Journal entry by Molly Brooke

Love you so much Angie, Angelina, Gigi, Ang and Angela.  Our lives have changed forever and will never be the same!  May you rest in peace sissy!

PS... Pinch me so I can wake up!   Please!!

Journal entry by Molly Brooke

This was what was written on the white board in Angie's kitchen on Thanksgiving day.  Someone (and no one will confess but I am 99.9% sure it was Cameron😉) erased the 'thanks' word and replaced it with the word 'fart'.  Now some people may be put off by this, and justifiably so, but considering our families situation this year, it kind of seemed appropriate.  It was difficult to find things to be thankful for this year so why not just replace it with farts for now. 

Well, the Callahan's managed to celebrate Thanksgiving together at Angie and Todd's house this year.  It was a very somber one but Matt and Teresa (and Rosie) brought all of the fixings over in the morning and the feast was to die for.  Everything was delicious!  Thank you Matt and Teresa for everything!  We tried to be celebratory which was somewhat successful but given our situation, we of course, had moments that were difficult.  We are all dealing in our own ways.   The plus(or not so plus) side was that we had everyone there with the exception of Hannah (Matt's oldest) who is in Montana. 

Mom and dad came down on Wednesday and stayed at my house.  Dad seemed to do ok although he does get restless.  We opened our bedroom to them so dad wouldn't have to do steps.  I picked up rugs and such so as to try to eliminate possible falls.  Dad is very skinny as I said earlier but he seems to have the tenacity to do things that he always has done.  However, he is certainly weaker so then he gets frustrated.  He does not like to sit.  He wants to be busy doing something.  He will just push his walker around and in between rooms dor exercise.  It does seem that when he is sitting down, he will start to dose off so I believe that is part of the reason he keeps moving and is restless. And often he will start something but then is not able to follow through as his brain can't remember or figure out what to do.  He does not have much concept of time.  Mom will have to redirect him to go back to bed as it is 3:30 in the morning and it is too early to get up.  He has told mom recently that he is having problems seeing.  He does still have his sense of humor which is nothing new, however he also has a short temper and isn't as easy going as he usually is.  This is a challenge for mom (amd me) and very odd... And difficult for us to see. 

Mom is a Rockstar, a superstar, wonder woman through all of this!  I have always admired mom all of my life and just when I thought she couldn't do anymore to impress me, she has shown me the compassion that makes me realize why she was such a good nurse all these years.  Granted, she is not a nurse in this situation but she really knows how to handle dad with his personality changing.  She still will find humor in the situation rather than get frustrated and upset like most people would.  I know this is so difficult for her.  I know that she makes it look easier than it really is.  I know that she wishes it wasn't this way.  I know she does cry at times when I don't see.  But... To have Angie's situation thrown on top of all of this... She amazes me!   She manages to still maintain her cheerleader role for each and every one of the grandkids, managing to carry on conversations with each one and trying to see the positive in each situation. 

Thursday wasn't easy for any of us.  But we did get through it.  Angie slept most of the day and barely ate.  Dad actually ate pretty good and had some of Teresa's famous and favorite cherry pie.  At one point dad and Angie were sitting on the couch together and I can only imagine the stories they shared.  And at the end mom had to decide to go home with dad knowing that Angie is in dire straits also.  But right now, dad depends on mom and needs her with him.  Of course mom had to tell Angie that and of course Angie totally understood... But I can only imagine how difficult that conversation was.  We have no idea what our future will be right now, but we all have our roles yet and have to fulfill those at the same time.

I did make a point to compliment each person as often as I could.  I managed to hug a little tighter and kiss a little longer this time. I specifically made sure to tell everyone I love them... Because it is true and I want them to know it.  I hope everyone did the same.  

It may have been a fartsgiving for us, but I was still trying to be as thankful as I could.  If you can be anything, be kind!  

