Weekly Assignment

20 Jun

Thank you Mama Kat for the great prompts this week.

1.) Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page and share two “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.  Skipping this one.  I’m reading two books “No Country for Old Men,” and “Roma”.

2.) What do you aspire to be?
I aspire to be a good mother who also works.  I work really hard at both, but I’m not sure if I’m being successful.  I love my son and my job, but both things are hard to balance and do well.  Most of the time, I feel like I’m making compromises just to get through the day, and I don’t know what the long-term impact will be to my career or my relationship with my son. 

3.)Share a piece of unsolicited parenting advice…only I’m soliciting it.

Try to spend time with your child that is  really all about them.  Play the games that they want to play, scale castle walls, build houses, read the book they choose, roll on the floor.  I hear parents describing the quality time that they spend with their kids, and they are usually multi-tasking, bringing the adult world in some small way.  Kids of all ages, realize it though, and that’s when the acting out starts.  They only want our attention for a short time, enjoy it before they think you are lame

4.)Tell us about your blogline…how long have you been blogging, when did you start, what were/are your goals for your blog, etc.
I’ve been blogging for about a year.  I use my blog to stay in touch with my family and to practice writing.  Writing is relaxing for me.  Secretly in my heart of hearts I’d love to be wildly popular, and have lots of readers, and comments every day, but ultimately that’s not why I’m doing it. 

5.)If you had 5000 dollars to give away or donate to a charity…explain what you would do with it and why.

I would give it all to Susan G. Komen to support research to find a cure for breast cancer.  There are other cancers out there that are equally devestating to families, others more rare that don’t get as much attention, but breast cancer is what I care about.  So why do I care?  This is not one of those uplifting cancer survival stories, I’m still not deal with this subject very well.  Consider yourself warned. 

My mother was diagnosed about 7 years ago with breast cancer.  She was told that, if after treatment, she remained  cancer free for five years, her chances of living a normal life-span was 50%. Nots odds, but she was hopeful, and cancer treatment had come such a long way.   She had a mastectomy and found out that the cancer she had was a particularly agressive form, however, her lymph nodes were pretty clean, not perfect but they thought they caught it all.  She had chemo, then radiation, then a new form of treatment involving a chemo dose so high it nearly killed her, and required a bone marrow transplant.  The chemo was bad enough but the radiation afterwards was horrible, she had burns and lost so much weight.  But after her course of treatment came to an end, she started to rally. 

She was cancer free for 5 years. Shortly after her 5th anniversay she started to get tired, a bad sign.  She’d been having regular CA125 tests and CAT scans.  CAT scans can’t detect tumors smaller than 1 centimeter, so they really don’t tell you much, but the blood work does.  Her cancer was back, not in the remaining breast but in and around her uterus.  It turns out the anti-breast cancer medication that she’d been put on, causes some women to develop other forms of cancer.  She had endometrial cancer and potentially ovarian, they never were sure.  She had a hysterectomy and more chemo, but as she had been through everything so far dignified and always hopeful. 

Mom was cancer free again, but the second round of chemo took a terrible toll  on her body.  She had severe numbness in her hands and feet.  She struggled through therapy to try to improve her coordination, but she just wasn’t the same person anymore.  Not only did she have trouble moving but she was also having trouble concentrating too.  Nerve damage is a common, but not often discussed side-effect of chemo.   This went on for another year.  She came for a visit, and I noticed that she was starting to slur her words.  The following week she was beyond slurring, she was loosing her ability to speak.  She had another scan and the cancer was back, she had multiple brain tumors.  Her doctor wouldn’t admit it, but the nurse did, she was Stage 4, terminally ill.  But she soldiered on…hopeful.  She was put on steroids and the improvement was immediate, we could talk on the phone againn and she didn’t struggle to get the words out so much anymore.  

Her physician recommended radiation, which I think ultimately was what took her away for good.  Following the first treament she ceased to improved and soon had trouble moving the left side of her body.  Despite this her doctor recommended additional radiation.  She degenerated quickly.  She could barely communicate, or move, and her doctor grudingly admitted that she was terminal, and should placed in hospice. 

Hospice was a godsend, everyone was so helpful and caring.   She’d have moments where she could smile, and fotunately for me, the last thing she ever told me was that she loved me.  The hands that used to paint and draw turned into unuseable claws, her whole body started to become more and more rigid.  I never heard her speak again.  

Her illness had been long, and her decline had been very drawn out, I even had a book that hospice provided that helped me understand what to expect.  The day she died I knew it was coming, she exhibited all the signs the book told me about.  I’d been saying goodbye every day, I’d even asked her to let go and stop fighting, I was as prepared as you can be.  But watching her take her last breath and her heart stop beating was beyond words.  I spent the next year not being able to comprehend that she was gone.  She fought so hard and remained ever hopeful, because she wanted to see her grandson grow up. 

So far research has taught the medical community a lot, there are a lot of success stories out there, but for every success there are a lot of failures.  I hope that someday other families don’t have to go through what mine has, selfishly I hope I don’t face the same future as my mother.  So I donate every year to Susan G. Komen, and to other charities that support cancer research.  If I had $5000, I’d give it right this second.


Posted by on June 20, 2009 in Weekly Writer's Workshop


2 responses to “Weekly Assignment

  1. Sarah

    June 21, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Just stopping by from Mama Kat’s. Thanks for sharing your heart…what a journey. I support Susan G. Komen as well. One day!


  2. lizgizzy

    June 22, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for dropping by Sarah



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