Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I need to wrap my guy in bubble wrap

Sounds like this is gonna be a little kinky but alas there is no kink involved here whatsoever....Drats!! OK, I digress but hey, like I said to my friend Monica, who I was speaking to earlier today, at least we have our humor!

Last evening, we were going to hang with a couple of friends that were in town visiting for the week. Marc went into the closet to pick out a pair of slacks, bent down to the bottom rack where he keeps them and ***BOINK!!*** he pokes his eye on a hanger and yells out in pain. He then yelled out to me that he hurt his eye...and he was in quite a bit of pain! We moved into fast forward as it was just 5:00 and we knew that the eye doctor's office would be closed soon, if it was not already. Marc called and left a message at the office and then put all of our plans on hold. Minutes later the Doctor called and said that if the pain was excruciating, then we should go to the emergency room and if not then she would see him at 7:30 am the next day. Marc's pain had subsided by this time and we made the decision that the ER was not the place that anyone in his physical condition wants to be, especially when he is this close to open heart surgery.

It all worked out fine...we waited, our friends came for their visit and then Marc went to the Doctor this morning. He did indeed have a corneal abrasion but it was already healing well and that nothing needed to be done...whew!! We were glad that he had it checked out and ruled out something worse. See what I mean about wrapping my man up in bubble wrap!!

I am really on a heightened state of worry when it comes to Marc. I find myself constantly monitoring his eating, fluid intake, sleeping and general well being. He is much more tired than he has ever been and I am basically counting the days until his surgery...there are 12 left to be exact.

Marc is my life, along with my children and I find myself tearing up quite a bit as I think of anything more serious happening to him. The death of his father almost three weeks ago has cast a sadness over him that I see every day, even though he does not show it to the outside world. I know him so well, really as well as I know myself. His sadness is revealed when we speak of Big Al, when we are doing something relaxing like watching TV and I see him staring into space, when he sleeps and I can hear it in his dreams and feel it in his restlessness.

Oh, I just want to protect him from anymore hurt, pain or sadness and please oh please, put this phase behind us, once and for all.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Body Talk with the DD

After getting out of the pool this morning, I showered the DD and then I showered. When I got out of the shower the two of them were waiting for me.

Katie: "Wow Mommy, your boobies are really wobbly!"

Me: "Thanks honey!" *SNORT* I don't remember Justin saying that, but of course it was over 20 years ago!

Ethan: "Yeah, they are wobbly!" as he laughs hysterically!

Well, these wobbly boobies of mine really can't be too bad because the next thing I heard was...

Katie: "Well, I sure don't want a Penis but I want boobies just like yours!...When am I going to get them?"

Me: "Not for a long time honey, you have to be a really big girl to get them."

She looked really disappointed to hear that news and I was really happy to hear that as wobbly as my boobies seem to be, that she still wants them.

Thanks Katie Starr, you made your old Mama's day!

Friday, September 25, 2009

It was just a matter of time...

before the mischief man got put onto red in Preschool. Green is color for good behavior, yellow is caution and red is BAD. He skipped yellow entirely and went right to RED. I don't have the full story but the gist of it was that today during a rain storm, the teacher told all of the children to stay put under a protective covering until they could get back to the classroom. Evidently, Ethan decided that he wanted to venture out into the rain. The teacher warned him several times not to venture out as she could tell he was heading that way. Well, he did anyway and got soaked at school....not good :( She was not happy with him at all! The teacher keeps a communication folder for us that she writes in every day as to his daily activities and whether there were issues or not. Ethan will usually tell me as he gets off the bus and before I can open the folder if there was an issue, which usually has to do with his eating. This time, he said nothing and when I asked him about it he looked sad to tell me that he was on RED. I reinforced Miss Mary's position and placed him in an additional 4 minute (one minute for each year of his age) time out. I am all about reinforcing the teacher.

I hate to say it but I have been quite surprised that E has not been put onto RED before. Miss Mary has up to now, not really witnessed much of the Ethan that we know and love; the one that pushes the limits A LOT and usually looking at you full in the face with a smirk while he is doing it. Hopefully, this is the last that she will see this year of our adorable little son that has the angelic smile and the horns growing out of his head. Boy oh boy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

We told the children....

