Monday, November 20, 2017

Every Step

There is someone who has been with me every step of the way, my rock steady for 25+ years. Our most devastating year was 2016, of course, when we lost Adam. We lost ourselves at times, too. The image comes to mind of Pat visiting me at my Topps grocery store bakery job, with a 3 year old Adam (Nuke to him) on his shoulders. He would often pick him up at daycare, and spend the evening entertaining him while I worked. During this time the notorious "grape video" was made. Adam and I both appear a bit uncomfortable in front of the camera on a tripod, as Pat fake stuffed grapes up his nose and made iconic "Pat" jokes. He introduced Adam to Terminator 2, the "thirty dollar gun" and "Edward Cigarhands," our crusty and scary next door neighborhood drunk, who teased children with a rubber snake.

We have held each other up when the other was down, even when we didn't know it. Through the recent cancer scare, Pat has gone above and beyond to support me, and I don't give him enough credit. This blog's for you, Pat. Here's to 25  more 💙 (foibles and all).

Friday, November 17, 2017

Heart Shaped Pillow

It's still sinking in: I have an oncologist. I have been to his office twice, and it is an ominous feeling. The staff go about their business like any other medical practice, but I can't shake the idea that death is hanging from the ceiling. I look at the other patients and feel 'sorry' that they are here, too. I feel like they are doing the same. I have driven by this office hundreds of times, and never pictured myself walking through the doors.

Even with the "least bad" breast cancer diagnosis, and being given the choice not to do radiation at this time, I know I could be back with worse news in my future. It's like that door is open, and I am always at risk now. That said, I'm not dwelling on it, or living my life any differently.  (self doubt says I should be living more joyfully or as if each day is my last)

When I came home from my second surgery, the hospital gave me a pink bag of goodies. A heart shaped pillow, obviously hand sewn was included. It is just the right size to fit under my arm and take the pressure off my incision. It is also just the right size for hugging when I sleep. That simple pillow has given me great comfort on this newest journey.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


My boss warned me about this. She calls it Sudden Temporary Upsurges of Grief (STUG). After a year and a half since losing Adam, they are farther apart. In the words of a wise mother I know who lost a son, "It doesn't get easier, but you get more used it."

It's difficult to think about events of two years ago (fall 2015), when we had no idea Adam was in trouble. Here's how a mundane thought morphs into a mini-grief attack: I learned yesterday Hannah is attending the national Musicology conference this weekend in Rochester, NY. Two years ago, Hannah was at the same conference which was held in Louisville, right in Betsy's backyard. In fact, she stayed with Betsy. That was the same weekend my parents, Eli, Cal and I all traveled to Betsy's for Ethan's starring performance in Man of LaMancha. It was a really special, fun time when everyone was happy and we didn't suspect anything was wrong in the world. A mere three months later, Adam would be dead. That's how my mind goes.

October 17, 2017 was an especially hard day. I remember crying in the morning, periodically during the day, and that night. I don't know why. I wrote: I feel like Adam is being left behind by friends, work pals, even some of my own family. Today was a sad day, a down day. Sometimes just thinking of anything that happened while he was alive makes me incredibly sad.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Health Update

After four days in my PJ's, I felt like going to work Tuesday. Wednesday evening I felt well enough to walk two miles at the Y. I guess that was overdoing it because my incision felt really bad afterwards. Well, certain movements invoked stabbing pain. Intermittent.

So tonight I am just taking it easy after three full days work. I should mention I met with my doctor yesterday and the pathology report was great. I will see an oncologist after my incision is healed to plan for radiation and follow up meds to ward off future cancer.

It's still sinking in, and I had a mini breakdown talking to my boss today.  I realized how much I miss my kids. All this activity and built up stress kind of hit me. I felt like I kind of sucked at work, but those weeks happen.

I am grateful to be alive, healthy, and loved.