Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Our Turn

Bobby and I took my brother, Tommy, into Dana Farber today for his radiation and chemo. It has been a day I have been looking forward to in a weird way. He has had 4 other chemo days and has been going to radiation 5 days a week since after Thanksgiving. I have been working on those days so other family members have taken him. Today was our day! 

We passed Fenway Park on our way in to the city.

Radiation was pretty quick so we waited in the cafeteria for over an hour. Tommy cannot taste anything and has sores in his mouth and throat, both things making it very difficult to eat or want to eat. His go to is tapioca pudding and apple juice.

We took a walk through the healing garden. It was very peaceful and made me feel better. Tommy's left cheek is swollen and red from the radiation which is making it hard to talk and smile.

We got to meet his adorable Dr (when did Drs get so young?). He has a house on the Cape, so of course we bribed him with lobster and clams. Dr was pleased with the progress and sent us on to chemo.

There is something to be said for seeing your brother hooked up to different drugs, one being called "poison" and acting like it is natural and normal. I did what I could, but mostly we just hung out, amused him with a few stories and one of us had a nap.

People often call people fighting cancer brave. Tommy is brave, but the things that impressed me the most was his kindness. He was polite to everyone. He engaged in conversations about Christmas with his nurses. He offered a woman his chair. He asked his Doctor to come out to the waiting room to meet us. He thanked everyone. He is awesome. I am more than impressed and proud of his integrity.

When you are in a hospital all day, you forget about time and the outside world. I happened to take a trip to the bathroom at sunset. It was beautiful and gave me hope.

When we went to the valet to get the car, the 3 of us were waiting in a circle (triangle). I looked down and in the middle of us on the floor was a shiny penny. I know that that was a sign from our friend MJ who died when he was 16 and we were in our late teens/twenties. We will take all the signs and prayers we can get to cure Tommy of this sucky disease.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

No More Teens

When I began this blog, B was 9, K was 10. You and I have watched them grow through this online journal of sort. For many, many years, my moniker was mom to two teens. Well guess what? Those tweens that became teens are now officially both in their twenties. That's right! B is 20 today.  I'll wait for another time to discuss how weird it is to have a 20 and 21 year old. Today, we celebrate B!

Dear Cookie,
You have really come into your own this year! You have always been determined to get things done, but this year I have noticed you taking your own future in your hands. You are not afraid to ask for help which is such a sign of maturity.

Of course I had to read all the birthday posts that I have written for you over the past 10 years. They are all similar. I mention your smile, your laugh, your singing and your inside and out beauty. However, looking at pictures of you, I realized how cute you are in hats!! Quite the fashionista :) Maybe Santa will bring you a new one!

Love you honey! Hope this year is the best one yet!!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Judy Blume Did Not Prepare Me For This

My favorite tshirt is one I got a Sparklecorn party in 2010. It was one of the many parties at Blogher and I believe that year we were in NYC. The front of it says,


It relates in so many ways. I wore it painting a bedroom, I wore it to physical therapy, I've worn it to the beach, on walks, to bed. I chuckle whenever I wear it because Judy Blume was my favorite author growing up and she taught me a lot, just not everything.

My brother has cancer.


I feel like living in this tshirt. WTF? My little brother who I am suppose to take care of and protect has a disease that I can do nothing about. He had cancer 15 years ago. He had radiation to shrink the tumor in his sinus, then had it operated on, healed and rode his bike every year to raise money for cancer research. After the 5 year mark and especially the 10 year mark, when it did not come back, we all breathed a sigh of relief.

And sort of forgot about his cancer.

Then this summer, he had a sore on the roof of his mouth. It seems like a blur from the beginning of September to now, but it included an ENT, MRI, 2nd opinions and a 6 1/2 hour surgery to remove the tumor sitting at the base of his sinus cavity reaching into his mouth and 49 lymph nodes. He is currently trying to gain some weight back before he starts radiation and chemo.

There are a few blatant ironies rearing their ugly heads. One is that the treatment (radiation) that helped him in his first battle with cancer has caused his second battle with cancer. And there is no way for him to avoid radiation again. Two, he has raised 10's of thousands of dollars for Dana Farber Cancer Institute over the past 11 years riding in the Pan Mass Challenge. Last year alone, he raised $30,000. Now he is being treated by the very doctors he and his riding are supporting.

He is starting radiation and chemo after Thanksgiving for 6 + weeks. I thank God for the support of family, friends and strangers. However, I am scared, we are all scared. The what if's are huge and I do not have Judy's phone number to ask her to write us a book on this topic. I guess, my tshirt and faith will have to pull us through.

He's done it before, he can do it again. Here is to Tommy kicking cancer's ass.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

K is 21

21 years ago, I gave birth for the first time to a beautiful red head with a swirl of hair at the top of her head. The nurses insisted that she would have curly hair. Boy were they right! The didn't mention that my little red head would be strong willed. When K was around 2, I remember telling the pediatrician that she was strong willed and would not give up trying to do pretty much anything until she succeeded. The pediatrician assured me that as hard as that trait was as a toddler, it was going to be an asset when she got older. I could not agree more!

K, as you embark on your year of being "legal", do not ever forget that determined little girl you once were. You can move mountains with your strength (Ok, maybe not a mountain, but you get where I am going). You are thriving and surviving on the other side of the country. You work, go to school, and still manage to have time on the beach and to hang with your friends. I feel that our relationship is stronger despite the miles between us. I am so grateful for that and for you!