As a child, I didn’t mind riding on roller coasters. But the older I got, the less I liked them. And I like them even less when your life is on that roller coaster. But sometimes a person doesn’t have a choice. As farmers we manage to juggle pigs, life and family.
For a little background information, I am smack dab in the middle of the sandwich generation. Both my parents are living, my husband’s mother is living and I have 3 children and 4 grandchildren, whom all live fairly close. Both of my parents are dealing with a plethora of health issues and this past week, it was my mom who took center stage. She started to feel a shortness of breath, which eventually led her to being transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN. She was sent to Mayo in Rochester because fluid in her lung could not be drained at our local hospital. Through it all, our family had no less than three doctors tell us they thought it could very well be cancer of the lung. My mom has suffered through previous bouts of cancer and, as a result, is very frail. We knew what a cancer diagnosis would mean. It caught us all off guard and on top of it all, this dire prediction came on my birthday.
Meanwhile, back on the farm, I had probably my single, most busiest week with meetings and events planned. I was truly looking forward to this week, but everything changed in a moment. How was I going to be there for my mom and family AND make all my calendar events? Well, it wasn’t going to happen. Something had to give. As guilty as I felt, I had to start canceling events.
Out of all the planned events for the week, only one came to fruition. We had a video shoot on our farm scheduled for Wednesday. Needing most of Tuesday to prepare for the video shoot, I canceled my first event, a consumer outreach event through Minnesota Pork Board called an Oink Outing. Check out the link to find out more.
Wednesday was day for the video shoot and it was really a lot of fun! Three of my grandkids were here to help newly weaned pigs learn where their waterers were and to help feed them. The videos will eventually help consumers learn more about modern hog farming. Because of the seriousness of biosecurity in hogs, we can’t let just anyone in our barns so videos are helpful in showing consumer’s where their food comes from. Healthy pigs take precedence.
It is finally on the day of the video shoot that I receive the news the fluid that was taken from my mom’s lung showed NO cancer cells. Did you hear that? NO CANCER CELLS! I was elated! (Yes, up the roller coaster hill.) Shortly after that call, I received a call from St. Mary’s Hospital to talk about discharge information. Yes, we were making plans for her to come home! (Yes, the roller coast is still going up.) It wasn’t two hours later and I received another call from one of her doctors telling me that she needed surgery the following day. (Down the hill.) Really? One call about discharge information and now she needs surgery? (Hang on to the roller coaster.) Because she was having some fever spikes and her lung wasn’t completely cleared, they were still concerned about cancer. I and my family drove to Rochester to be with her while she had surgery on Thursday and I canceled a meeting I had scheduled for that day. Once we arrived we were told that surgery wasn’t going to happen Thursday, but rather, it would be Friday. (Down the hill)
My Friday’s event, an AgStar Ag Women Bloggers event, was taken off my schedule. Back to the hospital on Friday and thankfully she did have surgery. The surgeon talked to my brother and me and told us they took multiple biopsies and we would know the results in 5-7 days. He did tell us his “gut” feeling was the lung just had some leftovers of an old infection. He saw nothing else – no mass, no tumors, no nodules. (Up the hill.) As of today, we still do not know the results of the biopsies, but I am going to be cautiously optimistic and go with the surgeon’s “gut.” But I know this roller coaster ride can take another dip so I continue to hang on tight.
In retrospect, I felt sooooo bad about not keeping my obligations. Commitment is so important to me and I feel like I just let everyone down. But at the same time, there was no question what I needed to do. And I wouldn’t have done it any differently. And there is a reason for all of this. For my family, we have another day with our mom.
All that I ask is please no more roller coaster rides. . .