Posts filed under ‘Love’

August 3rd -No Limits- Chapter 31 – Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapter-27-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/05/03/may-3rd-no-limits-chapter-28-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-29-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Thirty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-30-chris-ritchey/

The Transition

It is probably just as well we cannot remember our birthing process. The turmoil that a wee babe must go through, pushing out of their safe warm world,  after lulled before our journey   by the sounds of a mother’s heartbeat, struggling through a narrow constricting tunnel as we are squeezed and pushed,  with  pain,   into  a bright and cold world, strange noises that must assail our little ears and sense .

Is it any wonder we cry as we breathe our first?

And then there it is, we are laid on a soft warm breast and once again our mother’s heartbeat, reassuring in its lullaby of life,   confirms we are safe. Wrapped in softness we are held in the arms of our giver of life.  We shared that heartbeat, the DNA that made us who we are was shared for those 9 months  and crossed  through the placenta, give and take of the process of coming into being. Cells from the mother and the child are shared between and remain in a mother’s  body.  The process is called

Fetal-maternal microchimerism

 The placenta generally serves as a bridge between the fetus and the mother for exchange of nutrients and wastes. But that is not all that crosses this bridge—fetal and maternal cells can cross between the two organisms intact. While maternal cells do end up in the fetus, significantly more fetal cells are transferred to the mother. The result is that the mother carries a small number  of foreign cells belonging to her fetus within her body—hence the name “microchimerism.” While these non-maternal cells are few in number in comparison to total number of maternal cells, evidence suggests that these transplanted cells can actually remain for long after the end of gestation. In fact, derivative fetal cells have been found in the mother’s body up to 27 years ( if not more) after pregnancy. 

Fetal Microchimerism

It is a fact…. 

If you are of the religious persuasion “the essence” that makes me, ME  and you-YOU  and not just a clone being – sometimes  referred to  as the “soul” in those religious  doctrines .

I have listed just three religious beliefs about the “ensoulment of the child” , there are many  more but like all things in religion there doesn’t seem to  any  across the board agreement :

The soul enters the fetus at 120 days (4 months), as established by the Hadith. ( Radd al-Muhtar ala Durr al-Mukhtar 1/202) Thus, when the age of the unborn child reaches 120 days (4 months), it no longer remains a lifeless object; rather, it is a living human being. 

eshaykh.com/quran-tafsir/when-does-ruh-enter-fetus

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/when-babies-get-their-souls

Aquinas was correct that the unborn receive their souls at conception; he was merely mistaken on when conception was finished, due to the science available. As modern medicine has shown, conception in humans occurs almost instantaneously, as soon as the sperm and the ovum unite. This may occur as soon as twenty minutes after the marital act. 

And those of the Jewish Faith have their own beliefs:

Most often in Jewish sacred literature, a fetus in the womb is considered a human life “under construction.” The soul is usually described as arriving when the first breath of life is taken at birth. The primary Jewish imagery for the beginning of life comes from Genesis 1:2, where breath hovers above the waters of earth before life emerges from that cosmic womb. Then, in Genesis 2:7, after the body of Adam is fashioned from the clay of the earth, G*d is described as breathing life into him. These stories frame the basis for the Jewish view that the fetus gains full human rights and status only once the baby’s head has emerged from the birth canal [Ohalot 7:6].

There is one Talmudic passage in which a Greek philosopher presses a rabbi on this issue until–probably for the sake of peace with the Greek occupiers of the Land of Israel–the rabbi accedes to the prevailing view in Greek culture that the soul is present from conception. This concession did not, however, change the Jewish perspective that the activation of the fetus’s status as a human with full human rights still occurs upon birth……..

.http://www.reclaimingjudaism.org/teachings/when-does-life-begin-jewish-view

Essence – Chris Ritchey

Since my  journey  through  “hell on earth” began I haven’t any faith in “organized religion” –  as such . I prefer what I  feel to  be true  and science.  However, maybe a baby shares his/hers mother’s ( essence) soul  until the DNA or whatever  changes him her from a cluster of exploding cells to  our daughter or son.

I don’t have any answers, just questions, and I  am not saying “anyone’s’ beliefs are wrong”. I just know, like other mothers before me, there is, for want of a better word, an intuition we carry and a knowing .

For instance my  daughter,  who  was told  she wouldn’t have children (which was devastating to  her and her husband) I KNEW she was pregnant . I  told Chris who  became so  angry  at me:

“Mum. don’t you dare say anything to Nikki you know how rotten she feels about not being able to have kids”

So I  said nothing  until two  smiling and bright faces appeared in my living room weeks later..

“We are pregnant”.

I specifically  said:

“Let me tell Chris. “

I called Chris and said ” I told you so ……. Nikki  is having a baby”

How did I know my daughter was pregnant weeks before she knew herself? I told my mother and Chris who both chastised me because a few months before the “specialists” had told her she would never have children.

You  couldn’t know that, how did you  know?

I don’t know Chris I  just knew ..

Maybe it was that Fetal-maternal microchimerism .

However, as I  gloated  that I was right …. that horrible thought I  had when I  looked into Chris eyes at two  days old  also  came to  the fore  – Chris was part way  through  his Stem Cell Transplants at the time. .

Why did I look in the eyes of my newly born son all those years ago and turn to my mother and say without thinking

” He has sad eyes- he will have a sad life”

and then dismiss it with
“Why ever did I say that”

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/when-premonition-becomes-hindsight-part-two/

I also knew and told a doctor Nikki  was pregnant with  her 2nd child … he laughed at me and I  said trust me on this and she was!

There are many other happenings which I  will expand upon in the forthcoming  “alpha” chapters. But for now I struggle to  make sense of anything.

I will tell you,  as I watched  the blood slowly  drain from my son’s face , watching his heart  stop –   I died too. At least the woman and person I was before that instant of death. It was also  the death of “hope” 

I am never going to  be the same , he was gone but part of him still lived emotionally  and physically  within  my  heart and “essence”. We  continued to  share,  even though  his poor cancer ridden body  was  just a shell. No  more laughter, anger, intelligence , love,  happiness, sadness , strength  or essence was left to us that was Chris.

darkness of grief Kathe Kollwitz

In that moment of death, there was another birthing – a birthing of grief.

A birthing of another person- that took over from what I  used to  be.   And after all the months and years  it  hasn’t “changed or  become better. The Loraine that I  was  is lost somewhere, but no  longer here.  There isn’t a word for a mother who  loses her child . There isn’t any tidy   little  “word box” to  describe us . I  believe because we are indescribable .

My  memories, after he passed that afternoon are pixels, fragments,  broken flashes of memory , a brain that was no  longer functioning properly.

There was a wheelchair, there was the hotel room, a phone ringing . Lombardis talking to Nikki .

Chris had been dead less than an hour and yet they  had already  made the appointment for the Funeral Home for 10 am   the next morning to  discuss arrangements.

Decisions in that hotel room were being made as to  who  would drive my  car. Who  would take the bags, wheel me down to  the elevator, our little family  was reeling , going rom one thing to  another, not functioning  but the Lombardis were on top  of their control game.

I rode home  with Nikki I don’t know where anyone else was, Jim,  Gavin ( the  baby ), my  husband,  had someone told my  mum?

I have no  memory  I only  know I wanted to  call my  oldest friend , Mike, in Chicago  .I  needed to  hear an English  voice  for some reason , one who  had shared my  childhood and happiness of those days.

I walked, well fell, in the front door  into  my  home that evening   and dissolved………

To  be continued…..