Journal entry by Molly Brooke

Well, I am sorry I haven't updated lately but I find it harder to write when I haven't seen dad..  And I haven't seen him for over 2 weeks so I will do my best to be better at that.  Of course I missed the anniversary and birthday celebration during this time.  It sounds like they had a good day for their special days.  We sent flowers for their anniversary and they actually got most of the day to themselves for a the first time in awhile.  On dad's birthday (yesterday) some good friends stopped over with a nice dinner and some cake so they did get to celebrate... Dad wore the crown, drank the beer and ate some cake!  👑🎂🍻  Thank you so much for the awesome cards and well wishes on Facebook.  Much much appreciated by all of us!  ❤️

We initially planned to have Thanksgiving at the cabin, however, we changed the plans to have it in the cities.  Matt offered to host but we are playing it by ear and seeing how dad and Angie are feeling on turkey day.  We found it a challenge in trying to accommodate sleeping arrangements for everyone at the cabin.  In the summer it works fine for all of us to be there as we aren't cooped up in small quarters and have freedom to get outside if necessary.  In the cold, however, it isn't as convenient...especially since Matt and Teresa usually sleep in the porch outside.  😉

So mom and dad arrived this afternoon and it was so good to see them again.  Dad really looks pretty much the same, maybe a little skinnier but that isn't a surprise.  His appetite is a day by day issue in that he has good and bad days.  Of course that is to be expected.  Mom says he will ask for something specific to eat, which she will get for him, and then he doesn't even touch it.  Then other times he will eat the whole plate and then some.  He still feels the need to walk around and get some exercise most times which is good.  However, he is more sleepy while visiting or watching tv (due to his medicines, I am sure) and becomes easily frustrated or restless when he is awake.  He really wants to do all of the things he used to do.   Then he will start to try but is unable to (just because he can't follow through as his brain isn't working straight or he is too weak), so he will get frustrated.  He really, honestly, itches to get outside and play.  Mom will let him go out but then he discovers it is too cold to be outside.  Dad also is still always concerned for mom and her comfort.  He literally walked across the room and draped a blanket across her back as he thought she looked cold.  Another tribute to the kind man he is and his generous spirit! 

Mom does say she still gets alot of laughs out of dad every day.  We were just sitting here reading the paper and watching the news...and dad all of a sudden wakes up and makes(kind of yells) a funny comment regarding the beard of a man on tv.  (sidenote: dad has always made comments on people's hair... Most especially men, and this particular person was participating in Movember... At least I hope he is... And his beard was a little awkward).  Mom and I looked at each other and just busted out laughing.  It was pretty funny! 

We, the Callahan's, unfortunately, have been dealt another blow, and the timing of it all is even more devastating.  Most of you know, Angie has been battling cancer as well for over a year now.  Last night she was admitted to United hospital through the ER as her liver function is elevated.  After many consultations with doctors today, Angie was released from the hospital and will be fighting her battle back at home again(and thankfully is home for Thanksgiving).   So we are asking for for all of your prayers and positive thoughts over the next few months.  We are struggling...and will be struggling for awhile now.  It just really seems like a dream, just so very surreal.  I just can't even let my mind go there... But yet I have to because it is a reality for us, unfortunately, as hard as it is.  

Anyway, please be extra thankful this year and truly appreciate your family and friends.  Give that hug a little tighter, kiss a little longer, compliment a little kinder.  You never know what your next year will look like... as I know we never ever dreamed this would be our reality.  Two of our very dear loved ones are suffering from the same disease at the same time.  The ironic thing is, each of them are more concerned about the other than themselves.  No surprise to me... A true tribute to the kind, gentle human beings they both are.

And as always... Be kind!  Have a happy Thanksgiving and know that we are certainly going to try to make ours happy as well.

Journal entry by Molly Brooke

During the very first visit with the hospice nurse a little over a month ago, Joann (the nurse) had asked dad if there was anything he wanted to do while he was still able, and the one thing he mentioned was that he wanted to get his pickup ready to give to his grandson... And then he started crying.  After putting on new tires, getting some body work, oil change, new side mirror, and seat covers, it is so heartwarming that he was able to pass on his truck to Vincent (Mitch's oldest) this Saturday.  I was not able to be there but I believe it was a pleasant surprise for Vince(mom says Vince was pretty much speechless and not sure what to say)... And very well deserved.  Vince is such a good kid!  Not to mention he is good looking, but he has been through a lot in his short life.  Having to help Mitch out when he became unable to do normal things (from MS) a dad would do at such a young age.  He was forced to become a man before his time.  He helped his sisters navigate their way through the divorce while processing it all himself as well.  He is studying to follow in his dad's (and grandma's 😉) footsteps by going to school to become a nurse himself. If anyone deserves this honor of getting the pickup, it is Vince!  I am so happy for him!  Please see picture!  (sidenote... This is not to say that any of the other grandkids don't deserve the truck... As there are many choices, and they are all deserving of the pickup, but the timing was just fitting for vince!)   Rock on Vince!!

