Half a decade

Y’all knew this post was coming. There’s one nearly every year.

It’s been 5 years. Half a decade since mom died. Things are better this year than in years past. I actually feel safe leaving the house this year, which is good since I have classes. Years past I have not felt safe, have not wanted to leave the house, have wanted to just stay in bed or playing video games all day. This year I am going to my abnormal psych class, recording a video for my ASL class, and then going to Tai Chi. Home at 7 to do…I don’t know. Normally we’d watch V for Vendetta but I don’t want to watch it while The Boy is awake. Probably watch a couple TV shows and go to bed, maybe early. As usual I am staying away from my social media and my email – things that are hard for me to do, but places where I am not safe from other people’s grief. I’m certain that I’ll have an email or message from my uncle at the very least. Yes, he is entitled to his grief. No, I am still not amenable to having his grief shoved at me. I’m rather insular in my grief (says the girl blogging about it, I know, I know). I talk to Aaron and…yeah, that’s about it. And this year I won’t even do that because I’m afraid it will bring up his own grief at his father’s passing earlier this year. The last thing I want to do is trigger him!

Dad is planning on “breaking up” with M tomorrow. They got news today about upcoming surgeries and he simply can’t handle it. After living through mom’s last 5 years from her initial cancer diagnosis and having ever-increasing responsibility placed on him, he cannot handle being with someone who is not healthy and active. I don’t think he realized what tomorrow is, date-wise. He told me to prepare for a call/text from M and I told him that I am not answering calls or texts, checking my email or my social media. Since this is the only time of year I do that, I imagine he remembers (if he indeed forgot, which I’m not sure how he could do except that I know how dates fly by my brain) so I don’t know now if he’ll wait. I don’t much care. They’ve been on the skids for months now and I’ll be happy to have it done.

*sigh* I don’t know how to end this post. I could ramble but I have to finish dinner and brush my hair and get The Boy ready for bed and…yeah. Thank you for reading!

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Good news!

In a day of bad news, there is a light. Dad went in for his lung biopsy today and…the spot that they were going to test has shrunk. There were several docs checking it out, utterly baffled. “Tumors don’t generally shrink” was the prevailing sentiment, it seems. They are going to check him again in 3 months (unless something happens) and if the spots are continuing to shrink, they will check him 6 months later. If the spots have stopped shrinking or started growing or more are appearing, they will most likely send him to Portland for a bronchiscopy with ultrasound, which will tell them EXACTLY where to poke and they can do it right then.

So yay! Perhaps this is a big nothing after all. They aren’t sure what they are, still, but are beginning to slightly less suspect cancer (since cancer isn’t self-curing).

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To catch you up: Biopsy. It turns out that they finally decided to let dad decide if he wanted to do it while he was already here or if he wanted to wait. Shocking, that. Let a patient decide what they want to do? Seems to be mostly unheard of. At any rate, dad decided to wait. He didn’t want to put more strain on his body than he already had with the surgery. It was a lot worse than he expected. There’s also the whole “this biopsy could collapse the lung or we could nick the artery and you could bleed out” thing, and dad just didn’t want to run the risk of that while recouping. So…yeah.

Now: Dad has scheduled the biopsy. He’s coming up here on the 5th to meet with the hernia doc to touch base on how he’s healing, and then he’s getting bloodwork done to prove he clots. Which he does, obviously, since they just did surgery, but we all know about things that docs HAVE to do. Dad and M will stay with us Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Tuesday morning dad checks in and has his biopsy. They will keep him overnight and, assuming all goes well, will release him on Wednesday. That means M will be staying with us Tuesday as well. Dad and M are going to babysit Cole Friday night so that we can go to a ToastMasters thing for a friend. They are also going to babysit Monday so I don’t have to take Cole to daycare. Assuming I don’t kill M, she’s going to babysit on Tuesday while dad is having his procedure done. Yay for free babysitting!

Furious: Now we get to why I am furious. I got a call from M last night, thanking me for letting them stay, what a great hostess I am, etc. (If only she knew that the reason I am doing this is purely for dad!) During the course of the conversation, she tells me that her son D has decided that dad absolutely MUST eat apricot kernels because “we are not accepting cancer and these will help. He must start on them NOW.” She then tells me that D will supply dad, because they are illegal in Idaho. Why? Because the kernels contain cyanide. I want you to read that again. Her son insists that my dad take things containing cyanide, a known poison. They also contain amygdalin, another known poison. These things kill, both of them. They have also been shown to be clinically ineffective in treating cancer. There have been repeated studies done over the years that support that evidence. The AMA and the ACS both consider it to be an exploit of American people in general and cancer patients in the specific.

