Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Devastation

on April 2, 2011

I think that’s the best word to use, even though it hasn’t really happened yet. I received some news about a friend of mine and writing about it is my way of dealing with things like this. 

We went to high school together. My high school was not huge, my graduating class was about 350. Pretty decent size, without being totally overwhelming. I knew who she was, and I think she knew who I was as well. We ran in different circles. What I remember about her from that time was that she was in choir/music/drama and had gorgeous long deep auburn hair. I really didn’t know anything else about her. I was too busy with myself then.

Last year, she found out we had no 25th class reunion planned and took it upon herself to begin planning one. She thought 25 years of anything is worthy of a celebration. It’s hard to argue with that logic! I reluctantly became her co-chair. I”d done it the last time and you know, there are never enough people who are willing to help plan an event like that. It was really just the two of us trying to pull this off. Long story short, it didn’t pan out, but we got to know each other through this process. She’s divorced and has three children ranging in age from 19 I think to 10. And she’s an 8th grade teacher. That right there takes a special person!

Last May, to her surprise and delight, she remarried and was very happy. Then, a few months later, she found herself pregnant. She was not happy about it initially. She was 43 years old and not planning on more children. It was funny, the conversation we had. I had been trying to reach her for several weeks and she was not returning any messages I left. when we finally spoke, I could tell she was not happy about something. But I’m not the person to pry. If she wants to tell me she will. And she did. She was pregnant and not thrilled with the idea. She said, ‘I just don’t know how it happened!’ Um, do we need to revisit Biology 101? Well, you see, when a man and a woman love each other….And when all the plumbing is still connected, that is always a possibility, I don’t care how old you are.

Fast-forward to March. She had a beautiful baby girl they named Amelia. Now comes the not so fun part. She had been experiencing double-vision and having some balance issues.  An MRI revealed a brain stem tumor. Yes, a brain tumor. Any time I hear the word ‘tumor’ I hear in my brain, Arnold Schwarzenegger saying  ‘it’s not a tumah’ from ‘Kindergarten Cop’. All joking aside, real tumors are not funny in the least. In fact, I can’t begin to imagine how her life has turned upside down in March, first a new baby and now this.

One huge reason I feel for her is that my dad had a brain tumor. It was more of a frontal lobe, not brain stem, but they removed it and it was cancer. My dad being my dad, wasn’t going to take the surgeon’s word for it when they told him the survival rate for that type of cancer and basically said, ‘screw you, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ He drastically altered his diet and lifestyle and lived nearly 20 years after his initial diagnosis and treatment. Which leads me to say that doctors, while educated and knowledgable, don’t and can’t know everything. A patient’s desire to live and determination factor in the prognosis more than they would like to admit.

My friend will have surgery in a couple of weeks to remove the tumor. At that time they will biopsy and determine what type of tumor it is, as the MRI cannot reveal that, only a microscope can tell that information. We are working on the assumption that it is benign.

I just ask that you keep my friend, and everyone else diagnosed with cancer, in your thoughts and prayers. And that we continue to fight for a cure to this devastating disease.  I don’t think there’s a person on this planet who has not been touched by cancer in some way. Say a prayer for the patients, their families and especially the doctors treating them.

This is for you J.

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