Another tidbit about the pickup, it is really surreal now that it no longer belongs to dad.  Ever since I can remember, dad always had a little pickup.  He never got the big ford or ram pickups... Always the little ones.  I learned to drive a manual transmission (stick shift for you younger folks 😉) on a little red chevy luv pickup.  Ah... Such good memories and good times in those pickups.  He almost always picked a red one... Until they were no longer an option.  Now it is black... But still a little one.  Another sentimental issue regarding the pickup is... That from Cameron down to Charlie (10 of dads 11 grandkids), dad has taken each one of them out in the country by the cabin once they turned 12 and let them drive.  Still don't know where he takes them but they come back with stories about roller-coaster road and seeing wildlife and such.  Often times it ended with a slushie from the G2 gas station in town.  What wonderful memories for the grandkids.  All I ask of Vince is to take my Brady out on those ventures when he turns 12.  He missed the cut by one year.  😢  

This week is very sentimental for me as well because it is the first weekend I didn't get up to the cabin since his diagnosis.  I feel like I missed out and I missed seeing him and mom.  As hard as it is, life goes on.  I went to my boys' basketball tournament.  I can't be in two places at once.  I was torn.  But I know dad is in good hands.  He was kept busy with Matt, Teresa, Vince, Angie, Todd, Morgan, Cameron, Kendall... And three dogs too!  The Sexe's only stayed one night as they are on their own cancer journey and traveling is hard on Angie.  It also snowed this weekend and .. It is so pretty, and very peaceful up there when it snows... Matt kept busy shoveling and his high school friend came to visit as she was in the area.  Mom's cousins from Nebraska and the cities came to visit today as well.  Just another sign of how much of an impact mom and dad have had on people... Even from way back when! 

Another reason the week was especially sentimental is that for the first time, I had to take my boys to get their haircuts from someone other than dad.  So gut wrenching for me!  Such a struggle... Where to go? I didn't realize how much they cost either so that was a shock in itself!   The boys wondered "do I have to talk to them?"  "what do I say?" etc.  New changes that I am experiencing at my 50 years of age!  

Anyway, enough about me!  I talk to mom(and dad at times) every day.  Mom says she thinks he is getting weaker, becomes more easily confused, and sleeping more, which I am sure is part of the journey, but also because we have to keep increasing his pain medicine.  Increasing his pain medication makes him sleep longer at night, which is a good thing for both him and mom.  Dad says his brain isn't working right anymore and he seems more argumentative with mom at times.  (even when I am on the phone they seem to bicker...which is very out of character for them.. .even after 60 years together)!!  I know, and mom knows, it isn't true dad.  It is the cancer ... And the medicine.  Nevertheless, it doesn't make it any easier...especially on mom.  She said today she took a nap as she really needed one.  Am surprised she doesn't take one everyday as she doesn't often get the full night's sleep as she is up with dad also.  Hopefully this isn't taking too much of a toll on mom.  If it does, we will have to rethink our plans and step in more to give mom some relief.  I know mom struggles with not being able to come down to be with Angie more during her cancer journey ... Just the same way Angie feels about going up there to be with dad.  We all are struggling!  Some more so than others, obviously.  And in different ways as well.  But... All we can do is keep trying to do what we can, when we can!  That's what family is for!  Fortunately we have a tight one, which ironically is due to mom and dad doing something right all these years!  😊

Rosie continues to be of a huge help to mom and dad.  She is making all sorts of good food to keep their strength up.  And dad does still have an appetite so that is a plus.  I truly believe that if Rosie wasn't there, mom would not be eating as well as she should.  Mom would just make sure there is stuff for dad and not worry about herself eating.  And we all know that she does not have alot of reserves to go for long without eating.  Not only does Rosie help with the cooking, she helps with the errands and cleans for mom too.  What a godsend for us...  I know it helps me sleep a little better knowing she is there.  Thank you Rosie!!  ❤️

Please enjoy some pictures I have attached.  Kind of random ones along with recent ones as well.  As always... Be kind!