Furious doesn’t begin to cover it. Her son demanded that my father eat a thing without doing any research. If he DID do research and still decided that my father should take it, I will have his hide. Oh sure, it cures cancer…if you consider death to be a cure. Just hearing that it contained cyanide was enough to make me mad, and I resolved to research it this morning…which you can see I’ve done. I promptly called dad and begged him not to take it, something I don’t normally do. I don’t beg dad. I gave him all the information I could in a condensed version. He admitted he didn’t know anything about them, which is shocking in its own right. Not that he didn’t know, but that he admitted it! And he probably wouldn’t have researched it, or asked me to (although he has in the past – he’s finally recognizing my strength in that area!), so I’m glad I did it on my own. He said he wouldn’t eat them, and I hope he doesn’t. I am now waiting for him to tell M and for her to call me. I can’t wait if she does – I have science on my side, and I know how to use it.

Feeling a bit better now that I’ve talked to dad (which I did while I was writing this) and some friends on twitter. I don’t feel like I’m overreacting. I know that a little cyanide won’t kill him, I know what the lethal levels are, and how long it would probably take for it to kill him…if it were cyanide alone (21 days). Add in the amygdalin and I have no idea, because the processing of it in the body produces a whole lot of other things that are, unsurprisingly, TOXIC. It’s…I have a feeling it’s a fast thing. I ought to see if dad has eaten any of them yet and if he has, make him tell the doc when he comes up so they can check the levels in his blood. What if it interacts with whatever sedative they give him? I…*sigh* I want to beat people’s heads together. As a twitter friend put it “who in their right mind would suggest this?” The answer is “someone who is ignorant of the dangers found in natural plants and objects”.

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I don’t wanna (UPDATED)

I don’t wanna and I’m not doing to do it. Do what, you ask? Have another parent with cancer. So help me…

Okay. Here’s what’s going on:

Dad has a hernia. He’s had it for a long while. He started getting pain in that area a couple months ago. He went to the VA, who decided it was probably a pulled muscle…even though dad hadn’t been doing anything that would CAUSE a pulled muscle. Being a good patient, he took the muscle relaxers and pain killers they gave him. It didn’t help. I’m sure you’re shocked. He went back in, they decided that it could indeed be the hernia and he should probably have that taken out. He also developed some chest pain, so they did a CAT scan of the whole area. They wanted to see a) what was going on and b) where the hernia was exactly located so that they could remove it. Well…while they were doing that, they found spots in his lungs. One of them was of a shape that was indicative of cancer. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when he had a bronchioscopy on his lungs to take some samples of those spots. They took 6 samples, 5 came back clean and 1 came back with abnormal cells that they couldn’t identify. Tuesday he had a PET w/CT scan to see what they could determine. The answer is…they’re fairly certain that it’s cancer, but they don’t know what kind, which means they can’t treat it yet.

Yesterday was his hernia surgery. They got him in 4 hours late, but it went as it should have. There is talk of doing a needle biopsy on the spot that came back abnormal while dad is up here. It’s a 200 mile trip one way for him to come up here. He’s not allowed to drive for the next 3 weeks because of this surgery, which means they’d have to wait at least that long to do anything with his lungs if they don’t do it now. I am less than pleased at that prospect, so I’m hoping they do it today. There’s only one problem: the main artery runs right in front of that spot. It’s not a big spot. They have about 1/16″ of space in order to get the spot w/o hitting the artery. That’s…really not a lot of room for error, y’all. If they nick that artery, he’ll bleed and quick. There’s also the chance that his lung could deflate while they do this. It’s why they’ve put it off – because there’s a lot of risk and they didn’t want to do it if they didn’t have to. But now…now they’ve no choice, unless we just don’t want to find out, let it go, do periodic CT scans to see what it’s doing.

I’ve already told dad that I’m not going to guilt-trip him like my sister did to our mother. His health choices are his – if he doesn’t want to pursue treatment, he doesn’t have to. If they can do radiation (which I don’t think they can on lung cancer) and he wants to do that, but not chemo, then so be it. I will not force my choices on him because I don’t have to live with the consequences – he does. It’s the same thing that I told mom. I won’t allow anyone else to pressure him either, and that means M.

