New Way to be Human

Nov. 18 2004, my Mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer. I started this blog to chronicle her journey. July 19, 2005 she gave her life in the battle. This blog is my place to process through the journey I walked along with her, and now my journey through grief. It's also a place to discuss the effects cancer has on the lives it touches--survivors and caregivers alike. I'm a Navy wife, a Mom, and my mother's daughter now and forever.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Won't Eat

Mom won't eat today. She's really, really, really sick to her stomach all the time. Dad Panics on days like today. It is distressing. Especially when she won't take in fluids (she has done some of that today). Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

It's hard though when she feels so badly. She's sitting in her chair right now, and she will just hardly even respond. That scares me. I always wonder if we should be calling an ambulance or something. Boy would that piss Mom off.

Mostly I think Dad and I feel cagey because we feel helpless. Feeling helpless sucks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Scans, Plans, and Smelly Boats

Well, so we got the CT Scan results back today.

Not so good...

The original tumors in the lung are growing and there are more tumors there now. There is growth in the lymph nodes, most of the bone spots are the same with some growth in a couple areas and now the cancer is in Mom's liver. In the words of my favorite Carolyn toy, "BLEH!"

Needless to say that's not the news we wanted to hear, and we're done done done with Alimta. The doctor wants to start on a drug called Perifosine now. It's an oral drug (which Mom thinks is a perk) and it's brand-spanking new. The doc even had to check today to make sure that it was approved for use with Lung Cancer. It's still in the trials phase and they're messing around with dosages.

Some paperwork has to go through and Mom has to be officially approved. As long as that all happens, we're good to go with this stuff.

I was discouraged to hear the news about the scans, but encouraged that Mom seems to want to keep fighting. It made me really proud of her... and it makes me feel less scared. This stuff might not work either, but at least we're DOING something.

Mom also gets to go another couple weeks without treatments. Hopefully her blood counts will go back up and she can get a little stronger, and.... I'd still take some GOOD--I mean unquestionably GOOD days.

Andy is on the smelly boat now (Really smelly according to him.... Gross). Apparently he got some really yucky sheets... covered in--well you name the body fluid, and it's there. Lovely! I'm glad that our servicemember are so well taken care of, aren't you? *sigh* Also, someone stole his cardboard box. Not the stuff inside of it, just the box. What is it with random items of his walking off? And why in the world would you steal a cardboard box? I just don't get it.

He called tonight one last time before they are 'out there' on this Det. That was sad and hard, especially on the heels of our other bad news. On the sort of upside, it looks like this IS just going to be a Detachment which means that he will *possibly* get to take some leave and come see us between this Det. and his deployment. It means more time away from us in the long run, but another chance to see him in the short run.

I still feel like I'm made of steel sometimes. I imagine one of these days though, the dam is going to break and I'll be a wreck for a while. I guess that won't make me any less strong. It'll just give me a wet face.

So, as I said, We March on...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

So Much to Say

There are so many things I want to blog about tonight... We're back at Mom's. Travels were ok. We came in last night, and Carolyn was delighted to see Grampa and Gramma. She talked and smiled and giggled and cooed and turned on ALL her charm.

Today has been... well, it's been. I've been kind of draggy and a little down, but I think both are to be expected. I feel somewhat discontented and uncomfortable here. Like maybe I don't fit. I was thinking that I would just stay here at my folks', now I'm again toying with the idea of getting an apartment here for a while. I just feel kind of emotionally crowded.

David C. from my lung cancer message board passed away today. He was only 37 and has a beautiful little girl.... This makes me really sad.

Mom will have a doctor's appointment to discuss her latest scans on Monday. I am praying for good news. The way she is talking today, it sounds like if there is not significantly good news, she feels it's best to stop fighting. I'm not sure how to support her here. I want her to know that I DO support her regardless of her decision at this point, but I also want to encourage her to keep fighting, and to help her to know that there is hope. At the same time, I can see how it must seem so futile to fight so hard and still feel so very bad. She said she thinks that it would be easier for me if she lived, but she's not sure what would be easier for Dad. I told her whether she decides to fight or not she needs to make the decision for HER. Incidentally, that was a conversation I never wanted to have, and yet I did have it... calmly and rationally... Sometimes it feels like I'm outside myself watching these things.