Journal entry by Molly Brooke

This was the grace dad led us before we ate our Friday night dinner.  "That's all I have to say," he said.  And truly, what more can he say?   He didn't say anything else, and we all started to eat.  He truly meant that... as well as we all did.  

I arrived Friday afternoon to Matt and Teresa as well as mom and dad and Rosie already at the cabin.  Morgan(Angie's), her hubby Alex, and Vince and Ellie (both Mitch's) arrived around supper time.  It was actually a pretty drive even though the leaves had pretty much already fallen from the trees.  Dad had just woken up but he greeted me right away.   Dad looked good and said he felt good... But things are a little foggy at times he says.  He is not as quick and witty as he has been and has become a bit confused and somewhat forgetful.  I am guessing this is from the medicines and we still keep tweaking to find the right balance between his being pain free as well as keeping his personality intact.  When he was first daignosed the palliative care doctor had told us that there will come a time when this may become the issue.  A choice between keeping dad pain free and comfortable versus him being lucid and alert.  Hopefully this won't happen for awhile yet (and we aren't there now) but I have noticed a change since my last visit.  Mom says his appetite is good and he is managing to keep his food down as well.  He wakes up immediately asking for an egg and toast so that is always a good sign.  He ate a good meal Friday night and he drank quite a bit of his Guinness beer(not a girly beer😉) that he always has every night.  He is so concerned about wasting the beer that he has been trying to come up with a way that the leftover beer can be preserved for the next day.  When we are there, it isn't a problem as one of us will finish off the beer, however, it's the other days that he thinks maybe he should put the extra beer in another bottle with a twistoff...or something like that.  Of course we are all not worried about the extra beer going to waste like dad is.  That is the least of our concerns! 

Before supper Friday night dad wanted to go for a walk.  I accompanied him all the way to the bridge which is a good distance and the fresh air felt good.  For some reason dad feels he is in a race at times and I worry the walker will get away from him... Or is he trying to keep up with the walker, I am not sure???  Anyways, I found that when we are walking downhill, I will walk in front of him so that he doesn't get going too fast.  He doesn't always realize how fast he can get going, and we do not need him to fall!  I know he will make the rounds in the cabin when he can as well so he keeps his strength up.  He figures if he is moving and eating, he is doing all right.  How true is that??  Such basic things we all take for granted.  He told mom earlier this week that he thinks he has gained weight... Like 2 or 3 ounces.  😊🤔  (ounces, not pounds!).  We will never know as he doesn't weigh himself now.  He is wearing pants in boys sizes now... Ones that my Charlie has outgrown... And they still are hanging off him.  

He is becoming a little restless and has a hard time laying down when he should.  But I think part of the problem is that he doesn't want to miss out on anything when we are here.  Of course Matt and Vince were busy preparing more firewood and making it more easily accessible for mom, and this meant that dad could not rest  and had to go outside to oversee the operation. 

Earlier this week, Rosie sent me a snapchat...Showing dad trying to chop a piece of wood with an axe... Yes.. An axe!  I only saw one chop but Rosie said he chopped it once and then went inside to rest.  She also sent me a snapchat showing dad walking into the hardware store... Without his walker!  Rosie also informed me that at some point this week, her and dad had loaded the chainsaw in the pickup and went to the bridge to cut some wood and get more kindling.  I honestly do not even want to know how that went down.  All I know is that they both are ok now.  😉  He is a man on a mission...and he goes about the mission quietly.  He just gets his coat on and you follow him wherever he goes.  And then you just find yourself doing what he says to do.  And they always seem to happen when mom is not around... if you catch my drift 😉.  He is a little stinker once mom disappears!    I tell Rosie he does the same thing to me!  Where there's a will, there is a way!  ❤️

The electrician came on Saturday as dad wants some more heating units installed so that mom doesn't have to make a fire every day, and go into the pump house to make sure it is heated.  Good thing Matt was there and knew what he was talking about.  Matt has been truly amazing through all of this.  As I showed you earlier in a is one of Matt's BFFs.  Matt has always called every morning... just to check in... for years.  This has to be so difficult for him, yet he always seems to pull through and do what needs to be done.  All so that dad can go peacefully knowing mom is well taken care of when the time comes.  I know we are all worried about mom too... But we need to do what we can so she can do as they both wish and try to stay in her home.  I am sure we will hit some hurdles that are unforeseen, but we will adjust when the time comes.  Anything for dad!  We have to!  It is the least we can do for all that dad has done for us in all our lives! 

