Tag Archives: cancer

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go: Putting 2017 in the Rearview

12 Dec

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PHOTO (AND RUSSELL KID BOMB) CRED: ANI VATTANO

Even though the rapid succession of mergers and acquisitions in IT that started in 2016 resulted in bringing my business to a grinding halt, I have to admit that the universe probably had a hand in it looking back. And that may be the only reason I’m not completely bald. (The Rogaine helps too.)

I am going to dub this year THE SHOW ON THE ROAD YEAR. Mostly because the YEAR OF DEATH is just too macabre. Even for me.

Let’s get the sad part over with first, shall we?

The first one came mid-January. The death of democracy as we know it vanished before our eyes as the Grabber-in-Chief was sworn into office. Setting the tone

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The bean machine

for what would become a daily diatribe between the hubby and me as we agonized over some new bit of news. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This election has set the tone for us this year as we entered a level of mourning and sadness that we didn’t think was possible. Leading us to march in Denver as a family for women, science, the EARTH, common sense, equal rights, immigrants, blacks, browns, LGBTQ…pretty much ANYTHING EXCEPT power-grabbing, rich, white guys. (Don’t worry. It’s all fake.) And here ends my political rant, as I know better than most that it falls on deaf ears anyway among those of you who still, in spite of everything blazing into our brains daily, LUV YOU SUM TRUMP.

Then, end of January was Uncle Dick. It was a very hard hit because even though we knew his diagnosis of ALS was really, really bad…we all thought we’d have a little more time. Uncle Dick was one of our most favorite people. Always good for a laugh, a little gossip, a fantastic manhattan. He introduced us to The Stinking Rose, our favorite city, San Fran, and was one of the inspirations (along with Val) behind our move west. As Kenny’s godfather and uncle, he was a constant source of inspiration for a life well lived, outside of the normal, expected boundaries. I don’t know that we ever thanked him enough for always being there and for the positive impact he had on our lives. I hope he knew.

It wasn’t until June that the next news came. Just a few short hours after we’d returned without the hubby (who flew straight to Greenville, SC) from Montana. My aunt Kathy. She’d been in the throes of dementia, but now there was more to the story. Stage IV metastatic bone cancer. She’d be gone in two months. I’ve written quite a bit about her and you can too here and here. It was an incredibly rough summer.

During this ordeal with Kathy, our dear friend, Martha (age 15), had a scan that showed her Ewings Sarcoma had relapsed. So shit news all around. In fact, I was driving Martha and her mom back from her first chemo when the news came that Kathy had died. Life is just really a shit show sometimes. For real.

So why THE SHOW ON THE ROAD YEAR? That sounds so exciting, right? Well, seeing as how the hubby was gone for most of the year for work and we’d have to meet up with him to do things like celebrate his 50th in NorCal, but then attend his dear uncle’s funeral later the same week…well, you get the picture.

We were, however, lucky enough to stage a full-fledged getaway to Riviera Maya at the Andaz Mayakoba for spring break. Even scoring a sweet day in the epicenter of the

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In the belly of the Spring Break 2017 BEAST

spring break maelstrom also known as a catamaran in Cancun. (We are SO smart. The girls have now been officially indoctrinated! Rum punch and death-defying spinnaker flights for everyone!)

We made the best of the trip the following month to Marin and Sausalito, even through it was under such sad circumstances. The hubby was in San Jose that week for Monday and Tuesday. Flew back Tuesday afternoon (his birthday) just in time for some champagne on the porch and dinner at Blackbelly with the girls. And had just enough time to pack again and fly back to San Fran the very next day.

We got to hit Zuni Cafe (we live and die for that chicken!), saw a guy smoking crack on the way back to the car (“welcome to the city, girls!”), stayed at an awesome carriage house in Sausalito, tasted vino in

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A buncha hog legs

Healdsburg, shopped at the Heath outlet (yay for new dishes!), ate our collective body weights in oysters at Hog Island, and then spent the weekend celebrating the life of a man well-loved. It was beautiful, joyful, sad, bittersweet, and we were so thankful to be there.

The next month it was off to Montana to celebrate our sweet Ty-Ty and her amazing high school achievements.

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Congratulations, Ty!

Then, upon receipt of the Kathy news, Lucia and I were back on a plane to South Carolina to check in on her, get her settled in with Hospice, and help her friend, Bobbie, with anything else that was needed to sell the house and settle her affairs.