 

 

 

 

August 3, 2022 at 12:44 am 3 comments

June 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 29- Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapter-27-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/05/03/may-3rd-no-limits-chapter-28-chris-ritchey/

A losing of function

Note: I have been dreading this chapter all month. I have put it off, shoved the memories back into  their dwelling place.  As my  self- imposed deadline of the 3rd of the month loomed, I ran emotionally  from remembering. My   conscious thought  telling me

“don’t go  there ” , you  can’t go  back to  that time, your well being is at stake. You  survived that day  because it was so  surreal and you  were protected  by   “unbelievability” as to  what was actually  happening. You were tired, emotionally  exhausted things happening were cushioned with  incredibility , the  -this is not happening syndrome.

Days passed  and the closer the 3rd of June  came  the more I ran from this writing.  I couldn’t bring myself to  do  this , but the nights were different perspective altogether, I  lay awake for hours, although  exhausted , I would watch  the moon in its phases  lighting the bedroom  causing   the tree to outside cast its  dancing shadows on the wall.

Everything in me has fought this moment, but here it is June the 2nd, 2022 and I am remembering the most painful day  of my  life and “my death” as well. You  see, and I  know those of you that have lost a son or daughter  know the very  moment that happens , you  lose who  you  are too. You  are not the same and you  never will be ………

For days I  sat by  your  side , those last three days being in the new Medical ICU unit were dreadful. Not only  did the nurses and doctors not know who  I  was, and I  was too tired to  explain, I  was falling apart emotionally  and physically. Weeks of wearing the paper medical masks ( since they  insisted you  had H1N1), because that is what Angela had told them in ER and of course why  question  the “doctor in waiting”.

The mask, the dryness of the room and the stress had caused the skin under my  nose to  blister and scab. I, apparently,  was somewhat allergic to  those particular masks. One lovely  nurse gave me ointment to  help.  There was no ointment for my  swollen, to  nearly  three time their regular size, my  legs.  In this unit , there was not  comfortable arm chair. This unit obviously  did not want visitors so  the only  chair was a metal folding chair.  Sitting on the cold hard metal , not moving holding his hand, only  getting up  to  put a cool facecloth  on his burning brow.  I was reminded every time I  did so   by  the marks left on your scalp  as they  had pulled off the  brain wave electrodes, the  skin was sore and red  and the hair gone  and slight bleeding.  Someone obviously  had no  thought for my  son as they  pulled those off, but he was dying anyway! I  noticed a lot of that sort of attitude in that unit, so  different from the previous ICU.

Photo source http://www.neurowavesystems.com/

And so  it was the night of December 2nd. I  had gone , as usual walked to  the unit with  my  husband about 10 pm. The Lombardi  clan hovering  in the corridors  talking tacos. I  had no  wish  to  see.

Nikki  was exhausted ,  having to breastfeed the baby  and dealing with  everything. Jim had brought the baby  up  to  the hotel. Nikki  hadn’t any  pajamas and had purchased a pair at the gift shop. Unlike my  lime green creation I  had purchased, the one pair  she had to  buy  was  two  piece pink, chocolate and white striped . I  remember thinking they  reminded me of Neapolitan ice cream.

I was surprised , as we headed to  the unit to  see two  of Chris’ high school friends. What were they  doing there????? , Apparently,  Angela  had been sending out texts

if they  wanted to  see Chris before he died they  should come” 

I cannot honestly  remember what I  said to  them , but I  don’t think  I  was very  pleasant. However, it  explained why  Chris’ nurse was flustered as we walked into  our son’s room

“You  know  there are visiting hours we can’t have all you  people coming in and out all night long”

I explained  who  I  was and why  I  would be sitting there all night , at least until rounds in the morning. If they  needed me to  move I  would but I  would not be leaving my  son. She explained that during her shift people had been in and out. I  told her :

she would have to  take that up  with  his wife because I certainly  was against anyone coming into  see him in this condition. He would have hated it. 

My  husband went back to  the  hotel room . I  continued to  sit in that glass bubble of a world, a young woman ( presumably  a Doctor) would look through  the glass at the monitors. I hoped Chris could hear me I  hummed the lullabies of his childhood, talked softly   as to  how much  we loved him, that Nikki  and Jim were there., anything to  try to  give him comfort, trapped as he was, encased in machines.

My inner thoughts , I did not say  outloud , I spoke them silently

” Please Chris you  have to  turn a corner soon , I just don’t know how much  longer I  can hold up, please Chris

Nurse Nicole , it was her first week in that particular ICU came in to  say  they  would be bathing him  and I  could stay  and help  if I  wished. I told her

No!  he would hate me to  be there for that and I  would go  and get something to  drink and come back.

After  a while I  went back into  the ICU , I asked whether they  had been continuing the eye drops as  his eyes were partially  open and I had been told it could cause issues if they  weren’t moisturized regulary  after he came off the vent.

She went away  to  get  an OK and came back, I said did she notice the urine bag had blood in it. No!  that wasn’t like that before, I  will check let me put the drops in.   It was 3 am  and she looked at me and said

“his pupils are fixed and dilated “

Fixed and moderately dilated pupils are seen in brain death because of the loss of both sympathetic and parasympathetic influences.

She then left to  call for the  head of the unit.  All hell broke loose as a male  Doctor , whomever he was , and the nurses  as they  came to  our room, the man in the next room decided to  have an episode  and apparently  passed.  I  waited  and then the nurse said the Doctor had ordered a scan. I called Angela and told her what the nurse had said and waited.

It was 5 am by  this time , Angela appeared at the desk with  the Doctor,  who  had glanced into  the room at that stats at least twice during the night . She and Angela chatted as if I  didn’t exist .

Angela asked what was the prognosis?

OH ! this is the first night he had held his own

– Angela

Cool Beans! we now have to feed my boy

Dr. We have to do something about a bowel movement first

As I stood there like some peripheral groupie I mentioned the scan and that

“the ICU nurse was very concerned as his pupils were fixed and dilated and had called the Neurologist for a scan”


The Elephant Run-by Chris Ritchey

Two faces and pairs of eyes ” in the know medical (Drs.?) turned and looked at me like I was some sort of “ignorant irritant”

That young woman. presumably  a Doctor,   – I don’t remember her name just her face- I had seen it through the early morning hours looking at the monitors through the glass – never once coming into the room – said:

Oh I am not worried he is on a boat load of medication

Giggles from the “Dr. to be Ritchey ( Angela)

Oh! he is on enough medication to fill up an elephant heehehehehee!

I had such  a bad feeling  but I  had to  sleep, I  left them chatting and went back to  the room . I went to  the chaise lounge by  the window where I  could see his room across the way. I fell instantly  into  a desperate sleep only  to   be woken by Nikki-

Mum you have to go back

– I said

Nikki I can’t- I can’t even stand

and she said

Mum, you have to something is wrong- I will come down as soon as Jim gets here to take Gavin

I rushed through the hallways- to this day I have no idea what clothes I had on…. I found my son’s room empty  of the usual “clan”– no one was with him I went in- a new nurse said

You are wanted in the conference room for a family  meeting

-I said

my husband is there I am not leaving my son alone I promised him-

Nurse

YOU HAVE TO GO!

I looked at this officious nurse and said

“I DON’T “HAVE” TO GO ANYWHERE OR DO ANYTHING I AM NOT LEAVING MY SON ALONE!

It was then Nikki arrived – still in  the Neapolitan pajamas purchased from the hospital gift shop- like some bizarre clown outfit. I remember thinking Chris would find it funny.

She said:

Mum you go I will stay with Chris I promise

The meeting that day was about taking Chris off the vent they the hospital and they  needed me there as they  

“didn’t want any trouble”

They needed my permission as well as his wifes- I had the night before made sure that the staff were now aware that Nikki and I were also on his paperwork.

The Doctor, who  chatted about bowel movement and holding his own  just 2 hours previously   was now saying his brainstem ( after looking at the scans) had collapsed and he was effectively  brain dead.

