I have been thinking of starting a blog for friends and family. This would also include family that I haven’t seen or met ( I will get to that in a moment). But I am someone who loves to communicate. It is a form of therapy for me and who doesn’t need a little therapy now and then.
As I said, this is also for family I haven’t met. How is that possible? Well I have to back up about 27 years for that.
Time for a flashback.
My dad and Phyllis started dating in 1990. As time went on, I met her 2 sons, John and Brian. We were adult kids for the most part (as much as 18 -20 year old kids can be adults) and didn’t have any negative feelings about our new blended family. I wanted my dad happy after the reeling loss of my brother, Jeff, in ’87 and Phyllis made him happy.
Now what I didn’t know was that Phyllis comes from a huge family. If I recall, there are 9 of them ( I am sure when someone from the Hosler side reads this they will correct me if I erroneously forgot a sibling, please feel free too). As I started to visit my dad and Phyllis in Milan and stay there while I was going to college at EMU, I started to meet them. Everywhere. I laugh at this still because Phyllis and I would go to Kroger, or to the Legion, or ANYWHERE in Milan, I would meet an aunt, a niece, a nephew, an uncle, or a cousin. I firmly believed and still do that the majority of Milan’s population is related to Phyllis somehow or someway.
Overtime, I too fell in love with this beautiful, funny, kind and generous woman and was proud to be introduced as her daughter and proud to introduce her as my mom. My life was full. I had my Korean mom and my American mom. How blessed can a girl be with 2 moms that love her unconditionally.
June 1st, 2016 – Phyllis’s ALS Diagnosis
I will just say, that is the worst day of 2016. I posted about in on Facebook here. I waited a few months to come out in the open about it. But it still cuts me to the core.
Now with that brief flashback, I want to help the extended families with updates. Again, this is my form of therapy so I hope it provides you updates on what is going on.
Status on Phyllis’s ALS: On November 9th, she had her appointment with the ALS team at U of M. This team is awesome and they review her case, her current status, and the progression of the disease. Unfortunately, we did not get the news we were hoping for. The said her form of ALS is Bulbar ALS. In short, it is the most aggressive form and we were given a timeline of 3 months.
We have went from 2-5 years to 3 months.
I try to not think about it too much. I keep my mind busy with the typical working mother and wife responsibilities. Work, School work for my 11 year daughter, Hunter and Granddaughter, and Groceries, Christmas shopping, cards, ect. You get the point. As long as I don’t have time to think about whats coming, I can focus on today and the present. I focus on making the time we have left and how I can, with the help from my brothers, make it special and full of love, laughter and smiles.
The past few days we have spent the time with family over the Thanksgiving break. Coming from extended families, I spent the actual Thanksgiving day with my mom and then this year, I went to Dad and Phyllis’s to spend the holiday with them too.
We had all of us there. The 5 big kids: John and I, Brian and Suzie, and John Covel, and the 5 grand-kids. There was a few times where we had her laughing so hard and it is good to see her laugh and smile. The funniest part was when John Covel bought an air horn for Phyllis. The commentary around getting my dad off his ass with an air horn was pretty comical. He won’t need his hearing aids for that!
On Tuesday last week, they delivered Phyllis’s hospital bed. A sobering moment that forced me to think of what’s to come. After the bed was delivered, I asked my dad if he had sheets for the bed. He said ‘no, but they will make due’. I decided that I was going to go and buy her a new bedroom outfit. If this was going to be her new bedroom, why not make it pretty. A long time ago, when she and my dad were dating, I moved back in with my dad to go to college. I was the typical poor college student. She and I went and bought a whole new bedroom outfit for my room at the Sand Lake cottage. Matching bedspread set, wallpaper, decorative pillows, no expense was spared to make my new room ‘Home’. I never forgot that and felt it was the least I could do. Hunter picked out the set. Lets just say it may be more appropriate for an 11 year old girl, but Grandma Phyllis loved it. Dad told me that she cried when she saw it.
Phyllis is doing her best, but she is declining. Many of you that haven’t seen her in a few months would be surprised. But she still has a smile for us when we see her.
In closing, I will try to post an update weekly. My entries may also be about random life stuff too, but I figured this was the best way to keep everyone up to date.
I have one last request. Yesterday, I saw her get a Christmas card with a lovely note from my cousin Penny in California. She loved it. If you are family, friend or newly acquainted friend can you take a moment to send her a Christmas card this year? Their address is:
Butch and Phyllis Russell
13885 Murray Dr.
Milan, MI 48160
All the best to everyone who reads this. I know many have struggles going on that we may not see or hear about. We are stronger with family and friends and be kind to one another.