Friday, July 22, 2011

cancer fashion

Not to be outdone, Tay sports her favorite look for the summer, a la Mommy. (Special note, sassy animal print scarf courtesy of Aunt Robyn).

The front...

...and the back. Show us what you got, sistah.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We all know M is truckin' through radiation, and the finish line is clearly in view. I think it's a good time to share some cancer moments that will make you smile.

There is simply nothing better than flame vedibles topped off with a cancer churo at T & B (Taylor & Bennett) Cancer Diner.

These are some well-adjusted children, friends, we should all tear a page from Marci's parenting bible.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not sure if any of you follow Susan G. Komen for the Cure Phoenix on facebook - if not, and in case you are interested, they just announced a race volunteer meeting next Tuesday, May 10 from 6-9 p.m. at Phoenix Baptist Hospital in the Arlene Copley Wellness Room (South Building).

However, I'm still following closely so that I can help organize and mobilize Team M once they officially start registration for the Oct. 9 Race for the Cure in Phoenix. Looks like registrations will be open in August - not sure when they will set up all the fundraising. But stay tuned, because we'll be planning for one big celebration!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Been thinking about you a lot lately sis, and waiting for a great blog inspiration. Felt the need to check in :), so just a litte note before your sixth - sixth!! - chemo treatment. Home stretch!

Looking forward to making plans to celebrate Mother's Day with our mom, coming to T's recital in June, getting our families together for swimming and a cookout, and starting to tune our iPods for ASU football tailgate mixes. Clearly, no pesky disease is going to slow us down one little bit. Life will be going on, perhaps not exactly as usual, but just as full and robust, long and happy. I know this in my heart. You're so close.

My family went to the YMCA this weekend to work out and swim, and I noticed a lady kind of looking at me while we were both on the elliptical machines. Later, I saw her in the pool while we were swimming with our families. She came up to me, and asked if I was a breast cancer survivor - she had seen the pink band on my wrist. I told her no, that my younger sister was in the middle of her fight. We spoke for a few minutes. She was delightful - and an 8 year surivior, with two young children. I felt such genuine happiness for her, and thought, yep, that will be you soon.

Hang in there sis. We love you so much.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I’ve always been pretty intuitive. And I know where I get it (shoutout, mom). I can read people pretty dang accurately, after being around them only a short time. It’s engrained in who I am, on almost every level.

Seldom, however, do I run into people who are just as intuitive as I am, if not more; and able to show me things and help me see things even more clearly than I thought I saw them already.

I have a friend who went through a deeply traumatic experience with her family – an experience that, of course, changed her life forever. But when you talk to her about it, that’s where the clichés end. Her honesty about what she’s been through, is still going through, and will go through forever, opened my eyes to the fact that it is okay to say how you really…no I mean REALLY…feel. In a way that gives you permission to just tell it like it is. She is completely authentic, even if her story doesn’t go the way people expect it to. And she’s not ashamed of it. It can be almost liberating to have a conversation with her. (Which clearly I've don'e recently.)

Since M was diagnosed I’ve found myself taking a closer look at my life, and how much each choice I make throughout my day really matters. That, my friends, sounds totally cliché as well. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who is close to her is looking at life through a new lens. But when I stand back and take a look, I’m like, no, really, I am subconsciously turning everything upside down and inside out. Some days now, I will find myself impatient and pretty much done with things that are taking my attention and energy, that in the grand scheme of things may not really matter; things that take me away from my children without really, really good reason. Things that stress me out and make me impatient with my husband and family. Done with them. Want no part of it any more. But it’s not until I stand back and connect the dots that I consciously connect this new need for renewed meaning and relevance in my life with M’s cancer.

So I guess I’m doing this very cliché thing in a very authentic, and organic, way. I see my friend, and how her experience has shaped her into a person who doesn’t take a single moment for granted; like she said, spend the extra $20 on the good bottle of wine, and take your husband on that trip you’ve been talking about for years. Not because we think we’re going to be hit by a bus tomorrow. But because sometimes we get this wake up call, reminding that life is meant to be lived.