Brainstem death is a clinical syndrome defined by the absence of reflexes with pathways through the brainstem – the “stalk” of the brain, which connects the spinal cord to the mid-braincerebellum and cerebral hemispheres – in a deeply comatose, ventilator-dependent patient. Identification of this state carries a very grave prognosis for survival; cessation of heartbeat often occurs within a few days, although it may continue for weeks if intensive support is maintained.

The Dr. explained what would happen and our options and what each option would mean when they did this-one option being surgery  to  release the pressure on the brain.  What ever they  did they were going to have to wait until one of the medications which  paralyzed him  wore off so it would be a little while.

NOTE: I  cannot write anymore as the dying time took all day and horrors of heartbreak and ignorance continued to pummel me and my  family.  There was no  kindness in this dying … I will have to  continue on the next 3rd

to  be continued……..

June 3, 2022 at 11:17 am 3 comments

May 3rd – NO LIMITS-Chapter 28- Chris Ritchey

 

 

NO LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapter-27-chris-ritchey/

THE DYING TIME

 NOTE: You would think , after all these years, I  would have built up some immunity  to the  rawness emotions of what happened in those last few hours and days  .

You  would be wrong it is  yesterday in my  world.  I find, as I  writing, I am sucking in breaths, gasping for air,   eyes fill with tears and my  heart races.  I can only  brave the act of  reliving in short stages.  I have to  stop, walk away  and come back for a few minutes.

I don’t know how to write these memories of those hours. Will I even be able to put my pain on a page, relieve it in entirety   or become clinical and write just the medical journey  with  the inclusion of the Lombardi’s contribution to  my  end of days as a mother of my  son?

I suppose I will find out along with  the reader.

 

As he was moved to  the new Medical ICU room with  new staff and strangers, I shivered the room was the corner room looking out toward the hotel where I had been staying. I could see his room from my hotel room, the light softly  glowing in the early  morning morning hours.  I had called my  daughter and son-in law. My  husband went to  meet them in the lobby  to  show Nikki  where to  come whilst Jim took Baby  Gavin to  the room to  wait.

I must have looked very strange as I waited ,away  from the “Clan of Lombardis” by  myself in the waiting room,  as a young man in scrubs came up  to  me put his arm around me and started explaining something about

“blood gases elevated C02 levels ” .. hypercapnia… How Chris gases were compromised  by  the move. “

I had absolutely  not a clue as to  what he was saying , It was though  I  was deaf and trying to  read his lips.

Who was he? What was he doing in my  world ?

At that moment my  daughter burst into the waiting room ran toward me , as she did so  she apparently  overheard the one sided conversation and as   I  said I  must have looked dreadful.

The next thing she “melted “on the floor, collapsing to her knees, just folded up at she reached out to me and I  reached forward to  her. The young man caught us both somehow and said :

“please,  it is alright no-one ever died from Co2 levels, we will get the  levels corrected. I will take care of him!

The rest is a blur, since no-one in  the family  could  stay  in Chris  room that night, and I  was panicked

“How was I  going to  get him through  that 3 in morning time slot , I  so  dreaded.

The flawed Hand of the Healer by Chris Ritchey

We went back to  the hotel room to wait.  There was a chaise lounge ,  I  laid on it looking out across the way  to  Chris room and pulsating light as , I  assume, people would come and go  doing what they  were supposed to  do,  injecting him with  insulin, Heparin  and too many  drugs  I  couldn’t pronounce.

Nikki  took the baby  and laid on the bed, Jim grabbed a pillow and blanket and slept fitfully  on the floor. Actually  I have  not a clue where my  husband slept or even if he did, I  am presume in  one of the arm chairs.

I waited until morning, I had decided

this was enough  no more were the Lombardis and their clan  going to make the decisions, I was done with  them and his bride.

I showered , got dressed and for the first time put on some make-up.  My  husband had already  beaten me to  it and had checked on Chris   and called from the the floor to  tell me

Chris stats had improved.

I went to the unit, didn’t check in with the  reception station to  get permission    , no-one  was going to  stop  me that morning!

I knew Angela would be in there  for the Doctors rounds and that morning  I was going to  be part of the discussion.  Unfortunately , Angela and the Doctors were already  meeting behind the “glass wall”. I saw a familiar face, it was Dr. R.A of the  Thanksgiving Day  ” dying discussion”.  She recognized me too, asked how I  was.

I  said:

a little better  as I  had been told Chris’ levels and stats were improving

Dr. R. A looked annoyed

WHO told you that? It is definitely  NOT  what is happening his organs are shutting down , he has had a series of “episodes” and it isn’t good , as I  told you  last week”

Why  haven’t I  been told? Why  has this been kept from his family?

We tell his wife everything ( Dr. Ritchey) she has been given the complete information, it is up  to  her to  inform the rest of you 

And at that statement what was left of me, the person I always was came to  the fore.  I felt a strength in my  voice I  hadn’t had for weeks

” Well obviously there has been some sort of breakdown in the  information given to  us or apparently  NOT  given to  us by  his  wife and her family.

You, and the hospital and this unit had better check my  son’s paperwork because it is written and signed by  him ( of which  I  have a copy  at home.) that his sister and I  are named  in his Living Will , signed at South  Pointe Hospital and we both are on that form ( notarized) as to  any  medical  decisions and information is to be given to  us directly!

Oh, she said, I will make sure the staff and unit are informed 

With  that she walked away  and I  still shaking with  fear for my  son and with anger  left the unit to  tell MY  family .

Later on , after I  had gathered myself together , I went back down to  the unit , again by  passing the harridan at the reception desk  and

there it was my nightmare of  13 months previously  ……playing out in front of me….  MY PREMONITION  come to  pass!!!!

E. Munch- 1895

No LIMITS – Chapter 4- Chris Ritchey

I awoke in the early morning hours of that first night after chemo, shaking, gasping for breath. I had a dream; it was so real.

I was in a room, in the middle of the room was an open casket in which lay my son and around this casket was Angela, her mother and father and strange people . I was drenched in sweat and tears, the realization it was a nightmare slowly came to the front of my mind.

It wasn’t  a casket it was a hospital bed , but the way  they  had him laid out it might as well have been .

I still to this day don’t know who they all were- strangers to  me !  And that was something that would have caused my son such anguish- after all  he could no longer speak , they  would never have dared to  put him in that situation had he been able to  communicate. 

Angela and her mother sat holding court and allowed  and embraced 8-9 people to  hold a dying time….  ” death clutterers to ogle and text  on their phones  around his dying body” .

It was to  me , it was disgraceful behavior and totally lacking respect and love on Angela’s part. I never wanted to  see their faces ever again!  I was sickened at the sight. I went to  the foot of his bed and slowly  pulled a sheet up over his lower limbs, covering the bags and bodily  fluids draining from him.

Chris would have  hated  what was happening, being on show. He thought  thought the  graveside antics of the “Lombardi , Vyka , Gonzales, Gott or Zaworski at a  young nephews graveside on that previous  Christmas morning  was despicable and told Angela at the time, when she came to  pick him up  for the “event”

  “That is sick, no I  am not going , I won’t be involved in that ! What are you  thinking?”

I  can only  imagine what he would have thought of what I  was seeing  as he lay  unable to throw them out, because he would have.

I hoped the induced coma meant he knew nothing of it. I wanted to grab them by  the neck and throw them out on their ear myself. But I  couldn’t  for the sake of my  son.

My  face once again must have communicated  what my  thoughts were  for Angela rose from her seat and said to  the tribe

” I  think we had better go………

to  be continued

 

 

May 3, 2022 at 10:31 am 3 comments

April 3rd-No Limits – Chapter 27- Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

The fog of remaining…….

I sit at this keyboard on a chilly spring day , trying to  be brave enough  to continue with  this story. I am not brave I  am jelly, everything about me is trying to  run from  these chapters , not to  relive the most excruciating  pain that,  for most, is not to be imagined.

