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.


Rachel said...

I was wondering why you were "under the radar", so to speak. I wish wish wish that it was something so very different than reality.

Thinking of you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lea & Jon,
You are a blessing to me, my brother and my mom! You are both incredibly generous and faithful. God has a plan for you both, Noah too! Thank you for being my God-parents... my mom was so smart to ask you... because you are both an inspiration of strength and love... and someday I'm going to need your strength... I love you, Lauren Ladybug

k2 said...

Sending positive vibes, strength & prayers to you & your whole family. I'm sorry that you have to go through all of this and if there is anything I can do, don't hesitate to reach out.
I can't tell you why this is happening, but I can tell you that your family has many people who love and are praying for the u guys!
Kelly K

Cara said...

I'm sending so many prayers up for you and your family. I can only imagine how overwhelmed you are right now. Know that even though we may not be neighbors, there are a ton of D-OC members (me included!) who will do anything we can to help out. All you have to do is ask.

Sarah and Sara said...

My prayers are with your family at this difficult time.

Lee Ann Thill said...

I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you and your family. I'm sending best wishes that the treatments they're having are working, and hope that the strength of your love keeps your spirits just as strong.

SarahK said...

Sending you LOTS of HUGS and prayers. I know its hard when it seems you're being hit from every angle. Just remember your faith and hold strong to it.

George said...

I am and will continue to pray for you and your family.

Take care.

Sherry said...

You are in my thoughts and meditations. Wishing you strength, courage and comfort. (((Hugs)))

Meri said...

Hi, I'm new here...but I had to give you a virtual hug. My husband had cancer last year. Chemo and the whole bit. Every doctor's outlook was bleaker than the one before. No one wanted to give us hope. So we made our own...and we feel so blessed to be here one year later cancer free. We have 3 T1 little boys too.

I remember it all like yesterday. We held eachother as tight as we could every night as we fell to sleep. It changed us forever.

I will pray for your family. I will pray with all my heart. For your husband, for your mother, for you and the rest of your family.

(((HUGS))) from one D mom to another. I'm on facebook if you want to look me up, and yell, or cry. I know the roller coaster you are on. Wishing you all the best news.

Much love,
Meri Schuhmacher

Anonymous said...

Keeping Jon, your mom, you and your entire family in our prayers.
Thinking of you,
Jen (Quinn) Marasco

meanderings said...

Oh Lea,
My prayers for all of you and now your mom, will continue.

Jillian said...

Lea, continuing to send positive thoughts your way. You are all so brave. Wishing only the best for you and the family.

AjsMommy82 said...

All I can say is "WOW"!!! Your family is going through SO much! I will pray for you all!

connie said...

Hi Lea, I'm new here to your blog. My name's Connie and I have two daughters ages 2 and 4 years old. Both of my girls have type 1 diabetes, they were diagnosed 11 months apart from each other.

I am so sorry that you and your family are going through so much right now, I cannot imagine how difficult this must be for you. I will be keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.

jaimie said...

Prayers are going up for you and your family! ((hugs))

manny hernandez said...

Sending you all our love, amiga!!1 BIG HUG from all three of us!

Scott Strange said...


My family and I will keep you and yours in our thoughts and prayers

Mike Durbin said...

Many thoughts and prayers for you and the family.

Unknown said...


I will pray your husband and mom. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you, keep up. A huge hug to you and Noah.

Let us know if we can help in any other way.

Cheryl said...

new here :) My husband had colon cancer last year. surgery and chemo for 6 months. He's doing awesome now, we were very very (understatement of the year) worried but now he's doing good and every 3 months we see his dr and every 6 months we do cat scan and pet scan. Good Luck! PS he was diagnoised 4 months after my DD was diagnoised with type one diabetes......

Bernard said...


I have been for Jon, I'll add your mom. If you need something don't be scared to ask. Much love.