December 4, 2018

Sitting in the posh Scottsdale waiting room, the cool blue and calming taupe color scheme designed to keep new patients like me from screaming out what is inside our minds. As they walk Mom and I back to the small one bed examination room, I can barely find room to put my purse down. I'm gonna want to take notes on my cell phone. We enter the room and Mom wants me to sit on the bed while she sits in the chair next to the mobile desk shoved in the corner of this cell/room. The medical assistant takes Mom's vitals, making small talk and cracking jokes. She looks to be expecting but it's entirely too early to tell or make question about the matter, so we stick to conversation like the weather. Mom pays no mind to the tension surrounding my entire body, one of the signs I now know as whats to come. When the medical assistant leaves, it feels like eternity in the little room. I continue to make small talk with Mom, making silly comments on the sailing decor that was chosen for this particular room. Must've been a small  boat.

Finally the Nurse Practitioner walks in. She's nice enough, an older lady but not by much, late sixties perhaps. She is very sure of herself, a tad haughty, but not in an elitist way; more along the lines of assurance than arrogance. She asks Mom a few questions, friendly questions, but I can tell she is still semi-inquisitive. When Mom answers, her replies don't exactly pertain to the conversation, another sign of what I already know. As the moments move on, and I am under the assumption that we are awaiting the actual doctor to join us (although I am unsure how we are ever going to fit another body in this cramped room), the NP starts in on the testing results. She jumps the gun on me so I missed a few of her very fancy medical words at first. When I ask for her to slow down she gives me side eye and slows her pace about one-tenth of a second. Thanks lady.

Almost without stopping on a beat she breezes past the information that we came to know.

So based on your fancy medical testing and all the bullshit we have put you through the last two months as suspected you have Frontal Temporal Lobe Dementia and specifically the most common Alzheimer's so we are going to go ahead and write you a prescription to help slow the process the best we can because fingers crossed there is no cure and well not much we can do. Any questions? Here, take a lollipop.

OK, so maybe it didn't go exactly like that. But she flew through the words Dementia and Alzheimer's as if they were apart of everyone's daily vocabulary. It was stunning and maddening and even though I knew it in my bones, it was still a gut punch to the system. While I was busying myself with trying take all the notes I can (and lets be real, I was trying not to burst out into tears and fall on the floor in the most dramatic way imaginable), Miss bedside manner over there was asking Mom all these important questions and laying down all the imperative rules like:
-You can't live alone
-You can't drive
-You shouldn't use the stove
-You need someone to give you your medications twice a day
-Make sure you eat for every meal
-Go to bed no later than 10pm
-Get up by 9am
-Get into a support group
Mom just smiled and nodded and said "My brother lives with me but he left and his friend is a girl and she is still living in my guest room but I don't know her name and my daughter said she has to leave because my other daughter has to move in". (Yes, that actually happened, long story for another book).

We were given our prescriptions, our next appointment was scheduled and we were quickly whisked out of the tiny chamber they call an exam room and before I know it we are back in the car sitting in traffic heading home.

The thoughts were racing through my brain on what we had just gone through. In such a short amount of time my worst suspicions were realized, and I was trying to wrap my head around how our whole world was about to change. Hard as I might the panic was starting to set in. She can't drive, she can't be alone, she shouldn't cook... she'll forget how to eat, she'll forget us, she'll eventually die from this disease.

I felt myself hit the accelerator as my blood pressure began to accelerate itself. I was angry, this was not fair. I had already lost Dad, now my Mom too.

"Can we go to Paradise?"
"Can we go to Paradise please? I want that chicken salad sandwich on the brown bread."
"Oh, sure Mom. Do you know what you want to drink?"
"I'll get the lemonade because its sweet."
"Just like you."

To Mom, life had just gone by without a care in the world. She didn't realize, or maybe comprehend that  everything was going to change, every day, sometimes bigger changes, sometimes smaller changes, but life as we knew it wasn't going to be the same.

Life as we knew it. Ah-haaa... for Mom, life wasn't going to change. She was going to get up and go about life carefree, whether we took the car away or not, whether someone was living with her or not, whether she was to get a chicken salad sandwich on brown bread or not. It hit me that she isn't the one who will suffer, it is us, her family, that has to watch her memory fade, her confusion to find her words, her sadness when he have to remind her that Dad is no longer here on earth with us.