When it was time to leave, I was extremely upset and torn. I felt I needed to be in SC as much as possible and knew I’d need to go back as soon as I could. As luck would have it, Kenny was working in Greenville a ton, so it wasn’t very hard to arrange an extended stay for the end of July. Plus, there was a work event his boss asked us to attend in his place at the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Oconee, so with a huge amount of logistics wrangling, and a schedule for 2 ½ weeks that took a spreadsheet to manage, we were set to return.

On July 4th, we were enjoying the respite at home before we hit the road again. Lucia had headed up to a friend’s family cabin in the mountains to spend the day BBQing, canoeing and hanging with friends. Sella was jumping on the tramp with some neighbor kids. And Kenny and I had just scooped ourselves some freshly made frosé for our planned Crown marathon on Netflix. So you can imagine how startled we were when three of Lucia’s friends — who were supposed to be with her at the gathering — show up asking if we know where Lucia is. It was one of those moments every parent of a teenager dreads.

After a short bout of questioning, Kenny whipped into action, getting both the car description and license plate and placing a call to the police. I grabbed my keys and loaded the boys into the car with me to retrace the drive up the canyon. It was a very solemn ride and I kept reminding them to look down the cliff on BOTH sides and keep their eyes peeled. I was fuming a bit assuming they had done something stupid or were pulling some antics.

Well. Turns out they weren’t. I arrived to a scene of cops, paramedics and another frantic mother who had beat me there. My legs turned to lead as I started to get out of the car. The frantic mom was on me immediately and I whipped my head around looking for Lucia and her boyfriend as I took in every fourth word or so from the stream being hurled at me. It went like this: ACCIDENT. ROLL OVER. AMBULANCE. As my level of hysteria grew, my knees started to give way and bile rose up in my throat, a police officer grabbed my arm and said the words I so desperately needed to hear, “Every. One. Is. Safe.” And that’s when I finally spotted Lucia. The relief flooded me as we hugged for dear life and cried our hearts out. She’d lost her phone. I told her I could care less about that. All I cared about was her. Patrick was okay too. He’d just burned his leg a little on the exhaust pipe as he helped everyone out of the car.

The car came by on the tow truck about then. It was totaled. And I think I aged about 15 years in 15 minutes.

Yes. Lucia has a boyfriend. They have been an item for almost 9 months now, are inseparable and Kenny is having the appropriate dad-of-a-baby-girl fit. Luckily he’s a

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Love birds

good kid and treats her like she’s made of spun gold.

Then, Lucia had her wisdom teeth out three days after the accident (wanna see the video?) and, a few days after that, it was time to hop back on a plane to head south again. The spreadsheet was officially enacted and we traipsed from one side of the state, then to Georgia, then back again with a little lake fun thrown in between visits to the nursing home to see Kathy. Then a few days at the HAUNTED rental in Greenville (blog on that coming soon) while Kenny worked and the girls and I goofed off. We got home to Colorado and had two whole days before Kenny left for Chicago and Lucia left for five days in Minnesota with Patrick’s family. (Are you keeping up still?)

Then it was wedding weekend for our dear friends, Julie and Tricia. (So incredibly happy for them! What a touching day.) And then school started back (Bean is a middle schooler!

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First day: 11th and 6th

Teen Queen is a JUNIOR and looking at colleges! Shitdamn.) A few days later we celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary, then the very next day, Martha started chemo and Kathy died.

The month of September was a blur of funeral planning and crazy cat ladies and chemo (for Martha). And then we were back on planes to say another final goodbye.

Even though some may think I should call this THE MOST FREAKING DEPRESSING YEAR EVER, I’m gonna stick with SHOW ON THE ROAD and make that my silver lining playbook.

At this point, I am happy to report that the deal finally closed for Kenny’s original company, paving the way for the deal for his new company to close. So he is now officially an employee of Ruckus Networks, an Arris Company. He has no travel planned for the rest of the year and we are all happy, healthy and glad to be home for a bit.

As for me, I am actively plotting a March adventure and fervently hoping 2018 will be a little more kind.

Here’s hoping it is for ALL of us.

Some 2017 Highlights and Bragging Rights:

  • Bean was Simba in the Lion King and graduated from Mesa Elementary, thereby ending an 11-year run at the school for us. It was sad!