Chris Ritchey—- FOG

The extreme emotions that flood through  body  and brain whilst waiting for my son to  pass from this existence  were  somehow blanketed and softened ,at the time, with  a fog of surreality all the while  begging for any  sign of hope.

I know now, after these years of “living  with the loss”,  that feeling – disoriented, confused, in a fog are responses that are the brain’s attempts to dissociate itself from emotional pain.

The brain is built to perceive an existential threat as a threat to our very existence. This triggers what most people know as the “fight or flight” response. Stress hormones course throughout the body. “Your heart starts racing, your blood pressure increases, your respiratory rate increases, you become sweaty, as the body marshals defenses for you to protect yourself, one way or another,” https://www.heart.org/en/news/2021/03/10/how-grief-rewires-the-brain-and-can-affect-health-and-what-to-do-about-it?msclkid=779cd4c4b1d211ec9c8f2a31ff281e84

I haven’t the words to  explain those last days , hours blended into  a few  minutes of conscious  thought and movement whilst trying   to  disappear into  another world of existing elsewhere……. anywhere…. besides that waiting room and those people.

Robotic responses , a feeling of being crushed, enveloped in some sort of claustrophobic existence, all the time wanting to  scream, run , and trying with all my  heart for a solution a way  to  save my  son.

People moved in and out of my  world that week, broken by  surfacing to  what was my  horrific reality . The only  time I  had any  peace was alone in the the ICU room 6 listening to  the breathing of the machine, holding his hand , singing softly  when I could the lullabies from when he was a baby . The nurses told me he could probably  hear me and I would look at his heart rate and when it slowed  from its “rushing pace”  I  knew he knew my  presence.

The times Nikki  was able to  come , his heart rate slowed and he relaxed….. Nurse Heather….. who  always held out hope  for me, from rolling a neck pillow for under his neck, because

“after being so long in one position when the patient woke and was off the ventilator   it would help   with  the stiffness”.

That small act and her caring of my  son as a person  not a lab rat gave a glimmer of peace.  Heather would add  eye drops to lubricate his eyes .  When Nikki  would enter the room and talk to  Chris and his body  relaxed she said,

Oh! I  wish  she could stay  all day, it is the only  time he doesn’t fight the ventilator .

For the next couple of days we drifted in and out of hope. It was about 1 in the morning, I would sit next to Chris all night, you  see I  had this phobia of sorts, that if I could let him know I was there and get him past  “three in the morning”  he would survive another day .

I know how that sounds but I had a morbid dread of that hour   I sat quietly holding his hand, watching  his stats on the monitor, listening to  every  breath. He  seemed to  be sleeping, but then he squeezed my  hand so  tightly  I was shocked, he hadn’t reacted to  my  holding his hand that way , I wasn’t sure what he needed.

hands – artwork Chris Ritchey

Thinking he was in pain I rang for the nurse, two  came in , one male nurse I hadn’t seen before and another who  I had only  seen once before.  , the male  checked the ventilator  and  the other spoke to  Chris. asking him if he was in pain

It was the last time I saw my  son respond , with a slight shake of his head. A few moments later  as I looked at the monitor his heart rate dropped from the 134  to  89,

I said:

his heart rate has  dropped  

They  ignored me, went on  checking fluids , Iv’s etc. Then went up  again  and then it fell  again  I  said:

his heart rate has dropped again 

the male nurse said

” that is what we want it to  do”

but then it went back up again. I could tell I  was being “dismissed”

Chris, seemed to settle back into  a rhythm and around 8 am  I went back to  the room to  try  and sleep ,  knowing we had come through  another night .

NOTE: Talking to physicians afterwards, I  was told that slowing of the heart rate was probably  due to  him  having a  stroke.  Also  the fact that he had pin prick holes in his lungs that were turning leather like  and the pressure of the vents forcing air  was of course  a reaction with  the lungs.

“The machine uses positive pressure to force air into your lungs. Think of standing in front of a leaf blower.” 

Read More: https://www.thelist.com/621631/whats-the-difference-between-being-intubated-vs-on-a-ventilator/

We had sort of settled into  a rhythm ourselves, the Lombardi  Clan and I. I would take the night shift  or when no-one else could be there . I  suppose they  were avoiding me as much  as I  wanted to  avoid them. The Drs. made their rounds in the morning and that was when Angela would be there . I would wait for what she was told or what the nurses would tell me later.

My  physical being , as well as my  emotional  being was suffering . 10  days of barely  two  to three house of sleep   in 24  was taking its toll.  Sitting in the chair by  the bed , scared to  move, had made my  legs and ankles  swell so  badly  I would have  put bags of ice on my  feet to   put my  shoes on.

The type of hospital masks we were required to wear,  as they  were concerned about H1N1, rubbed the tender spot under my  nose. I wore them for so  many  hours I ended up  with  raw spots between my  nose and upper lip, as days went on it got worse. The nurses helped with  some ointment , but I believe stress wasn’t helping the situation.

 

When I  came down to  ICU again,  the morning after the heart beat drop,  all hell had broken loose. Nurse Heather coming out into  the corridor  , the Lombardi  Clan mingled, agitated gestures   and  outraged behavior  met me . I  couldn’t  fathom what was going on.

Nurse Heather,  walked through  them  -faced me took  my  hands in mine  looked me  straight in the eyes, tears filling hers and said

” I am so sorry”

I thought Chris must have passed  without me by  his side, but why  were the faces of the Lombardi  clan  so  animated with  annoyance?

 

Apparently, before I arrived to  the Neurological ICU where Chris had been admitted due to  lack of space in the Medical Unit, Sue Lombardi  had been making her rounds in the ICU again bothering nurses and going into  Chris’s room  and discussing his condition and asking questions as to   the current situation etc. etc.

Chris’s stats and heart rate would  climb when she was in the room and the Nurses on duty  informed Angela :

her mother was not helping him and interfering, bothering other nurses  and asking questions about other patients in the unit and could she not enter ICU alone anymore.

That  had set off the “Clan” and Angela ( Dr. in resident) insisted Chris be moved  from the Neurological Unit  to  the other floor and the Medical Unit. I had no  say  , to  be honest I  was still trying to  fathom what was going on.

Days previously,   a resident  came to  talk to  me from the Medical Unit- they  had room  for Chris , Angela had declined  and apparently  something had upset the resident. Later that night  a Doctor from the unit came in , asked me if I  was Chris mother. Yes. They  wanted “MY” permission to  bring Chris into  the unit .

I said:

if  his wife  said no  and well she is a resident  and knows more than I – I would have to  go along with  her decision. 

I am not sure what that was all about  but it seemed strange  that now all of a sudden the move she had fought initially  was happening because her mother was upset with  the nurses in the Neurological Unit – nothing was making any  sense.

I went into his room a nurse was there sticking pins in his foot and hand. She looked at my  face and said I  am sorry but he has had a stroke , his lung had also  collapsed .

I stood there incredulous, the fog overwhelming me again.  I was then told Angela and family  ( what the hell was I?) had NOW  requested Chris be moved to  the  Medical Unit.

They were getting ready  to  take him off the vent  in order to  transport him. I looked at the nurse and said :

isn’t that dangerous wouldn’t that put his body  through  more stress. 

She just looked at me  and gave a slight shrug and a smile I can only  describe as sympathetic.

The next thing, I was asked to  wait in the corridor . I did.  Chris was put into  an elevator . They  had to manually pump  the oxygen into  his lungs   as he went into  the elevator his heart rate was registering 169 .

 

but the Lombardi’s  had their way  ……..