This disease may infect one, but it affects all those surrounding.

In case you did know... I hate you Alzheimer's.

A Dog's Purpose

Growing up I was scared of dogs. Scared as in scream my head off running for the hills any time I even saw one within the vicinity of being able to reach me. My family tried as hard as they could, even getting my sister a little dog (I was almost moved out by then).

Once I got married, we tried again (my husband is a "dog person") and we got a weiner dude, whom I was afraid to be alone with (ankle biter) and ended up leaving our home.

When the kids were a little older (5 and 6) and we had just moved into our new home (the home we have raised our children in) Santa brought us our first real family dog, Gunner.

He was just a baby, and I immediately fell in love. My fears were completely gone, and I just felt in my heart that this was just the right puzzle piece to complete our little growing family.

He has been "Mama's Boy" for 11 an a half years. And today, we have to say goodbye.

To say I am beyond heartbroken would be an understatement. I am shattered, I am so blue. It is just so much harder than I ever imagined, saying goodbye to a dog.

He has been the protector of my children, making his midnight rounds from door to door.
He has been my protector, sleeping under my side of the bed, at full attention if I wake.
He has been my husbands best friend, rolling around on the carpet playing and wrestling.
He loves to come out front and visit with the neighbors on the weekends.
He loves to catch water we throw over the shower door.
He gets SO EXCITED when I hang his stocking because he knows Santa will be filling it up soon.
He can spell... he knows "Gonna Git The M-A-I-L" and "T-R-E-A-T".
He loves swimming at Grandmas, and getting "A Piece of Ice" when Daddy makes his lunch in the morning.
He lays under my legs when I'm sitting on the couch.
He ALWAYS wants to play ball.
When he hears my blow dryer come on, he rushes upstairs with his ball so I can kick it while I dry my hair.
He lets the littles lay with him.
He loves getting new toys from Bark Box or when we come home with grocery bags.

There are a million tiny things I will love and cherish, and miss about my 'ol man.

I am so eternally grateful that God brought this Dog into my life. He has been so much more than a pet. He's completed us, and that was always his purpose.

Rest In Sweet Peace, My Gunner Boy.

OLW 2017

Happy Monday! Stay Humble. Work Hard. Be Kind. Inspirational Art by Pretty Chic SF:

Hi lovies! I chose the word "Humble" this year. Definition includes "having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance" and "offered with or affected by a modest estimate of one's own importance".

This word can be misunderstood quite easily, and I do not intend to live it as a negative influence (berating, demeaning, or lowly). I am choosing to utilize this OLW as living more simply, more modest, more respectful. Sort of a less talking, more listening approach (if that makes sense).

This word found me, in several ways recently, and I knew that it was to be my OLW for 2017.

I've chosen a OLW for several years now, and truth be told, I always have the best of intentions sticking with it throughout the year, but somewhere in the middle it diminishes and by the end of the year I come back to it just in time to choose another word. This year, I have chosen to be active in really living and working my OLW. This year, I have joined Ali Edwards OLW year-long class. I am mostly excited, and a bit nervous, but overall I am really looking to commit myself to this creative process.

2016 Recap

Well, 2016 was quite a year. I didn't blog much (obvi) but so many things did happen in my life. 

January | I became an iPad owner. I moved to a different Crossfit Box (where my husband was). I had an MRI done on a spot found in my lung. I went to Laughlin with the Hubs to meet up with some Nebraska peeps. Cameron started driving practice.

February |  I went to see my favorite musical, Carousel. I participated in the Crossfit Open and got my first and consecutive next nine Chest to Bar pullups. 

March | I was the sickest I have ever been in my entire life. Basically bed ridden and unable to function for nearly two weeks. It was awful, especially because I missed our friends wedding (and I love weddings). Also went to the Nascar race, and celebrated 17 years of marriage with the Hubs. Probably the funnest thing of the year, we took the kids to Cancun. It was the most incredible family vacation. We are so incredibly blessed. 

April | Courtney and I drove back home to Cali for our new nephew's baby shower. Then I met up with my BFF Steph in Laughlin for our annual girl trip. 