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    Behold Simba-Bean

  • Teen Queen got her license (my heart still hasn’t recovered).
  • We fit in at least one camping trip and didn’t tip the camper over or anything.
  • We hiked our butts off every minute we could — our adopted home state is a truly glorious place.
  • Bean secured a spot in the middle school jazz band as the only female trombone player.
  • Bean braces went on 12.12.17. Jumping straight into the season with a sore mouth. Oy.
  • Teen Queen has thrown herself into photography, guitar lessons and hip-hop dance in between boyfriend and school. I don’t know how she does it. 😆 🤪
  • We got two toes in sand times for the year. Not too shabby considering.
  • Our dear friend, Amy’s, book was published and will be available for orders soon 22770521_922019764616703_4899359695158133580_othanks to the passionate efforts put in by her loving husband and family. Her memory lives on in her vibrant words. We love you always, Amy.

 

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My name is Kathy-Cassy. Hers was Cassy-Kathy.

9 Nov

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Every week, a reminder pops up on my phone and computer: Call Kathy. I set it a little over two years ago when I realized weeks were easily morphing into months while life took over and every time I’d actually get her to answer her phone, things had always progressed.

Kathy was my aunt. My dad’s sister. And the last living relative my brother and I had on that side of our family, give or take. The fact that our family is so microscopic is a huge factor in why we are so abnormally close. I spent so much time at my grandparents’ house growing up that Kathy was almost more like an older sister at times. She and I flew to Europe together to meet my grandparents, my first plane trip was to visit her in Baltimore when I was 7, and she’d spend countless hours accusing me of cheating in Go Fish.

She was diagnosed with epilepsy after a brain bleed in college and, though married for a brief time, never had children. She wholeheartedly preferred animals to people and, when I’d tell her stories about my girls, she’d laugh and say, “I guess God knew what He was doing not giving me kids.”

I adored her. Her eccentricity. Her laugh. Her sarcasm. Her wit. (Her failure to ever, ever clean her house…not so much. <Insert gagging sound here.>)

I first realized something wasn’t right on Thanksgiving a few years back. She was driving to Chapin, SC from Florence to have dinner with my brother and his family. I was glad she was going. I always worried about how little she was getting out. She could be so anti-social — especially since Mima died. Then, my phone rang. “Cassy. Where is Cory’s house?” My heart dropped into my stomach. “Uh. In Chapin? Where are you?” “Well, I’m near a church.” Shit. There were only like 50 GD churches within a mile radius of my brother’s house near Lake Murray. “Okay. Which one?” And this whole time I’m thinking to myself…why in the hell is she calling ME? All the way in Colorado. Instead of my brother, whose house she was apparently circling. I can’t remember if he went to get her or exactly how it played out from there, but I knew. Either her epilepsy meds were off or it was something worse.

So, that Christmas, I bought her an iPhone. Thinking the Googles would solve all of her woes. Just put in the address she wanted, and VOILA, instantly read aloud directions and all would be right in the world. Instead: “Cassy. I LOVE the phone. But that lady just starts talking and I don’t know how to make her stop, so I just threw it in the basket.” Siri? Yea? Uh. Great.

Then the calls started coming. She’d gotten lost on the way to the movies, to Starbucks, to [fill in the blank]. Her friends were worried. She was getting the days mixed up. Missing appointments. She told me she kept sticky notes. Was creating index cards with directions to the store and Starbucks and the animal shelter… on the good days when she knew right where she was. I got this note via email from her on June 11, 2016: “Just ran out to Magnolia on an errand—made it out and back!! Y’all have a great weekend!” The little things… like making it to the mall and back.

My mom said, “She really shouldn’t be driving.” And my heart skipped a beat again. I knew it was true. She’d swiped a car on the interstate and run into a fence. But. I was panicked thinking of how to put this all into motion from afar. How in the hell would she get groceries for god’s sake? How does this all work? And she would bite my head clean off any time I tried to bring it up.

Luckily, the friends knew what to do and I will be eternally grateful. Because what I’d get was, “Well now that I don’t have the walker any more…” And I’d say, “What are you talking about?” Then it would all come tumbling out that she’d had an ‘episode’ at church which I later learned was a freaking stroke. So the bits and pieces that would actually reach my ears were so deeply disturbing that if I hadn’t had those friends to fill me in, I would’ve been completely and utterly left in the dark.

Bobbie, Maggie and Nadene called regularly to check in — all with the strict promise that Kathy couldn’t know we’d talked. She was a feisty one. And it turns out that she’d made them promise NOT to call me when the stroke happened because she was afraid I’d come back there. And there is some jacked up thing in my family that started when I moved west about not letting me come back there. Like if I show up they all just know they must be dying. It’s total bullshit.

