Friday, March 12, 2010


What do I do with all this time on my hands some of you may ask? Well aside from my running, which surprisingly takes up a lot of time particularly if I have to drive to the Y, helping Naomi study, writing this blog, I read. There are many things I should be doing but I just haven't found time for them. I do have a list.

I follow several blogs including one from Renee in Canada who had Stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). This beast is either diagnosed as stage 3 or 4 and is the most deadly form of BC. It does not form lumps. Rather it blocks the lymph channels causing the whole breast to painfully swell. It spreads quickly. In her case, along with several other sites, it went to her stomach which is very unusual. Renee's blogs were works of art and poetry alternating with practical tips on dealing with ones looming death (an example is planning her funeral:
She died earlier this week. The above picture she selected for her final post. She was comforted by angels and now she is one.

Also dead this week due to stage 4 ovarian cancer was the wife of Steve's former boss. I ran into Kavita this summer at my cooking class. She was very much hoping that changing her diet would extend her life. I knew her husband way back when I worked in Detroit. Theirs was an arranged marriage, which fascinated me and of course I questioned him how one could marry someone that ones family had selected for him . He said that the low divorce rate amongst such marriages was proof that it was a better strategy than the "American Way". After meeting her, she seemed like a woman that no one would take advantage of-very strong.

From the Wellness Community lending library this week, I scanned through the Nanny's and Elizabeth Edward's cancer stories. Quite a contrast in styles! The former had early stage uterine cancer and spares no detail from her bowel movements to graphic descriptions of her post-surgical sexual encounters. TMI indeed. Ms. Edwards provides little information other than the terror of finding a 'large lump' during her husband's campaign. As for treatment, she received chemo and radiation. She said that she had every side effect imaginable but would not go into detail other than to say the only side effect her young children was fascinated by was the hair loss. She does discuss the death of her 16 year old child and the rigors of being on the campaign trail. One thing that very much bothered her was a man who for a while stood along her path on many occasions carrying a sign that said "Fatso". This upset her. This biography was written before her husband's shenanigans came to light and also before her cancer returned to her bones.

My Canadian 'famille' must have returned from Tunisia by now. They had another sister that I must have met but forgot. She died instantly in a car accident in 1989. Shortly before her death, we had visited Montreal. While Steve and I were at Le Parc de Ski du Fond (cross country ski park-Steve hated that), this sister and Claire came over to play cards with Shanna and Josh who were left behind at Jeannette's condo. I had told Shanna about the death way back when but then completely forgot about it. Shanna remembered though. She said it was her first brush with death. One day she is playing cards with this friendly French lady and then she is dead. Later that year, she had another, much bigger brush with death when her beloved Grandpa Joe died of stomach cancer.

Thirty-five years ago, Jeannette, my step-grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer-a death sentence in those days. She survived.

I had bad dreams last night with Oliver walking along the edge of a cliff and no one stopping him. Shanna and her family will leave Boston sometime today on their way to Michigan. Long drives make me nervous but at least ice won't be in their way. I have been told though there will be no equal sharing this time of grandchildren. Our side used up our share already last week and the week before in NY. This trip is to visit a 100+ year old relative that is losing his memory before he forgets them completely.

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