We did manage to get mom out for a visit to schoolhouse wines (a cute little restaurant in the small town of Stone Lake) with just us girls on Saturday.  The men were in charge of dad and they mostly watched football.  It was nice to get mom away for a bit and we got some retail therapy accomplished as well.  Mom is going to get a new rug that she has had her eye on for awhile.  Can't wait to see it next time!

Of course looking at the calendar we have a little more than 2 weeks and it is Thanksgiving.  How crazy is that??  As we all know,  we are taking it day by day.  But we are making plans to have the first Thanksgiving at the cabin this year.  I can't wait and hope it all works out in the end.  It would be a nice tribute for dad to have his last Thanksgiving on earth at the cabin, AKA heaven on earth, with most of the family.  It should be a nice celebration, albeit a difficult and sentimental one as well.

I have enclosed a couple of pictures from the weekend.  One from Friday night dinner and one from schoolhouse wines.  Hope this finds everyone happy and healthy and as always... Be kind!

Journal entry by Molly Brooke

Dad's still got it... Cutting Matt's hair on Sunday!  ❤️(see pic) 

Also enclosed a photo of a bookmark Brady brought home from school... Seems appropriate and explains one of the many many reasons dad (and mom) love the lake.  (not that there needs to be an explanation or anything!) 

Enjoy your day and be kind! 

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Journal entry by Molly Brooke

Matt, Todd, Terry and Conrad donned their lumberjack gear on Saturday and tackled some of the woodworking for firewood.  Conrad was splitting the logs and stacking them by the cabin while the others were cutting a tree into pieces.  Dad, of course, was overseeing the work and could not rest while this was all going on.  He would come in to warm up and then head back out there.  I, being the smart one😉, stayed put with Angie and Rose in the warm toasty cabin and kept mom company.  The men did finish the job in time to watch the end of the awesome Iowa State win and then the poor squawkeyes (Iowa Hawkeyes) loss.  (Sorry Todd!) 

I am attaching a throwback pic of dad from the way good olden days!  It is a newspaper clipping that dad has kept (where... we are not sure) of his high school wrestling!  It is just too cute not to post.  I believe this is when dad was a freshman in high school.  He was an all-state  wrestler all 4 years in high school at the 95 pound weight class.  Of course he didn't even weigh that much at the time but that is what he qualified for and where they placed him. Dad was telling me that the kid he beat was in the hallway after the match crying.  Dad went up to him and talked to him. I found it so admirable that dad even stopped to talk to the kid at all, let alone gave him some advice.  We have always known that dad had the nickname of "small Paul" but the heading here calls him "little Paul".  How cute is that??

It was so good to be up there with Matt and Angie together.  Maybe next time Mitch can make it.  We are all just soaking up all of the time with dad(and mom) that we can.  We had a fabulous dinner of salmon from Alaska, courtesy of Matt, with the works.  I am sure we wore dad out a bit but he certainly wasn't going to miss any of it either.  

Dad has been doing pretty good, all things considered.  He is steady for now and that is good in my book.  Mom says his appetite has improved but we still are working on managing his pain, mostly at night.  And he doesn't always keep everything down that he eats but he still keeps on trying so we are good with that.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why he doesn't always keep his food down but the awesome hospice nurse is always willing to try something else to see if that may help.  And of course, she is still tweaking his medicine for pain.  

Rosie (aka... Rose, rosebud or bud... And Matt's youngest) is going to stay with mom and dad most of this week, hopefully longer. It is such a relief knowing that there is someone else there to help, if needed.  It just gives me such peace having her there and I know she is of huge help, for mom especially.  She is a master in the kitchen so she will keep mom on her toes and keep them all fed.  Mom has some chores in mind for Rosie to help with around the place.  But the most awesome amazing thing that Rosie does... She thinks of things to ask dad... About his past or something....and then... she actually writes them down!!!  (I may ask the same things, however, I put too much faith in my memory and that hasn't worked out lately) 😊  Yes, I may ask the same questions but ... I forget it the next day and I failed to write it down.  She has written down dad's family names (12 siblings) and writes the order of them all (dad is fourth oldest).   She is writing down the names of his barber places that he worked at...Names of dad's parents.   Little things that I hope she continues to do throughout her stay.  To have them written down is crucial and now is the time!  

