Sunday, April 18, 2010

D Day Minus 241 (July 10, 2009)

“There is something on my scan in my abdomen near the surgical site.” You said as my heart sunk down to my toes. The fear of the roller coaster of nearly two and half years came rushing back.

“It’s probably nothing.” You said. “I have to get a PET scan in Northern Virginia.”

I repeated “I don’t understand. You’ve been feeling so good. You were on the cusp of a new job in management at the new Leesburg Store with Wegman’s.”

“We don’t know anything yet.” You said as I logged off my computer at work. I had been in the middle of one of my fun assignments playing with some new analysis tool and it was only 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I had been jamming to “Roses” by OutKast. Remember having me listen to it on your computer last month and showing me all the dance moves on the video.

I didn’t say much on the other end as I imagined all the possibilities – surgery, chemo, trials, and death.

“You are being very upstream.” You said throwing my words back at me.

“Where’s Dad?” I asked. “He’s in the room at the Rotary House taking care of some stuff for work. I’m on the Sky Bridge.” I imagined you on the Sky Bridge at MD Anderson in Houston walking your lanky walk between the Mays Clinic and the Main Building, navigating doctors who rushed between buildings and patients and families in various stages of hope and fear. I was pissed I wasn’t there with you, because I wouldn’t have left your side. I would have been walking the Sky Bridge with you. I knew Dad had a lot on his plate with work and managing Grandma’s bills and care. Still, I was pissed at Dad too. Or maybe a little jealous. I was very upstream and I wasn’t ready to go downstream. No matter what you said.

You escaped when your friend Katie called you on the the other line. I mumbled something about getting through this and needing some time to get centered and being fine in the end.

I made it to the parking lot at work before I did the full arm snot cry. I called my little sister Janiene and your sister Morgan on the way home and gave them the Reader’s Digest upbeat version of your news. Then I hid for the rest of the day. I cleaned, did my yoga practice with Bryan Kest, called you and Dad a couple of times as you searched for barbecue in Houston, and cried between distractions. Around 3 AM, I fell asleep to track 2 of Kelly Howell’s “Faith” meditation.


  1. How do you remember all these details? I think it's awesome that you are doing this. While it's therapeutic for you and your family, it can help others who are dealing with the same thing so they don't feel so isolated in their experience. I love you, Nancy, and hope you are doing well.

  2. Emails. Medical records. Old calendar entries. Amazon invoices. Text messages. Amex bills. All of these provide the triggers. I couldn't keep a journal while I was in the middle of it. I have some journals but they go on and on. All of these are triggers. I know exactly how I felt and what was said. I just correlate things and it all falls in place. Plus I have honest cops in Katie, Morgan, and Jeff. You are absolutely right -- helping another family not feel so isolated in a crises is one of the primary drivers. Another driver is helping people to realizes the everyday miracles that go unnoticed. I love you too Charlene. Believe in Zebras.