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi

To Be continued…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 3, 2022 at 2:39 pm 4 comments

January 3rd -No Limits- Chapter 24- Chris Ritchey

 

 

NO LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Cleveland – The Dying Time

 NOTE: Two  years ago  today  I started writing  Chris’ story  of his life and time on this poor planet  . I cannot begin to  tell you  the toll these last few chapters have taken upon my  very  being.

I have to  write at night when all is quiet and I  am alone with  my  tears and gutting pain, trying to  swallow back the emotions that erupt out of  the very  depths of me. It is painful and torturous but I promised and I will keep  that promise to  my  son.

despair. by Chris Ritchey

Chris spent a few days being tested after returning to Cleveland , getting fluids. It was the Friday  before Thanksgiving . I had spoken to  Chris on the phone the night before , he wanted to  come home  for a few days but could he come to  our house as  he didn’t want to  add to Nikki’s work, as she had the baby.

I said that was fine, have Angela drive him here if he was a bit wobbly  to  drive  and I  would get a room ready  and  etc.

On that Friday  I was in K Mart getting  new bedding and towels, groceries  that I knew he would eat etc. for him and anything thing else I could think  of to  make him comfortable for when he came home. I knew that his dog Misty would help  , they  so  loved each  other and Misty  missed him terribly.

My  mother and I  were just  getting ready to  go  through the checkout when Angela called on my  cell phone . I became  a little confused as she said:

“Chris, said that you  were going to  come to the apartment and stay  the night with  him as I  have to  be on duty”

This was the first I  had heard of it , but I didn’t say  anything, maybe Chris had not told her he had wanted to come home . I  would ask him when I  saw him.    I  went along with  her and said

Yes I  can come , what time 

she said  she needed me there by  6.

Ok I will bring him supper  and will be there at 6. 

I went home made arrangements  and took the food up  with  me. When I  arrived, just before 6, Angela had already  left . Chris was lying on the couch  looking dreadful. He hadn’t eaten so  I  thought maybe he needed some nourishment . He ate in silence and then said :

 Mum, you  will have to  go  down and let this guy  in he is coming to  bring an oxygen tank

Why?  what is going on, what happened I thought you  were coming home, I  don’t understand. 

Well it seems he never told Angela about wanting to  come home because he had started having difficulty  breathing  they  went to  South Pointe again.  They  prescribed oxygen to  help  with  the breathing, they  though  he might have the flu.

Oh  that damned flu  shot , I didn’t think  it was the flu  I thought that shot is giving a false reading

but then I thought

it can’t be that bad they  would have kept him in.

The man with  the oxygen tank arrived, hooked  up  this cylinder type tank and Chris looked a little better.  After he left Chris wanted to  watch  a movie . I remember his words so  clearly , he was trying to  put on a movie and the exertion of going across the room  took everything he had.

“This is like drowning must be, not being able to  breathe is so  dibilitating , it is worse than the cancer. Mum what ever don’t let me be pathetic because I  am pathetic now” 

Oh Chris you  aren’t pathetic, you  are wonderful I  love you  and this is  the flu.

 

In my  heart of heart  I knew this was not the flu. I didn’t know what to  say  or do  I  just sat an watched the tv screen, I couldn’t even tell you  what the movie was. I just sat in the chair wanting to  scream out loud to  the gods, to  fate, to  whomever and  desperatly  trying not let my son see I was petrified for him.

He would dose off for a few minutes and then wake fitfully. About 11 pm  Angela called:

She said that she had been speaking to  her father and mother and they  decided they  needed to  get Chris back  to  Houston.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing

Angela,  and her  parents were making arrangements to put Chris  on a damned train to Texas.   They  had made arrangements  for Chris to  leave at three ( four hours from now) she would be home to  help  get him packed  and help  to  get to  the Amtrack station  and take a train to  Chicago , change trains to  Austin and then it was ONLY  a three hour drive to  Houston!

I was incredulous  what were these people thinking ? This young man dragging around an oxygen tank, had to  have help  getting to  the bathroom. He couldn’t even make it downstairs.

For Christ sake those parents might be intellectually  challenged, in my  opinion,  but Angela was a  resident  soon to  be physician, she had to know that would kill him a journey  like that !

Was I supposed to  go with  him him in 4 hours with  just an overnight bag. I really  couldn’t credit what I  was hearing , surely  they  did not expect  Chris to  drag around on his own.

I said there was no  way  that would be possible.

Chris overhearing the conversation was desperate to  get back to  Houston, he thought they  were his only  hope  and he would fight to  get there .

I knew it would be disasterous  to  even attempt that journey  and for ONCE  in this whole fisaco  of Lombardi-ism I put my  foot down and said NO! that was not going to  happen.

I told Chris,

“Look there is no  way  either of us could make that journey and I  WILL be going with  you , trust me on that . I will start calling around for options in the morning , if I have to  charter a plane or hire an ambulance or drive a damned RV to  Texas myself  I will.”

He said

you can’t drive to Texas

I will do  what ever needs to be done I  will call Dr. Younes in the morning and see what HE suggests.

He then slept for a little and I sat up with him all that night watching every  rise and fall of his chest, every  whince, every  sound………

That was the first night  of two weeks of not sleeping for more than three hours at a time………………………….

 

January 3, 2022 at 2:12 pm 1 comment

Dec 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapt 23- Chris Ritchey

NO  LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

OHIO

I was emotionally  exhausted after the flight home from Houston  although, I  was  thrilled the news was good but  terrified at what I  was seeing with  my own eyes as to  how Chris “looked”.  to  these mother’s eyes.

The “plan” was Chris and Angela would drive  back stopping at various sights  along the way and  be back for a few days in Ohio  and then the  return drive to  Houston for ongoing treatment.

I drew Angela aside  and  begged Angela:

‘Please , please leave the truck here and fly  back  here, the Doctor at MD Anderson didn’t think  it wise for Chris to  do  that journey, can’t you  talk with  him he will listen to  you if YOU say you  want to  fly  back! 

Angela’s  quiet reply:  because Angela never spoke loudly

 

Chris, will be just fine driving back to Ohio.” We will take it easy

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey

It was going to  be a lot of driving  but I  hoped that once Chris was home  home Nikki  and I  could persuade Chris to  fly  back and we would rent him a vehicle.

He was taking so  many  drugs, not eating and to  counter the effects  I found he was taking  exlax  like candy.  It was just 36 hours later after I  left Houston I  received a call from Angela saying they  were stopping for the night  in  Jackson Mississippi

It was later the next day  I  received another call, she had had to  take  Chris to  the local ER for fluids, he had collapsed! The Doctors there   wanted to  admit him but they  declined saying they  wanted to  get back to  the Clinic.  I said

“Angela you  can’t  continue driving if he is that ill, book a flight, you  have the money  from the fundraiser that will will cover that cost , can you  drive  the truck to  the airport  and park it? I will have  his dad and uncle fly  down and drive the truck back, that will put Chris’ mind at rest re the truck  .

 

 Angela “What about the keys we can’t leave them , can you  pick up  the spare set  from my  mother at the bank?

I said I  would .

Arrangements were made . I  went that afternoon to  the bank where Sue Lombardi  worked to  pick up  the keys.  She walked acrosse the lobby   with  a silly  grin on her face

“Tim and I  will pick up  Chris and Angela and take them back to  their apartment “

I was fuming underneath  knowing  I  should have pushed more to  stop  that drive back.  I was barely  able to  speak more than two  or three words incase  I said something that couldn’t be taken back.

Her daughter the Doctor,   had she no  common sense?  Side  trips  to  Memphsis indeed when her husband  was downing pain pills for which she was getting the prescriptions . She had to  see how his driving  was terrible and anger flare ups in traffice in Texas. More than once   seeing his “road rage” I  would remind him

Chris, these guys have guns on their trucks  and you  calling them  “dick head” and driving like you  are  , you  are going to  get me shot…

I dropped off my  husband and brother in law at the airport , drove home  and waited .

