Friday, November 15, 2013

A Few Things About Camden and I

There is a game going around Facebook where someone gives you a number and you have to tell that many things about yourself that people may not know. I'm not usually a fan of these trending things on Facebook but I have been reading what my friends have been posting and have really enjoyed it. It is fun to get to know someone a little better than what is on the surface.

Someone gave me the number 6, so I thought I would post these items on my blog. I'm a pretty private person and I don't make it a habit of showing much emotion outside of my house, hence people thinking I was a lot stronger after Derek died than I really was. I felt starting this blog would hopefully give people insight into how things really are and I suppose it is necessary to provide a bit of insight into myself. Here you go:

1) I'm a planner. If you have ever been on vacation with me than you would have received a folder with an outlined itinerary and menus for every place we will be eating at. I also make 3 different to-do lists everyday.

2) My dream job is to be a dentist but I don't have the money or patience for dental school.

3) I have three best friends and I am related to all 3 of them: my mom, my sister, and my sister-in-law Caitlin. It is a great feeling when your best friends are also your family.

4) I've battled depression and anxiety since I was 13. It effects my health.

5) I didn't realize I wasn't white until I was in my teens. That's weird.

6) When Derek wanted to come home with hospice, they tried to convince me to take him to a hospice home. I fought for him to be able to die in his own house but it came at a great cost. I hate my house. But I'm not sure I could ever leave it.

I thought I would also include a few things about Camden that you may not know. If you didn't know, he is the sweetest and has a really mild temperment. He is my proof that God exists and knows what he is doing. Some other things about him:

1) Giving his mother a kiss is on his daily chore chart.

2) His favorite foods are grapes and carrots. He eats quite healthy since he has food allergies.

3) He refuses to call his cousins "cousins". He always refers to them as friends.

4) His name has been picked out since I was 15 and it fits him perfectly.

5) No matter what time he goes to bed, he doesn't like getting up before 10 am. It's a family trait.

6) He is the perfect blend of Derek and I. He is equal parts outgoing and reserved, funny and smart, and adventurous and a home body. It doesn't always make sense but he balances it quite well.

Thanks for reading some things about Camden and I. This adventure has sure prompted some self-discovery.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Derek's Name

A few months ago, I took Camden to the ER because of his persistent stomach flu. It was the middle of the night and I was growing worried that he would get dehydrated. When the insurance lady came into his room and was reviewing his information, she asked about Derek since his information was before mine in Camden's file. I told her he had passed away a couple months before. She didn't say anything and put a large, extravagant X through Derek's information and moved on. In an instant she didn't just cross out his name and number, she seemed to cross out his life in Camden's file and made it seem like it had no meaning any longer.

In these situations, I don't expect everyone who finds out that my husband has died to give me their sympathy. I just wish they would consider that the name "Derek Beach" has meaning. It means a fantastic father, a wonderful husband, and a good man. They don't get to see his beautiful smile when they hear his name like I do nor do they get to feel my grief when I have to say he has passed away. It seems to be the plight of the person facing loss--that the name of the one we love and have lost isn't as sacred to everyone else as it is to us.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Found Picture

I found a lost SD Card the other day with pictures that I had forgotten about. Most are pictures of Derek being goofy in the hospital during his transplant last year, but I found a couple of homecoming photos. After being in the hospital for a month, Derek couldn't wait to get home to his son.
Camden's face at seeing his dad after a long month apart is the same face I imagine we both will have when we get to see Derek after a long lifetime apart. It is painful to lose someone who you love so much but what a blessing it is to love and be loved in this life. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blood Cancer and the Affordable Care Act

Having cancer and having no insurance starts to get costly quickly. And by quickly I mean immediately. When Derek was first clued in that something was wrong medically, he had no insurance and we had to pay for a doctor's visit and a CT scan out of pocket. It wiped out all our savings and all the money we had saved for our honeymoon that was to happen two weeks later. He was diagnosed a few weeks later and in the pursuit of insurance, he was denied coverage because of his pre-existing condition. The new Affordable Care Act make it possible for people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance. To see how this effects those with blood cancers, check out this resource built by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This blog post isn't meant to spark any controversy about the new act but provide a resource to someone who is wondering how this effects them and their cancer.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

This Guy

For a hairy man, I don't think Derek got enough credit for the bald look he pulled off. Miss his bald head.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy Anniversary To Us

"You're awake" she said, "Drink this, you will need all the energy you can get today".

I thanked her and sipped my orange juice. She looked at me intensely and then crouched next to the uncomfortable chair I had just slept in and said:

"I see people come and go from this ICU a lot. I've watched you two. You are the reason people get married, in the hopes that someone will love them no matter what. It is obvious you love each other a lot. You are lucky to have that, you are lucky to have each other".

I don't claim that Derek and I had/have a perfect marriage. What I do claim is that love was always in abundance. Through awful bad news, financial troubles, infertility, depression, and cancer, we could always turn to one another for support, friendship, and love.

Unable to speak, Derek wrote me this note.
I think of this day five years ago as we promised to be together forever. Even though we didn’t know it was cancer, we knew something was wrong and time was of the essence. So instead of crying tears of joy on our wedding day, I felt relief that I had made him mine forever. 

When he came home with hospice that day, I pulled our couch next to his bed and we held hands all night. It seemed an appropriate and necessary gesture that would have to hold us over until we could be together again. It is comforting to know that the love he gave me in 5 years is enough to last me a lifetime. 

I miss my partner in all things, the father of my child, and my best friend in the world. So on this day, the day we planned to be walking the beaches of Maui celebrating him being cancer free and our anniversary, I will honor our love in the best way I know how: by hugging our child extra tight and being grateful that our family is forever.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Helping Another

I happened upon a story about a young man unable to receive treatments in his homeland of Russia after being diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. It made me realize what excellent care Derek was able to receive here in the United States and helped prolong his life and be able to form an unbreakable relationship with his son. This story resonated with me and with our anniversary coming up in a couple days, I donated to this young man's attempt at raising money for a bone marrow transplant that he will receive here in the United States. Please consider donating. This disease already has too many widows. You can read his story here.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Guest Post on Smitten By

Check out my guest post here over at Smitten By. The topic was about bravery and it really took some time to think over. I am grateful that I got to participate on such a great and inspiring blog and hope that I will get to have more opportunities like this in the future. Thanks for the love!