Mom has an 'alien mark' on her arm. It's really weird. It's dark red... Like a bruise but nastier. She was told by the nurse at the doctor's office it was just a bruise and not to worry about it. So, she's just decided that the aliens are coming to get her and that they've branded her before hand. ;)

I miss Andy. But I am coping. I think Carolyn misses him too. I know they're not supposed to 'know things' like this... but she knew her daddy instantly when we went back. It only makes sense that she would know that he's NOT here and miss him. But maybe I am just projecting onto her.

So... we march on.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Last Night Here...

*Warning... huge whine ahead*

It's my last night here... Our last night with Andy for six months, probably nine months, or even more. I can't figure out why the cards are stacked against us. What did we do wrong? Why does the pile only get bigger and bigger?

They have a stupid safety stand-down tonight. He was supposed to be home an hour and a half ago... He's not. I guess they all went on a break and no one has come back yet... He's trying to figure out where to go and what to do and when he's allowed to go home.

He got a room at the Navy Lodge here for us.. But the house is nowhere near clean despite all the work Jamie and I put in today. I know Andy has the rest of the week to get it done, but he has a lot of other stuff to do as well. I hope he gets it cancelled because we'll never get there in time, and I want to wake up in THIS HOUSE again tomorrow. I can't stand a new place tonight with all that is happening.

It's our last night. We have to leave at 8 in the morning tomorrow. I just want him to come home so we can eat dinner, and cuddle, and be together. He probably won't even get to see Carolyn awake today.

I don't want to leave tomorrow. I really don't. I don't want to be away from him for so long. I don't know how I'll do it. I'll essentially live the most difficult year of my life without him. No... No... I don't want to.

This is the first time I've really felt like saying, I can't do this. I'm not sure I can. I suppose the strength will come back sometime. Maybe I'll even be coping tomorrow as we navigate through the world of travelling as Mommy and lap-infant yet again. But right now... I just want to hold my husband for a little bit. And I can't. And I want to quit.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Proof that the glove fiasco didn't spoil our time... It's so good to be the three of us! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


He's home... No gloves. They just didn't want somebody to get hurt and then have the BIG GUYS have to answer to somebody....

Tomorrow a new CO takes over and they have a big ceremony so Friday is a day off... Unless they renig on that for just the ATs, he should be able to have some distance.

More Glove Effect

Andy called.

They're making them work back to back double shifts until the gloves are found. That means 20 hour days and I'll see him when he is allowed to come home to sleep at 4 a.m... or later.

I have no idea what may be happening for Andy personally... but this doesn't sound good.

So much for seeing any of my husband this last week of my being home before I go back to Mom's and he deploys.


The... Glove Effect???

Who ever thought so much trouble would come from a pair of gloves?

So you've heard of the butterfly effect right? The idea that if a butterfly flaps her wings in Seattle that it'll start a hurricane over in the Carribean or what not?

With the Navy, apparently the culprit is gloves.

Andy got a pair on Monday, used them at work on Tuesday, layed them down in a safe place in the shop (Far away from any planes), and went on a lunch break. When he got back they were gone.

Now, they were nice gloves. He wanted them back so he mentioned they were gone. Of course, no one knew where they are.

There is this obsession that the aviation community has with something called FOD. I'm not entirely sure what the meaning or origin of the word FOD is except that it's loose stuff that can get stuck in airplanes and cause big problems... Andy's gloves were considered FOD.

First they ripped the shop apart looking for them. Then the plane. Day shift stayed late. Night shift worked on it. No gloves.

Andy calls after they finally let him come home and says--Were they in the planes I worked on? Nope...

We thought we were in the clear after that, but then a Chief called. *Note not only is it not good that a Chief was in the shop in the evening, it's never good when one calls you at home.* They had cancelled the Flight Schedule for the night. Six planes were on the ground because of a stupid pair of gloves that mysteriously walked off.

Andy went back in to work. They checked and rechecked and quadruple and quintuple checked EVERYTHING. No gloves. They're gone. Poof. The planes weren't flying. The brass was pissed. Bad juju folks.

It's not unheard of for people to have some significant disciplinary action as a result of something like this... including loss of rank.

Andy was sick... Angry, frusterated. The only thing we can figure is someone inadvertantly picked them up... or not so inadvertantly did... And you know they're not going to fess up anytime soon. Not when a perfectly good scapegoat and object of blame is in place.

