Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cancer. The Great Snatch and Grab.

I didn't pick my words for the year lightly. The Art of Allowing. Grace. I kinda sorta knew I was going to need them.

So many people were so happy to kick 2011 to the curb and I was one of them. I barely got in to 2011 and my father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and it just derailed my life. One of the biggest things that I struggled to come to terms with last year was that I was losing one of two people who loved me unconditionally. Other people might say they do or want to, but your parents do. And they are really the only ones. So, when his six months turned into three and he died in May, well my motivation to do much of anything kinda sorta died with him. My migraines notched up, my chronic fatigue kicked in, my fibro went a little crazy, and I think that maybe I lost my mind a little. I didn't want to blog. I really didn't want to get out of bed. I spent more days than not in my pajamas. My mom was lucky to get me on facebook and play games. I found some games that would help with my memory and I decided that was good for me and fun. Mostly I didn't have to think about anything and that was what I wanted most. As luck would have it, I think it did help improve my memory to a point. I still get stuck sometimes, but it is better.

Then I started having balance issues. Then the inner ear diagnosis. And life just felt really hard again. I really should have seen that as the big build up.

Then my aunt and uncle come over for Christmas and she is not doing well. She is in a wheel chair because she is having trouble with her legs. She whispers to me on the side, "Oh Robin, Don't tell anyone because I don't want to ruin the holiday, but I think the cancer really got me this time." I find out she is going in for a PET scan that week. (And when I say "this time" it is only because this extremely tough woman has beaten cancer over and over again.") Well, she was admitted to the hospital before the results of her scan came in. And various teams kept coming in with conflicting news about what they were going to do.

In the end, there wasn't much to do. Once the PET scan results came in the decision was made. I happened to be there when this news was delivered because I was on my way to my therapy appt downtown. There was cancer in her lungs. Fluid in her lungs. The doctor didn't want to say it. Stage 4. It was like all of the oxygen left the room. It had also traveled to her lymph nodes. And all of the pain she was feeling was because it was in her bones. Pretty much all of her bones. She has holes in her bones.

There is something about hearing Stage 4. For me, that day, I was right back in 2011. It was my dad all over again. And I was drowning in it. I suppose it was a good thing that I couldn't stay due to my therapy appt. It game me the opportunity to go and cry through that appt. And then all evening at home.

By the next day, I had some perspective. As terrible as this is for me, and it is bad. I love my aunt. We moved here in 1997 to be closer to her. So, this is a loss for me. However, this is not the loss of a parent. My mom is experiencing the loss of a sister. My uncle is experiencing the loss of a wife. My cousins are losing their mother. While this reminds me of my dad... this is not my dad. Unfortunately, my aunt doesn't have even close to the amount of time my dad had. Yesterday, the doctors are saying ONE WEEK. All of these people are having to mentally adjust to this loss in less than a week. I wasn't ready in three months.

The truth is that I am still not ready. But cancer doesn't wait until you are ready. It just snatches and grabs and all you are left with is a hole in your heart. Last time I drowned in it. This time I really want to find some Grace.


  1. *Sighs*... Bless your heart, Robin... I'm so so so sorry. I've just recently learned that one of my best friends here at work has been diagnosed with breast cancer... poor thing. She's being strong, has surgery and all scheduled, and is ready to go forward... I found her crying in her office last afternoon... and it just broke my heart.


  2. I will hope in my heart that you found grace, and strength.

  3. Cancer is a hideous thief, stealing bits and pieces through surgeries and radiation and chemo, stealing time, stealing loved ones. I'm so, so sorry to read this, Robin - your family has really been through enough in such a short time. But then, we don't get the luxury of scheduling these things, do we??? With prayers for your aunt ....

  4. Thanks for the perspective, and I am ever so sorry about all of this for you. Hopefully this will help you through some of the feelings that are still there to be worked through about your Dad. And maybe this time it will somehow be more grace filled as you suggest.

  5. I still remember how I fell apart within a second when my mom told me she probably has breast cancer, so I DO realize that what I'm gonna say here will sound almost impossible but, Robin, the only thing you can do now is not to think about all that too much. because otehrwise YOU'll never get better. it sounds all wrong but I know that you know what I mean here.

  6. Cancer sucks. It just does. I found out yesterday a guy I dated some in college died of cancer and it just sort of threw me for a loop because it seems like I've heard about so many people losing their battle with the stuff in the last few weeks. Thinking about you and your family during this time.

  7. Cancer is BS. And you got it right about how it snatches and grabs and leaves you with a hole in your heart. I so hope that you are able to find some grace this time. Speaking from experience from those in my family who have gone on from cancer, grace is exactly what they hope you do find. IT is there. And it's yours for the taking.

  8. Hi Robin: I have not been able to post blog comments for quite a while. It must be an Internet Explorer problem, because Mozilla allows me to post. Anyway, I sent you an e-mail. My thoughts are with you.

  9. Geeze Rob.. Should have read this post before I commented on the previous one. Not that it changes what I said... Just might have added some other thoughts. I'm so sorry. As lame and cliche as it sounds, I do know what you're feeling and I know how much it SUCKS.

    You and those you love are very much in my thoughts and prayers and as always, I'm here... Hang in there my friend. {{{{ }}}}


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