Speaking of M – we’re okay. She’s been staying with us while dad was having his surgery. She will be the one driving him home. Dad told her that if this all goes south, he’s letting her go. She said she wasn’t leaving. 🙂 She asked me last night if I was okay with her taking care of dad should it go south. I told her I was happy to have her do it, and I am. I know what’s involved, to a certain degree. I saw my mother, I talked to her, I helped take care of her. Getting near the end I was going down there every weekend…but I wasn’t in class, and I didn’t have a toddler, and I had money in savings. We blew through that money and we’ve never quite recovered from it. I just CAN’T go down there like I could before. I feel guilty for that, like I love mom more than I do dad because I was willing to go down there before and I can’t do it now. That’s not the case…not really…but I also just can’t handle it. You have to understand – my dad? Rarely sick, even with a cold. He’s just not. He’s been hurt a few times in my life but I was only around for one of them, and I was a child. Seeing my dad in a hospital last night? So very hard for me. To watch my dad die before my eyes? I don’t think I can handle it. Not again. Back to M – I’d far rather have someone I know, someone I know loves my dad, who will care for him as a person and not a patient, who is there for him at all times, take care of him. Hospice is great, don’t get me wrong, but they can’t be there all the time. Yes, he could have a live-in nurse…but they would be a NURSE, not a friend, not someone who loves him. I can’t be there, so I’d rather she was in my stead.

I know, I know. Jumping the gun here. Maybe the spot will turn out to be nothing, yeah? Dad’s brother had a bunch of these spots on his liver and kidneys when he was in his 30s and they turned out to be nothing but spots. It could totally be that, yeah? No, probably not, because the cells are abnormal. But pap smears come back with abnormal cells sometimes that turn out to be nothing, yeah? Yeah, but a lung is not a cervix or a uterus. I just…I’m worried. I had a dream 2 nights ago that dad died during what should have been a routine surgery. He didn’t…but they aren’t done with him yet. M had the same dream. The last time I dreamed about being told a parent had died, it was true – I didn’t tell Aaron about the dream, and it still happened exactly as I dreamed it would. No, I don’t think I’m prophetic. Yes, I know it’s probably a product of worry. I watched mom actively slide to death for 14 months, although she’d never really recovered from the breast cancer…and yet I never dreamed of her death until the day before she died. So yes, I’m worried. I’m worried about the biopsy. I’m worried that it will be cancer. I’m worried he won’t do any treatments. The hernia doc actually talked to dad about the results of the PET and said that if it is cancer, dad most likely has about 2 years. There hasn’t been much change between scans, so it probably isn’t small-cell cancer (which is very aggressive). The hernia doc should have kept his mouth shut and just let the pulmonary doc talk to dad about all this, but he didn’t, and now we’re worried. We. M and I, at the very least. I’m worried that Aaron’s dad and my dad are going to die sooner than they should – being, when they’re 90. It’s a given for his dad, but not mine. I won’t do it. I’m not gonna do it. I can’t do it. Okay, I can and I will, but I DO NOT WANT TO. EVER EVER EVER AGAIN.


UPDATED: Just got a call from Dad. They are releasing him today. They are not going to do the biopsy today. No. They are going to wait 2-3 weeks and then do it. He’ll be allowed to drive then. Why not do it today, while he’s still here and in the hospital? I have no fucking clue, other than “they want to give him time to recoup from this surgery”. Fuck that. Fuck letting him recover only to stick a needle in his chest and make him recover from that too. Do it now. Don’t give those spots a chance to grow before you find out what it is. Do it now, before they grow and spread and kill him because they go to his brain. Do it while you can still be reasonably assured of getting all the cells. I am enraged and all I can say is “fuck them” and “seriously?!” My jaw hurts from trying not to cry, because I don’t have TIME to break down right now.

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I officially hate M

First, update on Mom’s deathiversary: M ended up not coming up. She and dad got into a fight about her behavior of late and dad didn’t bring her. All the better for me, which I later told him. It was upsetting me way too much. And for those who think I’m over-reacting to the idea of dad dating, I would like you to take the time to actually read this blog. See that dad has dated before and I’ve had no issue with it. The issue with this was not dad dating, it was M coming up here ON THAT PARTICULAR DAY. Pretty much anyone that has heard mention of her coming up here that day has said how rude and inconsiderate it was, including people known for telling me the God’s honest truth.

