Saturday, May 26, 2012

Coping Skills

Originally I wasn't sure that I would write this. I wasn't sure I'd be able to, first of all, and I wasn't sure if it was my story to tell.  But, it's been floating around my head and I talked to the person whose story it is, so now I'm getting it all down on virtual paper.

In mid-April, my mom was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma in her salivary gland larynx. Earlier, she had been having some symptoms and her voice had changed, and her Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor told her that one of her vocal chords wasn't moving.  After further testing, she was diagnosed with ACC.  And then....nothing. Or, so it seemed from 2,500 miles away.  In reality, she was scheduling appointments, meeting with an oncologist, a radiologist, being tested on her ability to swallow, and so on. However, it took almost exactly a month before she and her doctors decided on treatment.

If there is any type of "theme" to my year so far, I would have to say "coping skills" pretty much sums it up. The beginning of the year when I was stressed out about grad school? I was so overwhelmed then, but it seems so small in comparison to that month waiting for answers.  Zero concentration, crying at the drop of a hat, blurting it out inappropriately via Facebook messenger to several friends ("Hey, what's new?" "Oh, not much, my mom has cancer" "Oh...." AWKWARD).  I may have even suggested to the hubby that we start trying to have a baby (even though we've talked extensively about not doing this, at least, not now, and not biologically if we ever do have kids - adoption all the way!) because clearly the answer to being stressed out is ADD CHILDREN.

Next week, she begins radiation. 5x/wk, for 7 weeks.  June 16th, David and I are flying to CT. David is staying for one week, and I am staying for about six (or so).  And, like the librarian student that I am, I have prepared....

There's one more book that I want to reserve (The "I-Can't-Chew Cookbook", basically the best name ever), but even before we knew Mom would definitely be having radiation, I threw myself into researching food. I knew if I was going back to help out, I would be in charge of food, and it was something practical, hell it was something, tangible, I could do from across the country.

I also ordered a ridiculous number of used books from Amazon to keep myself occupied. Check it: 
(Morning Michelle with books!)
(Extra parenthetical remarks! Someone looks pretty good for this being written pre-coffee)

So, the past few months have been rough, and I know the next few months will likely be even rougher. It's been a decade since I've lived with my parents. (This excludes the month my Dad stayed with us in Tucson; that however was our place and he was our guest. This time I'm the guest).  But, I'm hanging in there. I have a wonderfully supportive partner (seriously, he's the best). I have wonderfully supportive friends. (I've realized that I know more people who have had a parent with cancer or other serious medical condition than not.) I was able to complete my first semester of graduate school - and did pretty fucking well if I do say so myself. I haven't started smoking again (this might be my most proudest accomplishment because ohhhh have I really wanted to). 

I'm thinking with the extra free time I'll be having not working full time or taking classes this summer, I'll be able to blog more regularly. So, this might become a cancer-cookbook blog, or a Michelle-continues-to-be-constantly-stressed blog, or something else. 

This weekend we are celebrating a friend's wedding.  My goal for the next few days is simply to do just that. Not to split my attention between here and Connecticut, but to really appreciate things going on here until I fly home.


  1. A TTC blog? House-hunting in CT blog? I would read those.

  2. Sadly (for you), neither of those two things are in our foreseeable near future