Saturday, April 24, 2010

On This Day - In Memory Of CJ Twomey

On this day, my friend is burying her firstborn child.

He was only 20 yrs old.

Although my friend and I have never sat down together over a cup of coffee, or glass of wine; never spent an afternoon strolling through the mall picking out new shoes for each other; never sat on a park bench gossiping, while our kids played on the swings ... it doesn't, in any way, diminish the fact that I call her my friend, and that my heart is breaking for her and her family, today.

This Internet world we live in, has introduced us to many new evils in our generation; but it has also delivered the power to bring people together.

People who never would have 'met', had they not ended up following the cyber trails that sometimes force our paths to cross.

On this day, I wish I could be with my friend, and her family, as they try to get through what can only be the most difficult day of their lives.

I wish I could hold her hand, wipe her tears, hug her close and just make everything right again.

Unfortunately, some people just don't get it.

They don't get how someone who lives only in a computer, can be considered a 'friend'.

Don't get how you can feel their pain, share in their anguish, if you don't 'know' them. Have never seen or physically touched them.

Those people who think that way, those who just don't 'get' it are wrong.

Oh so very WRONG!

I have grown to know, and care for my friend through her words.

Through her descriptions of her family and their adventures, and love for each other, she brought me into her world and made me care about them too.

I worried about her dad's heart condition, I fretted over her husband's injured hand, I was nervous when her son was being deployed, and cheered when her other son got his braces off and feel proud that he's doing so well in his recent track meets.

I may not be close enough to be able to walk across the street to borrow a cup of sugar from her, but dammit, I DO care about her, and her family.

Just over a week ago, I read the news about the death of my friend's son.

At the time, I was in shock. It was completely unexpected. Simply incomprehensible.

And now, on this day, she buries her child.

And profound sadness replaces my shock.

No mother should have to do that.


The first time my friend and I spoke over email, she said I made her cry.

I certainly didn't mean to. Way to go, Kim, ya dork!

We had started reading each other's blogs.

I decided to contact her, outside the blog, after she'd written a post about her two boys, and how close they were.

Reading her words made me long for my own boys to have a relationship like theirs.

Somehow, through her words, I didn't see the bickering, teasing, and just 'being jerks' to each other that I see so often in my own two boys.

Because of the closeness her boys shared, it reminded me of a song, which I decided to send to her.

What I didn't realize at the time, was that her son was in the air force, or that this song would hold as much meaning as it did.

Because it reminded me of her boys, I sent her the song 'Brothers' by Dean Brody.

Because it reminded her of her boys, it made her cry.

Some of you who have been visiting the Korner for awhile, may know my friend.

You may remember me encouraging you to participate in her Organ Donation Raffle.

Or you may have checked out her blog when I guest posted for her on a Morbid Monday.

Her name is Hallie, from the Wonderful World of Wieners.

She is a wonderful person.

A great mother, wife, daughter and friend to MANY.

And she is my friend.

And I wish with all my might I had the words to take away her sorrow, or the power to bring her son CJ back.

But I can't.

All I can do, is share in her pain, and offer her my sincerest words of condolence.

Which of course, seems like very little, in the big scheme of things.

On this day, I'm hoping my friend, Hallie, as well as John, Connor, and their entire family, know that I'm thinking of them.

And I hope she knows ... and more importantly, BELIEVES that CJ is watching over them, having traded his air force wings for his angel ones.

And that he's got those wings wrapped tightly around them.

On this day, please take a moment to remember a wonderful young man you didn't know.

If only for a moment.

Remember his mother, who is having to say goodbye to a huge piece of her heart, her being, her soul.

Her little boy.

Please take a moment to remember, what none of us mothers should ever have to even think about.

On this day, please remember this mother, and every other who has had to outlive her child.

Because, but for the grace of God, any one of us could be that mother.

That child.

RIP CJ Twomey.

You were loved by a wonderful woman, a great family.

On this day, and always.

(Not the original video, but given CJ's profession, I thought it appropriate)

Be sure to visit Hallie's Wonderful World of Wieners, to read the beautiful tribute written to CJ, by two of Hallie's close friends, Kimmy & Dayna.


UPDATE:  If you would like to see where the boys and I were honoured to scatter CJ's ashes, four years later, you can do so, here:  Scattering CJ and Remembering Rehtaeh at Peggy's Cove

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today Was The Day. Results Are In.

As many of you know, I've been waiting for test results for Adam. To (hopefully) determine what's been causing his sore stomach issues.

Today was the day. Results are in.

I called home for messages after lunch. Figured I'd wait until then, and if I hadn't heard anything, I'd call the Dr's office myself.

Suddenly, there she was in my ear. The doctor.

She said she had the results, and would I please return her call so we could discuss them.


If nothing had showed up, she simply would have said 'nothing showed up', and we would have figured out what to do from there.

But no, she said '... discuss the results.'

