Two and a half years ago I lost my aunt Janie to lung cancer; my dad’s sister, my second mom. We grew up next door to Janie and we were always close, she encouraged and supported my art and loved my sons and grand children (she had no grandchildren) just like my own mom always has. She has one son who has MS and when we found out she had cancer I was fortunate at that time to be able to care for her the three years we had left with her.
Honestly, I really don’t think I’ve gotten over her death. I’m realizing that maybe I should have seen, and probably still should see someone to help me work through some things. I find myself being afraid and making choices that I regret.
I’m naive, I thought that once my kids were grown and out of the house that life would be easier. It just seems to get more difficult. In the last year my mom (a 20 year breast cancer survivor) has been having trouble with her memory. She’s been going through a lot of testing and so far they’ve given her a diagnosis of dementia. It’s difficult to watch my mom, who was always the one to turn to for everything, changing. None of us will be here forever, but maybe there are some things I think will never change.
Also, in the last couple of months my dad (divorced from my mom) had a growth on his neck under his skin. Turns out that it is cancer of his salivary gland. He had surgery to remove it two weeks ago. They found cancer in a couple of lymph nodes so now he is scheduled to begin radiation and chemo. This will not be easy but this time, as I don’t have as much time available to give, I am depending on my sister and brother to help out.
I have a sister with special needs, Marcie. She came into our family when she was six months old as a foster child (foster babies were part of most of my childhood). She soon became a permanent part of our family and is now forty six years old and lives in a group home. Marcie has had a persistent dry cough off and on for a year; it has recently gotten worse so she has been staying at my mom’s house so they could get her checked out. She went to an allergist, she was tested for allergies and they thought that she might have a type of asthma which can cause that type of cough. The cough continued so they ordered x-rays of her chest. The x-rays showed that she might have an interstitial lung disease and they then ordered a cat scan. Marcie had trouble holding still through the scan and couldn’t hold her breath the way she needed to for a clear image. The report came back from the scan and it doesn’t sound good. They are sending her for a pet scan, breathing test and to first see a pulmonology specialist then a hematologist and oncologist.
This is so much all at once.