Two days ago, we found out that my mom has lung cancer. Thanks a lot April Fools Day, I never really loved you anyway*. I figured that between my cryptic Facebook status updates about life being an asshole and word starting to spread, I couldn't wait too long before posting it out there for the world to see. So with permission from my wonderful mama to share her news on my blog, here it is: Our lives were turned completely upside down in a matter of seconds, and they are never going to be the same again.
I don't know how many people have had to go through hearing about a cancer diagnosis, or any horrible diagnosis I guess, but it is JUST like what you see on TV and in the movies, and it totally blows. When the nurse went to take my mom back for her appointment on Wednesday and she said "your family can come too if they'd like," I just knew right then and there that everything they said from there forward was going to absolutely suck. We all sat down in a big doctor's office and he sat behind his big desk covered in stacks of files, and that was that. Just like the scenes on TV that you figure are fabricated because it's TV... only in real life. And about your mom.
I despise when bad things happen around holidays - even stupid ones like April Fools Day, because it makes them that much harder to forget. My grandmother passed away on July 3rd when I was 16 and you'd better believe that I can't help but think about her every damn time I see fireworks. Don't get me wrong - I love thinking about my grandmother and remembering sitting cross legged on her bed playing rummy after school - but I don't really think I would mind NOT remembering each and every year the exact moment my dad came into the grocery store I worked at part time to tell me that she had passed away. But, I guess if we were going to find out terrible news on a holiday I'd rather it be April Fools Day than almost any other, except for maybe Halloween which I despise, so there's that. And I can't imagine I will ever forget the moment we found out the diagnosis regardless of if it was on a holiday or just any other random Wednesday of the year anyways... so I digress.
I've managed to hold myself together pretty good in the last few days by swearing a lot, allowing myself to have nothing but french fries and a milkshake for lunch, focusing on work, and most importantly, getting informed about my mom's condition. When we got to the appointment on Wednesday I sat down and immediately pulled out a notebook and pen, and in every free minute I've had since then I pretty much haven't stopped writing facts and questions down or researching. If I'm being completely honest I did have a healthy meltdown a little after midnight on Wednesday when the fancy new notebook I bought to track everything in didn't fit the papers from the doctor in one of the included pockets. I LOST it over that notebook, and I think that was the moment when it all actually hit me. A couple people at work have said that knowing me, they aren't all that surprised that a notebook is what finally set me off, and I can't say I disagree.
And speaking of work people - good gosh did I get lucky. My coworkers have been incredible. I walked in on Thursday to an email from my boss that quite honestly calmed me down like I wasn't sure anything could at that point. One friend offered to cook meals for my family, another went all the way to one of my favorite restaurants just to surprise me with a container of their half-sour pickles that I am obsessed with, and another guy walked up to me today and handed me a binder complete with page protectors, a page specifically for business cards AND a bunch of plastic pockets that actually fit papers in them unlike the now infamous meltdown notebook.
There's also my friends, who honestly, are the best people on earth. I texted Aris minutes after we got the diagnosis and he walked out of a conference to call me right away to tell me he would go through all the paperwork I had to help me understand it all. Bridget stayed out late eating a massive slice of pie with me and letting me vent even though HER week was just as awful as mine. I've gotten countless messages from people with prayers, well wishes, virtual hugs, etc. I got texts and calls from my siblings-in-law IMMEDIATELY after Dan filled them in, and I already know FIL is going to be a great support during all of this. And don't even get me started on the hubs, who knows me better than I know myself and therefore knows exactly what I need and exactly when I need it. Hashtag blessed.
All this is to say that it's been a hell of a couple days, I am terrified, anxious and unsure of what's ahead. I wasn't entirely sure when I would feel ready to actually share all of this with EVERYONE, but really, when are you ever ready for something like this? I suppose in a sense this is my way of filling people in without really having to TALK about it, but the bottom line is that I am really grateful to everyone that has reached out to see how my family and I are doing. I imagine we have a lot of appointments and questions and good days and bad days ahead of us, and having family and friends there for us is exactly what we'll need.
*Song selection for the one and only Maria Morelli