That meant there was something to discuss.

OK. That's OK. That means NOW he can be treated for something.

So I immediately called the office.

And had to leave a message.

The Phone Tag game was officially ON.

Just after 6pm, she called back.

One of the results came back positive for parasite.

Dientamoeba fragilis to be exact.

YES! Finally! A diagnosis!

Now we start the antibiotics and hope that's the cure for what ails him.

He will also have to follow up with the doc and be retested in two weeks.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy he has a parasite, and god only knows where he got it, but I'm DEFINITELY happy that we finally know what it is, and that he's finally going to be treated for SOMETHING!

We still have to keep the appointment with the specialist, in June, in case it turns out to be something more than the parasite.

But for now, I'd rather we have to deal with this 'intestinal invader', than something like IBS, or Chrones etc.

As long as I don't think too long or hard about what's actually going on inside his little stomach ... or how long it's been there ... or if it's done any type of damage.

When we see the doc in June, I still plan on asking about allergy testing.

If nothing else, than to rule out any possible foods that may have been adding to his stomach issues as well.

I'm now moving on with the expectation that these antibiotics are going to do the trick.

Fix 'im up right good.

On the off chance that they don't, I will be going in to that meeting with the doc and going through my list of what do we do now, and how, questions ;-)

But one step at a time.

For now, I'm going to get this freakin' slimeball OUT of my kid!

One of the scariest things about all this, is realizing how COMMON these suckers are. And as this great article states, 'your best defense is knowledge'.

And with knowledge, will hopefully come prevention.

Thanks for all your good thoughts, wishes and prayers everyone!

They were all VERY MUCH appreciated!

Sometimes it's just nice to not have to worry alone, and all the support reminded me that I really wasn't :-)


Friday, April 9, 2010

I DIDN'T Fail Crap Management 101 After All! WOOHOO!

I owe you all an apology.

I haven't been here in awhile.

A long while.

I'm very sorry about that.

Much like everyone else, I've been going through 'stuff'.

Not an excuse, but it wasn't really stuff I wanted to talk about, but it was also the only thing (s) I've been able to think about lately.

One situation has been discussed through my various Facebook status messages, and I figured my friends over there, wouldn't want to read about it over here too lol.

The other thing that has been eating at me, causing far too many sleepless nights, I had promised myself I wouldn't bring into the Korner, until the time was right.

Everything done.

Then, that everything got blown to hell, and now, I'm still being consumed by something I had hoped to have shared with you all long ago.

I sat down tonight, with the intention of NOT leaving until I'd written a post.

Something light and lively.

But, only two things have been running through my brain the past couple weeks.

  1. My kid.

  2. Our future.

That's it. Nothing else.

I've got z-i-p.

So, after keeping quiet about everything over the past couple of weeks ... here we go ... get ready for ... the brain dump! (sorry Facebook Friends!)

Adam hasn't been feeling well. Not for awhile now.

I don't believe it's anything 'serious'. Nothing that can't treated.

But I still don't know exactly what's wrong with him.

He has complained of a 'sore stomach' for months, off and on.

Every now and then, other symptoms will appear, then go away.

Others, like a constant pain. 'Like someone's squeezing on my stomach', he says, are always there.

At first, I thought it was a bug.

Then, it went away ... then returned.

I thought it might be psychological.

I like to think I've kept things 'stable' for both of them, since their dad and I split.

Same house, same schools, same summer camp, same sports teams etc, etc, etc.

But let's be real, I'm sure there are issues he faces, that he might not share with me.

Or, something I may not see as an issue, really is for him.

And, I know it's common for kids to complain of sore stomachs when in fact it's something entirely different.

But it continued.

It continued past the 'flu smackdown' we all received just after the New Year.

And it continues still.

Then, when you add another physical symptom on top of that ...

(I promised myself that despite the title, I would try to limit the crappy part of this discussion ... so I'll leave it at that)

... the physical signs can't be dismissed.

I can't wait and see if they're simply going to go away on their own.

Last week, whatever has taken up home in his stomach decided it was time to give him a reminder that it was around.

And it was nasty. Very, VERY nasty.

So much so, that Tues morning, I took him down to the Children's ER.

The resident, poked his stomach, asked lots of questions, ruled out what it wasn't (appendix, food poisoning etc.), and then said his boss would be in to check him out.

The nurses came, took three vials of blood, and were about to send us on our way with our 'sample bottles', when I had to let them know Adam hadn't been actually seen by the doctor yet.


The doc and resident returned, and after another round of poking and questions, we were given a referral to a pediatric specialist, and sent home with our bag of 'sample bottles', but without a diagnosis, and nothing for treatment.

Simply a 'keep him hydrated with Pedialyte or G2, give him Tylenol for the pain, and bring him back if anything changes.'

On one hand, I can understand this.

They don't want to treat until they know what they're treating.

I get it.

