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My Mom Has Cancer

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10K

So, on the eve of the Monument Avenue 10K, there’s a few things on my mind

 It was last year, that my mother actually walked in the 10K. I remember seeing the pictures of her and my aunt walking in support of the cause and in celebration of the fact that they had both beat breast cancer. This time last year, we couldn’t have imagined that my mom would be going through it again and even worse this time.  I walked in the house and found her in the bed not really able to move after just having a blood transfusion. Tomorrow when everyone else is walking, she will be at home being looked after because it’s difficult to just move through the house without assistance.  This isn’t the woman I knew just six months ago.

I spoke to her earlier in the week and she said she had two things made very clear to her. The first was that she was sick.  It has been several months now, and she’s at a point where she realizes how serious things are.  That hurt to hear because it means she’s that much closer to not fighting anymore.  The second was that she knows she needs help to do most things around the house.  I’m not mad about that one. She does.  I want her to put every bit of energy she can into dealing with this disease.  If you need someone to drive you around so be it. If you need help getting stuff around the house, tell someone.  That’s not hard.  There are too many people around who love her to not give her every bit of assistance she needs.

 I’ll be walking without her in the morning…

 It also hit me that this weekend will be the last time for a while that everyone is around.  My brother just got a job in Charlotte.  He’s talked for a few years about wanting to move there. Finally, an opportunity has presented itself and he’s decided to take it.  I’m happy for him.  He needs to be able to move forward in his career.  I’m sorry it had to happen at this time.  I know my mom needs all the support she can get and sometimes, just knowing everyone is still around is enough to pick up her spirits.  It’s bad enough that I live 2 hours away and now he’s going to be 4 hours away.  I know I already miss him so she’s gotta have mixed feelings about it. You don’t want to hold your kids back from pursuing their dreams, but you don’t want empty nest to set in while being told you’re not going to be around much longer.

My biggest consolation in all of this is my wife’s support.  She’s really incredible to me and has her own story of pain, yet she’s here with me and ready to walk to show support for what my mom is going through. Aside from the walk, it’s been the best thing for me, having a wife that can step back and see that there are a lot of things I’m dealing with and provide whatever support to me that she can.  It really wouldn’t be possible for me to handle seeing my mom in this condition without someone at my side.  It’s very endearing to know how hard it is for her to deal with sickness and potential death, yet she’s right there everyday trying to keep me up and do whatever she can to help my (our) family out.

So, the temperature is supposed to be around 60. I’m registered and ready to go. I want to go to sleep, but all I can do is sit here and stare at this screen.. That’s how all of my nights are now, I’m either up doing random mindless stuff because I can’t sleep, or I had to be undressed and put in the bed by my wife because I crashed.  I keep thinking I’m going to wake up one day soon and have my mom back the way she used to be. Thinking about that statement makes me feel like I’m just lying to myself.

So mom, here’s to hoping 2012 will see all of us (you included) in the 10K together, crossing the finish line and knowing that we really did win.  That’s what I want to dream about tonight.

Don’t Repeat Past Mistakes

So, I just got a phone call from my mother-in-law. She was calling to offer her support and urge me to go visit my mom. I have a feeling that my wife mentioned to her that I was going back and forth on whether or not to go visit my mom this weekend.  Today is my third anniversary. I really want to celebrate my marriage. As much as I want to see my mom, I feel like everytime I see her has been on a positive occasion. I found out about her cancer on my birthday weekend. I spent Christmas with her before being forced back on the road by the threat of bad weather. Now, here it is, January seventh and I have the opportunity to go for a visit and I can’t compel myself to get on the road. Read the rest of this entry »

Time To Get Ill

I heard today that MCA from the Beastie Boys has been cleared of his cancer.  He’s been under a regimen that included Chinese medicinal and herbal remedies as well as a vegan diet.  Of course, in trying to be the optimist about my mom’s situation, I wonder how this could help her if at all.  The frustrating part about medicine is that even with as many advances as we have, there are still so many things we can’t do. Read the rest of this entry »

Can We Talk

I have a friend who’s an author that I haven’t actually spoken to in years. We built a great website and cultural blog back in 1999 that’s still very popular today.  Every year, I usually reach out and wish her a happy birthday through whatever social site is popular at the time. This year, it was twitter. After sending her happy birthday wishes, I noticed on her timeline, her refusal to mention the C word.  I read a little more and found that her mother was dealing with cancer as well.  I thought to myself how sad that was because as long as I’ve known her, she’s been able to make people laugh at her own misfortunes and observations of life and laugh right along with them.  There was something about this though, that didn’t seem to be something she could laugh at. Because I was now going through a similar situation with my mom, I really wanted to reach out and talk to her. We’re both about the same age, we worked together through a very rewarding and stressful project and we’re both now dealing with our mothers having cancer that we thought was all gone.

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You Will Die

OK, it’s Christmas and I got home at 2 in the morning.  I got a little sleep before waking up to eat and spend some time with my family. I was in the den and saw all of my mom’s paperwork from the doctor. I haven’t read it all, but I saw a page of handwritten notes.  I was reading down and maybe got to like the 8th line and read “you are going to die.”  I didn’t know what to think at that moment.  It felt more like this should be part of the script for House. I understand being honest with your patients, but when you put it in writing like this, it makes everything seem so hopeless.  Everything about my life has revolved around hope, faith, and perseverance.  There’s a part of me that wants to meet this doctor and show him what I think of his notes. I know that doesn’t change things and what he said is true.  She is going to die.  We all are.  I don’t fear that statement so much.  It’s all about how you spend your time while you’re here.  And I just think she’s still got more life in her than can be measured. I’m gonna go enjoy some breakfast with her now.

Can I Be Mad At Her?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking regarding how all of this came about.  After thinking too much on my own, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m mad at my mom because I think she’s known for longer than this.  First, there was Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. It was both my mom and dad’s sides of the family over for dinner.  My parent’s house is not big by any stretch of the imagination.  We had to spread people across 4 rooms to eat. I can’t really think of any other time when both sides of the family have gotten together under one roof. Just coincidence? Maybe. Then, there was the pain she was feeling on that day. I found her sitting in a chair quietly to herself in her bedroom kind of zoned out.  I asked her what she was doing and she said she was waiting for some medicine to kick in because she was hurting pretty bad. I don’t know my mom to hurt that much.

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Happy Birthday

So, I’m supposed to be celebrating my birthday this weekend, but it turns out that this year’s not like every other.  My father called asking what I was doing and if I could come home.  He was strongly urging that I needed to be there because my mom needed to talk to my brother and I.  I already knew she was dealing with something because of the pain she’s been dealing with, which for my mom, isn’t normal.  Of course, the fact that she had been through breast cancer just a couple of years before also krept in my mind. I knew it could come back in some people, but it appeared that my mom was in the clear. Still, I knew it could be serious if this was the case.

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