She opens my eyes to things in me that I either didn’t see, or didn’t choose to see; and spending time for her is, quite simply, good for the soul. She reminds me that this authenticity is what we need to have in our lives, every day, every hour, every second. We owe it to ourselves, and to those we love.

A couple of weeks ago, before I started this two week business trip marathon, Larry, the kids and I met up with M’s family for dinner. Barros for pizza. Which sounds like a totally nice, run-of-the-mill family event, right? But really, it wasn’t. I wanted to write about it, but wasn’t quite ready yet; after spending time with my friend tonight, I knew I was ready, because what was kind of lurking under the surface became crystal clear to me.

My sister and I have always been very close. And while I think that we have always both been totally comfortable being exactly who we are in front of each other, I think that this life experience has begun to change us both. From honest to authentic. When we went to dinner that night, and my beautiful sister was sitting next to me with her bald head wrapped up tight, it was clear to me that walls had come crashing down since last time we were face to face. I felt something different with her, and I even told my mom the next day, I’m having trouble putting my finger on it; but something had changed. It was as simple as her telling me, among other things, “You know, we have to make it a point to do this more often.” Simple words, and I can’t really articulate why they felt different, but they did. I knew, immediately, that she’d never meant it the way she meant it that night.

No. REALLY. We have to do this more often. Because life is meant to be lived, with those you love, whether it’s pizza at Barros or the Louvre in Paris. Just do it.

And to my friend – thank you. I hope you realize what a gift you are.

M - we look a lot more alike without the blonde mane!

Friday, March 11, 2011

cosmos & clippers

Drove home from work with tear-stained cheeks today. As I got in the car to go home, I noticed a text from my sister, nothing but a photo.

I was kind of surprised that it made me burst into tears the way it did. It wasn't all sadness. Not really sure what it was. I called Larry, because, well...that's what I do. And he said, oh honey, you knew it was going to happen. And I said, of course I knew it was going to happen. But it actually happened. That's different.

It's just a moment. I was so full of something I can't entirely put my finger on, something that came back to me when I called M later to see how she was doing.

She sounded, well - really, really good. Free. Relieved. The image she gave me - relaxing on her back porch, in her jammies, brand new wrap on her newly-shorn head, sipping vodka and cranberry - told me that, by all accounts, she was really doing okay.

I asked about the kiddos, and she said her son (8, brilliant, and adorable) did a pretend faint when he saw her. Then it was back to their normal routine. They were ready, and maybe a little relieved, too, that finally Mom was bald just like she'd said she was going to be.

Sounds like her hair started falling out early this week. And once it started - it came out in droves. She said it was everywhere; even in JY's coffee this morning. She said that the hair that had detached from her scalp, but was still on her head, made it itchy and uncomfortable. She was thinking about it constantly and by today, it nearly sent her over the edge.

So instead of letting her slowly dying hair make a long, dramatic, and agonizing exit, she decided to take control. I can't tell you the relief I heard in her voice. And I couldn't help but think about JY, cutting her hair for her, how much he loves her, how he's taking such exquisite care of her, and how strong he is for her. I cried for that, too.

So you see why I don't think these were tears of sadness.

You see, M has always seen her hair as perhaps her best asset. And gorgeous hair it was. We Pinkston girls were blessed with thick manes of hair; and hers was meticulously cared for, perfectly colored and cut, lovingly maintained. But now, M, you have no choice but to learn that it never was your hair that made you beautiful. Silver lining.


Not sure any of you, other than M, can ever understand how much I adore my Aunt Sue (because she adores her, too!) Except maybe my Mom, 'cause she's her sister :). In a show of solidarity straight from Texas, another short haircut!

Love you Aunt Sue - and love the hair, too!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Well I kind of fell off the grid last week, as M recovered from her first round of chemo. Work has been off the charts, and add to that the kids' crazy schedules and plays and research papers and science projects that got put off until the last minute - I feel like I have three full time jobs. Mom, C&M Coordinator, and 8th grade student.