What behavior caused the fight? Her using dad as her errand boy, when he lives 25 miles one way from her. And then? She asked him if there was the possibility of them getting married! After only “not dating” for a month, max. He said if there was, it would be at least a year. Come to find out, she’d already started making plans for an August wedding AND INVITING PEOPLE! Seriously? This is adolescent behavior, the shit we do as teenagers when we’re “head over heels” in love with our crushes. We doodle hearts and our names with theirs on notebooks, plan what a wedding might look like, think about our future lives. We don’t, however, plan the wedding and invite people before even being asked. THAT’S the sign of a person with some serious attachment issues, imo. And after the fight? She texted ME the next morning (the morning of Mom’s death, mind you) to ask me to apologize to my dad on her behalf and tell him how sorry she was for her behavior. Grow up, woman. Do your own work. (I did pass on the message, for what it’s worth.)
And now the reason for this post:

Yesterday I talked to dad to see if he’d talked to M since their fight, so I’d know if I could expect more text messages. If they did, and it was no good, I was going to delete her from my phone. If they didn’t, because he wasn’t planning on it, same thing. But they did, so I get to leave her. He was telling me, however, what happened on Tuesday. He took her to a doc appt about…70 miles away, maybe? While she was there, she took a med for her pain. 3 hours later, she took 2 more of a different drug (which she claimed to me today was for a migraine, but research says it’s what I thought – a anti-anxiety similar to xan.ax*). It caused her to slur her words and behave in a manner similar to how mom used to behave when she was on these meds as she was dying. Dad, quite naturally, isn’t willing to tolerate that. We discussed PTSD, how it happens not just with vets (which he is) but also with anyone who has had a traumatic experience (such as being there, mostly alone, for every moment that your wife spent dying over a course of 14 months). I told him that not being willing to tolerate that behavior from anyone else, drug-related or not, was perfectly acceptable and understandable. I also tried to explain drug dishabituation** to him, but I’m not sure he understood. He said he’d have M call me.

At any rate, while I was at the store today, I got a message from M asking if she could call and talk to me. Three minutes later, another one came in saying she’d talk to me later. I left the store and called her to find out what was up. She acted all high and mighty about her behavior with dad, how she knows what she’s doing, she took the second meds because she had a migraine, she’s a trained pharmacologist, blah blah blah. I was trying to explain to dad, not her, so I don’t care. If she’s trained, she should have known better! I told her dad doesn’t understand sick and pain, because he’s rarely sick and almost never in pain. He doesn’t understand illness. Mom’s cancer freaked him right the fuck out, because he didn’t know what to DO with it. He couldn’t fix it, he didn’t understand it, and it was always changing, morphing his wife into someone he didn’t know and who, at times, didn’t know him. I tried to explain to her what I’d told dad about the PTSD – she asked me if dad needed therapy! That tells me how little she knows about dad. He would never, ever do therapy and to suggest it would be anathema. He would view it as weakness. I know my parents went through some counseling while mom was sick the first time and dad made a bad decision, but…that’s the only time, and only because mom pushed him into it. He knew it was that or they were done for.

While talking to her, she then proceeded to tell me how mean mom was to dad, how nothing was ever good enough for her. No matter how much dad worked or how much money he brought home or what he did, it was never enough. I shared one of mom’s “secrets” – that mom had MPD the whole time I was growing up, something M never knew. Something MOST people didn’t know. I didn’t know until well after I was out of the house and mom apologized for my life growing up with that. I didn’t notice, I didn’t know anything was out of the ordinary that wasn’t just severe mood swings, but it explains a lot of things when I look back. So no, mom wasn’t perfect but you know what? Neither was dad. I also got to tell M about a fight mom and dad had once. Mom was upset about something that happened with one of her friends and dad, finally frustrated with her emotions (another thing he doesn’t deal well with) said “Have you ever seen your best friend blown up in front of you? No? Then you have nothing to be upset about!” and walked off. So go ahead, M. Tell me how mean my mom was to my dad. Tell me again how perfect my dad is and I will proceed to burst that balloon time and time again. I have examples that you can’t begin to know. I lived in that house. I know my parents. I know that there are things I don’t know, but I do know this: they were good to each other and to me. I had good parents – strict at times, but good. They had their fair share of problems – they almost divorced when I was 11 – but what married couple doesn’t?

