December 2009

Dear Lord, thank you for my two sons. Without them, I would not be able to handle my mother’s illness.  While having children makes this battle more difficult in some respects, they remain the one thing that can evoke a true joyful response in my heart these days.

I will be 32 years old in February, and every Christmas up until now has always involved my mother’s traditions.  Normally around this hour I would be preparing to go to her house for appetizers, gifts and then dinner.  Now I am preparing to visit her in the hospital.  Instead of showering and putting on my favorite perfume, I am washing my laundry in unscented detergent and making sure I don’t bring any aromas with me that might trigger her to be sick again. Please, doctors, please find something to help my Mom and the thousands of other people affected by cancer.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


I’ve been absent from my blog for a long time, for many reasons, but mainly this:

My Mom has cancer.  Stage 4.  She was initially given 2 years, but is going for 2nd and 3rd opinions which may or may not improve those odds.  She had surgery in 2006 to remove a malignant mass from her colon, and at the time the doctors thought they got it all.  Fast forward to about 6 months ago, my Mom started having symptoms that she thought were colitis or IBS, but when a colonoscopy could not find anything wrong with her, she had a CT scan which showed an enormous, spiderweb-like mass that has spread from her colon to her liver and possibly to her  pancreas.  She also has a problem with her kidney, one of them has atrophied and is not functioning.  The diagnosis was given at a local hospital here in Charlotte, but next week my Mom’s going to Duke University for another opinion and then to Sloan-Kettering in NY as soon as they can get her in (my sister works in the medical field and has a couple connections who are helping to pull strings).  She should start chemotherapy by Christmas one way or the other, which she will be on until she dies.  The mass is inoperable and all they can do is try to shrink what has already grown to improve her quality of life.  She’s in terrible pain and has lost about 40 pounds.

I feel like I need to do my mother justice by sharing the type of person she is.  Arguably, every child thinks their Mom is a Queen and should be some immortal deity who will always be there to hug you and dry your tears. I am no exception… but to say I am tight with my mom doesn’t really come close to defining our relationship.  She raised my sister and I pretty much alone, as she and my biological father were divorced by the time I was 3 months old and he died when I was 8 (after having virtually no relationship with him).  My mom is my world. She would do anything for anybody and has foregone a million of her own wishes for my sister Jenna and me.  She didn’t have a new car until we were in college (which she paid for, by the way, from her own savings).  She moved down to SC to be closer to me once I had Jackson, and before I quit my job she watched him twice a week without ever asking for a dime.  She would also do laundry and some dishes or whatever little task needed to be done around the house.  I could give you a ton of examples of her generosity, from big things to little things.  She is a remarkably GOOD person, to everyone, and has one of the best senses of humor on top of it all.  To try to picture my life without her is next to impossible.  We do not have a very large family, and she is such an instrumental part of it.  I can’t even wrap my brain around trying to explain this to my son… Liam is still an infant but Jackson has grown extremely close with my Mom and they spend so much time together (she only lives 4 miles away).

I suppose there isn’t a whole lot more I can say, but it would help me right now to have as much support as I can get… some days I can barely function. I’m so grateful for my boys who, without their knowledge, have kept me strong and focused on holding my shit together for their sake.  I’m praying that Duke and/or Sloan will find some miracle cure for her, or at least some drug that will make her stop hurting and keep her around for many years.  I love my Mommy.  She is my rock and my best friend.

Thank you for reading this, and for your thoughts and prayers.