It's funny. I thought I had a really rough week last week (haha, right?), and was in this crazy funk because I couldn't bring myself to pick up the phone to call M OR Mom - I have my theories why, but won't bore you with that here. Suffice to say that each night as I fell asleep and thought about how I hadn't touched base with my family I felt so guilty, and then I woke up and the insanity hit again... Thanks Mom for calling and setting me straight. And, love M for reminding me, once I finally picked up the phone and called, that indeed life is still happening all around us even though she got cancer.

She had her second round of chemo on Monday, and I finally called that afternoon. Was home with a sick kiddo for two days, so I was forced to take it down a notch.

I think we were all riding a big high as that whole diagnosis phase came to an end. I know I was. Those first few weeks of simply not knowing was awful. Horrible. Never, ever want to go through that again. God bless M for holding it together like she did - the strength she had to muster, I can't fathom. Having that part of the journey complete made us all breathe a hugh sigh of relief. Finally got some good news, knew the plan, and were ready to help M roll up her sleeves and start the fight.

So now, chemo. What a blessing that, if it had to happen at all, it happened while she is young and healthy. Because it sounds like the first chemo treatment was pretty uneventful. From what she described, it sounds like the first trimester of pregnancy. Another blessing - modern medicine. The anti-nausea meds have her very comfortable so far.

But my heart still aches when I hear about some of the other subtle side effects of chemo that she's starting to experience, that I assume could get a little worse as the poison that will save her life continues to build up in her system. It makes it all so real again. Not the least of which is the hair. We're all ready, but in many ways, we're not. I think about it and it starts to feel so surreal, again, even after sitting in the surgery waiting room twice already.

We all know it's going to be a good outcome. But it's still a challenging journey ahead.

My daughter has heard me talk about "supporting Aunt M", and now every time she sees something pink she wants to get it to "support Aunt M". This weekend it worked, and she now has a new pair of pink high top Chuck Taylors. Am I getting worked over? Entirely possible...

And lastly please indulge me with a shoutout to my incredible husband. I tend to get kind of moody and hands off when I'm feeling overwhelmed. But he is my rock, even when I tease him with blog posts about q-tips. I think about M and her husband, and I think how very, very lucky and blessed we are to share our lives with people who make us whole, through good and through bad. Again with the blessings. If only I can be to him at least half of what he is to me.

Friday, March 4, 2011

How many of you ladies out there feel like you are always the one to refill the q-tip/cotton ball jar in the bathroom?

I conducted an experiment this week. Our q-tip jar ran out Monday, and rather than fill it, like I always do, I just used q-tips from the big box under the sink. I know for a fact that my wonderful husband uses at least two q-tips post-shower, every time.

Hypothesis confirmed. It's Friday, and the q-tip jar is still empty.

No, this has nothing to do with Marci's cancer journey. But I thought you all might get a kick out of it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

And the fight has begun. Chemo is underway, and we are all praying that it zaps the last of those little bugger cancer cells. As I spoke to Marci Monday, I was more thankful than ever that we live in a time when they can make her so very comfortable.

Team Marci bracelets have arrived in Texas! From Houston:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Silver lining day! Took a personal day from work, and spent it with M and Mom. Breakfast at La Grande Orange (greatest english muffins EVER), and then haircuts and wig shopping. M wanted to cut her hair before she starts chemo, so that it isn't quite so dramatic as it starts to fall out. M's admitted ulterior motive...never in a million years would she have taken a chance at cutting off her hair, and this was her chance to try out a short cut to see if maybe she's ready for a change. Mom and I cut our hair in solidarity, and M and I even had enough to donate.

Anyway, lo and behold - M's hair could not be any cuter! So I wouldn't be surprised if, once it grows back in, she doesn't decide to rock a shorter 'do. I know a couple of us will lobby for it - SUPER cute short bob. Wig shopping wasn't too difficult, either; the ladies at Tina's Treasures at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center were fantastic. M ordered a wig with another cute shag cut - getting to try several different new styles on for size. Okay, again, not your first choice of ways to try a new hairdo...but continuing to keep that glass half full.