Today was the day that we undertook the all important and somber task of telling the DD that their Grandpa had passed away. It has been one week; a week filled with chaotic activity, appointments, arrangements, a day away out of town for Marc's surgical consult and finally culminating with the funeral and sitting shiva. Marc and I both thought it best to wait until the smoke cleared so to speak and things were a little more settled to explain the death of Big Al to them.

I know both of my little ones very well as well as their individual levels of understanding. Katie is every bit of her four years and then some in her emotional/intellectual development and Ethan is not yet four in terms of this type of discussion. I knew that if we gave them both a small glimpse that Katie would ask some questions; as much as she needed and that Ethan would probably not and I was correct.

We started out by talking a bit about Grandma and Grandpa's dog, Truffle who had passed away about a year ago. We had never really broached the "D" word about Truffle at the time of her death and had just said that she was sick and was in the doggie hospital. They had asked a few times about her and we kept that story up. I was really wishing now that we had dealt with that one a while back as it would have been a building block towards this more painful realization. We held our breathe for a sec before telling them that just like Truffle had been sick and in the hospital that they knew that Grandpa was as well. Truffle was a VERY VERY OLD dog and Grandpa was a VERY VERY OLD man and they both were worn out, kind of like an old car or shoe. (Everything that I read for this age told you to emphasize both OLD and WORN so that the children would not be scared that they would lose their own parents or that they themselves would die. Also, NEVER mention that the deceased went to sleep and did not wake up...that one is an obvious way to scare the living daylights out of them.) That when any living being gets VERY old and their parts get worn out that they pass away or die. We told them that we would not see them anymore but that we would always have Grandpa and Truffle in our minds and in our hearts. We would be able to remember the love that we shared and all of the happy and fun times as well. This way we could always think of him and remember him when we wanted to.

The conversation went completely over Ethan's head and he proceeded to ask me a question about something totally unrelated. Katie, on the other hand wanted to know again if we would get to see Grandpa again. I reiterated that we would not see him in the way that we always had but that we could think of him and all of the happy times that we had with him anytime that we wanted to. Marc and I explained that we would all miss Grandpa but that as much as we missed him, that Grandma would miss him the most as they had been together so very long. At that point Katie said that she wanted to give ALL of her Barbies to Grandma so that they could keep her company. I asked her about Ken and she said no, that would not be a good idea as Ken has no pants and we cannot find them. Mature and generous beyond her years and simply innocent all at the same time.

At that point she basically looked a little sad and perplexed but decided to change the subject. The info offered was obviously enough, so the conversation was ended.

My friend Shannon, as well as the director of Katie's preschool, have offered me a book to read to them that helps in the understanding for this level. The book (The Fall of Freddie the Leaf) uses the metaphor of the annual changes in leaves on a tree to help explain the different phases of life.

Although the leaves die each year, they are part of the tree which lives on, although even it has a finite life. the book discusses the interconnecedness of life and death. however, it does not take a stand on the specifics of a life after death; which is what we wanted.

I wonder if they can find something that can help me to understand. Now that the funeral and Shiva are over, I am sad and numb and wonder all the time why Big Al had to suffer so long before he died. He had worked hard his entire life, even up until a few months before the end, when he could no longer physically do it anymore. Then after all of that work and fulfilling his role as a wonderful provider, husband, father and grandfather he finally succumbed to the illness that plagued him practically his whole adult life. Not quite the payoff that he deserved. Of course, life is not about fairness or deserving and that is what I was trying to protect my children from as long as possible. Their youth and innocence will protect them quite a bit longer but then the lessons will be learned by them too. Until then, I am happy that Ethan is a bit too young to really understand anything and that Katie thinks that her Barbies will help. Now that is a blessing indeed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sad News

I am deeply saddened to report that Saturday evening 9/12, Marc's father Allen passed away. He was beloved by his family beyond measure and our hearts are broken.

Al became diabetic in his 30's and this horrible disease destroyed his sight, heart, kidneys, liver and circulation. It robbed him of his golden years and seeing most of his grandchildren grow up. I am thankful for the time that we had with him but am sad about the times ahead that we will not be able to share with him.

The DD have not been told yet. We are waiting for the funeral to be behind us and the dust to clear a bit before we broach this sad subject. The will both be sad but I know in my heart that my tender Katie will take it as hard as her big brother Justin already has. Ethan loved him greatly as well but is not as aware as Katie as of yet.

Big Al, as he was affectionately known to most, was the type of guy that everyone loved! Over the past two days the phone has literally rung non stop and we have received over 100 email communications and they just keep coming. It is a true testament to his goodness and the level of love and friendship that we are blessed with.

