Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Letter to Danny - April 8, 2013

Hi Honey:

I woke this morning thinking "Well here it is; another pivotal time in life." It's a time when everything is different again.  Where the world I have been building since you left is now twirling around like its been caught up in a tornado and I don't know when or where I will land again.

The first siting of the tornado was twelve days ago when I followed up on a mammogram I had six months ago.  At that time, there had been lumps, but I was told they were just water-filled cysts and nothing to worry about, but to come back in six months.

Mark and Dawna and the family were going camping down at Moab.  They asked me to go, but instead, I called and scheduled my follow-up exam.  The mammogram again showed the cysts and another ultrasound was performed.  This time, the screen showed blood flowing through a couple; a sign they just weren't water filled.  I was told I should have a biopsy and was scheduled for one four days later.  I wasn't really worried, nor afraid.  I just felt an urgency to get things done.  Get my bookwork done, help Susan get ready for taxes.  An urgency things needed done now and not put off.  So I stayed up most of the night on Saturday, March 29th and caught up.

I was dreading the biopsy.  Remember when I had that one done about thirty years ago in Dr. Wallace's office.  He just shoved the needle deep in my breast and pulled it out without any numbing.  It hurt so bad.  I was picturing having it done again but on two lumps.  I kept telling myself that I had seven children, natural childbirth, and I could handle this.  It wasn't as bad as I had anticipated.  This time, the doctor numbed my breast.  There was some pain, but not like before.  The radiologist said everything looked normal but they would send it to the lab and get back with me in two or three days.  The next day I had a voicemail from my primary care doctor telling me to call him back on his cell phone.  Giving me his cell number, I knew this wasn't good.  One of the lumps was malignant.  I had only told Susan and Rainee about the biopsies.  Susan because she was going with me in case I needed a ride home, and Rainee because she and Mark were on my emergency call list.  Now however, I decided they all had the right to know what was going on with their mom, so I called them.

Monday night I pulled your flannel jacket from the closet and clutched it tight to me as I fell asleep.  I wanted you there with me.  You know I'm a tough old broad, but you also know that much of that toughness came from the fact of knowing you were there.

The surgeon's appointment was scheduled and I was told I have Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  It is just a name to me but with it I know there will be surgery to remove the lump and surrounding tissue.  A dye will be shot through me to see if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and if it has, those nodes will be removed at the same time.  Nothing more is known until the surgeon gets "in there" and see's what I'm really up against.  There will be chemo though, because it's Triple Negative.

"You know, Mom.  Dad and Daren bailed on you because neither of them would have been able to deal with your being sick," Rainee said as she was putting a rinse on my hair.

I stood brushing my hair yesterday morning, remembering how proud you were of my hair that hung to my knees a few years ago.  You loved my long hair, and I kept it long because you did.  Then, when our lives changed so dramatically in 2009 when you had your heart attack and we moved to Alaska, I decided since life was changing, so would I, so I had my hair cut.  Since you died, though, I have been growing it back out; just because you loved it so.  It now hangs down between my shoulders and as I stood brushing it yesterday, knowing it would be falling out, I decided to be proactive.  After surgery, I will cut it off and give it to Locks of Love.  Before chemo starts, I will shave my head.  I don't want my hair laying all over the place as it falls out.  I called Susan and she and I went to Orem and I bought a wig.

"I don't think your dad could have dealt with my losing all my hair," I told Susan as we drove home.
"If Dad were here, Mom," she said, "it would be you taking care of him."

But I wish you were here honey.  I wish I could hear the rhythm of your breathing, smell the scent of Old Spice aftershave and feel your arms around me.  But since you're not, your flannel jacket will have to do.

I'm at one of those "bookmark" places in life honey.  Those places when you know the story line is about to change but you don't know what is going to happen.  I guess all I can do is keep reading.

I know you and Daren are with me and it gives me peace knowing you are.  It doesn't give me happiness... but peace.  Happiness would be your both being right here with me in the now.

Mary has been heavy on my mind the past couple of weeks.  Tell my sister how much I love her and tell her I wish she were here to give me one of her bear hugs.

Well, (I say after taking a deep breath and wiping the tears off my face), there are things that need doing, so I will get them done.

I love you Honey.  Tell our boy I love and miss him.  I will be expecting you both hovering around me over the next while.

I love you, longer than the 12th of Never.


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