The day was meant to be fun when we planned it; but it ended up a celebration of sorts, because it sounds like we can be pretty certain that the cancer has not spread. I think I talked in a past post about redefining good vs. bad news...well, no redefining needed here. 100% good news! We (because we joked today how we all have cancer, because we're always saying "we") are officially moving from diagnosis to treatment...and before we know it, she'll be going from patient to survivor. No doubt about it.

When I explained to O why I cut my hair, she was concerned that when we go to Aunt M's for Christmas Eve next year, she still wouldn't have any hair. "Can we touch it?" she asked "Touch what?" I asked. "Her head...without hair," O replied. "Will it hurt her?" Through all my explanations about what to expect, I'd forgotten to tell her that the hair would grow back. New territory - trying to explain these things to kids. You just never know where their brilliant, literal little minds will go. A learning experience, for everyone.

I know that there will be difficult days ahead. Especially for M, JY, and the kids. But today I just felt it. I know in my heart that everything is going to be fine.

Monday, February 14, 2011

This will be short - because it's 9:40 Valentine's Day (or night by now, I suppose), and Larry and I have barely had a chance to say more than 10 words to each other. He had to work late, I handled dinner, kids got their Valentine's treats, he did the dishes while I did some necessary computer romantic, right?

I have to say that when times are kind of tough - whether we're talking about M's cancer, or a stressful job, or the constant pressure of parenthood - that is when you really find out who you love, and who loves you. Who you can count on. And funny, it's when you need it most when you really find out how big that circle is.

So, in honor of Valentine's Day...

I adore my husband, without whom I'd never be the person I am today. Who keeps my world balanced. Who loves me on my grumpiest days. Who is a wonderful father to our children. Who I don't tell, or show, nearly enough how much he means to me.

My children are my obsession. All you parents know what I mean; there is nothing like the love we have for our children, and I'm not really sure I can put it into words. When they curl up next to me and put their heads on my lap, or reach out for my hand - heaven.

And my family. Mother, sister, and brother, a special but completely different bond with each. I can only hope and pray that I can give to them the same kind of support and love they give to me. Aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters in law, cousins - at a time like this, it's amazing how miles melt away, and I almost feel like I can reach out and touch each and every one.

And I can't leave out friends. Both old and new - my friends, M's friends, Mom's friends, and even friends of friends, who have our backs; praying and rallying while M heads over the hump, transitioning from diagnosis to treatment, and helping us all to keep our strength up and spirits high.

Yep, today, it's pretty clear what's most important. And it's not whether or not my team at work can get our inaugural graduation picked up by the national media, or if Larry's company snags the big contract, or if my kids make the honor roll. It's how we hold each other sacred, and never ever take it for granted.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of my family and friends, both old and new. You are all loved.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I think sometimes you don't realize how stressed out you are until it's settled in for the long haul, embedded to the point where it will be really, really hard to extract.

I came to this realization last night when I pulled out the party-sized bag of pretzel M&Ms I impulsively grabbed at Sams Club, and placed it on the bed next to me to eat as I read "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" on my Kindle. They tasted so good...even though I don't normally eat a lot of sweets. I do sometimes when it's That Time of the Month. But not to this magnitude. I'm also beyond exhausted; and I've been going to bed by 9:00 and sleeping until 6:30 or 6:45 in the morning. 9 to 9.5 hours - plenty.

Said M&Ms are on the bed next to me right now, too. There's just a lot going on. And while I know there are better ways to handle it than ODing on M&Ms, given everything that's going on in my life right now, and my family's lives, I just don't feel all that guilty about it.

Tonight, as I go to sleep, I will do two things. One, I will summon the dream I had the night before M told me about her cancer, and concentrate on that fire, on that one wall, not one flame spreading. Two, I'm going to visualize, just like I did the night before her first surgery, exactly what we're hoping additional tumors, no sticky cancer cells, just a few stray ones circulating around, kind of like the smoke in the house.