I stopped her mid-rant and was like “listen, no, just stop. Do NOT disparage my mother to me ever, ever again. I will not tolerate it, do you understand? She is my MOTHER.” She kept trying to interrupt me with “no just listen, listen, listen…no, listen”. Like hell, lady. I will not listen idly while you tell me how horrible you think my mother was. No. Just no. She finally says “Listen, she was my best friend. She was always there when I needed her, I just had to pick up the phone. I know you were close to your mother like I was to mine, but mine was horrible, just horrible, to my father and I vowed I would never let anyone put their mother on a pedestal.” Don’t EVEN put your issues with your family onto mine, lady. Don’t EVEN. I don’t put my mother on a pedestal, but don’t pretend you know everything that happened. My family was/is private (I am far less so, obviously) and things that happened didn’t get talked about to many. Mom’s friend S probably knows just about everything that has ever happened – she and mom were kindred spirits – but I doubt anyone else does.

And then? To top it off, while I was talking to her I was walking in the house with my groceries and the child when one of the bags broke and my pickles crashed to the ground and shattered. Pickles I don’t buy very often because they are expensive but they were on sale. I cussed, like I do, and she was all “J****!(I LOATHE that name, btw) You swore! I didn’t know you swore! How long have you sworn?” I was like…since I was 13? I cuss like a sailor! Inside I’m thinking “you didn’t know I swear because you don’t know a god damn thing about me, so stop pretending like you do.” I’m not the “girl” she knew, I’m an adult. An adult who is going to be having a talk with her dad later this evening about the conversation today. I am done. Dad can keep her in his life if he wishes but I will not allow her into mine. There are red flags all over the place and I won’t have it. Her behavior is unacceptable to me and he needs to know that. He’s an adult who can make his own decisions, yes, but I feel that I should be able to weigh in on this.

Sorry this is so long. This took place over a 5-minute conversation. So much happened and I need to get it out of my head so that I can be civil when I talk to dad later. Thank you for reading, and for leaving a comment in advance!

* Yes, I know, not all meds are used for the purposes they are originally set for. I take plenty of those, ones not approved by the FDA for the uses I am taking them for. Still not the point.

** A single introduction of a different stimulus late in the habituation procedure when responding to the eliciting stimulus has declined can cause an increase in the habituated response. This increase in responding is temporary and is called “dishabituation” and always occurs to the original eliciting stimulus (not to the added stimulus). Researchers also use evidence of dishabituation to rule out sensory adaptation and fatigue as alternative explanations of the habituation process.

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Dad and things

This post needs to be written but it’s going to take me time. I am so frustrated, angry, bitter, and a whole host of other negative emotions that I’m having a hard time expressing them. I apologize in advance if this post rambles and isn’t terribly cohesive. I NEED to write this, to get it out of my head, and that means just letting it flow.

Dad called me a few weeks ago and said “You’ll never guess who I ran into at the store the other day!” and no, dad, I wouldn’t dare guess. You know every one in the freaking town and half the people in the next, I swear, so it would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Apparently he ran in to M, a woman that my parents have been friends with for about 25 years, give or take a few. She gave him her number – omgs! I told him he should call her, hang out. I mean, they’ve been friends for a LONG time, but ever since she remarried many moons ago (and is now divorced) and moved to a different town, they haven’t spent much time together. Saw each other at church and whatnot, but not much beyond that. Anyhow, I jokingly told dad that maybe he should date M…and apparently he took me seriously. Except that, you know, dad doesn’t date…so he has a not-a-girlfriend again. He’s spending a LOT of time with her, from what I can tell. He no longer has a dog that he has to go home and take care of, so I’d be curious to know how much time he’s actually spending at home. I can’t and won’t ask that, though. Not my business, do not really want to know.