Finally  Chris called me from the Lombardi’s car and said they  had been picked up  and would call me  the next day.

He did call me the next day  but not from the apartment , he was back in hospital at South Pointe, where Angela was a resident and getting those prescriptions filled  that  I was worried about. 

It was  an I  am OK mum and getting fluids  sort of call. I  told him his truck was nearly  back in Ohio  , his dad and uncle   had driven straight through and they   would leave his truck at  it at Nikkis,as it was safer there will all the items they  had had to  leave.

I was surprised a half an hour later when Chris called back, the inlaws  and Angela had left  and he said  he was alone and wanted to  talk to  me .

“Mum, I am appreciative of everything you did in Texas

 

I said:

I know that Chris you don’t have to thank me

 

He continued :

But I was so mean to you

referring to  the altercation we had  when Angela had lied to  him  and  he thought Nikki  and I  were excluding her .

SEE Chapter 17 of No  Limits 

I responded :

Chris I am your mother , you are allowed to be mean to me , I understand what you are going through , the lack of control over your own life , the anger – it is OK I love you !

 

He said :

You were right I should have stayed in Houston, I shouldn’t have come back to the apartment….. there are so many bad memories – I should’ve stayed in Houston  and I love you mum I should’ve listened

 

I said

Chris, it is no good dwelling in   hindsight….. we will get through this I will see you Friday . I love you

As always he said

I love you too”

I hung up  and burst into  tears…..

I can still hear his voice in my  head , I can  bring those words  to  the fore of my  memory  as if he were speaking them to  me in the present time and day.

That is probably  because  it was the last time  I ever heard him say  those words out loud…… a mother  clings to  every  bit of her child and his life and voice that she can.

 

Note as I  sit  and type this day  of December 3rd 2021-  it is the anniversary  of his passing and so  I am defeated I have to  leave the keyboard and the desk and release  the pain and heartache.. I can write no  more today  the emotional incontinence  that overwhelms on this day cripples  and crushes my  very  core.  … until the next chapter……. and Chris I still love you  with  all my  being……

 

December 3, 2021 at 2:14 pm 5 comments

June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Houston Days and Nights- continued

I can’t begin to  put into  words how stressful it was for both of us , those days and nights. Chris and myself  “pretending everything was normal “ skirting around issues we both  knew were uppermost on our minds.  Wanting to  talk but not wanting to say  out loud our fears, maybe that way  we could hope a little longer.

Not everything was rosy , mother and son facing a terrible unknown locked together in a small apartment.  .Chris tired and in pain. I  knew it wasn’t me he wanted with  him. I  found a note that Angela had left behind in a desk drawer, Chris  was hurt and disappointed she was leaving Texas and it was me that would be with  him.

I knew my presence in Texas only confirmed that he was dying of Cancer, I was a constant reminder that he needed a care giver ( although you felt he could manage on his own to deal with side effects of a trial drug and Cancer) he would’ve preferred that it would have been his wife, not his mother to be with him.

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey

As a wife, I couldn’t have left my husband knowing that he was living under a death sentence and had been since August 29th -but that was Angela’s choice.

I could never understand Angela’s way  of thinking, but tried to  make allowances  , she too  was dealing with  a terrible situation in her young married life. I couldn’t believe that even during this awful, hopeful , chaotic time  she would still try  to  manipulate a situation and lie as she had done  with Nikki  and Chris  and the engagement ring episode.

Chapter  Three :

March 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapt 2 – Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

October 8th:  One month  in and the façade came crashing down, we were due to  come back  to  Cleveland for a few days . I made arrangements to  still keep  the apartment  as they  were so  difficult to  find. To  me, it was worth  paying for it to  be empty  rather than going through  the hassle of  moving and or finding something else.

This one particular day  we did have that heart to  heart that horrible “truth  revealing ” argument  that shouldn’t have happened!

In  the hours before that argument came to a head Chris and I had gone to get his prescriptions- he was tired and in a lot of pain- I said maybe I could pop into Borders ( which was across the way)

I would like to buy the new Dan Brown novel-

I could see he was impatient to get back so I didn’t push it. His mood was dour and his eyes narrowed and lips ( always a sign of anger) were tight. He had been on his cell phone to his wife, Angela, as we waited for his prescriptions. He drove back to the apartment in utter silence . He immediately went out by the pool in the apartment – I could see him sitting not moving. I decided he needed space  -then Nikki called and said that Chris had hung up on her and was very angry.

“but leave him alone mum” he doesn’t want to talk.

I knew my son. I knew whatever it was would fester until he exploded – he was so much like me.

I went to the pool- he said

“I don’t want to talk”

“You don’t have to -you can listen- I need to talk to you”

I was never a crier before Hodgkin’s I was a fighter, a do-er – this blubbering fool that I have become is down to the helplessness and hopelessness that took away happiness. Chris never knew me as a “crier” before his illness – so as the tears fell he sat silently as I told him

Chris, being a mother of a son is so much harder than you can imagine – I have tried so hard to give you and Angela the space you both need in this terrible time. I KNOW Chris, that you are feeling that you have no control over what is happening to your body and your life- I know you need some control , another reason why I have tried so hard to stand aside- you didn’t need me in the mix as well -But I am going to honestly tell you now -if this had been Nikki and not you I would have handled things so much differently – just as Nikki is my child I would not have sat back and taken a back seat to decisions as I have with you and Angela.

You see when a son marries he brings into his life another woman- it is very difficult in the best of circumstances for a mother to sit back and watch decisions being made that in some cases I did not agree with in a normal situation- this terrible situation we find ourselves all thrust into makes it doubly hard. But I have deferred to you both and to her “medical expertise” with this obscenity of Hodgkin’s that has engulfed us. It has been one of the hardest things in the world for me not to interfere or to put in my two cents. There have been times Chris when I have doubted my own abilities and lost confidence in myself – I have gone against my own gut feelings and yet there is a voice that tells me to still be protective of you .

I have tried to give you both your space – to be there when needed and to shut up for your sake when I was totally against some decisions. I have tried for your sake because I love you so much I would do anything and sacrifice anything for your health and happiness.

I don’t know the reason why you are so angry with Nikki and I but you have to know neither of us would intentionally do anything to hurt you . We have tried to put you first in all our thinking – We love you always have and always will. “


With that I left the poolside and went back into the apartment. Chris followed a few minutes later and then it all came out ( as I knew it would) an argument and accusations the finding out of lies that were told

“we had excluded Angela in decision-making as to driving the truck back to Texas.”

He wanted to drive his truck back . I told Angela  in an email ( which I have ) that it wasn’t a good idea him driving, he was having difficulty due to the side effects of SGN35 and I thought she should know since obviously you had been in Ohio since Sept 10th and hadn’t see the problems he was having even driving to Target let alone 1,700 miles.

I never received any  response from Angela to  my  emails ( which  I  still have)

Chris was furious with  me and  Nikki

“You didn’t include Angela”

Me:

“What are you talking about – I included Angela”

CHRIS No you didn’t !

Me.

Would you like to see the emails?

CHRIS: “

Yes! I would”

Me.

So you are calling me a liar ?

CHRIS:

” Don’t give me that F…. shit if I want to see the email then I must be calling you a liar. There aren’t any emails Angela doesn’t lie!

I then pulled up the emails…. all of them sent to Angela

ME:

Look at the dates and times Chris … now tell me I’M the one that lied…… she says here she wants to talk to you about it did she?

CHRIS:

Well she has been busy

ME:

she talks to you 4 or 5 times a day she couldn’t mention it but she could let you believe that Nikki and I didn’t include her?

