Mother’s Day

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Today, I am celebrating Mother’s Day 5,000 miles from home.

For the first time in a number of years, I won’t be spending Mother’s Day with my mom and mother-in-law. They, along with my dad, however, enjoyed a special brunch together at GSV, the senior community where they live.

Even if you haven’t been following along on my previous travel posts, you may have guessed from the picture above that I am in Hawai’i. The orchid lei I am wearing was presented to me for Mother’s Day by my Honolulu resident daughter and son-in-law, right before we went in to St. Patrick’s Church, their neighborhood parish where we celebrated the wedding in November 2012. They sing in the choir for 8:30 Mass. Sometimes, Larry plays organ, but it wasn’t his turn this week. Beth did cantor, which was nice to hear, as we did so often in our home parish.

It was Good Shepherd Sunday, which was a happy co-incidence for Mother’s Day, as the care and concern of a shepherd mirror the care and concern of a mother for her children. We also got to sing some hymns that I don’t often get to sing, such as “This Is the Feast” and “Hail Thee, Festival Day.” Before the dismissal, there was a lovely blessing for mothers of all generations and varieties, including foster mothers, godmothers, and mothers-to-be.

I am happy that, for the first time in a number of years, I am able to celebrate with both of my daughters and, for the first time ever, with my son-in-law, who made Filipino food for Mother’s Day dinner. That’s another first, as I had never had Filipino food before. Dinner was so delicious! We had pork adobo, which was pork marinated in soy sauce and vinegar, chicken afritada, which is a tomato-based stew, pancit, which was thin noodles with vegetables, including snow peas, cabbage, carrots, and baby corn, and rice, because all Filipino meals must have rice!

Despite all the firsts, the constant has been my husband of almost 32 years, without whom I would not be a mom. Thanks, Brent, for your love and support that have made it possible for me to be the best mom I could manage to be for the last 28 years.

News from back home

I was awake early today, which usually happens when I know I have a morning flight. Because we were ready early, I called my mom, which, on Eastern Daylight Time, makes her six hours later than on Hawai’i Standard Time. (Given its latitude, Hawai’i has no use for shifting its daylight hours later.)

That morning, my mother had heard back on some tests that she had had done. It turns out that she has giant cell arteritis, a condition that often occurs with polymalgia rheumatica, for which she has been receiving treatment with steroids for about a year. This link has further information on both conditions.

A few days before we left for Hawai’i, I had been thinking how lucky we were that my dad, who has had a number of medical issues in the part year, was doing well. That same day, my mom had an appointment with her family practice doctor, who was concerned that her sed rate wasn’t staying down. She had had a couple of instances with difficulty chewing crunchy foods and he was concerned that she had developed giant cell arteritis. He wanted her to see a rheumatologist, have more blood work, and see a surgeon for a temporal artery biopsy. She wanted to wait to do the biopsy after we returned, but it turned out that it was arranged for more quickly, so she had it taken last Friday, with the results coming today, Wednesday. It was a bit of a shock to us when the biopsy came back positive, because the only symptom she had had was the very occasional jaw pain. No visual problems, no headaches, no sensitive temples or scalp. Given that it was caught early, there is little chance of any lasting damage.

Mom’s doctor is about to retire. We were joking that he wanted to go out with a bang, diagnosing a serious condition early on minimal symptoms. It shows the value of having a good family doctor looking out for all aspects of your health. Even though he is retiring, my mom will be in good hands, with care provided by her new rheumatologist and one of the younger doctors from the family practice who has been her back-up provider in recent months as her long-time doctor has been cutting back his hours to ease into retirement.

Now, nothing else is allowed to happen on the medical front, at least until we get home from our second week, now in Honolulu…

 

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