Friday, January 13, 2012


Not the bad kind that wants to accumulate on the roads and stay around forever. The good kind, gently falling and melting as soon as it hits. This is the kind of snow that I like. I enjoyed my morning commute watching it as I was driving in. It made me fell still and peaceful. So I have spent the morning in a reflective mood, thinking about small things. The din the morning radio show host were making over who were better drivers and parental melt downs. Had me wondering what difference it made. I know they had to have something to talk about, but sometimes I'd like to hear about something more than fluff. All parents melt down eventually. If June Cleaver had been a real person she would have had moments on that show where she wasn't all cool grace wrapped up in pearls and heels. The dirty little secret is that all parents fail. At it's best, parenthood is a tutorial in asking for forgiveness and hoping and praying that we are not going to fail so often that it is the only reaction our children remember.

With this backdrop I pulled into the parking garage and realized that there were 7 text messages on my phone. Alarmed at this, I stopped and read them immediately. The first one from a friend that I haven't seen in a while. It said "By this afternoon the divorce should be final." Whaaaaat? I didn't know that the marriage was in trouble. Apparently neither did any of our mutual friends, the other six texts were different friends asking if I knew anything about this. They were all as blindsided by the news as I was.

I got into the building and headed upstairs to my cube.  Opening my email box I had a message from one of the breast cancer sisters. "They took Becky to hospice today. They don't think she has much time." Hot tears ran down my face. I knew that she had been sick. I knew the mets were in a lot of places, but still it is so hard to face...again.

Back downstairs in the cafeteria for breakfast, I'm sitting at the table and David from strategic accounts approaches me. I have been in a few meetings with him and emailed things back and forth, but I don't know him well. He wanted to talk to me. His wife was diagnosed on Monday. Poor girl, they called and gave her the news on her cell phone while she was driving her daughter to cheer practice. Her cancer is very similar to mine, nowhere near as advanced, but er/pr-, her2nue strongly positive, lymph node involvement. She's going to the same oncology and surgical groups that I go to, different doctors in that group. I told him that her oncologist is considered the breast cancer expert in the southeast, and that a lot of the surgeons patients like her more than my surgeon. They have her on a good schedule. He was concerned because they want to do chemo before surgery and he wants the tumor gone. I explain the reasoning, but I don't think he was convinced. We talked for way longer than my break should have been. It was hard to hold the tears back after hearing about Becky. Wasn't she stage 2 when she was diagnosed? I can't remember. I don't have promises to give David, but he sees me as the promise. I am here talking to him eight years after my diagnosis. I told him I was really sorry, that I'd like to talk to his wife and I gave him my cell number for her to call. I don't know what I will say, but I know that I can't be silent.

I sat quietly in my cube all morning, glad that there wasn't much to be done. I can barely focus on the Excel workbook open on my screen. Stormy stopped by and asked if I would like to go to lunch, but before we could leave, she got pulled into an impromptu meeting. I walked back down to the cafeteria, but the offerings didn't appeal to me. Instead I went to Sweet Tomatoes and had chili and salad. The woman in the booth diagonal to the table I'm at is bald and obviously weak. I don't know what kind of cancer she has, but I do know how she feels. Tears for Becky slide down my cheek. I am embarrassed by my lack of emotional control. I feel overwhelmed by all this.

Back in my cube I get a cry for help from Evelyn. She needs to create a survey and doesn't know the software. I have used it, but it was three years ago. I don't know it well. We spend an hour figuring it out and getting the survey on the intranet. She and I go back to the cafeteria for break. While getting the napkins and silverware I notice Julia sitting at one to the tables in the darkened area. She looked very bad. She is usually all smiles and cheer, but today there is definitely something wrong. Evelyn and I go and sit with her. She told me that she had an MRI on Monday and they found something on her spleen. She's going on the 24th to get a biopsy. She's scared and she should be. The type of lymphoma that she had can easily spread to the spleen.

Now I'm sitting here and the contemplations that I had in the morning driving in seem like trivial popcorn compared to the news the day dumped on me. I want to love these people, to comfort them. But I feel so incredibly incapable of the task. I have nothing to give them other than my prayers and concern. Some times I wonder why we fight so hard to cling to life. I guess the only thing we can do is to be there for each other.


  1. Wow, sounds like you had a really tough day. Watching other people go through trials is sometimes just as hard as going through them ourselves. I hope things start looking up and that you have a relaxing weekend.

  2. Oh man, as a former oncology nurse and a current hospice nurse, I have a little bit of a feel for days like that. I'm so sorry.