Thursday, September 13, 2012

The OTHER "C" word

Sadly, everyone reading this (or should I say, "You," since there may only be ONE of you? I will operate under the assumption that at least my closest friends and relatives feel obligated (don't care how you get here) to read and follow my ramblings, so I'll stick with "Everyone...") knows at least one person who has or has been affected by the "C" word. No--not that "C" word--what kind of blog do you think I'm running here? Don't answer.

The "C" word I'm talking about is Cancer and I hate, hate, HATE that I am devoting a whole entry to this because I feel like "C" is one of those terrorists who wants to be famous for destroying lives and it does not deserve anything more from us. I feel like "C" touches more lives each year and it has to stop. Sit back for a second and think about all of the people you know who have/had the "C" word invade their lives. I've mentioned what a small world I think it is (when I do that it is because I want you to click on the words so it will bring you to that post...I looked at yesterday's blog and you can't even tell the link is there.  Anyway...), but the "C" word is making it smaller--and not in a good way at all.

I met up with one of my closest and dearest friends this summer (after not seeing or talking to her for over a decade) and as she was telling me how she beat breast cancer (in the years we lost touch). I felt awful that I wasn't there for her during that time, but she was the amazing and strong woman I know her to be and kicked the "C" word's butt. This is what I hate. Well, cancer is what I hate, but what I really hate is that this is going on in my head:

"You had breast cancer? So did my aunt...maybe you know her? She beat it too!" or worse, "You lost your grandmother/uncle/stepfather to cancer? So did I!" and the worst of all, "Your child has cancer? I have a few other friends who have children with cancer, too!"
Like it is a good thing or something. I am always excited to bring people I like together--I've always been one to try to fix up my friends, but I certainly don't want "C" to be the reason my friends come together. Sadly, it has gotten to that point--not a day goes by that I don't hear about someone finding out that they or someone they know has "C" of one form or another, and it's unnerving.

Let me clarify--the reason why I "fix up" people who are dealing with/have dealt with "C" is so that they can find support. I truly believe that if you take any situation, good or bad, those who are able to communicate and/or/commiserate with others are going to do so much better than those who don't. Plus, when you are in a situation like that it must feel like you are alone in the world and like no one could possibly understand what you are enduring, so what better way to cope than to be able to communicate with someone who actually does know a little bit about what it is like for you?

I have several friends ("several" should not be the word used) who have children--babies--who are fighting one form of cancer or another and I pray for them every day. I don't think I really have any pull up there--but I figure it certainly cannot hurt (I'm not that bad, am I?! Don't answer THAT, either.) I remember when one friend found out that her child has "L_word" and I contacted my other friend who was a pro at that point to see if she could help the first mom in ways that I knew I could not. I think about that--"PRO--" and I get pissed for her. She didn't ask to be a pro. I am pretty sure she is a pro at most things she does--she is that type of person--but I'm pretty sure that her ability to rock this situation is something she would gladly give up. Every time I try to type something encouraging to her (she seriously is one of the strongest and most amazing people I know), I think that if I were her I would think, "Yea--noted, great--thanks. I am so glad that I am in this shitty place where I need to be strong and "YAY ME" I'm doing it--heck--I'm even a "PRO," but it sucks and I don't want to hear how freakin' inspirational I am ANY more...I just want my child to be well and I want to try to get back to just living--without the constant worry, without the constant trips to the ER, without the "C" word taking over my life..."

I think that is what I would think. I don't know and hope I do not ever have to know, but that's the thing--why is it that I have been spared for now? Is it because I am too weak to handle it? Maybe, but that hardly seems fair. Kelly Clarkson made famous the cliche about what isn't killing us is making us stronger, but punishing someone because they are too strong? I can't believe that is the case.

