The Importance of Preparedness

I used to be a huge proponent of preparedness (I still am but I just don’t shout it from the rooftops any longer). Food, water, emergency essentials are all important.  So, what kind of preparedness am I talking about?  Wills. No matter what age you are, if something were to happen right now, does anyone know not only what your final wishes are but have the legal authority to take care of them?  Now is the time to get these important matters dealt with.

As I may have mentioned, this year has been one heck of a year.  There have been many accomplishments made, some setbacks but mostly it has been a year of discovering what is truly important and a year of reflection.  See, my husband was diagnosed with cancer in June (as of right now, he is cancer free).  May 1st, my mom (step-mom) was diagnosed with liver cancer (she passed in August).  Then, in October, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He just passed November 1.  Our family is no stranger to loss.

My mom is the last of the children on her side of the family and both of my grandparents on my father’s side passed away, most of them before I turned 30 years old.  The one thing that remained consistent with each passing was the breakdown within our families.  Siblings who always had issues in the past let it all out.  There was no holding back for the sake of the family.  I don’t even really remember (in those instances) the offending parties allowing for grieving to take place.  Heck, when my husband’s grandmother was still with us (hospice) things were being stolen from the house during visits (we cannot confirm or deny exactly who it was but only someone extremely close would have know where she kept all of her valuable jewelry and that stealing just the stones made it more difficult to report/track).  As soon as the patriarch (or matriarch) passed, it was every sibling for themselves.  Well, that is now happening with my dad but it isn’t the children stealing from each other, it is another relative!  I am so livid that his brand of poison is infecting even more members of my family.

And this is why I am writing to you today.  Do you have a will?  Is it with a neutral party who will not take sides and favor this person over that one?  Do you have your valuables stored securely?  If you look at someone and say, “They will never steal from me” are you sure about that?  A death in the family can bring out the absolute worst in people.  Is there anything you would like someone to have that you can give them NOW?  If so, do it!  If there is someone (like a child or sibling) that you do not want to have anything, be sure to name them in your will and give them 1 dollar (or penny).  They cannot contest, saying you forgot about them or some other such nonsense. Does someone have an item of yours that you want back?  You better get it back soon or they may claim it for themselves.

I found this website with free wills and other legal forms that can help you if you have no idea where to start.

Health, Journal

2015. So Far

This year has taught me a lot and it’s not even over yet. I have learned that, despite being alone for 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, I do not like being without my husband. I learned that, no matter how long I was physically away from my family, we still truly love each other and can have a wonderful experience through a very dark time. I have also learned that I can eat whatever I want as long as I accept that my body will hate me for it.

In May of this year, my mom was diagnosed with liver cancer. Stress, worry, and the fact that we are a 15 hour drive from my family felt like too much to bear. While my brain kept trying to figure out some magical way to manifest the money to make the trip, I went through bouts of hardly eating anything the entire day to eating everything in sight. Thankfully, my blood sugars did not react adversely to these binges.

A month later, after a colonoscopy, my husband was in an operating room, which was supposed to be a pretty routine surgery (removal of a polyp) but in the course of the surgery, they found carcenoid tumors. He was in the hospital for 4 days and I sat here, crying and binge eating anything I could get my hands on (while extremely thankful we had no sweets in the house). Between June 1st and August 1st, my mom was going through chemotherapy and surgeries while my husband was undergoing surgery, and tests that even the lab technicians had to look up, since they are done so rarely. Around August 1st, my husband got the “all-clear” (his tumors are non=aggressive and they saw no signs of more) but he will have to go in at regular intervals to make sure no more appear.

Unfortunately, my mom was not so lucky. They were finally able to shrink the tumor enough to do surgery and discovered it had not only damaged her liver too much but had spread. On August 18, 2015, one more beautiful star was added to the heavens. She was a beautiful woman who, despite the trials she dealt with throughout her life, always had a smile on her face and love in her heart. Due to our distance, it had been too many years since we had seen each other. With normal life events getting in the way it becomes so easy to say, “I’ll visit next year” (which was our original plan). My husband had not had the chance to meet her and now he will only in the stories we share with him. We drove down there for her memorial service (non-stop, which I really do not recommend if you are not accustomed to driving that distance without sleeping) and I saw not only my immediate family but some of my family from Mexico who I had not seen in 33 years. It is amazing how, despite that many years apart, it was like we had never been separated. We laughed, cried, hugged, and loved together. It truly was beautiful, despite the sadness of our reason for reuniting.

I am still reeling from the emotional roller coaster of this year. I have gone from 176 pounds up to 186 (possibly closer to 190 but I stopped stepping on the scale for a while) and now, am back down to 176 pounds. My body has been extremely angry with me this entire time. As I binged, my lower legs would bloat so bad it hurt to walk. I had extreme intestinal issues and my kidneys actually hurt (all this without blood sugar spikes). When I stopped eating, my blood sugars would eventually dip to dangerous levels, with me becoming so exhausted that it took all my energy to eat anything.

Thankfully, those days were rare. I’ve come back from Arizona a little sick. I keep telling everyone I’m just allergic to California but I’m pretty sure it’s the massive amount of smoke in the air. You could see it as a light brown layer all across the valley as you were heading out of the mountains. The first night home, I had to use my inhaler for the first time in about 6 months but thankfully, none of my extraordinary allergies have returned. I am on the mend but the emotional toll this year has taken has me still quite exhausted. I think it’s time for lunch (Del Real Chicken Asado, shredded cheese, sour cream and jalapenos). Thank you all for being here. 🙂