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.