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Thursday, October 28, 2010

We've got some bad news for you....

How would you feel if you were told that your loved one had a brain tumor? Nothing about that is good. What would you do? What would you say? What would you think?

My husband has had to deal with this. Twice. Really, it's something I wouldn't wish on anyone. But to have it twice is insane. This doesn't happen to people. Apparently it does.

The first time I was the patient. I went to the hospital with a bug bite and came home with a brain tumor. People hugged me - people I didn't know! Everyone said "Oh....I'm so sorry......how old are your kids?"

What do you think of? You think of all the things you haven't told anyone. For me that meant telling my husband where to find information. Where are the 401k accounts? Where is the safe deposit box key? I made lists. Here's everything you need to know in case I'm not around.

What do I tell my kids? Now and in the future? Now was easy - mommy has a "little something extra upstairs". We joke about it. We look at the MRI pictures. It's just there.

But how do I tell my kids about things like getting their periods, what to do (and not do!) with boyfriends, how much I love them? How will I make sure they never forget me?

Lucky for me, the diagnosis wasn't a sure thing. A new doctor came in the picture and had doubts. Doubts are good. Doubts saved my life.

We thought that would never happen to us again - at least not that way. We were wrong.

Mike's mom is sick. After several trips in and out of hospitals, a problem is discovered: there's a spot on her brain. Really, who has to hear that twice in their life? Several days and many tests and tears later, we get good news that sounds like anything but good news. The doctor called to explain it's not brain cancer. It's breast cancer in her skull. I'm supposed to be happy about that? Yes, said the doctor. Breast cancer - in many locations - can be treated with greater success than brain cancer. Um, okay. I'll trust that.

I will say Mike has been the pillar of strength once again. He shines in the face of sadness and emergency. Radiation and other drugs that I don't understand have saved my mother in law. Luck and prayers saved me. I hope Mike makes it through the remainder of his life never having to hear those words again. I hope no one I know ever has to hear it. Those words suck.

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