The 4th anniversary of mom’s death is coming up in less than 2 weeks. I am feeling more upset this year than in past years and I think it has to do with this: Dad is bring M up that day to put flowers on mom’s grave. Yeah. It feels tactless and insensitive and rude and…I have no words to really describe how I feel. I shake with rage and frustration just thinking about it. Yes, I know, M was mom’s friend too. M says she wants to see where mom was buried and see me. She’s had 4 YEARS to find out where mom was buried. My parents’ phone number hasn’t changed in 31 years, so it’s not hard to reach dad. She could go to the church and ask some people how to get in contact with dad – someone has to know. She could have paid attention to the funeral service handout thing, whatever you call it, that said that mom was being interred at the Idaho Veteran’s Cemetery, and then used their machine to find out exactly what plot and how to find it. There are lots of ways, but it’s not until now that she’s showing any interest. And dad? Dad just assumed that it’s perfectly fine with me if he shows up on my doorstep on that day with M in tow and we can load up the baby and all merrily go out to the cemetery together. Did he ask me if it was okay with me? Did he take my feelings about mom into account, and the fact that this is a hard day for me too? Nope. He just assumed. I realize that having M there might make his grief a little easier, and that’s great. Go. Have fun. But to decide that I need to go with? Not so much.

This is a day where I am raw to the core and the LAST thing I need is to have to play pleasant hostess to someone I haven’t seen since I was living at home, probably, with the exception of mom’s funeral. This is a day where I hide, rarely answer my phone, stay away from most parts of the internet (like my email, because there will be one from my uncle, dumping his grief on us…and now that he’s on FB, I stay away from there too), sit and play video games all day until Aaron gets home and we can watch V for Vendetta. I go to the cemetery of my own volition, if I feel I can handle it. This is not a day for me to interact with other people, not yet. I am going to have to go to my classes, but that’s it. None of those people know me, so it’s fairly safe I think.

I just…I find it insensitive of dad not to at least ASK, but to tell me “We’ll be there at 9am”. Then he changed it to 10, and I had to remind him (again) that I have a kid who needs to be at daycare by noon and I have classes that day so if he wants me to go with them, they’ve got to be here as early as they can. I think I hurt his feelings by telling him they could go without me, so then I had to say “it’s not that I don’t want to go with (I don’t) but I don’t want my classes to be an issue” and he’s all “I don’t want you to miss your classes” and blah. We do not know how to interact with each other…and M wants to talk to me about dad and ask general questions? Yeah, I don’t have the answers to anything, lady. His co-workers probably know him better than I do. Aaron says he understands where I am coming from but he also thinks I’m wrong – which is fine, since I asked him for an honest answer and he took the time to think about it first. I can see how he thinks I’m wrong and that’s fine too. I could just scream, I am so frustrated and angry with dad. Will he ever see me as an adult with a life to take into consideration, instead of a child to be told what to do and expected to obey? No, I will not stand up to my father and say “Dad, no, I do not want you to bring M and I do not want to go to the cemetery with you because I don’t know how to handle your grief”. I was taught better than that.

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Oh hey look, a trigger

(I know, I haven’t been here in almost a year. This has never been a frequently posting place, but a place for me to put thoughts and rants as related to moms cancer. If you still have this in your reader, thank you.)

I was perusing my Facebook wall today and BAM! a trigger came out of nowhere. There’s a post from an outlying family member about how she went to the doc today and she’s been in remission and cancer free for 2 years, 7 months, 10 days. I find that exciting and was happy for her. No, the trigger showed up when one of my SILs said “God is good!”

Yes. God is good. He TOTALLY had everything to do with this. He magically made the cancer go away. It wasn’t the chemo or the radiation or the surgeries. Nope, God decided that this woman was worth saving, came down off his high cloud and made it all better. Oh sure, she still WENT through that other stuff but maybe she shouldn’t have. Maybe she just should have prayed hard enough, believed in her faith enough, gone to enough revivals and been doused with enough holy oil to light up New York, and she would have just been miraculously healed without having to go through all that nasty science stuff.

God decided that this woman was worth interrupting his day for, coming down off his cloud, and zapping her with his magic dust and making her all better. My mother, apparently, was not. What makes this woman so different? Does she donate to charity? Live like Mother Teresa? No, nothing. My mother was a religious woman. She believed that God would do His will, whatever that was, and she was at peace with it in the end.

I really hate the words “God’s Will”. It gets tossed around everywhere. Can’t have kids? It must be God’s will. Go through treatments, manage to have a child? God’s will. Get pregnant, only to lose it? God wanted that child back home, it was God’s will for him/her. Get cured of cancer? God’s will…although apparently not His will when you GET the damn cancer in the first place. No one gets cancer and gets told “It must just be God’s will for your life that you suffer in this manner.”  Die? “God took him back to heaven because it was his time” or something similar. God gets all the credit for all the things.

