Monday, February 28, 2011

Life on Hold (or at least slowed down)

This has been a year of crazy events, and my blogging has suffered for it.  The year began with my daughter's father being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  I have known this man since he was 19 years old, and he rarely even has a cold.  How could this happen? 
He went to the doctor with a painful leg, was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis and immediately hospitalized..
In the course of treating this, the leukemia was discovered.  Had he not had this symtom, it would have probably been discovered too late for effective treatment.  Who knew that a potentially fatal bloodclot could save your life!
No one is prepared to hear news like this, and it instantly changed the world for him.  He is very fortunate to have a loyal group of friend who stepped up to drive him to USC and City of Hope for his way too frequent appointments and chemotherapy sessions, and to care for him during the sick times that followed.

Shortly after his diagnosis, I had a scary heart event and was taken to the emergency room.  I was diagnosed with SVT, which is something I was born with and often shows up later in life.  I was told that it would never kill me, and given a medication which would keep my heart from racing out of control.  Unfortunately, it sapped me of my usual high energy level.  I was already thinking that I would soon need hip replacement surgery, so I put the thought of having a heart proceedure on hold.

My poor daughter was terrified of what was happening to her parents.

Amanda and I went in February to visit her father in California.  He lives in a beautiful old neighborhood next to La Verne's Heritage Park.

Guy walks here most everyday, working to keep his body strong while the chemotherapy ravages it.

The trail through the park runs along a ravine that leads into Oak Mesa Park,

 past a field with views of Mount San Antonio, better know as Mount Baldy.

It is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, and the highest point in Los Angeles County.
It formed the backdrop for my childhood, but even that long ago was often obscured by smoggy skies.
On clear days in the wintertime, it is a joy to view as it's cap of snow peeks over the palm trees.

Guy's house overlooks a working orange farm,  operated as it would have been in 1915.

On Saturdays, in the winter months, families can visit the farm, pick a bag of oranges to take home, and learn about the past of California's orange farms.

The Weber House, pictured above, is one of the oldest remaining houses in La Verne.  It was built in the 1880's and moved to this site and preserved by the La Verne Heritage Foundation.  Read it's history below.

I have memories from my childhood of the miles of orange groves that surrounded us, and the almost overwhelming, heavenly frangrance of the orange blossoms.

I also remember the frantic work that would begin when a freeze was predicted that would threaten the orange crops.  All night you could smell  the smudge pots and hear the sound of the windmills that kept the air circulating.  You can read about how smudge pots work, and about their history in California orange groves below.

A few beautiful California sunsets later Amanda and I returned home.  Guy would finish his chemotherapy, have a bone marrow transplant in March, and continue to work to recover his life.......perhaps not quite as he knew it.

I continued to deal with worsening pain until July, then had a total hip replacement.  In August I had my heart repaired.  No more pain, no more heart events.   Life is precious, and I am catching up on my blogging so I can better recall some of it's best moments.


ronno said...

wow! thought you had fallen off the map... now i know why! glad you are all "repaired"

gnesbittcmII said...

I am so glad you are catching up on your blogging. I truly loved to live through your travels and interestings history of the places you blogged about.