A Break ~ Family First

kansas city lymphoma woman in coral shirt with glasses in front of trees

I Took a Little Business Slow Down

Many of you already know about my aunt, but I just wanted to explain why I slowed things down business wise last year and my hiatus the last couple of months.

For the past 9 months or so, I slowed my business down (purposefully), just taking enough business to cover overhead some months. My Aunt Kathryn, who was 81, needed some help. Kate and my Uncle had never had any children of their own. Her doctor had told her she had arthritis in her leg and started her on physical therapy. Unfortunately, it turned out to be stage IV Lymphoma and had shattered her femur. What a shock, thinking you have arthritis and no wonder the physical therapy made things worse.

Her Journey

Kate needed a new femur, knee, chemotherapy, and radiation. Uncle Loring has a bit of Alzheimer’s and without Kate there, needed some assistance as well as he no longer drives. Help was clearly needed. While there are quite literally, a million cousins that I have who are very capable, not very many live nearby them. Proximity wise, I am closest and do not work 9-5, so I suspect that had a lot to do with her asking me to be her POA and helper. Certainly, my organizational skills or ability to stay calm in difficult situations were not a factor. 🙂 After starting this journey with her, it became clear that I would have to make some adjustments. Consequently, when things get very hectic, you cannot do everything and do it well. Sometimes you just need to take time and simplify. Take things day by day.

Many, many trips were made to get her treatment on a stretcher that my father softly padded with lawn chair pillows. He is so creative. 🙂 Mind you, she had a femur that was broken in half and in pieces. Chemo involved laying in a stretcher for 5-6 hours because it hurt too much to be moved. She was a stoic lady, not often complaining. Always managing to make those around her laugh during hard and uncomfortable times. Drivers of the stretcher van said she was their favorite client. Laughing while suspended in the air on a lift to get her into a wheelchair and joking about how she hated heights. True inspiration and class act.

After 6 months of exhausting treatment and major surgery, she decided to place herself in hospice. Her oncologist told me he was going to miss seeing her because she felt like a grandmother to him and like family after just a few months. Kate passed on January 22, 2016, as unexpectedly as someone on hospice can. She sounded and looked great a few days before that day. I truly feel blessed to have been a part of her journey and really get to know her, having learned innumerable life lessons. Being more clued in to making my contribution and having a deeper appreciation for this life and my loved ones is the gift she gave me. I no longer sweat the small stuff quite as much, as she would say. I feel like I know more about Medicare than Medicare knows about Medicare.

Special thanks to the KU Cancer Center, for their kind and exceptional care. I can’t say enough good things about her care there. Assisted Transportation is a wonderful company I would recommend to anyone with an injury or disability. They transported Kate via stretcher from John Knox to the KU Cancer Center in Overland Park.

Pay Attention to Your Aches and Pains

Lymphoma is an awful disease and is often very silent. Not one time during these last 9 months did Kate look ill to me. She was not even particularly tired when she was diagnosed. Pay attention to things in your body that don’t seem right: sudden night sweats, fatigue, and pains. Get second opinions for a diagnosis that doesn’t seem right to you. Speak up.

Miss you and love you, Auntie.

Back at It

Marketing, blogging, and SEO have been neglected this last year, those things that keep the momentum going in a small business. I will be happily shooting full time again in March. I appreciate the patience of my clients during this time period. An effort was made to accommodate past clients having a second baby and baby planners, but I know I did take longer at getting things back. Your patience was appreciated. Thank you to my talented newborn photographer friends in Kansas City for taking referrals and helping in a couple of emergency situations (you know who you are).  I want to thank my dad for being there for Kate, Loring, and for me. He took on a lot in the last year as well, taking good care of Loring and alternated daily radiation appointments with me. Always there without fail. Troubleshooter and soundboard. Thank you, Chris for being supportive of me taking care of things and me.

kansas city lymphoma | helping, coping and praying
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