September 12, 2007

Incomprehensible Thoughts

There is a little girl in band that I’ve gotten to know. She’s one year younger than my eldest, 6th grade. I’ll call her Ashley.

Ashley didn’t want to keep playing the trumpet, but her Dad has pushed the issue. She and I had an argument about it last week. I laughed and I laugh now… I argue enough with my 12 year old boy, I don’t need to argue with an 11 year old girl. She sees no value in continuing with music. That was the basis of our… discussion.

I remember when I met her Mother. I used to run the school/church spaghetti dinner. We used to joke that the resident Prod ran the Catholic spaghetti fundraiser. Her Mom and Dad immediately jumped in to help me when I called for volunteers and they asked to take charge of garbage. That is a big job when you’re feeding 800 people spaghetti.

They had their daughter late in life… I think Ashley’s Mom is probably eight years older than I. It may be more.

I remember when Ashley’s Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. It was a sucker punch to all of us, but she never let it change her attitude about anything. She showed up to every event, chipped in to help, and has been upbeat… continually. Upbeat even when I know she’s not feeling it.

When her hair grew back in, she and I had a long conversation about it. She told me she had wondered if it would all come back… but it did, the same color and texture, unlike my other friend who is fighting stage 4 cancer, when her hair came back crazy curly.

I’m not sure what pulled me to do it today. I was sitting there waiting for my boys and suddenly felt compelled to ask Ashley how her Mom was. I’ve never told Ashley I knew her mother had been sick. She and I have never spoken of it.

But today I asked.

And today I found out its come back and metastasized to her lungs. She was in remission for three years… maybe two and Ashley was told this weekend that it has returned. And I found out this is not going to her be second bout with breast cancer, but in fact, her third. She was diagnosed the first time when Ashley was three.

I must’ve hit at a time when Ashley needed to get it all off her chest as I heard everything… information that Ashley has heard, but is unable to process. I know too much about breast cancer. Ashley is just now learning. At 11. She is being forced to learn at that young age, how awful this can be, what happens when it spreads. My fear from some things Ashley said casually is that it is far worse than a spot on her Mom's lungs.

And I know that is her mother’s fear because… her mother would know.

I spent the entire time listening to the little girl, talking to her about the great doctors her mother has, but knowing now her Mom is not curable, but living with a chronic disease that will kill her mother eventually. All the kings horses and all the kings men… cannot fix her mother.

And I sat there, keeping the good face when inside I wanted to cry again, as I watch yet another woman die from this disease.

And as I kept the good face for Ashley, I wondered if she was in fact keeping the good face for me.

I call tomorrow for my appointment for my biopsy. I’m ready to have the hole punched in my right breast, but I’ll probably still say no to the titanium. I’ve been dragging my feet as I know I do not have cancer and that 95% of all fibroids are non-cancerous. I know that over 30% of all women my age have these types of fibroids. But I won’t be dragging my feet any more as although I know I am fine, my boys deserve to have a doctor say I’m fine. It’s not about me. It’s about my boys. I have a lot to do left in their lives. Their formation into young men contributing to our society is far from over.

And I pray for Ashley and her Mom and Dad. Some things are just incomprehensible to me. What they are going through is one.

Posted by Boudicca at September 12, 2007 08:19 PM | TrackBack

I am really sorry. That totally sucks. My single biggest fear is not being around for Mr. Smoochy. I can only imagine what Ashley's mom is going through, making plans for a daughter she may not see grow up into a beautiful young woman. I can't stand it. I am really really sorry.

Posted by: pfb at September 12, 2007 08:32 PM

Yeah, it sucks big. I'll hopefully see the little girl next week again. There is nothing I can say to make this go away for them. Nothing.

Posted by: Bou at September 12, 2007 08:46 PM

Keep doing what you're doing for the little girl, it means more than you know.

Posted by: Sissy at September 12, 2007 09:02 PM

Sometimes it hits and never stops.
Sometimes you can hit back and win.

Fear may cause some to hit back too late.
But not fighting at all should never be an option.

Posted by: Roses at September 12, 2007 10:12 PM

As you said, Bou, it has gone from being an imminent death sentence to a chronic, lingering enemy - held at bay, but still as lethal. I have to believe this is progress, and that it may buy time for some people to see a real cure. I am sorry to hear about your friend.

Posted by: Peggy U at September 13, 2007 01:09 AM

What Sissy said.

Is it Lung cancer?

If so that is not good. I have known a lot of people with lung cancer and the outcome is never positive.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at September 13, 2007 08:30 AM

Yeah, most people forget that cancer treatment is pretty hard on the loved ones too.

Posted by: _Jon at September 13, 2007 12:07 PM

It is every mother's fear, not to be around to finish raising the kids and then help with everything that comes with adulthood. I will say a little prayer for Ashley's mom.

Posted by: Kim at September 13, 2007 08:25 PM

OH boy... I'll be sending good thoughts your way, Bou.

Posted by: Richmond at September 13, 2007 09:15 PM