This is, of course, only if you believe that God is in control of every little thing. This is how you end up with people saying “How could God let that little child die? How can He be so cruel as to let the Midwest/East be destroyed by tornadoes and floods? How could he let nuclear weapons be launched? *insert bad things here and how can God let them happen*” Because of free will, jackasses. Einstein once said “God does not play dice with the world.” It’s…sure, God created the world, and then he let it go. He doesn’t roll the die to see who lives and dies, who gets struck with infertility and cancer and diseases and medical issues, which places get to be destroyed today by a natural disaster. No, He just set it free to do what it will. Giving Him credit for being cancer free? No, I don’t think so.

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That time of year

We’re coming up on that time of year again. Just over a week until the dreaded anniversary comes around for another year. Anniversary? Deathiversary? Is there really a word for marking these? There should be.

I was messaging with someone from my past today and realized that I couldn’t remember all the dates from when mom was diagnosed with the different cancers. I actually had to come look it up – and even now, I’m not certain I wrote it down correctly. I wonder if the feeling that I feel upon realizing that is the same one that people feel when they realize that they can no longer remember a loved one’s face clearly, or remember the sound of their voice.

I’m lucky in that, I suppose – I sound and look so much like mom, and the resemblance just grows stronger with each passing year. I put on a winter hat that she wore when she was doing chemo, with my hair pulled back, and got a jolt when I saw myself in the car window. I don’t always notice it from day to day but…yeah, it catches me off guard sometimes.

I was watching my son with my MIL earlier today and thought about how sad it was that he will never get to know my mother. Well…perhaps when he dies, and hopefully gets to join her, but SO not the point. He will grow up without my mothers presence in his life, except what I can show through. It’s…it feels incomplete.

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This years Facebook meme for breast cancer awareness (ha!) has created a firestorm. I’m not sure if the ones other years have, but this one certainly has. As I was perusing blog posts, I was directed to a post written about the bra-color one. It is written by a woman who had a double mastectomy in order to save her life. I dare you to write this and not feel stunned to your core.

In the name of awareness

I am not stunned that she wrote it. I am stunned by her strength. I am stunned at the way society can hurt when it tries to help, because (as a general whole) it doesn’t think things through. I am not able to put into words how profoundly her post has touched me. I wish mom were still here, just so I could share this with her, let her know that there are other women out there who understand some of what she went through.

And when you are done reading that, if you feel it needful to do something, ACT. She has a link to a post on turning awareness into action at the bottom of the one already linked. I have read over and over the past two days the same thought: Aren’t we aware enough already? Isn’t the time past for awareness, and the time for action NOW? I know that I can’t afford to donate right now, and my own medical status is such that doing something like a walk is out of the question – although I would love to be able to do the “Walk to Remember” or “Relay for Life” in mom’s honor some year. I can blog, though, and I can educate others about what I know.

I am 95% certain that I will get breast cancer some day. My mom had it, her mother died of it (it metastasized to her brain 6 weeks after dx and killed her), and mom was pretty sure that her grandmother also had it. My sister and I are both on the watch for it, because we know it’s coming. Educate yourself. Educate those around you. Speak up for those who can’t. Be an advocate. Do what you can. And hopefully build yourself a supportive network of people that you will hopefully never have to use.

And how appropriate that I read this exactly 7 years from the day that mom was diagnosed with the ovarian cancer that would take her life 26 months later. This is hell week for me – almost every year for 4 years in a row, mom was diagnosed with cancer.

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Heard this tonight and was reminded very strongly of mom. She was a rather religious woman and while I may no longer accept everything I was taught, there is no question about the strength of her faith. Even in her last days she relied on her faith. I never heard her rail or curse at God for “giving” her cancer, for taking her from her family before we were all ready, or the ever present “why me, Lord?” that you often hear. I’m not saying that she didn’t, only that if she did, she did it privately. I hold onto HER strength in her faith as a comfort. I can’t say what happens when you die, who has the right or wrong of things, who is on the “right” side, and I won’t be able to until I die my own self and then my answers don’t do y’all any good. 🙂 Anyways, I wanted to put this video up so I don’t lose it, so I can come back and remind myself. And I know I embedded the Shrek version – it was the best one I could find AND the one that showed up on Pandora…which is where I heard it today.

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