Tuesday, June 29, 2010



Oh people.  Where have I gone?  I wanted my first post back to be epic but I will not make any promises or even attempts at that.  This is going to be just about what I can type out in the 4 minutes I have before I am scheduled to study.  (I’m trying to be more structured with my fun-employment, more on that later.)

I am about to start my 4th month in my new life, away from my job.  I have gotten a lot accomplished, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped.  I couldn’t sleep at all last night and ended up going to bed with the birds chirping and sky lightening.  I think I’m feeling a little anxious with the lack of routine that I have.  I decided to attempt to be more structured, but in a very productive way.  I tend to get bogged down in the details, then overwhelmed, then sometimes give up.  Aside from the benefits of being detail-oriented, this is not such a good trait.  Someone said to me recently – use your faults to your advantage.  I’m still trying to figure out how that can work for me as my faults still seem like my faults.  I’m trying to embrace certain things but I do tend to get frustrated with myself.

There is no other way to say this next thing, so I’m going to just say it.  My mom has cancer.  It still feels really weird to think/say/type that as my family just isn’t the “cancer type”.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  This all started a couple of months ago and a lot of action has taken place since.  Summary:  annual mammogram found something, biopsy was done, cancer was detected, surgery for lumpectomy scheduled, surgery showed cancer had spread to lymph nodes, further biopsy after surgery showed it had only spread to ONE lymph node, “the plan” for treatment was laid out…chemo starts on Thursday, radiation after that.

I have been trying to count my blessings since this arose and I think I’m doing a fairly good job.  I am close with my parents, but they live 1500 miles away.  I’m making a better attempt to communicate via phone and even set up skype/webcam (could be my demise?).  My family emails each other all day every day, but it is not too personal – weather, what we did, etc.  I went back to Michigan for the surgery, am going back for 10 days again in July while my sister is out too, then we’re planning a week rental on Lake Michigan in August. 

The trip home for the surgery was, to put it bluntly, not good.  I was alone, no husband and away from my house, stuff and timezone.  None of us expected the cancer to have spread – we thought they’d scrape it out then do radiation and onto a somewhat normal life again.  I’ll never forget the feeling in the waiting area when the surgeon came out to tell us.  I was with my dad only and felt completely heartbroken and above all SCARED.  Even though my family is close we don’t get too super emotional and this was a time when my guard just came down.  Seeing my dad upset too wrecked me.  The rest of my visit was really really hard for me.  I’m glad I was there for my parents sake but behind closed doors I was a wreck.  Lots of tears and thoughts and feelings that I’ve been avoiding all of my life. 

It wasn’t until a few days after I got home, when the results of the biopsy of the rest of the lymph nodes came back with good news, that I started to feel relief.  I truly had been expecting the worst possible news so was shocked at this.  So happy.

She still needs to go through chemo and I know that will be really rough.  It will be a huge lifestyle change for a while, especially the losing the hair part, but a necessary part of getting better.  The 10 year outlook for her type of cancer, with this treatment, is very very positive. 

Everything is going to be okay, she is going to be okay and I am going to be okay.  This all opened my eyes to the fact that my parents are getting older and aren’t going to be around forever.  This concept of losing people is terrifying to me and I’m slowly trying to face that bit by bit.  My adventures in yoga and in life are helping me along and making me better able to cope with roadblocks like this.  I am growing and that is good.

I’m not a huge risk taker and this isn’t a huge risk, but the situation of the past few weeks prompted me to carpe diem just a little bit and make a tiny, non-permanent change:


BANGS!  Fringe has not graced my forehead since 1989 so I kind of feel like a new woman…and sorta like the old too:


(Someday I’ll post my Boston marathon report.  I’ll also post about my recent less major trials and tribulations including yoga, garden, travel, volunteering, etc.)


Amy - the gazelle said...

First of all, I just have to say that the man behind you in your pegasus-bangs picture is pretty cute. :)

And secondly - you know you have a huge support system when you need it. Your mom is going to be okay. And so are you. You are pretty awesome.

Anonymous said...

I will keep you, your family and especially your mom in my thoughts.

PS- I LOVE the bangs!

Marathon Maritza said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom but glad she is getting great treatment and that you were able to be with her during surgery. All will be well, my friend, just as you said.

On a lighter note, I freakin' love the bangs! ♥


P.O.M. said...

I couldn't imagine what you're going through. You're in our thoughts!

Petraruns said...

SO so sorry to hear about your mom and that you've had SUCH a hard time with that recently. My mom had a scare a couple of years ago and it completely threw my life out of kilter. Sounds like she's going to be okay but with these kind of things the known cannot be unknown can it?

Love the bangs. Am a big fan of bangs. I am constantly either growing them out then cutting them again. You look fab.

Susan said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom...as a nurse, dealing with cancer is so hard, but I can't imagine my mom going through it. Stay strong. :)

Amy said...

I really identified with this post. Probably because we both come from Michigan and have close families. I am so sorry your visit home wasn't under better circumstances. I hope radiation and chemo go well...you'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

As for your bangs, I LOVE THEM! You look absolutely adorable and stylish at the same time. Glad you made the switch up.

Hang in there. XOXOXO

KK said...

I am so sorry to read about your mom, Emily. I can't imagine what it was like for you and your dad in that waiting room. Hopefully the plan that the surgeon/doctors set forth will go well and your mom will undergo the treatment needed to eliminate the cancer. She will be in my thoughts through all of this (keep us posted). Hang in there-you are strong (positive thing) and you can use your strength as a strength (help others to be strong). (I didn't understand the whole using-faults-to-your-advantage-either.)

Mary & Christina (Sisters Running the Kitchen) said...

Hi Emily,

This is Mary...I met you at the boston marathon...I just changed my blog now. So sorry to hear about your Mom. Be strong for your Mom and keep her spirits up. <3