Once again, they keep getting cards in the mail and they are always a ray of sunshine for them both each day.  We all enjoy them!  Thank you thank you thank you!!  ❤️  And of course their door keeps opening each day, each week, with friends and family.  Mom and dad are definitely staying on their toes and they thoroughly enjoy and appreciate all of the sentiments... In whatever way that may be.  Whether it's a card, a visit, a meal, a text, an email or a prayer.  Your kindness is shining on our lives and we will remember this forever!  If you can be anything... Be kind!

Journal entry by Molly Brooke

Today was a tough day for me!  While I had a fabulous visit with mom and dad... And as I said earlier,  dad is back to himself personality wise which is so good for my soul.. . It was so hard to say good bye to him.  And I know I am so lucky to have the opportunity to have this time with him... Knowing it is limited.  I know it isn't my last time with him, but I also don't know how many more *good* byes I have left with him.  Dad always has this tradition of walking us up to our car and watching us drive away as we honk good bye.  He pretends he is an air traffic controller using his hands to guide us as we back out of the driveway.  Well, he isn't able to do that now.  I did look back and he did manage to make it outside and was waving one arm in the air with the other arm on his walker while standing by the door.  I guess that is the new tradition for now.   Kind of surreal as a month ago he was outside chopping wood and getting the place ready for winter. 

We had a great visit with both mom and dad this weekend.   Dad ate some 'husbands delight' hotdish (its a MN thing😉) yesterday and managed to keep it down.  He has a little beer each day with us and managed to supervise the wood choppng under a sleeping bag from his outside recliner.  Mom took a little respite and retail therapy in town while dad took advantage of me again and had to check things out in the garage.  He is doing well,  but he is getting worn out quicker too.  He did manage to sleep until almost 6:00 this morning (as opposed to 3:30am lately) but I believe part of that is because he over exerted himself from our visit.  I know he doesn't want to miss out on anything but I also want him to get good rest if it means it will keep him around longer.  It is such a conundrum.  I know this is selfish of me but I will always be his baby girl and want him around.  (who doesn't, right?)  And yet I also am so fortunate to have this extra time with him. 

Dad has a routine when he wakes up.  He sits on the heater for a few minutes and warms up.  He may ask for something to eat, or more medicine, and then he is up and pushing his walker around the cabin.  'just making the rounds' he says.  (if you have been to their place, it is not a large 'round' to make but... It is cute that he is determined and some exercise is definitely better than nothing!) 

Mom told me this weekend that she was looking back and realized that it was only 3 weeks ago that dad was diagnosed with this horrible disease.  It actually feels so much longer.  While we have made a lot of strides in this short time in getting him comfortable ... It sometimes feels as if this is how it has been for months.  Funny how quickly we adapted and adjusted (if that is the right word) to this situation.  But then again, we don't have a choice either. 

I perused through the many many cards they have received.  It is so touching and very heart warming.  I know I've said it before but I will say it again... Thank you!!  Each and every card is truly treasured!!  The memories bring a smile(sometimes tears) to our faces and oftentimes will bring a discussion to explain the memory to the grandchildren.  Also many thanks to those who stop over for a short visit.  Lots of friends amd family rallying for mom as well as to visit dad.  A true testament to a life well lived and well loved.  Thank you to those who supply a yummy dish, whether it be an entree or a dessert.  With our large family, they are definitely devoured and much appreciated as it takes a little pressure off mom and she can focus on taking care of dad.  

I am glad my boys got to see dad back to 'normal'.   They both said that it was nice to see him acting like he normally does and not be in such pain.  It is a relief to hear them say that as I definitely do not want the last memory of grandpa to be of him in such great pain.  And of course I hope this continues for awhile.  

