This happened tonight, not to me, but to Jeff. We had just sat down for a flight of tasty brews and out of nowhere something hit him in the head. It was windy, so we thought maybe a walnut flew off a tree. When we looked down, there were two bees on the ground that were…you know… together. They quickly flew off, going their separate ways. A totally random, once in a lifetime occurrence.
What a metaphor for life; so much of it is chance, good luck, bad luck, karma, the universe, whatever.
Last week was scan week. So as per usual our stress levels were relatively high waiting for results on Friday. On Wednesday, I called my mom like I do every morning and she told me very nonchalantly that she found a lump on her breast. No big deal, the Google results had already shown that it was likely benign based on her assessment. Now living in the mentally compartmentalized world that I do, I filed that away.
Friday morning Jeff and I met with two residents for rounds of routine neurological tests and questions (touch your nose, follow my finger, any shortness of breath? coughing? headaches?) followed by the radiologist and the oncologist all of whom had good news – the brain and lung scans looked great. This is the second set of scans since Jeff switched to Alectinib that the cancer is showing an excellent, sustained response to. God is good. We are so deeply grateful.
After the appointments, Jeff goes off to work and I stop off for a giant salad and seltzer (living large), and then a walk around a couple of stores before I head home to spend the afternoon with Finley.
That evening my mom calls to let us know that she had a mammogram and MRI. Three spots, all highly suspicious, nearly-confirmed breast cancer. Holy shit. Not my other best friend. I don’t know how much more I can take.
Now we are in the the throws of diagnostics. I say we, but mom is the one doing all the heavy lifting and experiencing the pain of needle biopsies and other discomforts of being the patient. I am here, 250 miles away waiting for calls, conferencing in with her doctor, hoping, praying that she gets a bit of good news somewhere.
Yesterday, the doctor confirmed her diagnosis is breast cancer and not a recurrence of the non-Hodgkins Lymphoma that she’s already been managing for 10 years. We have more questions than ever, but we have to wait.
I find this is like learning another language all over again. I can speak lung cancer all day long, but breast cancer is like Greek to me. The diagnostics are different, the genetics are different, the treatments most certainly will be different. I thought I’d be the best resource for my mom and I’m already learning that I have a lot to learn.
I’m so tired of cancer. I’m not angry about it, I’m tired of it. Exhausted by it.
I do have to wonder though, why my husband and mother, the two people on this earth that I love, and trust explicitly, the only two people that I can be my most honest, true self with are sick. Why they are faced with such horrific illnesses is something I will never understand.
If there’s anything cancer has taught me, it’s that there’s nothing, absolutely nothing in this life that you can control. It’s the hardest lesson to learn when your world is seemingly so in-control until cancer invites itself in. And really, the lesson is to let go. Cancer or not. Let go and have faith in whatever or whomever it is that you believe in. Don’t let the stuff that doesn’t really matter get you down, or interfere with living life. We weren’t put on this earth to have perfect lawns and drive luxury cars, to kill ourselves to keep up with the Jones’s. We were put here to make a difference, to be kind and to help others, to love and be loved. At least that’s what my mom has taught me.
Those two bees didn’t see that ginger head coming tonight. But they’ll figure things out. And we will too.
Much love and much hope. #beatlungcancer #beatbreastcancer