He broke down  cried….. my  wonderful strong brave son reduced to  tears not by  cancer that night but by  lies and manipulation

She, the loving wife and bride  did that to him by trying to lie by omission … not me ….I held him and he said:

“did you ever think that I want to see something of the country if I am going to be dead in two years.”

My heart broke for him – I cried and we held on tight to each other and I said

Chris none of us know when we will die, the way you are driving lately we could end up dead on the way to hospital tomorrow ….

he laughed a little and I said:

Chris, I know the SGN35 is working, the lump on your neck isn’t visible and you haven’t coughed since Sept 21st.

That  night he went and checked the lumps on his neck for the first time in weeks.  Chris called Nikki back, she and Jim had talked and Jim would take time off work and drive back to  Houston with  Chris in his truck . He told Nikki  he wasn’t really  angry  with  her, just at the hopelessness and helplessness he was feeling. Once again Chris and sister reached out beyond the miles to  each other.

After talking to Nikki he said he wanted to take a drive, we still had the hire car. He left-  I wasn’t sure where and I was worried- he was in so much pain and on so many pills –

A little while later he came back ….. he walked in patted me on the head as a I sat in the chair and handed me a book as he walked to the bedroom – The Lost Symbol by  Dan Brown…………

June 3, 2021 at 1:06 pm 6 comments

May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey

 

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Houston Days and Nights- continued

I haven’t the words to eloquently or adequately   explain the emotions that crash  in and out of your being as you  watch your child battle to  stay  alive. This enemy, came to  conquer , not with guns , bombs or knives it was insidious in its will to  win turning the very  body  of  its victim  against itself. Cells that were made large so  the pumps of the body (lymph nodes) plug  and distort. It circulated through  the life giving blood stream through  the lungs causing coughing that wracked the very  body  trying to deal with  the attacks.  Cancer in all its forms is and obscenity .

I tried so  hard to  keep  cheerful, what 29 year old wants to  be with  his mother. I  know he wanted Angela there knowing the trial was his last hope for a cure or at least remission. I know he wanted to  spend what time he had left with  her . I know I  was the best of a bad deal . I argued with  myself, stop  watching his every move, deliberately  giving him space, taking myself out to  the  pool side to  read, even though  I  was petrified of the little gecko  things running about the pergolas and tables, I  didn’t scream when  they  ran across my  foot or thought I was a roadway  across a chair.

Chris, would spend time going to  the rifle range or to Cabelas.  We tried to  see some of the area when we could and when he felt up to  it.  JD  and Karen, had been out of town for a bit. Chris, after one of the infusions  of SGN 35 could barely  speak the the next day  but when JD called he put strength into  his voice so  JD would not realize how poorly  he was feeling.

Tears welled up  in my  eyes and I  had to  go  out into  the lawn area and have a silent cry  by  myself. Only  I wasn’t by  myself one of the other residents I had noticed  sitting by  the pool, looking as I must look, was there.  She looked up  and me as I was not winning the battle of holding in the tears and noticed she too was crying. She reached up to  hold my  hand  and I  sat down and there we sat for a long time. Two  humans knowing nothing about each other, never speaking  sharing  the impact of cancer. I learned she too, was caring for her  grown daughter as the husband had to  stay  in Indiana for his job and children.  Her daughter was also  on a trial at MD Anderson and a last hope.

 

Hands – Touching- Hands – art work Christopher Ritchey

On the good days we toured Houston. He had wanted to  go  horse back riding. I hadn’t been on a horse in 20 years ( I was then  a lot thinner and in better shape)  and Chris  hadn’t ridden since he was a little one. I made arrangements for the following day. Of course,  that night poured with  rain and  a warm front came  dripping over Houston. I  wrote on my  blog at the time :

NOOOOOO!!! this isn’t a picture of the horse after I rode it. Whew! 90 degrees yesterday after a rain that could’ve floated a boat. My foray into the wild west “avec” plastic helmet. I realize that horse rentals have to protect their clients but you tend to lose heat through your head … just ask a politician 🙂 and when it is covered with plastic and foam OMG!!!! Anyway 2 hours later after riding through swamp and shrub and bush I now remember why cowboys are bowlegged. 

Chris, had become very  interested in life in Texas , so  different from Lorain , Ohio.  One of our days ( again in that heat) was spent at George Ranch Historical Park. It was fascinating seeing the 1830’s cabin and farm  the humble beginnings  to  the 1930’s house “George Cattle Complex” . Of course then there was that oil that helped

“The discovery of oil on the Ranch in the 1920s changed the fortunes of the family and the community forever. The George’s son and only child died while just a toddler and their beloved cousin and presumed heir Mary died tragically when she was a young woman. With no living heirs and a considerable estate, the Georges established The George Foundation to ensure that their wealth would continue to benefit communities across the county into the foreseeable future. This charitable Foundation still exists and gives back today and helps bring you the story of the remarkable family who loved, grieved, rejoiced and lived on this enduring stretch of Texas prairie.”

It was a good day  and Chris was enthusiastic. I  was once again feeling like I would die from the humidity  and heat at any moment but we laughed  and enjoyed a day  without the mention of Doctors or cancer . I would have put up with  heat, humidity  and wading across  the little river filled with  alligators just to  see him smile and laugh .

Mothers and Fathers who  are losing their child will do  the deal with  God, the stars , fate  whatever they  believe, ”

“take me instead  let my  son/ daughter have life and laughter and old age…………”

To  be continued………

 

May 3, 2021 at 1:53 pm 3 comments

April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey


untitled

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Houston: Days and Nights continued:

Being able to  sleep at night did not last long. Although,  I  was more relaxed because I  could try  and take care of Chris, see to  his needs, cook for him I spent my  days watching every  nuance of his being, and nights listening to  his cough  and worrying. 

After the first weekend we settled into  a routine of trips to  the hospital , taking the infusions and blood test. One of the protocols of the trial of SGN 35 involved writing down  and filling in a daily  chart as to  his  physical and mental responses each  day, reactions to  the medications etc.

A Pivotal Open-Label Trial of Brentuximab Vedotin for Hodgkin Lymphoma – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov

Chris, understood,  along with  tests this questionnaire and his answers would be part of the decision making as to  whether he would be able to  continue with  the drug/infusion SGN 35. And that is a problem, when you are told you  last chance for a “cure” ( there is that word used by  Dr. Brad Pohlman a couple of weeks prior basically  giving Chris the death  sentence) you  will do  anything to  stay  on the trial. Chris would duly  fill out the questionnaire every  day  and turn it in on his appointment days. The problem is  I know his pain level was NOT a three, that he was not having any  significant side effects.

After the first week I went to  the evaluation with  Dr. Younes’ PA, she was extremely  nice  but was concerned as Chris had lost 4 lbs. since she had seen he and Angela that 1st week. I wanted to tell her that he probably  had had nothing to  eat but a plate of spaghetti for days but kept my  mouth  shut.  I assured her I  would be cooking his meals at least three times a day . When we met with  Doctor Younes Chris asked him  for a prescription for Oxycodone  for pain. I watched the Doctors face 

“You shouldn’t be feeling pain on that level, why are you  on Oxycodone it isn’t in your notes….”

I immediately  realized Chris had committed a grave sin in asking. I knew Angela had a prescription filled for him from the Clinic. I hurriedly  stated. 

Oh! he was given a few after the lumpectomy when they  did the biopsy on his neck  a few days ago  and he was in a lot of pain after that surgery  and  that is why as the prescription  was only  for a few of them. 

That seemed to  satisfy  the doctor. When Angela called that evening I  explained what happened and that the Dr. had prescribed Darvon . I  mentioned the Doctor was not happy  with  Chris being on the Oxycodone  . She just  giggled and said

don’t worry  I  will get Chris a prescription….. Darvon  is nothing more than Tylenol and does nothing” . 