I know how antsy I am about the PET scan tomorrow; I cannot imagine in a million years what she is going through right now. Sometimes, I wonder if NOT knowing is better than the agony of waiting for more test results, when you know the treatment is going to be the same either way. Of course you have to do the tests, and know for sure. It's just so excruciating. I'm praying that she can find some peace, get some rest, and just get through this last week and a half. Scan, surgery, and then the last of the pathology - then we can finally, finally start killing those cancer cells.

My life has been insane the last few weeks, although I refuse to complain about it. Work has been so busy, more than normal - we are at an extremely pivotal time, about to implement a groundbreaking plan and completely reorganize our org chart, taking us to a whole new level. Exciting, but demanding, and mentally exhausting. G landed his first speaking role in the winter production with the local children's theater company, meaning rehearsals M-Th and Saturdays. O has gymnastics and dance, C has guitar, and they all have homework and chores. And this week my afternoon sitter is in Hawaii. Thank god Larry cooks dinner every night, and usually does the dishes. Sometimes I don't know how we get through it.

So it's funny, and it may sound crazy, but I end up feeling guilty not thinking about M more. What she's going through is, on every possible level, so much more important than than all these other things that are demanding my time and attention right now. Of course, my family is important, and my life and theirs have to continue. But then she'll drift into my mind and I'll think, how have I not thought of her more today? How could I be so selfish, with everything that she is going through?

I am not sure what I'm thinking I should do; I call a couple of times a week, especially when I know there is some new news to talk about, or a pivotal day of some kind coming up (planning to call her once kiddos are likely in bed). I write, and I do this in her honor, as much as I can. I've always believed in the power of positive thinking; for many, this is the power of prayer. So maybe I'm feeling like I am not doing as much of this as I should, to give as much of my energy as possible to helping her get well.

It's that constant battle of needing so badly to do something to help, but not having anything really tangible to do. Of wanting to be able to make a difference - to help her cope, to help her get well, to kill those cancer cells myself - and I don't think anything I ever do will feel like enough.

I heard a Breast Cancer 3-Day ad on the radio today, and nearly burst into tears. I've heard them a million times before. But now when the woman in the ad says, voice cracking, "I never thought it would happen to me..." oh my god, do those words have so much more meaning now. I listen to those voices, of survivors and of their loved ones, knowing, for the first time, exactly how they feel. I will forever be a supporter/walker/donor/advocate.

It's 7:59 and all I want to do is go to sleep. And eat a few more M&Ms. If only the laundry fairy would visit, so that I could perhaps rest a little this weekend. If only.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I had a little dose of sadness yesterday, because M talked about getting family portraits made before she starts chemotherapy. Another one of those reality go along with the news from the oncologists. Nothing new, nothing we weren't expecting. Just that dose of reality we all get every time she goes to the doctor.

I've heard several people talk about loved ones who battled cancer, whose hair grew back completely different than it was before. What if it grows back dark and curly like mine? That would be kind of a hoot. Anyway, if our tentative plan works out, some little ones who don't have hair of their own will have wigs made from me, M & Mom's hair. We'll all go sassy and short before M loses hers. And in my commitment to look at the good side of things...115 degree summer day, might feel kind of good without a head of thick hair! Not her first choice, to be sure. Or even her 400th. But you've got to get through it, right?

Another thing working in our favor - timing. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Phoenix is Sunday, Oct. 9. By our calculations, M should be finished with chemo and radiation by that point, and had a chance to start feeling normal again. Then - a chance to celebrate her being cancer-free with a 5K with family and friends.

This will give her, and all of us, something to focus on and plan for while she's going through treatment. I'm getting kind of stoked. Even though we will plan to walk the 5K, I got so pumped about it that while I was at the gym on Saturday I actually jogged on the treadmill. If you don't know me well...this is a huge deal. I barely get to the gym regularly and am carrying PLENTY of leftover baby weight. But by god - if my sister can muscle through surgery, chemo and radiation - then I can damn well jog a couple of miles. Muscles are a little sore today, but totally worth it.

