lump

11.08.2008

It's been awhile, I know, but it's also been awhile since I've felt normal.

There's been so much going on, and even though I've wanted to blog about it, I've felt this enormous lump in my throat which has kept me quiet. You know that feeling? Like when you feel so much and have so much to say but don't know where to start, so you keep it all in. It builds up and becomes this proverbial lump in the throat, preventing you from saying anything. After time, it builds and builds until you feel like there is an inflating balloon in your throat, expanding down into your lungs and up into your mouth.

That's how I've been feeling. I just didn't know where to start. And even if i did know, I haven't had a spare moment to indulge in a blog. But I have a pocket of time this morning, and so I guess I'll start with my dad's lump in his throat.

That's right, my dad had a lump in his throat too, but it wasn't from feeling emotionally overwhelmed; it was the real deal, and it was big. About 10 years ago, he had a similar lump (ok, who am I kidding, it was a tumor) on the other side of his neck, which was benign and surgically removed. So when this one came onto the scene, we thought nothing of it, just another pesky benign tumor and another surgical removal. No big deal.

It's a long story, but the morning of his surgery at Johns Hopkins, which i had no intention of going to, I received a call from my mom. She informed me, in that fake calm voice where I could tell she had a major lump in her throat, that things were much more serious than we all had anticipated. The tumor was large, had grown all up into his facial nerve system, was malignant, the malignancy had spread into his lymph nodes and there were "hot spots" (potential cancer) in his lungs and chest. Mind you, I was at work when this call came in, and I was making my client a grilled cheese sandwich. That is A LOT of information to process while trying not to burn a grilled cheese sandwich.

One minute I'm making the sandwich and the next minute I find out that my dad has cancer which has spread through his body. Hmmm. My dad was in surgery, my mom was terrified and more importantly, she was alone. And that is a very dangerous combination, so I called Jay, had a quick cry, and drove down to Baltimore to be with my mom.

My dad was in surgery for over 10 hours that day. Now he is healing and preparing for the long road of chemotherapy and radiation ahead of him, and our family is trying to process what all of this means. The "C" word constantly reverberates through my mind, cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer, scaring the crap out of me.

In the beginning, I didn't know how to feel because my parents represent two opposing sides of the coping style spectrum. My mom, on one side of the spectrum, thinks way too much and goes into "worst case scenario" mode, full of anxiety and panic. My dad, on the other side of the spectrum, tends to downplay everything and is cool as a cucumber no matter what. I joke that if my dad were shot in the head, he would say, "it's ok, it's just a headache, nothing a tylenol can't fix". So in the beginning, my mom was in full anxiety mode, talking as if my dad were going to die, and then my dad was in full "everyting's irie" mode, acting as if chemo and radiation were regular errands on his weekend "to do" list, right in between grocery shopping and trips to Home Depot.

So I didn't know who to trust. Where on this spectrum was the reality of the situation? Well, my mom has calmed down and has been blessed with the deep peace of God, so now I'm feeling like, ok, this is just a little cancer, nothing a little chemo and radiation can't fix.

Some days I feel more like my mom, other days I feel like my dad, but most days I feel like a perfect 50/50 combo, which I am ;)
It is a big deal, he will suffer nasty side effects of the treatments, but he will be ok. At the end of the day, this is just another occurance in life that reminds me to be grateful for each moment, because we never know which moment will bring joy or sorrow. One moment you're making grilled cheese, and the next moment your dad has cancer. Life is anything but boring.

I can't say what tomorrow's moments will hold, all I know is that this moment is perfect, and I refuse to ruin this perfect moment in anticipation of tomorrow's moments.

Thank you for reading, and for caring. And thank you for waiting... My lump is gone!

2 comments:

JenRae said...

oh Jen! I'm so sorry to hear about your dad's cancer. I hope he's able to kick it, and keep up his great attitude. I can't even imagine what this must be like for all of you. Big Hugs!!!!

jenny mcghee said...

glad you're back m'lady :)