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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lightning does strike twice

Last week, I accompanied Trevor to a fairly routine colonoscopy.  The poor guy had to drive back from Lexington the day before with only cold beef broth as sustenance and spend the next twenty-four hours chugging a mix of Gatorade® and Miralax®.  Needless to say, he was a touch hangry by the time we went to his afternoon appointment. 

All went well, and I had a grand time talking to him as he was coming out from the anaesthesia.  His voice modulation was a bit off, so everything he said was very loud and very hilarious  He fretted about what to wear to our family picture over the weekend and mentioned that he had given the doctor advice during the procedure due his own Juris Doctorate background.  We were still laughing when the young doctor came in to talk to us.  Maybe I'm just an old Meemaw, but this guy looked like he was twelve years old, thirteen on a good day.  He had one small earring in one ear that sparkled each time he moved.  After asking how Trevor was feeling, the doctor assumed a sober expression to tell us that he had found a mass, a rather large mass, during the colonoscopy.  He had taken a sample to send to the pathologist, but he knew right then and there that it was cancer.

Trevor was still hazy, so I tried my best to focus and listen to what this doctor was trying to tell us.  I found myself instead watching his earring as it lazily shone under the fluorescent lighting in the recovery room.  What?  I thought.  This kid with jewelry can't come in here and tell me that my husband has cancer.  He just can't.  No.  But he did.  And Trevor does. 

Things started to alternately speed up and slow down in my mind.  I was shaking and foggy yet all too aware that this was actually happening.  We were both in shock and sort of weakly laughing at the time because the news was beyond unreal and ridiculous.  With the long weekend coming up, there was nothing to do but wait and think.  We had to stop ourselves from googling symptoms and treatments and statistics.  We had to be as normal as we could in front of the kids, but inside, we were both cold and numb.  As Tom Petty likes to remind us, the waiting is the hardest part.  Having no course of action until we could get in touch with various offices and doctors made me feel completely helpless and angry. 

Today will finally bring something so we can begin the process of finding out how to treat this interloper and get it out of our lives.  I need SOMETHING to happen because nothing happening is just not cutting it for me.  Trevor will have a CT scan here in town to determine whether or not the cancer has spread.  We'll then take all of the information we have to Northwestern next week and meet with a surgical oncologist to see what our next step is.  Luckily his appointment is the day before I begin Radiation Isolation 2: Electric Boogaloo so I can go with him for support and information-gathering.  What I know right now is that the next few months are going to be full of serious suckage, and there is no way around that. 

One adult in a family going through cancer treatment is enough, but two adults going through it at the same time is breathtakingly frightening.  I know I have to stay positive for Trevor and the kids but for myself as well.  Now is not the time to fall apart or fall prey to the thousands of what-ifs that go through my mind every day.  It's going to be okay because it HAS to be okay: it's really that simple.  I'm a pretty dyed-in-the-wool atheist, but any prayers, good thoughts, positive juju, or strong mojo would be most appreciated. 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Scent memories

I bought a pack of gum at Family Express the other day.  I opened a piece, and then I was eight.

The smell of spearmint took me to Independence Hill in Merrillville where my grandparents lived.
Pop asking me, "You want a cake of gum?"
My grandma coasting down the big hill in the car.
In retrospect, the hill was pretty small.
Summer nights on the screened porch.  Crickets.
Spending the night.
Watching "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island."
Eating Neapolitan ice cream and Little Debbie snack cakes.
Satin pillowcase under my head.
Baseball game softly playing on the radio.
Chenille bedspread.
Grandma's fried chicken.
Iced tea so sweet it made my teeth hurt.
Pop reminding me that he never left Green County until he was sixteen years old.
Small house, so cozy.
Trips to Dairy Queen.
Picking tomatoes out of the garden and eating them like apples.
Big circles on the riding lawnmower.
The green candle on the living room table that was never burned, not once.
Running to the neighbor's house because she always had candy bars in the freezer for us.
Grandma's wash and set.
Pop pronouncing my name with the emphasis on the second syllable, the right way.
Always ready for the next visit and the next.
Feeling safe and loved.


And then I was forty-one and wished I had one more night.