - if you have a latex allergy, should you avoid rubber bracelets? I'm new to it (the allergy, that is) and still figuring out what's safe and what isn't. Figured you might know?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lene

These (and most) rubber wristbands are made from synthetic silicone rubber and should be no problem for someone with a latex allergy.

I recommend washing it before wearing. I have allergies to certain latex adhesives and I have been wearing a wristband since the day they came in with no allergy problems.

SoulCrew said...

How about asking a small estate winery to produce a special label that would give a portion of the proceeds to raising some money? just a thought...and good publicity, and it would be legal to promote too!!!