So ladies, get ready to raise some money for breast cancer research, and be thinking of a killer team name. One of my ideas? "Juggies", like on the Man Show. Hubby and I are huge Jimmy Kimmel/Adam Carolla fans. Let's come up with something awesome. I am waiting for them to post the registration information so that I can get it all set up...

Still, a few tears in the shower yesterday, after getting all this week's updates. Just a few. Your mind just goes there sometimes, especially when you're reminded of all the realities surrounding M's cancer and the things that are still unknown. That damn waiting rearing its head again. But she clearly has excellent doctors, who aren't wasting a moment in getting her every test and exam needed to move her along as quickly as possible.

Going online now to hook myself up with some of those little pink bracelets. If you want one, let me know :).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

So I got all excited when I spoke to M on the phone the other day, because she mentioned donating her hair. I had been thinking the EXACT same thing, and had even looked up the Locks of Love website to see what the locks requirements were. 10 inches…I might have that much by March or April, when she will likely start chemo and the hair starts to go. Colored okay, but not bleached.

I’ve been kind of holding out for something I could do to show my support. I’d been thinking lately, perhaps subconsciously because of M’s cancer, but thinking nonetheless, that I might be done with the whole long hair thing. This would be perfect – we could go to see her hairdresser together, before hers starts to fall out, and get sassy short cuts and donate our hair. But…foiled. M’s lightest color is bleached. So I don’t think her hair is donatable (is that a word?). Apparently they can pick the gray out of mine, but not the bleached bits out of hers. Back to the drawing board.

So I thought, perhaps a subtle pink bow I could get for my purse, or even some of the pink rubber support bracelets that I could buy and send out to some of our closest family and friends. I went online to look around for what I might be able to get my hands on.

Lo and behold – you would not believe the breast cancer merchandise out there. I found everything from Ugg-style boots with the pink ribbon logo, to pink camouflage support ribbon-shaped kitchen sponges. I am all for supporting the cause, and if buying the camo kitchen sponge gives more money to breast cancer research, well then I suppose that’s a good thing. But good lord. Just make a nice $10 donation to Susan G. Komen.

But I guess, too, that that’s just my style, and different people deal with their journey in different ways. Putting that pink ribbon on everything they own may just help them feel better and get through difficult days. And I have to be supportive of that. However I will not be buying M a handmade ceramic pink ribbon wind chime for her back porch.

Monday, January 24, 2011

So I was talking to my sister tonight, and shared with her that I was doing some blogging about her ordeal. Private blog, of course; although she said she was okay with me writing where everyone can see.

She actually said she might like to read it, as long as I called it "my sister is awesome" and didn't have any depressing things about dying. Sense of humor - intact. So today I am going to send her an invitation to read this - after I change the blog name, and take off the hokey background with the birds.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What a difference a week makes.

Funny how you know yourself so well, but you still struggle, even though you know what you need to do. And doing that thing is still hard. You'd think it wouldn't be so hard to open that door with your own sister, one you love and are close to.

All I needed was to hear her voice and have a conversation - any conversation, really. Many conversations. Even though there is one big thing going on that is NOT part of what we would have previously called our "normal" lives, we have to recognize that it is going to have to become the new normal. Then we still have our kids, school, families, jobs...and those things deserve our attention, too. They will be key in helping her keep the cancer in perspective, and not letting it take over. I know I was worried about what I could do for her - not any more. I think I get it. And it's not anything I can buy or touch or, right now, really articulate.

During these two weeks since the initial diagnosis, I think the shock of the news left us all reeling, wondering what seat we should take on sister's breast cancer bus. Everyone, myself included, who love M needed to do something, wanted - needed - a seat. (And a couple of folks really want that seat up front). But what we really needed to do, still need to do, is just wait and sit where she wants us to sit. I think she'd prefer a minivan...but that's never going to happen. Too many people love her too much.

What has been the hardest so far, other than the news itself, has been the waiting. She had her surgery yesterday, and we got exactly what we'd hoped for - no surprises. But we have to wait for almost a full week for pathology to come back and let us know if any of those pesky cancer cells have snuck out of that golf ball-sized tumor and wandered into the lymph nodes, or farther. I can't imagine how good it must feel, though, for her to know that mean old tumor is not in her body any more. I hope that she is finding peace in that as she awaits the next round of news.