May | The hubs was so incredibly good to me, taking me up to Sedona (one of my favorite places ever). The kids went to Prom (Cameron's first, Courtney's last). My sweet nephew was born so we went back to Cali for a visit. And we celebrated Cameron turning 16.

June | Work was busy, especially running the office by myself. Courtney and I went up to Flagstaff for a two day orientation at NAU. That was so exciting. We also celebrated our other nephew's first birthday. Perhaps the biggest news for June, Paul finally got new sunglasses for Fathers Day. Oakleys.

July | All the work, all the work, all the work. Also, was asked to be the leader of our Hospitality Team at church. Unfortunately we also had crisis team at our home to help us deal with, well, family crisis. Don't worry, everything is Ok.

August | Cameron got his license. Courtney dyed her hair, and moved away. She went off to college, and while we were thrilled, it took the rest of the year to adjust to living. Thankfully, the Hubs was brilliant at distracting me by taking me to Sedona. 

September | Had a fabulous "Girls Day" with my Mama at the Omni Resort and Spa. I started bible journaling. We had family weekend in Flagstaff.

October | I spent many days at my Mom's cleaning out the office. We had a charity event for Dougie to beat cancer. Went to several Cardinal games. Went to a Halloween party as the couple from Beetlejuice when they try and scare away the new owners. We also celebrated Paul's Great-Aunt's 90th birthday!

November | Spent two whole days on a shopping spree with my Mama where I bought myself many new articles of clothing, and three new pairs of boots. (I never shop for myself). We held a Charity poker tournament for Doug. Went to the theatre with my Mom. Best of all, I spent an entire "Girl's Weekend" in San Francisco and Napa. It was pretty much the highlight of my year. On top of that... I was fortunate enough to see Adele in concert. We finished out the month with having Dana and our new nephew come visit for Thanksgiving, and took some beautiful family photos.

December | At the beginning of this crazy busy month, Mom and I went down to Tempe and had a delicious dinner on Mill Ave at La Bocca, then rode in a bike shuttle to ASU Gammage to see Mama Mia. About a week later, I was fortunate to attend the 2016 K-Love Christmas with my friend Amanda where I got to see my favorite Christian band, Crowder, perform. I drove up to NAU and brought Sissy home for the holidays! Spent an incredible night with my CFBF Jess where we dined at Southern Rail, then came home and watched Christmas movies while sipping on Peppermint White Russians. All the Christmas decorating, gift wrapping and parties happened. the hospitality group hosted a Hot Chocolate Bar (along with Coffee, Water, and Hot Apple Cider) for 3 Christmas Eve services at church. And then, Christmas came and went per usual, all too fast. 

So many great celebrity losses this year, and many personal struggles for myself as a mother, a woman, and future business owner. Suffice to say, I am ready to pack up 2016 and start the New Year with a fresh breathe!!

shopping spree

As I hinted in previous posts, I've had a rough year (actually a rough almost two years). So many changes have occurred in my life, and I do not do change very well. I have struggled more than I'd like to admit to myself or anyone else. I've had good days and bad days, and then really terrible horrible days. But through it all, I've gotten up and faced the day and its challenges. I have worked hard, incredibly hard. That is something I am proud of; it's something that makes me feel like I'm making my Dad proud, I'm keeping my promises to him and staying on that grind. 

Well, suffice to say that I've worked myself right into a bit of a run down. Stress and tears and heartbreak and pain and worry and all those negative feelings that I just don't do well with took over and it was like hitting a brick wall. I literally was on my knees praying for some help. 

And then, this happened.

I was given two mandatory days off of work, and told to go shopping and spend some money on myself (something I very rarely do). I called my Mama, and to the shopping malls we went.

No alarm clocks, no schedule, no worries or stresses or heartache. Just pure Me time. Talk about prayers answered!! What a blessing! 

I really struggled to post about this. I don't mean to come across gloating or righteous in any way. I want this to be an acknowledgement to those who don't understand or don't believe, Prayer works! I wholeheartedly believe that. Prayer for something simple, or something extraordinary and everything in between. God is absolutely listening. He knows each of our desires and our needs. It takes a faithful person to trust Him, and I do. 
© something Big is coming...
Maira Gall