Colleen's Journey

Another Day…

I’d like to blog about butterflies and puppies and how we are making each moment the best it could possibly be, but I can’t. Life is so up and down right now. Mom has a good day and we think, “Hey, we are on the upswing!” She has a bad day and we think, “Sh*t! Is this the end?” We are on a roller coaster in which we have no control. Mom gets one or two good days for every four or five bad days. She is exhausted. She has trouble breathing. She is frustrated.  She doesn’t want to die. We all feel this way. Its a horrible situation. I was not there yesterday morning, but apparently mom had a panic attack while only Chloe was in the room. Chloe acted bravely and perfectly and screamed for Billie who came rushing in. Billie was thankfully able to calm our mom down with an Ativan and Dilaudid and a soothing voice. Scary stuff. After that turn of events, mom slept most of the day but was able to get up for about an hour later in the afternoon to spend some quality time with her sisters Kathy and Kaytie and her cousin, Cindy.  So far today, she has only been up long enough to shower.  We are hopeful we can spend a few minutes with her at some point before the day is over. It’s terrifying how things change so quickly.

It’s weird feeling like we are living in a fish bowl. My sisters and I laugh a lot when its just us. We also share a lot of tears during very serious conversations. We are becoming closer as we experience this shared pain and fear. I feel safe in their presence. I never usually realize how truly sad I am until I am around people other than my sisters and husband and then it slaps me hard in the face. It’s hard being out in public and putting on a brave face. It’s hard pretending we are ok. The truth is we are terrified. There are so many unknowns in our world right now. The stress is almost unbearable. I’ve realized the key to survival is to stay in the moment and count our blessings. Much easier said than done.  If I think about the future, even the chores I need to do this afternoon, I get overwhelmed. The truth is, in order to be there for our mom, everything else suffers. We don’t see our kids enough and rarely ever see our friends. There’s no time.  I know this too shall pass, but in the meantime, it feels like we are stuck in quicksand. Honestly, I would rather live in quicksand than lose my mom. We are barely treading water, but the things that are currently keeping me afloat are: God, my mom’s amazing smile, my kids, my husband, my sisters, and the ability to put all my negative energy and frustration into our foundation that will one day prevent other families from suffering the same fate.

I realize as I write this blog that I am complaining. I hate complaining. As I sit here and type on my iPhone, I am reminded that my mom has never once complained of her situation. If only I could be as strong.

  • Kathy Ulrich

    I am so sorry to learn of the changes in Colleen’s condition. I had followed her blog for a long time and when nothing changed, I stopped thinking all was well for now. I have always felt close to Colleen, even though we did not have much of chance for that. But as a breast cancer survivor, she inspired me and I even started my own blog for breast cancer people (now very neglected). Since our husbands worked together untl last May, it may have been well that we were not closer. But I treasure the bits of time we had together. She has been a guiding star for me on my journey and will continue so. You girls are a living tribute to your mother. To know you is to know her. Blessings and peace to you all.

  • Erica Zanetti

    You aren’t complaining… I didn’t read a single complaint. It was a beautiful and honest post. You are putting all your time and energy where it needs to be. You are incredibly strong and sharing your true feelings and not holding back proves it. I hope tomorrow is a good day xoxo

  • Paola

    You are brave, you are generous, you are a blessing to all who know you! I wish I could take just a moment away and let you take in one unfettered breath. Much love, always prayers, to each of you.

  • Pamela

    I can’t say anything that doesn’t sound trite so I will just say that I send loving kindness and compassion to each of you every single day. I breathe deeply IN for Colleen, because that’s hard for her, and I breathe strongly OUT because I know you, Michelle, Danielle and Billie are all holding your breath. With love ~

  • Jeane Marie

    Hey there,

    Thanks for taking your precious time and reporting on your mothers status.

    I can’t imagine the pain you feel. Please know you are not alone. All of us feel the sadness of losing Colleen, although nothing compares to the startling reality of your world.

    Your reports of her bravery let me know she is still in the game, even though, the clock is ticking down. The human spirit is amazing.

    Being honest is not complaining. You have every right to feel all the emotions of this trying time.

    I am so sorry.

    Please give my love to your Mom.

    Jeane Marie

  • Kristen Danielak

    Please know there are prayers from your Illinois family for your Mom and all of you. Our mothers are cousins. My Grandmother (Muzz) was a Bootz. I’m sorry to hear of your mom’s illness. I pray for her comfort. You are a wonderful family and I will pray for your strength. Love, Kristen

  • Kathy Heiple

    Nicole, you speak from the heart. I feel through your words the pain. My Father died of Cancer many years ago. It is truely a rollercoaster of emotions. Put this in Gods hands and just be present in the moment. Gather strength through your sisters, husband and children. Your Mom has given you the gift of strength. I just feel blessed that I met your Mom and all of your family. Love to all of you.



  • Mary Jo Saviano

    Nicole and all, I have been checking in on you and your mother off and on since she was first diagnosed and more recently I’ve checked regularly. Every time I see her lovely smile and her bright blue eyes I remember the woman I met and spent Orientation weekend with at Drake U all those years ago. I am thankful for those memories (I especially remember how easy it was to get attention at a restaurant when I was with her, she always turned heads – quite a perk!) When we introduced our daughters, Nicole and Anna, and they became college friends it felt like such a blessing. Colleen is in my prayers and I hold all of in my heart.

  • Sherry Coltman

    Nicole, its important that you share your feelings in writing or the spoken word. I too read no complaining…just compassion and love by all of the Drury sisters and families. Enjoy even if It is just a few minutes a day with beautiful Colleen. All of you continue to be in our prayers for strength,love and peace.
    Blessings, Sherry & Don Coltman

  • Sue Erhard-Knick

    Colleen, I love to see your smile as you are surrounded by your beautiful daughters and grandchildren. Your smile shows yor spirit, which has never changed since we were kids. As cousins, we shared so much of our childhood together and you always had a smile & a twinkle in your eye, although it sometimes meant some mischief was soon to be ours!! You have always had a zest for life & would squeeze as much as you could out of every day. So Col, keep squeezing, you inspire us all to live each day to the max. You are loved & cherished so much by so many, especially me , your “favorite” cousin!! I love you & will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  • Jackie

    I believe God puts people in our lives that we need. Our short meeting in Baltimore has had more of an impact on my life than you may know. Your mom and you have been an inspiration to my family and me. You have justified all my feelings through your blogs. Your support and small texts have brought incredible comfort in this battle with our moms and I know that I am not alone. I read all of the blogs and can’t help to hear my voice in all of you. My heart is very much with you all even though I am on the East Coast. Your mom is an amazing woman and you are amazing girls. In this fight and foundation may you and all the families who are in this fight find a silver lining and some comfort that we are not in this alone. I pray for you every night and think of you everyday. Give her a hug for me and thank you for all you have done for me and all of those fighting this fight. Much love from NJ. XO