Prior to the surgery date, I kept telling people that I wanted to be there for my Mom. Wanted to support her through the process. Ha. Who was the one who broke down when the surgeon was giving us the low-down? Me. Who lost it two more times before we left the hospital? Me. Sometimes that reality just comes crashing down on you, and no matter how prepared you are, and how badly you want to be the strong one, you just are who you are. And I think I'm learning that it doesn't matter who is there for who - we're all there for M, and tears are a-ok.

Little side note...I am trying really hard to take the negative out, when possible, when referring to M's cancer journey. Cancer stinks, and the tumor was an ugly unwelcome visitor in her body. However the cancer journey happened for a reason, even if we've yet to fully understand what that reason is. But now that it's part of her life, I refuse to refer to it in a negative way, because, well, it's hers. She is a beautiful and wonderful person, and now, this journey is part of that.

So in that spirit, I'm going to try to make mention of anything positive that comes out of this. I have a couple. One is that I talked to my cousin today, and because of what's happened, she has scheduled a mammogram (she is under 40, too) to take a look at something that has been bothering her in her breast. Praying that it's nothing - but thanks to our cancer journey she's getting it checked out.

Two, and this one is a little farther removed, is my own introspection. This will be an ongoing story for me, I am sure. Today what I found, in my effort to reprioritize and figure out what's really important to accomplish during my waking hours, was a new pasture of peace and patience that allowed me to interact with my daughter in the loving and patient way I've been striving for. Homework at 7:30, right before bed, a lovely 1/2 hour spent with my 7 year old - unheard of, right? It was heaven, and I need to find that place much, much more often. In an indirect but significant way, I have M to thank for that.

Monday, January 3, 2011

As the days go by, it feels a tiny bit less shocking each time I think about it. Although I don't think you can ever get used to having a percentage tacked on to the likelihood of a loved one beating cancer. I know it's the doctor's job to be conservative, as false hope would not serve anyone well. And I think the odds are going to be very good. But still.

All I know to do at this point is to try and be there for her in the best way possible. I know my sister; she is very private. But she also has an army of wonderful friends who will soldier through this with her. They have already mobilized to pool money to get her an iPad for her to use during chemo. And they are joking about the casserole brigade. They will buy her Kindle gift cards and beautiful silk scarves. So what can I do? They are all stay at home moms; they will be able to cook for her and watch her kids and help her with errands. I live almost an hour away, and work full time. I can't give her nearly the support they can in these ways.

I am just so sensitive to not wanting to bombard her with calls or questions. I don't want her to cringe when she hears the phone ring again. I wish so badly that I knew what I could do for her. I know that if it were me, I wouldn't want to have to tell the same story over and over again; but I'm not her. I just don't know. And I NEED to do something to help.

I have always had what I would almost call a phobia, of not wanting to be a nuisance to people. A fear of the telephone - that I will interrupt people, or that they'll feel obligated to talk when they don't want to. A fear of reaching out, worried that people don't want to be bothered. It sounds silly when I try to verbalize it, but the truth is that it extends all the way to the people I love who are closest to me, with perhaps the exception of my Mom and my husband. I think what happens, with friends, co-workers, acquaintances, everyone, is that I end up missing out on relationships or even close friendships because I've been afraid to reach out or reciprocate. But now, I can't let this fear get in the way. I have to work through it. If I know M like I think I do, I suppose I should just ask her.

Today was my first day back at work after a two week holiday break. Naturally there were a few people I had to tell, as I expect to be out of the office a little over the next few weeks. I still get weepy when I tell someone for the first time; it's hard for me to understand why I continue to have this visceral reaction, as I've gotten pretty used to the news and think I have control over my emotions. My family and home life obviously keep me very busy, and help to keep my mind off of things...but last night, as has been the case several evenings since we heard the news, once I lay down with my husband and allow my mind to wander, I find my way back to this, and I cry.