Sunday, January 25, 2015

Raise Your Glass - Pink

And I’m happy to report that my baby, First Daughter is cancer and TUMOR FREE!  It’s a wonderful feeling after so much waiting and wondering and then worrying.  I’m sure there are stories like this every day, even with rare tumors like the one she had, (1% chance of getting this kind of tumor where she got it)  but unfortunately most of us only hear about the really scary ones, the ones that aren’t success stories.  And I just want to go on record for saying there is so much joy in a happy ending to a cancer scare.  And I think that we should discuss and spread the tales of happy outcomes rather than sad ones.

She is moving, but slowly, and gets her stitches out on Thursday.  I saw the scar or what might become a scar for the first time last night as I helped her change her dressing.  Being mirror challenged as some of us are, she was afraid to do it herself, and then the little girl in her came spilling up to the surface as she looked at me with her big blue eyes and said, “and  I’m a little afraid to see it.”  To which I completely understood because as her mother, I was A LOT afraid to see it.  But together, like Alice in Wonderland, we faced are fears together, and it was not as bad as we had imagined.  Although the stitches are the heavy duty Frankenstein kind of stitches that are designed to keep all your internal stuff inside.  Not the little baby stitches I’ve seen before or had.  This viewing of her wound has made it all again much too real what my baby had to endure for the last few weeks.

But she has inherited her mother’s sense of humor, as she relayed to me last night at dinner, “One of my co-workers said, ‘Oh when are you wrong?’ and I replied, ‘Well, I thought this (tumor) was a muscle strain…..’ I thought that was funny but it was greeted with complete silence, so I took a pause, and said, ‘…too soon?’”  I laughed with her that yes, that was definitely my way of approaching real fear, humor and laughter.  And I’ve been told by best friends and professionals that is the best way.  I guess being a nervous laugher has some benefits.

I hope all your cancer scares are as successful as my daughters and that you never have to go through what she has gone through only to find out the worst possible outcome.  She was and is so brave and I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, “She is everything I ever wanted to be, and she blew right through me…Ya Ya!”


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Benign!! My New Favorite Word!

I think most of you out there reading this know me personally but just in case or in case you want some real scientific information on the tumor that First Daughter has, and is having removed on Thursday, here are some links:, and one from First Son’s Wife, Only Daughter-In-Law:  The surgeon, one of the best in the nation, said it was a giant cell tumor.  As interesting as both of these links were to us, as we stumbled around trying to find our feet after the first doctor said, “tumor” all I could really do last week is worry that my baby had cancer.

Now I understand for any of you that have experienced the real horror of a malignant tumor that this might seem dramatic or attention getting hype, but it’s not.  It’s just a mother finally getting to relax and breathe and think about what her daughter has had to experience.  The pain, the worry the fear, can be overwhelming.  All of it, (except the pain) is gone now, and I was left yesterday and the day before with an incredibly huge weight lifted off my shoulders and an equally huge desire to just sleep.

I’m taking this opportunity to thank everyone that reached out to us during the last week, both publicly on FaceBook, or in person at her hospital room, over the phone and via text, and especially to the ones that felt it necessary, however inconvenient to their own lives, to reach out in private.  Thank you!  Thank you so much for caring about her, about us.  About what we were going through.  We heard from so many people who we have not heard from in years.  It was quite amazing.

And on the other hand quite sad.  That it took a possible tragedy to bring some people back into our lives.  Even if it was only briefly for that moment in time.  I am thankful for it.  Being so far away from so many of you, without that love and support, I know it would have been a much harder week.

And while it was very necessary to talk about what was going on with her and fill everyone in, some days many times a day, I must say, thank you to Mr. Hopeful for being the most helpful to me personally, in trying to distract me from it all, and just breathe and celebrate (finally) the good result and our good fortune.  It really is too bad that you are so far away, but I felt you here.  I felt all of you here as you hoped and prayed with me.

And yes I prayed,  to my parents God, to my higher powers who are old Gods; and I prayed to my departed family and friends to push her back if she got too close to the light or them.  To just not let her into heaven.  Somehow seeing my parents faces, and a recently departed friend, with their arms crossed standing determined in my mind, gave me strength.  I know it sounds silly, but I believe in something after. Don’t know what, don’t even like calling it heaven, but there is something, and my daughter is too young to go there!

So, here’s to BENIGN!  And may all your problems disappear as quickly as this one is for us.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hospital, Tests And Not The Best Coffee

And here I sit in the hospital room of my First Daughter.  You heard me right.  She is sleeping, and I am going to try and blog some of this worry away so that I can be strong for her.  I love her so.  And I hate to see her in so much pain and confusion.  Not knowing what is causing her pain is the worst part, and yet also at this time, we know nothing so we still have so much hope that it’s not cancer, but something is growing, and in the last five days as gone from nothing to the size of a small egg, at the base of her collar bone and neck.  Right were there is a joint (could be inflammation) and a group of lymph nodes, (could be cancer) or a tumor, or a cyst that has grown and broken her clavicle.  The doctors just don’t know yet, and the biopsy, which they admitted her to take, yesterday evening after 5 hours in the Er, has still not been done, nor do I know if it’s been scheduled yet.  All I do know is my daughter has a day at least, of tests in front of her and she had the blood, urine and CAT scan in the ER yesterday. The only thing we know for sure is that they are leaning away from cancer because she has no cancer symptoms, and the CAT scan looked more like a cyst then a tumor.  Not as conclusive as any of us want.  I wish I had more information.  I want answers to questions that no one has the answer for….yet.  And I’m so hopeful that I’ll be very relieved by the end of the day.

