Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Can't and Won't

Call it semantics, but it's a big deal around here. We were raised by a man that knew his grammar. I can't tell you the number of times my Dad corrected any of us, including my mom, about the correct use of can & may, can't & won't, who & whom. He would even correct random folks (which I'm sure really made their day) And now I hear my sister drumming it into my nieces all the time "Mom, can I have that?" - her response "Sure you can, but may you?" Dad would be so proud.

But even I do it. For instance, today - as I was arguing with Scott- he said I can't change my own oil or mow the lawn. I said it's not that I can't, it's that I won't - not when there are perfectly trained individuals that can do it for me and save me time and messing up a manicure. That's simple right? But somehow he has trouble with it, somehow he figures because I won't I can't - this from a man who hasn't bought his own underwear in 17 years (I think he literally can not buy his own clothes any more).

And as annoying as I find it to be the only one shopping for my husband's clothing, that really isn't the problem I have (well, maybe it's not a problem yet, but it's got all the markings of one). At yesterday's appointment with the oncologist we were told that my mom is technically "cured" as far as the breast cancer goes - the tumors have been removed and everything looks good, but (come one, you just knew there had to be a but right?) she still has a 40% chance of the cancer reoccurring in some way shape or form. The next step is to give her some sort of protein therapy that does some magical cancer disappearing act on this particular type of cancer and her risk of recurrence goes down another 15% to 25% - so yay that's good news. The number gets even better, down to an 18% (I recall the number being smaller, but my sister and mother think it was 18%, which is another reason why I thought it was a good idea to bring a tape recorder but was voted down, but I digress...) chance of recurrence if she does the recommended course of chemo.

So what's the problem you ask? The path is clear, mom should go the distance with chemo and the protein therapy and reduce her chances of recurrence as much as is possible right? Apparently not.

I just got a call from my sister asking what I think of mom not doing chemo - saying that she just didn't want mom to have to go through all the bad stuff for 7%. She said she just doesn't think mom can do it. And while I like to agree with all the quality of life issues, I find myself in this place where I simply can't bear to think of a 7% chance of losing my mom. So how do I tell my mother - my snarky, sarcastic, uppity, non-compliant, but I can't imagine the earth without her mother - that I simply can't and I won't allow her not to make that extra 7% happen?

Current Music: Restless - Alison Krauss & Union Station

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cancer for Dummies

Right, so I thought that I would be all witty by saying how "I wish there was a Cancer for Dummies book", turns out there is (and there's MORE than one). I guess now I'd thought to write this post and search Amazon before now.

This afternoon is mom's first appointment with the oncologist. Today we finally get some answers, or at least we hope so. Maybe if we'd bought "Breast Cancer for Dummies" we wouldn't be so in the dark right now. As of right now all we know is that she had two types of cancer, that she had to (and did have) a bilateral radical mastectomy, and that there was lymph node involvement. She was diagnosed in October and yet that's all we know.

She went slowly from mammogram to biopsy, biopsy to MRI, MRI to surgical consult, surgical consult to actual surgery. From there she had to take time to heal from surgery and then it would finally be time to see the oncologist. I know that I don't deal with cancer every day like these doctors do, but shouldn't there some sense of urgency? Some concern that this is cancer and could kill my last remaining parent (a thought that I am not really ready to tackle just yet)?

I'm trying to have faith that the doctors know what's going on and that we'll all get through this, but a few answers would be nice. Here's hoping that we have them later this afternoon.

Current Music: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

I've got to tell you, I'm exceptionally happy to see the back of 2009. It was not what I would consider to be a banner year. In fact, what's the opposite of banner year? Because, with a few exceptions, that's what it's been - an "unbanner year". Though, upon a little reflection, I think I could easily say that I'm glad to be rid of the whole damn decade. Sure there are some wonderful things that have happened in the last 10 years - my sister got married, my nieces were born, we bought our first house, etc. Some really great things to be sure, but then the really bad stuff seems to eclipse it all.

But since it's been a while since I've blogged, I suppose I should catch you all up... Should we go with the good news first or the bad news? I guess good news first - it's a shorter list and I hate to bum you all out too early.

- I joined a gym, and began training to run my first 5k - and now I'm about to run my third tomorrow.
- I started on anti-depressants which has helped to a certain degree, sadly it hasn't helped everything. But apparently they don't make a pill for that just yet.
- I got a two and a half week vacation to Cali, courtesy of my Mom and unemployment.
- Part of that vacation included a trip to LA and great girl's weekend with two of my three college roommates.

And now for the not so good news.
- I was able to take the vacation by getting laid off for two weeks, but when I returned to Michigan my bosses decided to make it more long term. So I've been out of work since the 22nd of September.
- Scott and I have been on the rocks, more than that - really it seems like the end, but neither one of us can figure out how to actually make it end.
- The two college roommates that I saw in September are both in the process of separation and possibly divorce as well.
- And the really big news, my Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October (sort of ironic to be diagnosed during National Breast Cancer Month, no?)

I will say that the silver lining of the unemployment is that it's made me available to come home and take care of my Mom. I've been in California since early December and it looks like I'll be here till the end of January at this point. Scott's none too thrilled with the situation, but it's my last parent so I'm going to do what ever needs to happen.

The not so silver lining of the unemployment is that it's made life so much more difficult - not from a monetary stand point (not that it's easy, but it's not horrible), but due to the fact that it gives me far too much time to get up in my head and stress out about all the other things going on in my life.

And of course there is the decided lack of jobs in my area - at this point I'm pondering returning to California just so I can work (well, at doing my job and not just taking a random job). Another thing that Scott's not too thrilled about, but I need to work - not only for the money, but for the mental and social aspects as well.

So, can you really blame me for being glad to get rid of 2009?

Anyway, the result of all this whining is that I'm going to make the resolution to blog more (yeah, I know you've heard it before, but I'm gonna try), to combat the psychological effects of all that bad news I've listed up there. I know deep down under all that crappy stuff I'm still there and missing writing.

Current Music: Cold Blooded Old Times - Smog

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