Monday, April 19, 2010

D Day Minus 240 (July 11, 2009)

“You doing ok, Buddy?” I asked as I hugged you in front of passenger pickup at Dulles. You gave me the thumbs up and your half smile. I forced myself not to talk about scheduling the PET scan since we couldn’t do anything until Monday. We talked about starting some type of martial arts class. I broke into my rendition of Kung Fu Fighting. Dad rolled his eyes. And we laughed. Dad talked about doing some more work that weekend on an upcoming proposal. You said you and Katie had plans that night. You mentioned something about maybe going back to Wegman’s for another interview or some type of meeting next week. We talked a lot, but didn’t say anything. It didn't matter. Seeing you smile and having you in the back seat was all I needed at that moment.

While you were out with Katie that night, Dad and I had a heated discussion (I raised my voice - Dad shhhhd me). He warned me that falling apart was not going to help the situation. He said something like, “I have to treat the cancer like a cold or something chronic and deal with things as them come. That is how I have to deal.” I thought to myself,"It is cancer, not a chronic disease – butt munch." I closed my eyes and tried to replace my thoughts about the dire mortality statistics with thoughts of you in your own house complaining about weeds in the lawn. I calmed down and gave Dad the middle finger, which made him laugh. I told Dad that crying was all I could now and that I would be better after a good cry. So he held me while I sobbed for about an hour. I buried my head in a pillow when I really started to wail so you and Katie wouldn’t hear -- just in case you came back. My nose got really red and stuffy – like Rudoph’s. During my last gasps of sobbing I asked Dad, “Do you think the cancer is back?” He didn’t want to commit, but I could tell it was back with his answers when I grilled him about the appointment with Dr. P. “How did he say suspicious? What was his body language? Was surgery an option? If the cancer, comes back what kind of treatment was the most likely? Does it have to be in Houston? What happened with the preventative vaccine trial?”

Dad and I stayed in our room for the rest of the night. Dad brought up his laptop so he could work in bed and stay with me. I watched some trash TV, while I weighed whether to read about epigenetics, meditate, do self hypnosis or listen to an audiobook by Janet Evanovich on writing. I heard you and Katie open the door downstairs. I guess the two of you had fun – I heard Katie’s infectious laugh and knew she was more than a friend – you liar. I reminded myself to breathe when I thought about the possibility of cancer and smiled as I thought about our mock Star Wars light saber fight during the fireworks at Roanoke last week with Morgan on the Fourth of July. I did the Darth Vader breathing and said “I am your MOTHER.” Both you and Morgan shook your head and said, “Yep.”

Dad caught my half smile and asked “What are you up to Animal?” I smiled again and said “I have a date with Kelly Howell.” I put on my earbuds and the track on loud to mask Dad’s mumbling to listen to Kelly’s Healing meditation that I mentally shared with you.


  1. I remember before Greg left for Texas that first time since I had met him again, I gave him two cards. One was full of jokes because he had said he would get bored on the flight, and the other one I told him to open after he got the news. The last card was a picture of a robot dancing to the music of "Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto". A card about celebrating because I had assumed the news would be good I simply had no real concept of how unforgiving melanoma is.

    Greg called me and told me the news, " You're not going to be happy about this, but...". He was more concerned about how I felt about the news then anything else. "Are you okay, what are you thinking? Don't worry, there are a lot of things we can do". What struck me was how calm he was when talking about the cancer possibly being back. I slowly realized that although this was all very new to me, he knew that freaking out wouldn't do anything positive. Instead we talked about different fish dishes we would try when he got back. I remember hanging up the phone and wondering what the next steps would be. And where they would lead.

  2. Thanks for sharing your perspective and stories about Greg. BiZ.