What I learned

We arrived home nearly a week ago from a much needed getaway to the furthest south I’d ever been. And as with all places, I can’t wait to return to Arizona one day. When I go again, I’d like to see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. They were on my list to see this time but would have added a couple more hours driving during the first leg of our trip. Through a little research, it’s just as far to those areas from Vegas as it is from Mesa so when I book a trip to Vegas, I may opt to take a day or two detour that way.

I’d also love to return to Sedona one day. The city is surrounded by so much healing and peaceful energy. No wonder retirees flock there.

I read something recently that mentioned spending time with your mom helps her live a longer and happier life. Not only do I agree with that, but I think the opposite is true too. This was our 4th year of mother/daughter trips and each time I learn so much more about myself, about her, and about the world. More than I could have ever imagined.

This is the first trip we went on that I didn’t blog each day but if you’re reading this from my blog, I post-dated our adventures. I kept a running list and outline of all the feels and things we encountered so I could be more in the moment with my mom and less in the computer.


Something I haven’t mentioned in my travel posts this trip, was my moms health. Starting the first day of our trip, my mom experienced a shortness of breath but we weren’t too concerned with it. Or at least, I wasn’t. In my research, I had read that with such drastic altitude changes (the drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon specifically), we might experience some of that. To combat it, my reading told me to take breaks often, not to overexert ourselves, and to stay hydrated. All of which we did.

I didn’t have much trouble at all during the Grand Canyon adventure but looking back, she had made quite a few references to feeling winded.

Throughout the rest of our trip, this shortness of breath continued. She explained it like taking a big deep breath at the doctors office when they’re listening to your lungs but not being able to. Going through the motions of breathing in deep, but not being able to actually breath in deep.

Once we returned from our trip, back to our home level of flatlander altitude, she still wasn’t better. Trouble breathing paired with wheezing regardless of what she was doing. My mom did find herself at the doctors office after a couple days being back home. They gave her a steroid shot and a nebulizer treatment. They also set up up with an x-ray and an echo-cardiogram followed by making her an appointment with a pulmonary specialist because everything to this point came back inconclusive.

In short, she learned that her lungs are functioning at 68% capacity. At this time, it doesn’t sound like they know how or why this happened. Perhaps the sudden symptoms came on from the adjustment in air density or something else? My mom doesn’t think she’s ever been at full lung capacity; she worked in a factory as a young adult and grew up in a smoking household. With the shot and the nebulizer treatments, the doctors hope that her lung capacity increases. I believe she has a couple of follow up appointments and will be retested this summer to see if that 68% can increase to 75% or greater.

This situation put the blessing of life into greater perspective for me. While I learned a lot about myself on this trip, I unknowingly learned a lot about my mom and her level of perseverance. I internally applauded my mom when she unashamedly went swimming while on vacation and continue to be in awe of how she carries herself in the world, how she raised me and my brothers almost single-handedly on her own. While some people want to provide better lives for their children then they had, I want to grow up to be just like her. I want to love and be a positive influence for my future babies the same way she has been for me. I want to instill values and genuine goodness in them. I want them to look at me the way I look at her; forever in her debt. I’ll never be able to thank her, or my dad, properly for being our parents but I’ll forever know how incredibly blessed I am to have them both.

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