Back in the spring, I was getting out of the car at the grocery store and my phone rang. Kathy. By this point, it had become so rare for her to call ME, that I instantly answered. “Cassy. I need to tell you something. I went to the doctor today and I only want to say this word once and I don’t want you to ever say it again. He said I have dementia. Don’t tell anyone that word though.” I had to catch my breath. Breathe. Breathe. She knows. She’s talking about it. She was so lucid in so many ways. Ways I hadn’t heard in so long. “What is it about the word? Do you think it makes it sound like you’re demented?” “Yes,” she said. “It makes me sound like I am running around my house with no clothes on.” “Well ARE YOU?!?” My favorite moment of that whole conversation was right then. When we both burst into laughter. You see, we had a pact. If either of us was ever walking around in circles in the yard, mumbling to ourselves, drooling…we’d promised to shoot. It was a joke of course, but she knew this was where my mind was going.

That conversation lasted for the entire grocery shopping trip and all the way back to my driveway, where I parked and sat while she told me how scared she was. Asked me what was going to happen to her. About whether she should move to get more help. How she couldn’t bear to leave her animals – her dog, Ben, who also had dementia. Laughed at the irony of that too.

I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the saddest conversations I’ve ever had.

It wasn’t long after that when she stopped answering the phone entirely and our conversations came to an abrupt halt.

Once Bobbie got everything arranged with a helper, sold the car, and took over power of attorney, I could finally breathe again. She called me with all big decisions and to give me updates. And it seemed to be humming along minus a few hiccups with a crooked ‘tree’ guy (to which ‘payments’ totaling $8K to this ass wipe prompted the bank to send in Adult Protective Services). It takes a village.

In June, we’d just gotten home from Montana. The hubby had flown directly from Kalispell to Greenville, SC for work. Bobbie had called me while I was at the Kalispell airport to go over some of Kathy’s finances. So when she called again the next night at 10pm mountain time, the air went out of my body yet again. “It’s Kathy. She’s in the hospital and it isn’t good. You need to come.”

Bobbie and the helper had found Kathy slumped over on her couch in a pool of urine. She couldn’t stand, was barely coherent. The ambulance came and the paramedic couldn’t find words for what he was seeing. “How long has she been like this?” And it was hard to hear. Hard to answer. Because only those of us who know and love her could explain that this was exactly what she wanted. To be with her animals until the absolute last possible second. Even if she’d gotten down to a skeletal shell of her former self. The only way you’d get her out of that house, in fact, was on a stretcher. And there you have it.

I quickly arranged to fly back to SC and Teen Queen decided she wanted to come too. I tried talking to Kathy on the phone and I wasn’t sure if she knew who I was. We had no idea what to expect upon our arrival. But I had a gut feeling that it wouldn’t be good.

Turns out, I was right. The shock of her appearance was short-lived though. As soon as she saw us, she smiled. But then said, “I told them to tell you not to come.” I smiled and said, “And you can see how well I listened.” She laughed a little at that.

The news was dire. Her mental state had apparently been masking the symptoms of advanced, metastatic bone cancer. She was in the last few months of her life.

The whirlwind of that week. Her disoriented and combative state. Her inability to move much. Her desperation to leave when you did. Begging, pleading, “Take me too. I’m ready to go.” It was horrific to witness. I think I cried every time I walked out of her room.

We met with Hospice and got the arrangements made for her to be under their care at the nursing home. Transport was arranged and she was finally discharged from the hospital. I went to her house and to the Dollar General and bought anything I could think of that seemed like it would make her more comfortable and ‘at home.’ In that awful nursing home. (My grandmother died there when I was 15, so it isn’t a happy place for me. Plus, all of those poor souls in their body shells, moaning. <Shudder.>)

The day of her transport, she was pissed. Spitting nails. Angry at anyone and everyone. She even told this one orderly to “step back. Further. Into the hall. Behind that line!” She wasn’t playing. Even though he was only trying to help her back into bed.

Leaving her there that first day as she repeatedly tried to go too. Heart breaking. But then she asked me to turn the TV to “that channel I like” and I realized she meant Fox News. That may have been when I truly knew she’d lost it for sure. (Calm down, red staters. It’s a joke.)

We spent that week going through her house (it was bad, like, toxic bad in there) and just getting everything settled. And it was so hard to leave. I knew I had to come back as soon as possible. I just didn’t feel settled about her. Didn’t feel like she was getting the pain meds she needed and she was just so disoriented still.

There were days during that week that we’d walk in and she would act like it was the most natural thing in the world. For Lucia, my mom, me to be sitting there in camp chairs in her nursing home room watching Fox News while she pretended to eat a grilled cheese.

