Thursday, September 13, 2007

A whole lot of nothing going on

This week was a quiet and uneventful week. On Monday, Jack saw his pediatrician for a "well" check. I knew it had been awhile since we saw the pediatrician, but according to their records - we haven't been in since January of 2006. Remarkable! Fortunately, Jack's pediatrician is very accommodating and doesn't make me bring Jack in for every little thing. His only suggestion was that I get Jack an appointment with a dietitian to make sure his nutrition is adequate. We haven't increased Jack's volume of Pediasure in years (and I mean years), but he is obviously growing - and healthy --so, it's a safe bet that his nutrition is fine. Nevertheless, I'll see about making an appointment with a dietitian ... eventually .... some day ... maybe.

Eric has had a perfect last week and a half at school. Wouldn't you know after we meet with his teacher, he decides to "conform". I think -- as many of you noted -- he (and the rest of the class) just needed time to settle in. Listening to what his teacher has to deal with on a daily basis, the woman has my admiration. I can't imagine spending my days trying to corral, entertain and educate twenty 5 year olds! I'm optimistic that we will survive Kindergarten. At this point in time, we are keeping things the status quo as far as placement ... after all, it's only Kindergarten.

I recently finished reading a book a friend sent to me – “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. The book was first published in 1959, so it's not new -- just new to me. The book is an account of Viktor Frankl's life in Nazi death camps and his lessons for spiritual survival. I admit that I don't really like to hear that my personal happiness (or contentment) is completely and solely my choice, notwithstanding all the difficulties life has thrown my way. It's much easier to believe you are a victim of circumstance and it's not your fault that you are miserable. However, it is Frankl’s belief that while we cannot avoid suffering, we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward. Given the horrific circumstances Frankl endured, he certainly has credibility and his lessons for spiritual survival are compelling and inspiring. There are many good passages in the book that are worth remembering and sharing:

• Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, or a quest for power, but a quest for meaning.

• Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you feel and do about what happens to you.

• As each situation in life represents a challenge to man and presents a problem for him to solve, the question of the meaning of life may actually be reversed. Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.

• It is characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded to “be happy”. But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to “be happy”. Once the reason is found, however, one becomes happy automatically. A human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to be happy through actualizing the potential meaning inherent and dormant in a given situation.

• Man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes – within the limits of endowment and environment – he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions, not on conditions.

• He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.

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My Mom update:

My mom is doing well all things considered. She completed radiation over two weeks ago and has been off chemo for as long. They are giving her a break from the chemo for a month and then standard protocol is one week of chemo, three weeks off. She will have a repeat MRI in a month. Until then, it's any one's guess as to whether the tumor has grown back (which is what this tumor does). My mom is apparently very unsteady on her feet, which could be indicative that the tumor has returned. Fact is, the type of brain tumor my mom has is incurable. There is nothing that can be done to eliminate it completely and little that can be done to slow its return. Based on what I've read, even if we were to travel to a top-notch medical facility and aggressively treat the tumor -- at best, we'd only be buying a few more months of life and then you have to consider the quality of those extra months of life. Bottom line, the next six to nine months are not going to be particularly enjoyable, rather, they are going to be particularly tough, especially for my dad.

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On that happy note .......... have a safe and wonderful weekend. Fall is in the air (unless you live in Arizona!)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have read that book Ann and it is pretty remarkable what Victor endured and what his attitude was.

Great news about Mr. Eric. I am sure that it will continue. :)

Sorry about your mom. I wish I could provide you with some words of comfort.

Love,
Tess

Anonymous said...

Ann -

I am glad to hear of Eric's accomplishments. School is a big change in routine, and like you said, maybe it took him longer to get used to it.

I am so sorry to hear about your Mom. I didn't realize it was that difficult a situation.

If you like the book you mentioned, have you tried this one? It was published a while back by a Rabbi, who was dealing with a dying son. When Bad Things Happen to Good People is the title.

Thinking of you!

- betty

Anonymous said...

Sounds like things will be fine at this kindergarten afterall, although I am very much enjoying hearing about Eric's adventures....

Thinking of you, your mom and your family- the waiting must be torture.

xo christina

julie w said...

Glad Eric has settled down. I went to school with Sam today and it amazes me how the teacher keeps control of 30 4-5 year olds (but they have only been there a couple of weeks- wait till they settle in ;). ) At the moment they all sit quietly on the carpet and hang onto her every word (well except for Sam of course..)

Sorry about your mom. I have no words...

Those are interesting words from Victor, I will have to come back and read them again and again.

Love to you all
Juliexxx

Melisande said...

Ann,

I read that book many years ago in my attempt to read some of the classic mental health literature. Very, very deep and maybe something to re-read! Thanks for reminding me! In my life (work and home) I've seen many situations that make you feel sad or sorry for someone. Life sucks sometimes...a lot of times. It is a reminder that pity and sorrow are feelings that are not helpful in moving forward with ones life. They certainly have a place, but are not catalysts for moving oneself beyond those places in and of themselves. Got to get my copy out again.

Good to hear all is better with Eric.

I'll keep you and your mom and family in my thoughts and prayers.

Hugs and love,