Friday, February 25, 2011

Cancer Cancer Everywhere

A beautiful late winter snow day…tons of unexpected snow and I am in my flannel pajamas at 5pm. Delicious. Also delicious: today I made real Mexican hot chocolate concocted with a bar of real dark chocolate, cream and hot red peppers. And my new toy: a battery operated wisk. (Almost as much fun as other battery operated devices.)

But a soft drum beat in the distance: cancer, cancer, cancer. An old friend has breast cancer, a new friend has bone marrow cancer, a coworker’s child has brain cancer. In today’s paper a reminder that while we oooh and ahh over breast cancer and even colon cancer it will be lung cancer that will kill the most. Lung cancer kills seven times more than all other cancers put together.

Why no ribbons or races or fashion shows for Lung Cancer?

Because we think it is deserved by smokers and their families. A subtle shaming and discrimination. But get this: 80% of all lung cancer diagnoses are in folks who never smoked or who quit decades ago.

What color should the ribbons be?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

Oh readers you know that I have struggled—with cancer, kids, jealousy, fears, projections, and a fabulous habit of scaring myself to death over and over. Today I am basking in –and saying this so that I remember—we have a good marriage. My own little mind would undo that fact at the drop of a hat—or an email or a bill or a poor night’s sleep. But yesterday—Valentine’s Day—I got it.

Nothing fancy, nothing shiny—just a quick after work date with John—visiting the pastry shop where we met for years as friends who liked to talk about books and music. Yesterday we talked about the craziness and the courage of the past five years—and the pain we caused others and each other as our friendship became romance became commitment. Memories of sweet moments? Yes. Regrets? Yes. The grief and the gifts that cancer has given us? Absolutely yes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Promotion

Feels like a promotion. Maybe a graduation—like going from kindergarten to first grade?

John’s “passed” his oncology tests yesterday and is now promoted to six month intervals. Which, yes good for him, but this is also means that I can now move out six whole months in my fear and worries.

Nutty thinking? Yes, I know it is, but if you’ve lived in Cancer Land you know how this crazy fear clock ticks.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. The table is black and gold. My clothes are black and gold. It’s bringing back so many good memories of growing up in Pittsburgh when the Steelers were always winning. It’s a funny thing about growing up in that era—all the sports teams were winners: Steelers, Pirates even the Penguins. I just thought that’s how it is when you live in a city—your teams win. Then I moved to other cities and realized how very spoiled I was by Pittsburgh.

Guests for dinner—pierogies, Chinese take-out, wings, Mexican, all football fan food. We’ll watch the game and the commercials and I will hope and hope for a Steeler win.

But in the background—a slight hum, a slight wafting of low grade fear. Tomorrow is oncologist again. Blood work and “Can you open your pants?” Our little joke that she wants to peek below his belt.

Flip a coin. Steelers kick off? Chemo again? Love—and football—in the time of cancer.