The fates conspired and we ended up back in South Carolina in July for two and a half weeks. Mostly driven by the hubby’s work. But it gave us another week or so to spend with Kathy and check in on her care.  She kept asking me when I was due and I kept telling her, “I’m not pregnant, I just eat more than you do.” (She was eating NOTHING by this point, mind you.) The weird part is she kept asking if I was expecting my first. While my first child sat right there beside me and she was looking straight at her and calling her by name. That disease is so fucked up.

The last day we saw her will be forever etched into my soul. For many reasons. But. It was one of her agitated days. And we were startled to find her sitting up in her wheelchair looking out of the window. I could tell she was wild-eyed at first glance and she started in the minute she saw me. “Cassy. I’m glad you’re here because I know you’ll be honest with me. I’m not leaving here am I?” My little family just behind me took this huge, collective OH SHIT type of sigh and sat down. I lowered myself onto the foot of the bed, as close to her as I could get, looked into her eyes, shook my head and answered simply, “No.” She took a breath and asked, “Why is this happening to me?” “I have no idea. I wish I did.” “So what is it?” “It’s cancer. It’s in your bones and the dementia was masking your symptoms.” “I have DEMENTIA TOO?!?” And she started to cry. And my head, heart and soul exploded as I sat there watching her tears fall.

One month and seven days later, she was gone.

NOTE: I’m adding the speech I gave at her funeral here. In case you aren’t sick and damned tired of me just yet. And here’s her obituary for a bit more insight into all this 73-years-young woman was about. (Try to ignore the typos and spacing issues. They don’t call it the Florence Morning Misprint for nothing.) AND, the photo video my brother created.

Thanks for reading. I needed to get this out.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: And although my eyes were open. They might have just as well’ve been closed. Procol Harum. In memory of Kathy and her all-time favorite movie and soundtrack…The Big Chill.

Words Make My Mouth Exercise

16 Sep

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a touch of whiplash from the last few weeks/months. In the continuing theme of ‘never a dull moment,’ I could never claim boredom or being stuck in a rut. Here’s why.

As you may recall, all hell broke loose on us yet again about two years ago. No, it wasn’t the year of hell that was 2010, but it was still a three-punch in the gut. (These sets all seem to come in threes, no?)

This year was humming right along. Hubby back in school to prep for the CPA exam while he continued his job hunt, me going strong with Mugs & Wit. We even started a cleanse to kick off the year with a (ahem)…clean slate.

Then round about January 20th, one of the Va-Jay-Jay BFFs, Lady Lou, had to go and join the Big C Club. Cleanse aborted and many bottles of wine later, we had almost all cried ourselves out. So we dusted off those big girl panties and armored up to take this shitty cancer thing DOWN. AGAIN.

She finished up chemo the first week of June, ran away to do the hula in Hawaii for a few days and came back to get radiated (as if she isn’t radiant enough already). She is now in the after care phase with Herceptin injections every three weeks until February 2016. Tamoxifen is her daily friend for the next five years. Take that you big bully, cancer. She is doing GREAT. And I’ve been privileged enough to be there with her through most of it all — even when I’ve had to cry to make her let me come. (I’m a good friend like that.)

And while we’re on the subject of crying….that seems to be my new modus operandi. I cry over sinks full of dishes, friends who won’t let me go to their oncology appointments, dear uncles who get diagnosed with ALS, and other friends who up and have a kid with bone cancer.

I try to blame it all on the other letter that should always have the word BIG in front of it: M. And maybe it is that. Hot flashes suck ass. I had my head in the freezer the other night and the hubby says, “Gross. You’re going to get hair in the ICE.” I thought, “Maybe I should go buy an ice pick to stick in his head.”

But I digress. Crying over dear friends/family members fighting for their lives while you helplessly sit by and wring your hands is pretty normal. It’s the sink full of dishes things that isn’t really like the others…

To progress this story forward, I’d like to say that when I highjacked Lady Lou’s appointment (on my birthday in April) with the doc that we share announcing that the hubby was FIVE YEARS ALL CLEAR, and we hugged and cried, that was a full circle moment. She could see for herself that the little yellow-ish flicker at the end of that long, dark, drafty tunnel will soon be HERS TOO.

And forward from there, we had a summer of fun. Camping, 10 days at the beach in SC, hiking, day trips to Denver by bus. It was really great — even though work was busy as holy hell. We got through and the hubby had landed himself a newfangled job just as it was all coming to a close. Awesome.

