June 14, 2010


When Noah was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, we felt like our world was falling apart. I remember the doctor's explanation in a vague, dreamlike way. Nothing about what was said is crystal clear in my mind, but the feeling in the pit of my stomach is something I will never forget. Sick, and twisty. Not butterflies but the beating of leathery bat's wings.

In the 5 years since, life has become as normal and everyday as it can be when you're a busy family with the occasional crazy blood glucose or weird A1C result. I was confident that new sense of normal meant I would never feel that bat in my stomach again. As the saying goes, life goes on.

Unfortunately, the news of late has been anything but normal around here. My husband had brain surgery to remove a tumor that was recently found and was causing him to have seizures. The day he was to leave the hospital, we were told by the oncologist that the tumor was a malignant oligoastrocytoma. We were not prepared at all for that outcome. Of course, we knew of the possibility of cancer but it was presented to us as remote by the many specialists visited over the course of 2 months leading up to surgery.

I sat in the hospital room with my husband and cried while the family of his roommate on the other side of the curtain joked and laughed. It's funny the things that stick in your memories. I also remember the overwhelming feeling of being cheated out of a long life with the man I promised to grow old with.

Later that day, they sent him home.

Three days went by, and we shared the news with immediate family. The outpouring of support after coming home was unbelievable- meals were dropped off at our home, cards and phone calls were abundant as were words of encouragement and prayer. We began to feel as though we could get through it.

I had been relying on my mom to hang with Noah during the days I stayed late at MGH, and she was so generous with her time and her help- all while nursing a chronic sore back, so on Jon's third day home from the hospital, it was a nice treat when my mom stopped by the house just to visit and hang out.

We sat and talked. That's when my mom told me that she was diagnosed with cancer during the same week Jon was recovering from his brain surgery. It was her back pain that prompted her to visit her doctor. I learned that while I was at MGH in the morning, my mom was also at MGH having tests and meeting with specialists. Then, she would drive the hour back up North to be here at the house when Noah got home from school.

I sat there, completely ripped apart and crying thinking of how my mom was alone when she learned that cancer invaded her lungs, liver and spine.

That was 2 months ago. Lots of things have happened since then. Jon has started radiation therapy and is at the halfway mark. Mom is doing chemotherapy, and is tough as nails. Noah took the news very hard at first, but over the last few weeks he's been doing better.

The truth is, it feels like living in the Twilight Zone. There are good days and shitty days. Despite feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under my life, I refuse to sit in the corner and cry. The support from friends and family has been so uplifting and has proven to be incredibly healing.

Who knows what will happen in the next year, month or even day. Please take the time to tell the people you love just how much they mean to you. Take care of your health. Go to the doctor if something seems "off".

And please, pray.