As I hung up the phone from talking to my doctor, my cute little daughter-in-law was in the kitchen fixing dinner. She had overheard my conversation.
"I'm so sorry," she said. "What do I do? What should I do? I know. I'll give you a hug."
Her hug was just what I needed.
I called my kids and told them. "Mom, that's not a funny April Fool's joke!" Haley said. I hadn't realized it was April Fool's Day. Then I called my sister Lola. She and I have been so worried about coming down with Alzheimer's Disease. Our mother died of it along with our sisters Mary, Fran and Jeri. Our brother Chris was also diagnosed with it. Alzheimer's was the monster that lurked in the shadows of our minds; one we were afraid would rear it's ugly head and attack the two of us. Cancer had sneaked up on me. To say to myself "I have cancer" seemed surreal. I sat for a few minutes and let it settle in and then I did what was perfectly normal. I went to Rainee's to have her put a rinse on my hair.
So many times in my life as a mother, my children and their warped senses of humor is what has saved my sanity (or lack thereof). I sat on the stool as Rainee squeezed color onto my hair and laughed.
"You know Mom," she said, "if you make the decision you don't want to do chemo or any of that stuff, I will take the money out of my 401K and we will take off and see the world. We'll go anyplace you want to go. I'll call the travel channel and tell them my mom is dying of cancer and I am taking her out to fill her bucket list. They will be following us all around the world taping our adventure. Just one thing though mom. Don't get upset with me if I use the "F" word."
"You're not going to say the "F word," I told her. "The whole world will be watching us."
"We should be able to make a lot of money, mom. We could make enough to have all the kids come along with us. In that case, I definately will be saying the "F" word."
"Mom, I can cancel my trip this weekend," she said. She and her husband had scheduled a trip to Cancun.
"You don't need to cancel your trip," I told her. "There is nothing you can do right now. I had an appointment scheduled with the surgeon and Lola was going with me.
My appointment was for two days later at 1:45. We had it arranged that Lola drive down from Centerville, would pick me up and we would go to Provo together. At 11:00 the surgeon's office called. They needed me to come right in. I called Lola and told her she didn't need to come. I was headed straight to the office. I met with him and surgery was scheduled for the following Wednesday on April 9. The type of cancer I had was Triple Negative. It is a pretty agressive type of cancer; the type that would need surgery and then chemotherapy.
When I got out of the doctor's office I saw Lola had tried to call me. She had come down anyway and met me to go to lunch.
I went home afterward and laid down on my bed. I was so tired, I fell sound asleep. Suddenly a voice said "Hey, Mom!" I sat up startled out of my sleep. I thought Mark had come in and needed something, but when I sat up, no one was there. I know it was Daren letting me know he was with me.
Rainee left for Cancun on April 6th and I told her I would come over and stay a few days wtih Raydan while they were gone. Susan said she would pick me up at Rainee's at six in the morning the day of my surgery and take me to Provo to the hospital.
I heard her car pull in and heard her talking to someone. I thought perhaps she was talking to her husband on the phone, but when I opened the door there she stood with Sheree. Sheree had driven down from Idaho the night before. We met Lola at the hospital and with my little army of loving soldiers waiting for me, I entered surgery.
The summer after Daren died, I dowloaded some songs onto my iphone that I would walk to. The songs were ones that meant a lot to me and Danny and then ones we had played at Daren's funeral. Whenever I would start walking, the songs would shuffle and the first song to play would be Dean Martin singing "Everyboyd Loves Somebody Sometime". As I was rolled into the surgical room, that was the song that was playing over the intercom. Tears started rolling down my cheeks and the little nurse asked "Are you okay?" I was so okay. Danny was there with me.
Surgery went well. The lump was removed along with about a 4" diameter to make certain they got it all. As they rolled me back into recovery, two additional faces greeted me. Shannon and Haley had flown in from Alaska. Once again the tears came. I'm so blessed to be so loved.