I just finished chatting with Mr. Hopeful, he has been unusually supportive, and available, but that is due to his life, I’m sure.  But it warms my heart that he cares enough to respond to my frantic posts about my worry.  Shows he cares.  Doesn’t erase the fact that I wish he were here with me physically. It does count a ton that he is emotionally, but I’m selfish.  And in a time of need I want what I can’t have.

The Oncologist was just here and said that it was premature for him to be called since the radiologist hasn’t been here yet to do the tissue sample, or the bone doctor to check out the bone.  But he wanted to reassure us of what it could and couldn’t be and thinks the only reason she is in the hospital is to expedite this, since she doesn’t have a regular doctor.

I know she needs me here, but at the same time I think she needs me to be invisible and let her handle this and not be her mom.  That is very difficult.  But I think I can do that.  The questions I ask the doctor are important questions and I will ask them.  I just won’t ask them in front of her.  She isn’t ready to hear the answers, and I understand that fear.  Its the same fear that keeps me from going to the dentist until I can’t stand it anymore, or waiting to see the doctor until I almost can’t get there on my own.

If you read this and find that you have some time to waste today, think of chatting with me.  I’m in need of getting out of my head with this worry and talking about anything else.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Subterranean-Foo Fighters

And finally, it’s snowing in Chicago.  Big enough flakes that I can watch them out my open window.  Its warm in my third floor apartment.  I only turned the heat on once, and that was to test it.  BOY do I not need heat as along as I have neighbors under me that turn their heat on.  I honestly believe that my pilot light in my oven is enough to keep me and the pipes nice and toasty.  I will need a good air conditioner soon.  Especially if we skip all this winter and go right into spring.  What a strange winter it’s been too.  Not very cold, or VERY cold,  and rain. Mostly rain.  And even though there is a lot of traffic each morning I KNOW I’m not in California.

First Daughter recently gave me an assignment, to create another cd that explains Who I am.  The last time we did this as a family was more than 10 years ago.  And it was her  brother and me and Second Daughter.  A device for me to get to know the new love of my son’s life and to keep tabs on my teenage and pre-teenage children.  And also, for them to finally get to start to hear my stories as adults.  Well, now First Daughter thinks enough time has passed for us all to create the musical assignments now.  And I agree.  I know she has extended the invite to Second Daughter, but I have no idea if she has had the time to do it.  Since we still haven’t done Christmas I think I can guess she hasn’t.  Or if she invited her brother to participate.  However I am happy to report that I’m almost done with mine. I have put the songs that jumped out at me, without a listen, to be on the list.  And I’ve listened to them, and now I’m at the phase of listening to my entire music library on random to see if any ‘lost gems’ make their way to the top of the churning thoughts of my mind.

There is so much to discuss in this cd of the past ten years.  There is so much loss: Mr. Hopeful, Mr. Practical, Mr. Charisma, the death of one of us way too young.  There is so much excitement and fear, moving from a small town to a big city again.  Running from the heartache and imagined failure of that place….all the bad memories in the hopes of keeping the good ones alive.  The moved worked for that much of it.  I do have good memories now, almost a year later.

I’m trying to stay in the present with the list….and the recent past of the last year or two, but you know me, I’m sure, as solemn as this all sounds, I’ll end on a happy, and hopeful note.  Pun intended.  My heart knows no shame.  I find myself wondering exactly how much I can say here.  I know Mr. Practical doesn’t read my blog or miss me at all.  He hasn’t reached out in over three months.  The entire holidays came and went and he never once thought of me or let me know it if he did.  I can only think that he is happier with me out of his life.  And so I try to write, and if it’s not the carpal tunnel that stops me it's his memory.  I lost my biggest fan.  My editor and a friend, and I have no audience to write to anymore, so why write?  No one is listening.  And I have even thought that I should stop writing here as well.  Just let the blog go.  Forget it.  No one reads it anyway.

And then I stop and remember why I’m doing this.  Why I write.  You see I have no one to talk to.  No one to share my life with.  No one to hold me in the night, or kiss me awake in the morning.  I had that.  Many times in my life. I’m not crying in my beer here.  Just stating the obvious.  I chose to be alone, and I am.  Well, I mostly choose to be alone this time.  I picked horribly wrong for myself and its either be alone or be someone I don’t recognize anymore and well, you get the idea.

That doesn’t mean I don’t wish for the one that I still, honestly believe, should be with me.  And I know it’s only been five days since he tried to reach out and eleven days since he really reached out and chatted and told me of his heart, he even sent me a picture which he never does.  I feel like he has drifted again.  Like two boats tethered together on an increasingly choppy sea.  We struggle to keep our lines taught when necessary and slack when equally advisable, but sometimes, it’s all we can do to keep the water out of our own boats without being worried about each other.  It’s a sad metaphor for our lives apart.  And yet, I know, in the quite times of the night, when everyone else is asleep, he’s thinking of me.  I can feel it.  And that helps me to know I am not alone.  I can feel his love from a long distance.  And while I know from experience that that won’t be enough for me, it is something.  Something very powerful that keeps my demons from devouring me.  So, please, if it’s a fantasy, if it’s all in my mind, don’t tell me.  Because I don’t want to know the truth.  I think if I truly believed that I was alone, with no one that cared about me.  About what was going on in my life and want to hear the stories of my trials and tribulations, I believe I’d be depressed beyond retrieval, and as angry and jealous and bitter as I’ve ever been before.  And I don’t want to go down that road.  I’ve avoided its brambles and thorns this far, I can continue to avoid it now.

The path I’m on now seems much more sunny than that, it might have some cracks and places that need new pavement, but you know I like the rocky, woodland path more than the city one anyway.  I have to admit that the city one is great to hide in.  Excuse me, while I burrow down deep under my covers and continue to hide.