It’s the last few weeks that have made me dizzy. Weird I know. After 2.5 years of getting my company ramped up, bringing home the bacon and feeling like my head was sizzling itself from it all, business just dropped off. The timing was fantastic since I am playing single, SAHM most days with the hubby traveling, doing the job of two people since his coworker was fired 8 days in AND trying to finish up his accounting classes before he goes on halfway-through-I’m-going-to-lose-my-mind hiatus. Oh. And having his back freak the shit out and double him over. Right on the conveyor belt in the Whole Foods check out line. (ER visit plus MRI showed a pinched nerve and compacted disk. The meds worked. He’s getting better. Much. Thanks for asking.)

Seriously great timing. But. I am struggling mightily with it. Living in this strange gray area that isn’t quite SAHM OR bringing home the bacon/money-making fool. I’m so used to being one OR the other that I can’t quite wrap my head around being a seriously half-assed BOTH. Or with how quickly it all changed.

I would say that in light of the other shit that has gone down this year, this is NOTHING. But it sure feels like SOMETHING to me.

The only glimmer of hope in this freshly-minted identity crisis is that I haven’t cried about it yet.

And look at me, would you? I’m all writing again and shit. At least until the next big deadline rears its head. Amiright?

TODAY’S THEME SONG: When a problem comes along (you must whip it). Devo

If you don’t like it, then hey *^@! YOU.

4 May

It was this week. Wednesday to be exact. We’re sitting in the backyard of our cancer-partner-in-crime. Sipping rosé with a cool breeze rippling across the tablecloth. Kids playing in the grass. She raises her glass and says, “Here’s to me taking one for the team.” As we clinked our glasses and laughed at the joke (and its inherent morbidity —a sense of humor we cancer people all share), I thought GDMF. What I said was, “No. You broke the pact.”

In my mind, we had a pact that was to be untouchable. AG, you’re in it. And so are you, RV. And you too, SH and CS. We are all supposed to be toasting to the end of fucking cancer. Not one of you — and I mean NOT ONE SINGLE SOLITARY ONE — of you bitch-asses are supposed to have it come back. We had a deal.

It’s funny because we have said the same thing to our closest circle. “We’re taking this one for the team.” The statistics should back that up, right. 1 in 5 or something? I said at girls’ night right after the hubby was diagnosed. “We’ll take this one. You just all be well. Mm-kay?”

Then CPIC went and had hers come back and blew it all to shit. Best laid plans.

I told her and the hubby that same night, “You guys blow me away.” Both of them getting pumped full of the poison, yet keeping up at work. With life. She said, “Keeping a sense of the normal is what I need most.” The hubby nodded. The two of them in cahoots. Craving normalcy when everything just seems all shot to hell. When her four-year-old runs up to her upon his return from swim lessons. Hair still damp. “Mommy? Where’s yo’ pump? It all gone? Medicine all gone? Mommy all better?”

Did you hear that >crack<? That was just me. Cracking wide open again. But trying to stay normal. Cause we all are. Just wanting to stay —and BE— normal.

She’s doing her thing. Slogging through. Making memories (her phrase). Chemo for three days. Off for 11. Then back again until her six month sentence is up. Scan in June to see if the remaining lung tumor (bitch-ass-ho) is all gone. And it damn well better be. Just sayin’.

As for us, we just wrapped up the six and 12 month testing cycle. Blood work. Oncologist meeting. Surgeon meeting. CT scan with contrast. Then a flex sigmoid scope. It all came at once like it will when it’s time for the annual scan and six month scope during the same timeframe. And with CPIC’s recent recurrence, we were white knuckling it through.

It’s like a chink in the armor when someone close and with the same type of cancer has theirs come back. We mentioned it during our oncologist visit and peppered her with questions about the hows and whys and what-to-dos. It made enough of an impression on her that she made a note in the hubby’s chart and our Dr. Asshole mentioned it to us this morning at the scope. Go figure.

I think we are just now in our new normal. Living life as fully as possible. Trying not to lose our shit when testing time comes around every 3 (blood work), 6 (scope) and 12 (CT scan and colonoscopy) months. And embracing being part of a new club where we sit in the backyard of a dear friend with cancer that has come back and know we are part of a team fighting the good fight.

The fight for the right to party. (That’s for you, MCA. RIP.)

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Crazy Ass Shit. Beasties. “So take it from me now I’m gonna give it all I got (got). I’ll take a licking, still tick tick tock (tock). Smoked salmon, ate old school lox (lox). A zooted buddha baby and I buy gray socks.” – Adam Yauch

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