What I have a hard time with, is seeing my kid in pain more often than he's not.

I watched him in his sleep one night.

Even then he grabbed his stomach, grimaced, and rolled over in the fetal position. I can only assume trying to get comfortable.

Or, when I was taking them to the park, and looked around into the back seat, to find him silently crying from stomach pain.

THOSE are the things I find harder to deal with.

Not the reasoning behind not wanting to give him anything; simply the result of it.

The next morning ... Problem #1

I take the bag of sample stuff out of my purse and realize there are no instructions. Only the bottles and Adam's hospital card.

When I took the bag from the nurse, I only glanced at it before sticking it in my purse, and didn't notice there weren't instructions.

Or a requisition form for that matter!

So, 7am I'm on the phone with the hospital asking HOW exactly they wanted these samples.

No. I'm not an idiot. I can put crap in a bottle.

HOWEVER, there were four bottles. One of these bottles already had liquid in it.

Was I supposed to do something special with this particular bottle?

Some sort of cocktail?

Shaken? Stirred? On ice? WHAT?!??

The instructions were to simply put a small sample in all four bottles.

The one with the liquid ... to the fill line.

Good enough. I could do that!

Or so I thought ...

The next night, after developing a new symptom throughout the day, we were back in the ER again.

The doctor who saw him had his blood work results, and although he couldn't say exactly what was going on, he could see that one of his white counts was high, which indicated an 'intestinal infection'.

But, it would be 72 hrs after the samples had been brought in, before they knew specifically what was causing his issues.

So again, we were sent home with a ''keep him hydrated with Pedialyte or G2, give him Tylenol for the pain, and bring him back if anything changes.

And call your doctor in a couple of days for the remaining test results.

Up pops ... Problem #2

A couple of days meant Good Friday.

My Dr's office was closed.

So we all waited patiently until Monday.

By this point, the ex and I had already made our armchair diagnosis.

We think it's a parasite.

A particular parasite. Giardia.

Which was one of the things he was being tested for.

It's common in Canada and the US, and you can get it from lakes, hot tubs, improperly cooked food, and water, among a few things.

Adam is at the lake daily much of the year. His friend down the street has a hot tub. We eat take out.

And water ... that could be anywhere, although he's not a huge H2O fan anyway.

On Monday, I called the Dr's office.


Easter Monday.


Deep Breath!

On Tuesday, I called for the results, and brought Adam down to follow up with the doc as well.

She poked and asked more questions, then went over the test results, telling me what he didn't have.

'No bacteria, no fungus, no Celiac's or other intestinal disease.'

All great news.

But I still don't know what IS wrong with him.

HELLO! ... Problem #3 ... waving at you over here!

They have to do the parasite test again.

For some reason, they were unable to use the sample I brought in.


Are you telling me I FAILED at Crap Management 101?!?!?


She couldn't tell me WHY they were unable to use it. Only that they were unable to get what they needed from it.

'In the meantime, keep him off milk products for a week to rule out lactose intolerance.' (which had also crossed my mind weeks ago, as well as Celiac, Crohn's, Irritable bowel, Colitis, food poisoning, plain 'ol bug, etc.)

Deep breath.


Off we go to the ER to pick up more bottles.

This time, I get the instructions directly from the lab tech.

Remember that bottle with the fluid already in it?

Yeah. That one.

There was supposed to be TWO of them, and the samples were to be taken a day apart.


Would have been nice to know that the FIRST time!


I DIDN'T fail Crap Management 101, after all! WOOHOO!

So now, we wait.


Until next week.

Which is hard. Really hard.

I'm sending a sick kid to school, who I know is in pain and trying to ignore it.

I wonder if he's paying attention in class or is focused on NOT concentrating on his stomach.

I worry about the time I've had to take away from work to stay home with him, and how it's affected my productivity, and in turn, project deadlines.

I know I can't keep him home indefinitely, until the test results come back. I don't want him to miss so much school, that it would seriously affect his end of year report.

I worry about if it turns out to be a parasite, how long the damn thing has been feeding off my kid and what damage it's done to his insides.

But for now, all I can do is wait.

And treat him with the only tools I've been given ...

Hugs, kisses, and whispers of 'I'm sorry it hurts. I wish I could make it better, Hun.'

And if it's really bad ... a Tylenol for the pain.

This weekend, I plan on googling 'natural alternatives'.

Part of me thinks if I had simply walked into a 'natural/health foods' store weeks ago, he'd be fine by now.

Oh, and I DID tell the technician, when I dropped off this latest round of samples, that if there was anything wrong with THESE, then someone was coming to my house to get the next batch themselves!

And at that point, I will have definitely failed Crap Management 101!


P.S. Don't worry, those 'Our Future' thoughts I mentioned earlier are still running through my brain, determined to get out.

But this post is far too long as it is, so I'll have to save that one for another time, in the near future ;-)