I've said this before, but I started this blog back in 2005 as a way to update my family and friends without overloading their email inboxes.
Since then, I am amazed at how many virtual friendships and "real life" ones have blossomed from it.
I know when most of us blog, it is mostly on a specific topic and most times we are all still very private about "life".
I kinda debated whether to post about this, but think that there are many who may be going through similar situations...
Last August, you may remember I had a medical emergency.
Truth is, we were 10 weeks pregnant, unbeknownst to me. Can you imagine finding out in the emergency room?!
Unfortunately, it was ectopic and baby had to be removed, so did part of my tube.
We were bummed no doubt, because of my age, because having an ectopic apparently puts you at a higher risk of having another ectopic.
It was bittersweet because we were pregnant, just in the wrong place.
Fast forward to 2012, in February, my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Yeah, the things you read online about this cancer aren't too encouraging.
I came back in March, thanks to my Aunty's miles, just in time to be with her for her 1st chemo treatment.
I gotta say she's always rolling with the punches and tries to always be very positive.
After her first chemo treatment, it was hard to watch a "foodie" not be too enthused about food.
She still has more treatments to go, her appetite is up and we are still very hopeful.
In April, my brother came home to help out.
Most times when he has come home it wasn't for a long period of time, so I think it was a good chance for him to bond with my parents.
He's now in the process of moving back from the mainland, so it'll be nice to have him around.
Then in May, Satoshi had an irregular heartbeat. He was hospitalized for about a week and is now on meds and seems to be okay.
He has to watch his sodium intake as well as calorie intake, which makes cooking for him, as well as eating out an interesting challenge.
Looking back, talk about being scared! It felt as if everything around me was crumbling.
I mean, even if I speak some Japanese, medical vocabulary is rough, even in English, so you know it must've been 10x scarier in Japanese!
With everything going on, I was feeling a bit helpless at this point.
And then, if that wasn't enough "excitement", at about the same time, my Dad, went in for emergency surgery.
Where his abdomen and intestine are supposed to be connected, he apparently was born with a "pocket" and somehow part of his intestine lodged itself into the pocket and caused him lots of pain.
The emergency surgery was to unblock the pocket and I think, sew the pocket up so that it wouldn't happen again.
To make matters more challenging, he has Parkinson's and was off his meds for close to a month, so I think it had advanced, making his swallowing very difficult and dangerous.
Until he can swallow safely, they put in a feeding tube in his stomach and for awhile he had been receiving liquid nourishment and some physical/occupational/speech therapy at a care facility.
In July, he came home so we've (Mom and I) been taking turns giving the feedings, which are a challenge because they are about every 5 hours 4 times a day!
Sometimes we need to "maneuver" a feeding in between doctor's appointments...
He was going for rehab to get stronger in swallowing, but he's not back to eating "real food" yet.
His bathroom related "issues" also added a little more "excitement" around here too...
Every time I've come back to Hawaii, I've slowly noticed my parents getting a little smaller, their meds increasing. Not to mention they move a little slower.
It's their little idiosyncrasies that you'll get to see when caring for someone 24/7 and if you don't laugh it off or find ways to relieve the stress, it will probably drive you crazy or eat away at you.
I know that aging is something that everyone goes through and that most of my generation is running into having to take care of their aging parents.
It is tough watching your parents go through these things and having some roles be reversed.
I am thankful I don't have to work full-time, that I can spend the time taking care of my parents, it is the least I can do to give back for what they have done for me.
So, this trip home, even if it looks like I've been having fun (and I have had some fun), I've kinda been "working".
Having only done this for the past 3 months was pretty tough, I give credit to those who do this type of work full-time.
While I was here, most of my days were long starting at 5:00 and ending around 21:30.
(Sometimes having to get up many times in the middle of the night to help out with the "bathroom issues" mentioned above...)
During the day I juggled things...caring for Dad & Mom (mostly Dad), taking them to doctor's appointments, while also trying to do some of the chores around the house, I usually got to sneak in a nap when Mom & Dad did (though I usually spent my time on the internet...).
We hadn't been cooking too much because who wants to cook after the long days we had?! (Which explains all the plate lunch posts, we still gotta eat right?!...Which also explains why Dad was never mentioned in these plate lunch posts too)
Though I must add that when we did cook, it was in big amounts to freeze for heating up at a later date.
I was torn because I was not taking care of Satoshi while I was in Hawaii, but am grateful that he has been understanding in letting me spend a lot of time here.
I've also tried to keep blogging, I think writing and photography are some of my passions these days.
Even if I wasn't able to comment on all the blogs I read, I enjoyed being able to stay connected to all of you.
So, while my blogging is mostly about eating and other random things, there are "real life" things going on in the background too.
To say that the past year has been an adventure would be an understatement, and I'm trying to stay positive.
I didn't write this for you to feel sorry for me, I don't feel sorry for myself, nor am I angry at the world or the higher powers around us for all of this "excitement" and "drama".
I do think writing this post has helped me work through some of my feelings.
And I really appreciate all the prayers, emails, comments and words of encouragement, they really brighten up my days.
With everything going on in the world, I just hope the remainder of 2012 will be kinder to us all.
While I wasn't able to visit nor tell all of my friends what was going on, and while I wasn't able to meet some virtual blog friends IRL (in real life), I am pretty sure when they read this, they'll understand.
Sorry this was such a long post...
I'm headed back to Japan today.
Talk to you from the other side of the world. Be well, everyone!