Dear Friends & Family,
I came out of surgery feeling like I had been hit by a train. Literally. I had never experienced such intense pain in my life. It was January 1987, I had just turned 21; the surgery was performed to correct my “S” curved spine; a condition called Scoliosis. The 8 hour surgery included removing one of my ribs (which was used for bone grafting) to make room to insert a Harrington Rod down the length of my spine. I had looked forward to this surgery for quite awhile, hoping it would finally put an end to the back pain I had been experiencing since middle school. I knew if I could make it through the next few hours the pain would lessen each day and after wearing a body cast for six months, I should be pain free. Curt & I were engaged at the time and had our wedding date set for June 4th of the following year, I had to get through this, more than anything, I wanted to marry Curt!
Throughout my recovery my mom and Curt rarely left my side. I could sense the pain I was experiencing was hurting them more than me. I tried my best to keep a smile on my face and not complain too much. More than the physical pain was the emotional pain of seeing my friends come and go, busy with their lives, planning trips and being happy and hopeful. Feeling alone and “stuck” I cried when no one was around. I felt cheated. It’s probably how Curt feels now, alone and stuck. I know he cries in his head and heart, but rarely does he cry in front of us. He is trying his best to be brave and protect us from his pain.
It’s easy to be “up” when things are going great. The test is when you experience tough times, when things aren’t perfect, where do you stand? Curt has been such an example to our family and everyone that knows him; showing us how to live for the moment and take the bad along with the good. Even with a terminal illness he focuses on the positive and gives his best to everyone. His smile is as gorgeous as ever!
Curt’s health continues to deteriorate each day. He chokes often and eats mainly soft or pureed foods, his speech is barely intelligible, and he can no longer use his hand to drive his wheelchair. He has a lot of chest congestion and phlegm he can not cough up. He spends more time in bed than out and is uncomfortable most of the day. He is completely dependent on us and cannot be left alone for a minute. The emotional toll on our family is severe. We all get frustrated trying to discern his words. Sometimes no matter how hard we try we can not figure out what he is saying or what he needs. There is no worse feeling than not being able to understand or help the one you love. We are all defeated, tired and hopeless. We try to get Curt out of the house a bit, but it entails a lot of planning and we can't go too far or be gone too long. The kids have been busy with trips and friends but tend to stick close to home, preferring to have their friends here rather than being away from Curt.
I gaze out my kitchen window each day at our lemon tree, unable to pick them, as they remind me of our life right now. We have lemons and they are growing and multiplying each day. The tree is frail, heavy with lemons and sagging towards the ground. The tree looks sparse, weak and unable to carry the weight of the lemons. But day by day it hangs in there, waiting for someone to come and lighten the load and make lemonade.
Curt, Cindy, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin
|Our own "Magic Mike" group! |
These sweet guys didn't want Curt to have to put a shirt on for the photo so they took theirs off!
|Our last night with my parents before they left for Oregon for the summer.|
|Corbin went to Oregon with Grandpa & Grandma for 2 weeks.|
|Happy Birthday Mark!|
|Happy 4th of July at Barbara's!|
(Clarissa and Cayden in Palm Springs and Corbin was in Oregon)
|We are off to my BIG night (less Curt)|
Kenny Chesney (and Tim McGraw) Concert! Yee Haw!
The kids and I, and my date Lisa and 12 of their friends had a blast!
|Sunday Funday at Mark & Kelli's! Having fun playing dice!|