The Never Ending Merry-Go-Round

Well, it’s been a while since I gave an update on what’s been happening with Mom, and truth is that I’ve been avoiding it a bit. I’m terrible like that. No more, here I sit to catch you up and continue the look into the past and how we got where we are.

It has struck me rather forcefully that her cancer battle has been very cyclic. There was that first diagnoses and round of cancer, all so new and terrifying. and then there was this blessed reprieve afterwards when it was easy to forget that the terrible ordeal had even happened. Indeed, if you had asked me at the time, I would have talked about Mom having cancer in past tense. Not that that time was completely full of sunshine, not at the first, anyway. I don’t think I realized how much chemo had beat down my mom until after the long months of slowly gaining her strength back and realizing that Mom could bustle about with energy and laughter like I hadn’t seen her for almost a year.

Yet the reprieve didn’t last, and, spoiler warning, Mom’s cancer came back. I vividly remember the night we found out again, how I had been at a job interview when I was told we were having a family dinner at my sisters. “Yay!” I had thought. “Family pizza night!” Until my sister told me that Mom had had a doctor appointment that day, and instantly the worries set in. Worries that were confirmed when we were told another round of chemo was coming. And so we rode the now familiar and terrifying ¬†wave of worry and chemo and long long days in the hospital getting infusions once again with another 12 round, 24 week dosage that took my Mom’s health and crumpled it in its goal of trying to remove the cancer.

And then another wait, but this time not as blissful and ignorant because you know, not just mentally, but deep in your gut where the strongest fears live that a doctor’s appointment could suddenly change that. The break was shorter, and the healing less, when she went through another round of chemo. I don’t even know how many chemo session’s she’s had now. I just know she’s in the midst of struggling through another one, a 3 month short burst because post Germany a terrible mystery health struggle knocked Mom’s strength way back. Lord Jesus, help my mom find the strength, to find your healing.

In the midst of this terrible beating down, Mom also seems to have terrible, terrible luck that’s also been cyclic (as if cancer wasn’t enough). Near the end of her first round of chemo, she had a gall bladder attack which resulted in surgery to get it removed. On returning from Germany this year, she was afflicted with a terrible pain in her guts that brought her more pain and weakness and struggle than I observed even in her lowest point of chemo. The doctors thought it was possibly a viral infection, but tests came back inconclusive, so she was forced to wade through months of trying to simply exist, when eating enough sustenance was considered an achievement for the day. She’s finally feeling mostly over it, though we still don’t know what the heck it was. And it beat down her immune system heavily. The immune system that she spent so much effort in Germany to build up. It allowed her cancer to progress and now she’s back on chemo.

It terrifies me to think of this round and round process. It terrifies me that she hasn’t even been as healthy as she was in that in between of rounds 1 and 2. It terrifies me how these struggles in my life have taken on a normalcy.

Mom is a fighter. She’s facing the chemo, she’s still on the regimens that she was proscribed in Germany. She’s living and not wallowing in the struggles. It’s inspiring. I’m so grateful God has given her the strength. But it breaks my heart. Oh gosh, does it break me.

What is this, 2017?

Bye, bye, 2016. You were a mixed box of amazing and yet scary things. You were fun and crazy good and generally crazy and scary. I think I’ll miss you.

I spent the last hours celebrating with old high school friends, playing mafia, catching up, pretended to be a highly dysfunctional Italian family where a murder had taken place (you know, the usual stuff). It was so fantastically amazing and the perfect end of my year. Love my peeps.

Resolutions always come up this time of year. Last year, one of mine was to be more adventurous. I tend to be hesitant to put myself out there, to be outspoken or to be the adventurous one. I wanted to change that. And looking back, I really think I did. I crashed a wedding reception. I went on a date with a man I didn’t know. I learned how to play drinking games. I put effort into making friendships. Germany was essentially an entire exercise in forging my own adventures. I’m really proud of all that I’ve accomplished this year.

This year I have yet a harder resolution. I’ve always struggled with bottling up everything inside. Any frustration or pain or fear I ignore and hide from not only those who care about me but also myself. I avoid people when I should reach out to them, and sometimes outright brush them aside when they reach out to me. I’ve always somewhat just accepted this as a part of who I am. But recently I’ve realized just how unhealthy and hard on me that is, not only emotionally, but even physically. My roommate can attest to me going to bed at 7 some nights from a stress headache I can’t shake any other way but just going to bed.

The major reason I first started this blog was because I needed somewhere to allow myself to pour out those emotions. Of course, then I went traveling and people started reading it and I became hesitant to share again. But I’m going to try not to hesitate. Going to try being more real with the world and with myself this year. Hopefully when 2018 rolls around I’ll be able to point back and say “Look how far I’ve come.”