My mom shared with me another persons caring bridge journal entry.  This a son of a good friend of hers who is also on a journey with cancer.  He had just celebrated his  "cancerversary", (or was it canciversary??) That means it has been one year since his diagnosis. He is still fighting camcer and so far is on the upside of it.  It was a very well written journal and very insightful.  What an incredible writer he is.  He expressed how he was unsure how to feel about this, or what type of emoji should he use in regards to his cancerversary..While I know that dad will more than likely not have a cancerversary, and I am fine with that, I find it incredibly sad that we have even coined this word into our vocabulary.   Cancerversary ... An anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer.  Ugh!!  Hopefully by the time my boys are grownup, we will have found a cure for all cancer and will no longer have 'cancerversary' in our vocabulary. 

I have, of course, enclosed a few pictures from the weekend.  April (Mitch's middle child) drew a picture of Mr. Greentree from his storytelling days. (what an artist we have in the family!)  The other pictures are just random ones from our weekend.  Hope you are having a good weekend and are giving and getting lots of hugs!  Life is so short so to make it sweet... Always be kind!  😊  (I finally figured out how to place a caption under the pictures so will do my best to explain the pictures going forward!)  😉

Journal entry by Molly Brooke

We arrived in good time this afternoon after a very beautiful drive!  Mom greeted us while dad was laying down but it didn't take long for dad to pop out of the bedroom to greet us also.  It is so nice to see the change in dad personality wise... His spirit is bright, his jokes are quick, and his energy is strong.  He is still weak as he uses his walker yet (thank goodness) and I can tell he has lost more weight, but he is the same dad I have always known.  He feels somewhat skeletal when we hug but I don't care... He is back to dad.  Sooo good for my soul!  (when I was here last... He had just gotten out of the hospital and was in quite a bit of pain that we were still trying to manage... so thanks to hospice and our fabulous nurse Joann, this is an immense improvement to me!)

After I had left last time, mom and dad asked me to have Terry check out leaf blowers for mom.  Dad wanted a lightweight rechargeable battery operated one with power that mom could easily lift and use.  So Terry researched them a bit and we picked one up at Menards on our way here today.  Brady (my youngest) goes onto the deck, and picks up this nice new leaf blower... Just as Terry is walking in the other door with our new purchase from Menards.  Ha!!  Dad just could not wait and ordered one online.   😊  So... Tomorrow will be testing day of our two new leaf blowers to see which one mom can handle best.  Dad is trying to prepare mom for all of the things he can think of that she may not know.  Very surreal to think about... but also thankful to have this time to educate and expose her (us)  to all of the "piddling" he does around here.  

Dad had a half a beer tonight (and not a girly one either) and ate some homemade spaghetti that I bought.  Surprisingly he ate it all as well as a piece of garlic bread.  However, before he went to bed he was not able to keep supper down so that is unfortunate   Maybe he just ate too much in one sitting.  ???  Of course I am not supposed to know this as he told mom not to tell me. Mom says he has been having a little beer each night and then whatever he can eat which is sometimes a good amount and sometimes one or two bites.   He seems to be able to handle breakfast the best so we may just have to stick with that and not worry too much about anything else.  We are looking to increase his pain medicine a little more and decrease some other medicines in hopes that his nausea will get better... Keep plugging away!  

My oh my... Are they ever busy with visitors!  Besides the next door neighbor daily visit from awesome Dick, someone or a couple of visitors come and visit each day.  Some visitors are family, some are friends from Hayward, some are from Iowa and then others from good times in some way or another.   Nonetheless dad enjoys seeing everyone and is very touched by the visits. The problem is making sure he doesn't over exert himself because as we all know, dad would put himself last before anyone else.  And it isn't that he overdoes it on purpose .. I think he truly wants to be there and doesn't always realize that he needs to take a break and rest. 

And the cards...oh my, the cards!!  The basket is full and more just keep on coming every day.   Dad(and mom) reads each and every one and treasures them deeply.  Lots of love, memories and sometimes pictures come from a single card and we all feel it.  So thank you to everyone!!  They are treasured and will forever be a part of our lives!  We will not forget your kindness and sincere thoughts!

My cousin Jason messaged me earlier this week after he and his parents visited dad.  Jason reminded me of some times he had with dad.  They were on the farm(mom's parents farm) of course, and dad would give all of the kids rides in the back of the pickup around the farm.  Jason also mentioned that dad would have the kids get in their pajamas and he would sit in the hall and tell bedtime stories off the top of his head for all to hear.  I am sure many of the stories were about Mr. Greentree and which path he was going to take that night through the woods (can't take the black path until you are 12 years old.) I only wish I could have the same creativity in reciting stories off the top of my head like dad.  I will read any book before bed to kids, but ask me to tell a story... Ummmmm... Not my jam. 