We think it's going to be ok. Andy will be spending a lot of time with fellows in Khaki today that won't be any too happy with him... We are praying for a softening of their hearts and a little understanding--People put down their gear in the shop all the time. But it sure made for an awful night for us last night, and we shall see what will come of it.

I just can't help but wonder... When can things just be normal for us with no crises in the midst of our doing something that is already difficult? It's stressful enough to pack up and say good-bye without a pair of gloves derailing us into madness. Things could be so much worse. I know, but sometimes... When I'm not feeling like a big girl, I just want to go off into a corner, Pout, and shout, "IT'S NOT FAIR!"

But really... Six flights cancelled and a career possibly tarnished over a silly pair of gloves. Is life not bizarre?

Sunday, June 05, 2005


It's the strangest thing... Really, it's a mystery to me.

Things are hard all around right now. There's no hiding that. The burdens and worries I carry at present are heavy loads. It's not easy to say goodbye to one's husband for months at a time, and to know that part of that good-bye comes from MY choice and not just the Navy. It's not easy to be focusing my heart and mind on doing all that I can to love my Mom as she continues in her fight to survive. It's not easy to pack a suitcase, and a small car and move me and C out to live with my folks to help with the day to day there and to squeeze in all the time together we can muster. It's not easy to be a first-time Mama on top of all of that. It's really not.

And somehow... weirdly... in the deep rooted parts of me I can't shake these undercurrents, or streams of... cosmic okness. I feel this peace and joy there. It's this place that I can get to to take a deep breath when I feel suffocated, and where I can take a dip and relax into the cool waters to find some rejuvenation.

I can't figure out how they got there. I'm grateful that they're there. I don't remember really cultivating that part of me... though I guess I have to an extent. I never imagined I would have these strams while standing on these different precipices of my life. But... I find that they are indeed there.

The only thing that I can figure is it's Abba. It's his grace. His love. Carrying me through. That's not to say things don't hurt damn bad a lot of times....

But even then the streams are there.


WOW I'm tired. The kind of tired that almost hurts and makes it really hard to function. I think it's just the stress, but it's kind of hit me out of nowhere.

I keep looking around our apartment going... How are we going to get this done in a week and a half? It will have to happen some way.

I so wish I could just take a nap. Not a Baby's napping so I can too, nap either. One where I don't have to have my Mommy ears on in case the munchkin wakes up. Where I can sleep as long as I want to sleep and wake up and take a shower and just feel good.

I've struggled some with some resentment and jealousy of Andy, but I know it's neither rational or fair. Bless his heart. He's working, packing up the apartment, and trying to give me a break now and then. He has a 000-800 watch tonight. Bleh... That means he'll be down for the count most of tomorrow even though he'll likely be here.

I'm still plugging along ok. It's just these smaller things like being tired, and wanting a break from the baby that keep biting me in the butt. Ahh well....

*Edited to say it's not the baby that's biting me in the butt... it's the 'smaller things.' I never was good at those... Dangling... or misplaced... whatever they are.*

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Right Choice

Well, I made the right choice. I'm confident in that now. Carolyn and I needed so badly to come back and be with Andy. We arrived on Monday and yesterday we took time to just be the three of us and it was just something critical that we all needed.

I keep tearing up when I see Carolyn and her Daddy together. She giggles for him like she giggles for no one else. She just loves him. She knew him the instant she saw him again and they were able to simply pick up where they left off.

I needed my husband as well. There is no one else in the world with whom I can more simply just BE with. I can allow him to support me and care for me and listen to the goods and the bads and know that he'll still love me in the morning. I can put all the brave fronts down and just cry and I can share with him the ways that I feel I'm changing in this crucible and know he understands.

Being together again we both see just what a tremendous amount of coping we do in our away times. We both just keep putting one foot in front of the other and somehow numb the feelings of aching for the other while still keeping our marriage and togetherness at the front of our minds. We immerse ourselves in the world of now, but never forget that we are still together. We choose not to feel some of the hurt and loneliness and do our best not to think of the other, and somehow at the same time we cannot experience a moment without somehow sharing it.

So I am here, and I know we will thoroughly enjoy being together.... and we will also work our butts off packing up this apartment and putting it into storage. I do hope it's doable in the time we have.

Carolyn and I will be back to be with my Mom and Dad soon. For now I am content and resting in the knowledge that here is where we need to be--as the three of us.