I do worry all the time--I feel like "C" is lurking under my sink (in all of the cleaners that I never rarely sometimes use. I feel like it is in my produce--I can taste it on my apples. I feel like it is in all of our food and it is just waiting for me to let my guard down so that it can be my turn to prove how strong I am. So many mothers--"Momcologists" they call themselves--fight and wrestle with "C" on a daily basis, I feel like it would be arrogant to think that my family will be spared. I know you do what you have to do, but I am no "Momcologist..." I'm not even a "Mommyatrician." I'm barely making it as a mom--without any curve balls.

I've been existential in my thinking lately--wondering why we are on earth anyway and believing that this is only our "trial run--" like maybe this is hell or purgatory or whatever and as long as we don't completely screw it up, the better life is what would be our heaven. I think I just heard a few people click off their computers right there--those who think I am butchering religion and those who think this is too religious-- noted. I guess it's my coping mechanism for loss or the pain I see others enduring. I tell myself that if they have to suffer in this life, then their next life will be so much better than this. It's a theory...

I am always thinking about this topic, but I wanted to write about it after seeing a post that one of my  "Momcologist" friends wrote on facebook,  It read:

6 months left of treatment and I wonder 1) is the cancer gone for good? 2) will there be any lasting side effects? 3) will *child (name has been removed so that he won't be appalled at being connected to a woman with such horrible writing skills) be able to go right into kindergarten after being frozen in time since he was 20 months old? 4) will I be able to start a new career at 40+? 5) how do I/what does it mean to process the last 3.5 years? 6) am I going to have a total breakdown once I let my guard down? Crap. It's surprising how intimidating the next step is. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. 6 months feels like the day after tomorrow, but a lot can happen in the meantime. For now we keep on keepin' on.

The responses?

My hopes for you: 1)YES!, 2) NO, 3) Absolutely because he's creative, smart and resilient, 4)YES - you have done this before and will do it again because you are talented and brilliant, 5) slowly, 6) maybe, but that's ok because it could be a needed release. Sending lots of love and hope for a clear bill of health for "Child" soon! Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks coming soon, right? Treat yourself to one often.

Love and hugs "Momcologist!"

You are a brave mother have faith in the universe -"Child" is one fortunate boy to have your love
Many blessings on your journey...

"Momcologist," I hear you on that one, though the one who keeps me up at night is the one I married. Thinking of you.

 I wish I lived closer to you so I could take you out for a spa day! Lots of hugs and love are being sent to you!

Look at the light of this moment :)

Thoughts and prayers that it all works out for you guys and that "Child"  is cured!!!!

 Keep on keepin' on is all you can do. 6 months! Amazing! I think of and pray for you guys often.

Positive thoughts and prayers for you and the family.... Take it one day at a time

We are all behind you and your family... Each day I find strength from you. You are stronger than you know. The future will be bright!!! 

 "Momcologist," you very well may be the strongest and bravest person I know. Whatever these months bring you, (and with all of the people praying for you, I anticipate the best of news) I know you (AND "Child") will be able to handle it because you are fighters. I imagine when all is said and done you may need (and will have earned) time to break down, but whether you take an hour, a day, a week, or a month, you will bounce back to the strong amazing woman you are. Keep on keepin' on my friend--six months will go by before you know it and I pray that those months will be good to you all! And ANYONE would be lucky to have you in whatever career you choose!

* Why is mine always the longest?! I'm sensing a pattern here...! Sorry--the rest of the comments...

Lady, you hit the nail on the head! This is exactly how I was feeling. You are in my thoughts and prayers ALWAYS!!!! Let that guard down a bit and LIVE!!!! You deserve it!

Yes I can just imagine all those thoughts going through your mind. One day at a time ! Always thinking of you and the family.

1) I sure hope so! 2) I sure hope not 3) The fact that his mother is on his side and gets that it might be a challenge for him is one of the greatest assets he could have if it is 4) You're really over 40??? Seriously??? And you're one of the brightest most accomplished people I know, so I can't imagine you not making it work. 5) In small steps and there may be a lot of them--you've been through SO MUCH! 6) Maybe you won't let your guard down until you're sure there's a safety net under you--and even then you won't need it...but if you do need it, it will be there. You can always call me, for one, and I bet you can call all the other people who posted before me.