Darvon

Well I wasn’t going to argue after all she was the 3rd year Resident. Apparently  by  this time Chris had developed a tolerance to  pain killers. He told Angela the Darvon wasn’t doing anything  and she said just double the dosage, until I  come down next week . Keeping my  mouth  shut was getting more and more difficult. 

Hurricane Ike had left its mark on many areas even a year later. We decided to take a drive to Galveston, I had been there with Nikki for dance competitions a few years previously and it was very interesting. Unfortunately, Ike had done a lot of damage and it was depressing . On the way Chris got a phone call from the Cleveland Clinic. The results of the compatibility test for his sister being a donor for the stem cell transplant were in. They asked if Nikki was his twin because the results were extremely good , very high and they usually don’t get those type of results except with identical twins

Breathing a sigh of relief as we now had another option in our arsenal we stopped for lunch. Our view of the sea front was dismal

.

The Flagship Hotel remains after Hurricane Ike destroyed most other businesses on the coastline in Galveston, Texas, Sept. 19, 2008. U.S. Sailors assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) are providing defense support to the city?s civil authorities. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Chris Hoffpauir/Released)

 

There was one seafood restaurant open and we sat in the balcony over looking what was once the USS Flagship Hotel.

I deserved and needed  a drink, something I don’t often do . The pier on which the Hotel was located obviously had been pretty hard hit . The waiter told us a lot of the business along the sea wall had not survived. Chris walked down along the beach and called Angela with the results from the Clinic and I sat on the bench and called Nikki. Once again HOPE!!!!!

To be continued

April 3, 2021 at 12:04 pm 1 comment

NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13

ED NOTE: These next chapters are among the most difficult to  write.  I  have to  “emotionally” pace myself so  I  can get through  the memories both mentally  and physically.  . Those who have lost a son or daughter  know that for the rest of your life you  are locked into  the “time of loss”. The days, week, months and years  go  by  but you  are held  within the  grasp  of those last moments and times of your child’s leaving.   You  see,   the part of you  that was theirs dies too, you  are not the same person you  were and you  never will be again.  Your body  adjusts, the brain tells you don’t go there, you  learn to  dodge the known triggers , the brain tries to  protect, to  stop  the gutting grief from destroying what is left of you . Your mind goes into  “protect mode” however, when revisiting  those times intentionally  in order to  tell the story  you  are a raw  and and the wounds open  as the days of death once again are relived..   

No  Limits – The Book

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Houston Days and Nights

I  watched as Chris and Angela went through  “security” at the Cleveland Airport. I hoped he would be able to  get on the plane. H1NI ( swine flu) had reared its head and the airlines were on the lookout for anyone displaying symptoms . Since the Hodgkin’s tumors were making their presence known once more in his body  he developed a cough  as the lungs tried to  expel the foreign body.

“Try  not to  cough  Chris , that would be all we needed to  be banned from the flight”

It had been a whirlwind of action since the phone call that morning  and now I stood in the lobby  of the airport drained, hopeful once again and yet wondering WHY?

Why  was life being so  cruel?

I had booked  Angela and Chris into  the Marriot Hotel near  MD Anderson Cancer Center  for  three nights. I wasn’t sure how long the tests and interviews would take . I got a phone call from Chris that night to  say  they  had arrived and were having room service  ( was that OK? ) I told him:

I didn’t care they  had my  credit card information whatever makes life easier for you  darling

We aren’t wealthy  but I would have sold my soul for him and I would worry  about the debts later.

The next day  I did not leave the phone, finally  Angela rang to  say  that although  MD Anderson had also  closed the trials for SGN 35  they  were going to make a place for Chris on that trial as he fit the profile  and he was going through  a barrage of tests.

Cancer Clinical Trials | MD Anderson Cancer Center

Relief flooded back filling the void of fear once again. Then more good news, trials aren’t typically  paid for by Health  Insurance , again I would have sold my  house if need be, but Angela  being an employee of the Cleveland Clinic  insurance did cover the trial even though  Chris was not at their facility  because he had been denied a place in the Cleveland Clinic Trial.  I truly  felt things  may be falling our way.

After the tests they  concurred Chris was right for the trial. By  now we were at the start of the Labor Day  weekend . Chris was set for more tests the following week  and all being well the first infusion of SGN 35 on September 11th. I  had contacted the family  services people at MD Anderson  to  see about long term lodging. The hotel would be  far to  expensive  over $230 per night  at that time.  I needed to  get them somewhere comfortable and close.

The offices  emailed me a list of about 50 hotels and apartments all of varying quality  and prices.  I had no  clue about where anything was in relationship  to  the Cancer Center , nor did I  know anything at all about Houston.  I gave a short list to  Angela to  see if she could find out any  more information.

Chris called that evening , the tests went well and acquaintances of both  the Lombardi’s and actually   of mine had interceded by  phoning  friends  with  whom they  had been college roommates  who  lived in Houston.  JD and Karen , these people were wonderful they  took Chris and Angela under their protective wing  and invited them to  their ranch  for the long weekend.  I was thrilled , some normalcy  for once. Chris was so  happy  I could have cried.

I found out that  MD Anderson was huge bringing in patients from all over the world  and the places available for short stay/ long stay  accommodation  were few and far between. I reserved a couple and asked Angela to check up on them for suitability . I lost two   because “they  were going to  look after the weekend”

I couldn’t seem to make Angela  understand  this was probably  NOT going to  be an option. I received a call from the one Houston Apartment  Corporate Housing. I had reserved a one bedroom apartment but they  had someone else wanting it so  I  took it sight unseen. It was the Esplanade.

Angela  was not very  happy  I  had done that but I  said

“you  have to  have somewhere to stay and Chris needs to be where he can rest. I  have taken care of all the finances, all you  have to  do  is bring your cases  and get some food shopping  “

It had been decided  that Angela would stay  until the night before his first infusion on the 11th   but she  would return to  Cleveland on the 10th.  I didn’t know what to  say , I realized Angela would need to  come back  to  sort out work and necessary  details but I  thought she would take time off to  be be with  Chris. After all this was a “trial” he was weaker than ever with  the cancer coursing through  his body, surely  she didn’t intend for him to  stay  there by  himself.

Angela said:“He will be fine…. there is a kitchen and he can order in pizza and JD and Karen had lent him a truck……he has to  take ownership  of his illness”

I was incredulous, like it or not my  son was facing death  and an unknown treatment. Nikki  said upon hearing this :

“mum you  have to  go  and be with  Chris, he can’t handle doing this on his own” ” Who  will see to  it that he eats, that he is OK  , you  know how hard it was on him with  the chemo….call an ambulance….”

I could see Nikki  was also so worried so I left for Houston on September 12th, as Chris  refused to  let me fly  on September 11th.  I told him I would find my  own way  from the airport as he needed to  rest after the infusion of the day  before.

The night before I  left Sue Lombardi  and Tim arrived at my  front door with  a suitcase of clothes and essentials  that Chris had asked  Angela to  get to  me as he went to  Houston with just a small bag .

Chris’s dog, Misty, was a loopy  friendly   bundle of happy, she loved everyone, we always joked if an intruder came to  the house  she would lick them to  death

So  I was shocked when Sue walked into  the living room and Misty went mental, growling, teeth  barred and barking  definitely  in a protective mode. Neither  my  husband  or I  had ever seen her demonstrate such  behavior , she would not stop  and it was very  embarrassing. Finally  realizing this was not stopping, my  husband put her outside where she continued to  bark as if the devils from hell were threatening us.

Looking back it may  be because underneath  all the smiles and nicety, nicety syrupy talk Sue was giving off vibes the dog could understand and saw her as a threat . I don’t know but Misty never behaved that way  before or since  or maybe she knew the true character of the woman who  would cause us so  much  pain

To  be continued……

February 3, 2021 at 1:12 pm 3 comments

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