Another memory a childhood friend of mine mentioned to me was from Fort Dodge.  She remembers in church how sweet she thought it was when mom and dad would give each other a kiss rather than shake hands when it was time to do the peace be with you.  (now I, on the other hand being their teenage daughter, found that to be soooo incredibly embarrassing).  But what would I give to have that time back and appreciate the example they were setting for the moment.

I took a picture from earlier today as I turned around and there was dad sitting with both legs up and chilling.  It struck me as how much he has improved since my last visit.  It isn't the best picture as the sun is shining behind him but... You get the gist.  And doesn't the lake look so peaceful out the window behind dad??  Anyway, lots of hugs and always be kind!

Journal entry by Molly Brooke

Well... what a journey us Callahan's have been on for the last year.  While still figuring out Angie's journey for her endometrial cancer(diagnosed a year ago this week), we were dealt another blow to the heart!  Let's just do a little recap of dad's summer.  
Dad has been complaining of stomach and back pain intermittently for the past 2 or 3 months.  Mom had taken him to the local doctor and they ordered xrays and an endoscopy of his esophageal area.  Biopsy came back negative.  It is just arthritis in his back and acid reflux in his stomach.  Mom asked if this all could be from stress(thinking of Angie and her journey) to which the doctor replied "certainly".  So they came home and went about their usual daily routine (dad was even cutting wood one day).  Dad was prescribed his first continuous prescription of Lipitor in 84 years (we think the doctor felt that he didn't want dad to feel left out and not have any prescription medicines at 84 years old).  😂

In the meantime, a scheduled annual trip to Angie's to make apple pies was happening on Saturday of last week but when dad had another bad night, mom woke up on Thursday and said... We are going to have you looked at in the cities.

They drove down to Woodbury (saw Angie briefly ) and went to the urgency room.  Had a wonderful doctor there who did an xray.  Came back into the room and said we need to do a scan as we see spots on your liver.  Did the scan and came back into the room with the news of pancreatic cancer that has spread to his liver and abdomen.  Of course mom was just flabbergasted.  Just unbelievable !!!  Mom put her arms in the air and said, "you are kidding me"!!  The doctor said let's get you to the hospital and have a biopsy as well as get set up with palliative care.   Chemotherapy was not recommended and dad did not want to do that. 

So off to the hospital we went.  

At 84 years old, dad had his first overnight stay in the hospital (he wasn't even born in a hospital ).  A biopsy was done on his liver on Friday morning and he was discharged that afternoon to Molly's house in Cottage Grove until Sunday (have to get the pies made!!)  Palliative care was set up and has been wonderful in helping get dad back home. 

As previously planned, a visit to help with pies and to see Angie, Hannah (Matt's oldest) flew in from Montana and Mariah (Angie's youngest) flew in from Pennsylvania on Friday.  With the help of several grandchildren, and the abundance of Todd's apple tree, 19 large apple pies were made and frozen for our enjoyment over the winter.  A little applesauce and apple crisp was made as well. 

Mom and dad made it home on Sunday afternoon.  Neighbor Dick was there to help get dad settled in and unload the car. 

Dad has been in pain and has had lots of nausea as well since Friday.  Hospice was here Monday afternoon and we are making some changes to his medication in the hopes that he will get some relief and can get some food in him.  Last night he was able to eat a couple of crackers and drink some ginger ale so we were pleased with that.  He is still able to walk but he is weak on his feet.  Wakes up for a short time and then back to bed.  He has lost lots of weight over the summer so we need to get some strength back into him. 

We have made arrangements so that one of us kids are always here for mom and dad for the next two weeks at least.  We hope to get him comfortable and able to enjoy some more days soon.  Until then, we can only take each day at a time.   Mom is a strong woman and has a huge support system throughout all of this. She is amazing!  Have to remember to treat her as a wife and not a nurse through all of this!

Always be kind and hug your loved ones often!
Paul’s Story

Site created on October 2, 2018

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