* This one [above] was a bit longer. Better...and longer...

Yes, it will be cured and gone. My friend at work has a son exactly the same age as my daughter. The son had leukemia around the same age as Luc and made a full recovery. It took a few years and was obviously stressful but they came through and you will too. And yes you can go back to work at 40+. My partner is trying now at 46 after 7 years at home raising kids and fighting his own tumor. But all is good just keep on moving!

"Momcologist," if you have made it this far with as much grace and strength as you have, I am fully confident that you will continue on.

You're a very strong person - I admire you!

 I have 100% confidence that your adaptability will propel you into whatever life gives you next, am that you will rock it as usual.

"Momcologist!" You and your beautiful family are in my prayers EVERY day.... "Child" is strong and resilient and you are too mama! I know great and amazing things are to come.... xoxo

MOMCOLOGIST'S RESPONSE:  Thank you so much, everyone. When sometimes it seems that things (e.g. civil society) are crumbling down all around, I only need to look to you, the wisest and most compassionate friends a person could have, to restore my faith! Keeping on with deep breaths and the mantra "just be." [Good heavens, I am high on drama today. I will not edit. I will not edit. :)]

 I'm right there with you ! But you're right, keep on keepin' on.

 Keep on keepin, u made it through this - u can handle anything!!

Sometimes you can just take it one day at a time. Enjoy all the special moments........ and endure the hard ones....


 Having gone through the same thing...I have a bit of experience with this. 1) iyou'll never know, but don't worry until you ahve something to worry about? 2) You'll never know, but as with the cancer itself, deal with them if/when they come.3) heck (Censored) yea. "Girl Child" was in pre-k while on treatment. it will be scary as hell though. Just let the teachers know and you'll make it through. 4) why not?? 5) in time. 6) you'll have many. but it's not because your guard is down, it's because life will happen and there's no way to avoid it. Somethings you'll surf though and others you'll get caught in the surf. you'll be fine though. You've gotten this far. [Other commenter] is right. deal with each day as it comes and just know you have support and you're not in this alone.

Thoughts and prayers continue for you and your family "Momcologist."

All our love to the strongest and bravest family.

In the three (four?) years since we reconnected on facebook, this is the closest this mom has come to complaining about her situation. This is the closest she has come to showing her uncertainty about what the future holds and the closest she has come to showing her fear, anger, or helplessness--at least for others to see. As evidenced by the outpouring of comments, she and her family are extremely loved and have so much support. It's disheartening to see just how many others are going through the same thing since "C" touches so many lives, but there is no doubt that these people are loved and supported. The fact that they have touched so many lives shows what amazing people they are. Reading this makes me feel guilty. So. Very. Guilty.

I should appreciate every single second with my children. I should be happy that we fight about wearing a bicycle helmet when others are fighting about where to stick the needles. I should be happy that my children are here and healthy enough to get lectured about the importance of their vegetables when others are too sick from chemotherapy to keep down anything. I should be happy that my daughter is able to move around quickly enough to throw her lunch out in the cafeteria before anyone notices that she didn't eat any of it when some are confined to a hospital bed and haven't run in days...months...years... I should relish in the fact that my youngest is able to yell loudly enough for  people down the street to come running because they think she is being abducted when others are barely able to choke out a whisper.  For these things I am eternally grateful. Now I'd like for my "Momcologist" friends to have the same luxuries.


  1. I've got nothing to say for once....except that I am right there with you on this one!

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. I hate the C word as well. It took my mother. I just wrote a post about it on wednesday-it was her birthday. Prayers to everyone and their families who are going through this. It sucks big time!

    Hugs and blessings,


    1. Thanks, Irene--and I am so very sorry for your loss. I loved your post and I know your mother would, too!

  3. So sad! I feel for anyone going through that. If I had known this was going to be a sad one to read I would have waited until my pregnancy hormones have calmed down a bit..All those families are always in my prayers!

    1. Yeah--sorry! I really should write a warning or a disclaimer...


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