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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What a Year...

A year ago my Gramma died....

It's just been such a hellish year. It really has. And that day a year ago was tremendously terrible... I was 39 weeks pregnant... knew Gramma was going to die that day... not sure whether to drive to Idaho or not... dealing with the Navy and the Red Cross so husband and I could leave to go to her...Mom was sick, and I knew that a lot of responsibility would fall on her and Dad for the funeral back in Illinois.... It was a terrible day.

I miss my Gramma. I've missed her at strange times especially lately. I missed her on my birthday when the phone didn't ring. I missed her on Valentine's Day when there was no card in the mail from her. I hate that she just missed being here for Carolyn's birthday by 2 weeks.

And then Mom's illness... and watching her suffer through days that just got worse and worse. So many people say, "Good days and Bad days" in reference to living with cancer. And indeed, I would say that when I had my public face on about Mom. But really her days just got worse and worse.

And then she was gone.

Things have been hurting a lot lately. Everything has really. I think the stress of the last year has just snowballed and is finally catching up to me--or maybe the last eighteen months, or two years.... I don't even know when this block of difficulty all started...

I'm just very tired.... I'm missing my Mom and my Grandparents. I feel like a huge part of my history has just been ripped away. Both of Mom's parents, and then Mom. What a gaping hole is left in my life... What tremendous people Carolyn will never know. And some days I don't know if I'm up to the task of living in a way that will give her a glimpse of their greatness...

But I will try.

I'm ready for the 'hard stuff' to end. I hope we have some rest time soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I Want to Write...

I know I'm not writing here much. I want to write here... but the words just aren't coming.

I would like to write about how I think Lung Cancer awareness should be as much of a women's issue as breast cancer awareness, and cervical cancer awareness, and ovarian cancer awareness.... Because it's lung cancer that is the number one cancer killer of women... And women are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with it. (More here: (Although I hate that ANY WOMAN (or man for that matter) should have do deal with ANY FORM of cancer).

I want to write about a friend of mine on my LC board who finds herself nearing the end of her battle and how startlingly that is plunging me into my own grief.

I want to write about how I watched a video tonight of my grandparent's 70th wedding anniversary... about the gaping hole I felt as I saw what a huge portion of my life is now just missing... and about how I rewound the tape three times just to see my Mom laugh.

I want to write about 'battle terminology' and my struggles with it.

I want to write about the fellowship of suffering that haunts me more and more each day.

I'd like to write about all that and more... and some of it I will write eventually.

But tonight is not that night.... my heart and spirit are weary and no words but these will come.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Addendum to previous post....

Thinking further about that last post.

Can you imagine how many screening tests I should legitimately have done with a history like that???

I mean... I could probably spend weeks just getting screenings done every year--not to downplay the importance of doing so.

I oughta have my skin inspected, various crevices and orifices probed and scraped, blood drawn, lumps palpated, torso x-rayed, and boobs mashed.

This could get exhausting!

No Longer Invincible

So the thing about having a close family member battle cancer is that suddenly you realize that you're "It won't happen to us" mindset is shattered.

I am suddenly extremely aware of the fact that any moment anyone I love could be diagnosed. And the myriads of friends and family that have had new developments in their lives as a result of cancer only reinforces that.

And then there's me.... It could happen to me too.

I've had days when I wanted to call the doctor and say--so... How about a CT Scan just for fun?

Every little symptom, every bump, every lump... leads to worry and wondering.

I'm sure that my doctors will think I am a crazy hypochondriac from here on out, if they didn't already. "No Mrs. Roseberry I really don't think you're hangnail is reason enough to do a PET scan."

My Mom was one of seven kids. Of those seven 4 have had some type of cancer--the kinds are as many and varied as are the geographic regions in which the siblings chose to live.

Mom had at least two uncles who suffered with Lung Cancer.

My grandfather died of colon cancer.

(With genes like that it's hard not to think, "It ain't looking good, honey!")

I think of my husband and wonder what I would do if he were diagnosed.

I see St. Jude commercials on t.v. with beautiful bald-headed, big eyed children and a shiver of fear comes over me when I think of Carolyn.

I know now, without a doubt this CAN happen to me.

And it terrifies me.

It's not just cancer either. Car accidents, heart attacks, strike by random beer truck--it occurs to me that all of these could become a reality in my world. And I never forget that my husband is away doing a dangerous job. The somebody else that these things happen to in stories and on the news... could someday be me. Could today be me.

Sometimes when I think of the five day cross country trip I'm facing next month and all the things that could go wrong I can hardly breathe.

It's really terrifying sometimes. Enough to keep me awake at night for decades to come.

But... if I look only at those fears I get nowhere. I have to look past them. I have to see what it means that I'm not immune from having terrible things happen.

I have to see that I can't take time with my family for granted. I have to say I love you now. I have to fully taste my hot fudge sundae (in moderation). I have to go sledding with Carolyn and squeal in delight at the cold feel of snow on my face.

And I better watch out for beer trucks.

Turns out there's a flip side to fear.