On a personal note, I must say that I was very fortunate to be Big Al's daughter-in-law. We had a mutual admiration for each other and I loved him dearly.

I will finish this post with a quote by Emily Dickenson ~

"Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality."

Mother's Day 2000 L-R Marc, Justin, Me, Brenda (MIL), Linda (My Mom), Harry (My Dad) and Big Al (My FIL)

2006 Pictured L-R Me with Katie on my lap, Big Al, Big Al's sister Shirley, Brenda and Marc sitting.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Grandma, you said a bad word!!"

Grandma was by the house recently and was sitting at the kitchen table with the DD while they were waiting to be fed (BTW, it seems like they are always waiting to be fed ;-) and they were talking amongst themselves. All of the sudden Katie yelled out "Grandma, you said a bad word!!...MOM, Grandma said a bad word!!" I was very amused and a little curious as to what the "bad word" was. My mother in law looked as confused as I was, so I asked Katie what the offending word was. She told me that she could not tell me. I told her that of course she could tell me, to which she shook her head NO, quite vigorously. I then told her to whisper the "bad word" in my ear. She agreed to do that and whispered the following word................


Yes, that's right... "Whatever" was the word that had Katie in an uproar! I began to laugh and had to explain to Grandma that when the one of the DD use the word "whatever" in response to something that I have said that they are told not to say it. That it is not a nice word to use in the context that they are using it.


Mom: "Here is your turkey sandwich honey."

Katie: "Mommy, I don't want Turkey."

Mom: "Well, that is what I am serving today so that is what you will need to eat."

Katie: "Whatever!" (said in the snottiest tone possible)

I explained to them that when they say "whatever" in that way, it implies that they do not care in an offhand manner and we always need to care and not respond like we do not.

Of course, My mother in law's response of "Whatever" was to a question posed by Marc as to whether she wanted Cereal or eggs for breakfast. So when she responded with "Whatever" it was not used in quite the same way! Obviously, that nuance was lost on our Starr so "Whatever" may as well have been the F word for all of the excitement it caused at breakfast.

Gotta love the use and intent of language and the four year old mind! Interesting combination is all that I can say.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Latest News

Sorry that it has been a week since I have updated but I know that you will forgive me when I tell you that life is just nuts lately and now to top it off Marc's dad had a huge setback a couple of days back. He was recuperating in a rehabilitation center and trying to move around again after his fall and subsequent pelvic fracture, when out of the blue he was befallen by a dangerous double hernia that obstructed his bowel. Of course he needed an emergency operation. Quite a scary proposition for such a sick man. Thankfully, he came through very well and while he is still listed as critical and in CICU, he is recuperating well and should be back on a regular floor quite soon.

Ok, now on to the follow up to Marc's cardiac catheterization. It went as well as could be expected with a little excitement thrown in for good measure. Hey, what's life lately if not exciting (smirk). The scoping showed that Marc's mitral valve is in terrible shape but they also detected that his tricuspid valve is slightly prolapsed (weakened) as well. Thankfully, his arteries were clear of any blockages so that is a real blessing. We definitely would not have wanted a bypass procedure as well.

The excitement that I referred to earlier came later in the day. Marc came through the procedure with no problems and had to lay flat on his back with a sandbag on his groin area (hmmmmm) for 6 hours to stop vascular problems. I had already been in to see Marc in recovery and saw that he was fine. The nurse came out about an hour later to tell me to go to lunch; that it would be several more hours and that everything was just fine. I came back and was happily reading the book that I had brought with me, when out came the nurse to tell me "There has been an incident." Well, those are definitely words that you never want to hear in a surgical waiting room nor was I even considering that those words were a possibility once I knew that he was "just fine." At that moment, my heart began to race and my body turned to shaky mush as the nurse told me that when they were compressing the area that the vagus nerve is in it casued a vagus reflex, which can and does happen sometimes but when it does there is a shot of a drug called atropine that the medical staff is supposed to have nearby and it was not nearby. Meanwhile, Marc lost consciousness and his blood pressure plummeted before they were able to administer the shot. They were finally able to locate the shot and thank goodness, they were able to get him revived and his BP back up. I really had a hard time getting my heart rate back to normal after hearing that one. I guess I had let my defenses down so when they told me of "the incident" it left me reeling.

It seems that our life has turned into a drama of epic proportions lately so I am really looking forward to next week, when we will consult with the surgeon up in Atlanta and then we can finally set our sights on a target date when this surgery will be done and our lives can get back to normal...whatever that is! I would so appreciate a new normal that does not include dealing with any illness whatsover, thankyouverymuch!!!

On a funny note...and with Marc there is always a funny note... During the Pre-Operative process the nurse needed to shave Marc's groin area where the catheter is inserted. As she approached him to do the deed, Marc quipped that he would like the nurse to shave "the area" in the shape of a heart for his wife. The nurse looked puzzled and then told Marc that she had never been asked that before and would have to check to see if she could do it. She then started to try to find her supervisor. Marc then had to tell her that he was just kidding. I am sure there is probably a picture of my husband in the cardiac OR,warning other nurses about my crazy hubby!

One more thing to mention...Marc's Professional Association is running a fundraiser to help our family defray the costs associated with this surgery that will not be covered by our health insurance. Unfortunately, the insurance will not cover a great deal of this and we are not in any position, since I closed my business, to be able to handle these costs. The event will be here in South Florida on October 4th. The event that the American Disc Jockey Association of South Florida is running should prove to give everyone attending an exciting afternoon and we are so grateful that they have stepped up to do this for us. It is not easy for us to accept help but we are in the unfortunate position that in order for us to have Marc get the medical help he needs we must accept help.

If you would like to attend the event, be involved with it or offer monetary assistance we are and will be forever grateful. For more information you can contact:

The America Disc Jockey Association of South Florida at:

PO Box 771222, Coral Springs, Fl 33077 and reference Help the Beat fundraiser

or you can call 954-232-6011

or email:

If you are a facebook user you can search the page "Afternoon at the Races" for more information.

Thank you from the bottom of both of our hearts for helping Marc to heal his.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What happens next........

First off, thanks for all of the fabulous feedback via comments and emails that were sent to me about the visual support idea that we are implementing for Ethan. I always hope that when I share a piece of our private lives, that someone may see themselves or someone they love in what I have written. This blog serves both as a vehicle to document our lives for later and to share in hopes that it will help someone else that is having a similar issue or experience.

OK, now on to what happens next with Marc....

Tomorrow, Marc will be having what is called a Cardiac Catheterization and if you would like to learn more about what this lovely little procedure entails you can read about it here. Marc's mom is coming over tonight since she does not have to take care of Marc's dad, who is presently in a rehab center, recuperating from a fall where he fractured his pelvis...yup, it's all fun and games around here these days. If everything goes as planned, then we will be home by the evening.

We are then flying to Atlanta in a couple of weeks to meet with the heart surgeon that we are hoping will be operating on Marc. By all accounts, Marc is a very good candidate for the type of surgery that he needs, which is a Heart Mitral Valve Repair done robotically. The benefit to carrying out the surgery this way versus the old school way (cracking open the chest) is that it is minimally invasive. There are just four (very small) incisions will have to be made to do the repair. Marc's heart will have to be stopped, just like in any open heart surgery and he will be placed on a heart lung machine while they operate on him. The obvious benefit to doing it robotically, is that there is so much less trauma to the body and thus pain and healing times are brought down significantly. We have consulted with a couple of doctor's already but the one in Atlanta is probably one of the more experienced in the country, so we are hoping that he is the one that will handle Marc's care. The doctors that we have consulted with us thus far have also told us that Marc's condition is very severe and his heart is quite enlarged due to the strain from the leaky valve.

Of course, as I write all of the details in such a matter of fact kinda way, it does not take into account that my own heart is racing most of the time and the butterflies in my stomach never seem to go to sleep. I will not be able to make my mind stop racing and ultimately ending up in dark places until this is behind us and thank goodness that tomorrow is the first step towards that end. Marc is steadfast and positive. He is my rock and I want to keep him in that position for many years to come.

One last thing...there has been such an outpouring of care and concern, both locally and through the larger online community that we are a part of. Marc's Disc Jockey Association - The American Disc Jockey Association of South Florida is holding an event called "A Night at the Races" on October 4th, to benefit Marc and our family. The money raised will assist us with the massive medical and associated costs that will not be covered by our health insurance. There are several ways to be a part of this event whether you can attend or not. If you would like to help, you can contact the Association for more details at:

Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!

Lori, Marc, the Big's and the Little's :)