The Drama


I have not been able to write since Friday. Not on purpose but just because I kept getting swept up in the day to day activities of my family. By the end of the day I am too wiped out to even think. I am currently neglecting starting dinner for a minute to say hello. I was really thankful for all the comments to the last post. I was not trying to solicit compliments by telling you all about the “depressing” remarks. I mean cancer can be a downer. I understand. My friend Ruth told me that occasionally people ask her how I am and then say “she’s gonna die, it’s so sad.” Ruth is so baffled by this. She squishes up her face and says,”whatever we’re all gonna die sometime. It’s not like Andrea sits around going boo hoo I have cancer.” I love that. There are days in which I am very stressed out about all this stuff, but not as many as you would think. I am too busy living to worry about dying.

Now I say this even though i am totally in a difficult place. I noticed a “growth” or “swelling” in my neck/throat area on Friday morning. It felt solid and new. I called my doctor. I told her I had no fever or pain that might indicate an infection it what is likely a lymph node. She felt that after feeling it it did not seem like “cancer” but we would have to assume that until the tests results say otherwise. So I have a cat scan tomorrow of my neck,chest, and abdomen. Yes I am scared. Yes I am filled with anxiety. My stress made me snap at my doctor’s nurse after she used the term “no big deal.” I scared her. She left the room. I was a mess. How can I write about this stuff without drawing people into this cancer drama. And that is what it is. Drama.

But it is that way for most of us with cancer. We think all our aches and pains are cancer. People who end treatment fear it will soon return. Those on long term treatment regimens pray to be “cured”. I listen to so many breast cancer stories. They are all so powerful and dramatic. The ups and downs that go with the next scan or test or chemo. I have no idea what will happen on Thursday morning. That’s when I will find out all about the lump in my neck. That’s when I will find out how well my navelbine and zometa are working. I am scared and sick to my stomach.

But in front of my kids everything is fine. I do not dare suck them into this cancer drama. I say nothing until I have hard core facts and a plan. Why worry them needlessly. Kelly asked me if I would regret all the anxiety I have been reacting to if the results are negative. Not at all I told him. Just like my doctor said, we need to assume the worst. Guilty until proven innocent. I am shaking on the inside. I want my chemo to be working. I want no new cancer. I am trying to deal with my old cancer. There is quite enough of that. Now I am officially freaking MYSELF out. Enough. Deep breath. God is good. One day at a time. I can do this.

And even with all this cancer drama swirling in my brain I managed to spend the last few days engaged in fun activities with my kids and Naomi and her kids. We did South Street, the Franklin Institute,the Please touch museum, a birthday celebration for our friend Lauralynn at Vietnam, a few dinners and a playground. Naomi arranged it so that I always got the easy job. Less lifting less stress. She was in the know about my “owthgray” but she too smiled on the outside and felt the pressing sick of cancer drama. I like to share. Why not share the anxiety as well. Its fun for everyone.

Today is Monday. My children are off all week for spring break. Tomorrow is my scan. Wednesday I have physical therapy. Thursday I find out what is going on. One day at a time right? Breathing helps. Praying helps. It will be okay.

15 Responses to “The Drama”

  1. Toni G says:

    yes, just keep breathing and while you are doing that, please think upon some information I need………do the twins need NEW laptops for St. Joe’s Prep or would 3 year old laptops that work fine but don’t have the latest gizmos be ok? My daughter and her husband have upgraded and old ones are available for you if ok.

    You NEVER depress me. I gag occasionally when you are most descriptive about one certain involuntary act !!

  2. megan says:

    i love you. i miss you this week. i feel very far away from your drama here in the middle of nowhere pennsylvania. i will be home on thursday, praying. and around to help out in whatever way is most helpful, though really all i want to do with you is curl up on the couch and watch the first season of weeds, while mocking mary louise parker’s poor mothering skills and enjoying some sugar free treats. i really do love you. but i’ve always been a sucker for drama. megan

  3. Renee Khan says:

    Andrea, as much as you can, you need to get yourself back into the moment. Right here, right now you do not have cancer in that lymph node. You may on Thursday, but today, right now, you don’t.

    On Thursday, if you do, which I have had. You get some new meds and you deal with it then. Mine went away from there.

    You are amazing. Today and everyday, you are amazing. Have faith and have hope.

    I think you might like this, it is a Buddhist nun describing life, her name is Pema Chodron. I thought your friend Ruth might be able to use this next time.

    “It’s like getting into a boat that is just about to sail out to sea and sink. There are no life rafts, no floats and no one gets out alive. Rather than try to ward off the inevitable. Why not accept it and enjoy the trip?”

    Take care sweet girl. Love Renee

  4. Melinda says:

    I have been reading your blog for some time now (since I read about you in the Arizona Republic) and I’ve been inspired to become a better mom after reading your posts every day. I think to myself that I have such “drama” in my own life, juggling twins (aren’t they the best AND the worst to have?) and a job and a husband, and my friends. But, I’m constantly humbled by what I read from you everyday. Depressing? Yeah, MY life seems so depressing at times that I actually think I have drama in my life. It’s nothing compared to the real life that I see and feel you living every day. You are not someone I feel “sad” for but someone that I can only aspire to be as strong as. I know at some point you will be healthy and able to ‘get out’ and all I can say is that you and your entire “drama” filled family will always be welcome in Arizona at the home of another wanna-be drama filled mom. My door is always open to a woman/mother that makes me proud to say I’m a woman/mother too. As for those who feel bad that you are “gonna die” let me be the first to say how sad they must be in their own lives to think they might actually escape the same fate as the rest of us.

  5. Lhianna says:

    I think sometimes how hard and frustrating this must be. You have been fighting this cancer for almost a year now. there are times you have made progress but just when things look good then there is something new. i know this is pretty normal in a fight against such a nasty cancer. I just feel that you have put so much effort and energy into getting rid of your cancer and that sometimes the hardest part is lack of clear or significant results. I think it would be kind of depressing. You don’t seem that depressed (except occasionally). No matter what the results you can keep fighting and you have me and so many other friends here to help keep you going. I am in awe of you and all you have accomplished this past year and all you will accomplish in the future.

    I am not sure what the point of this comment is. It is just what I am thinking. And that I am thinking of you. And when i saw you the other day we managed to talk mostly of me and I really have stuff to say to you, about you and don’t always get it in.
    Love, Lhianna

  6. joshua says:

    that’s scary business. i hope spring break is awesome still

  7. Mary Beth says:

    You are a special person to take the time out of your day when you are dealing with so much to leave me such a wonderful comment. I will pray that you too will get some good news on Thursday.

  8. Pamela says:

    I pray that as you have your scan today, and wait for the results that you will feel Jesus hold you tenderly in His arms, that you will feel safe, loved, and protected. It seems very fitting during this week before Easter (drama week in the Heavenlies!) that you would be having your own drama week! And for the rest of us who hold you in prayer, maybe we should spend until thursdays news fasting and praying for you…..

  9. Julie says:

    Prayers that it’s nothing but a minor annoyance.

    Love you babe!

  10. leah says:

    just so you know, i read your blog as if it were homework, and i NEVER EVER have the feeling that you are going to die, even with bad news and even with good news it’s just all news in your life and no one had ever said to me “oh she’s gonna die” or “that doesn’t sound good”. AND if anyone ever said that to me , well i would say “hey your gonna die too” and maybe it’s just me in the “we are all gonna die” thing that i have going on that makes me feel that way but i just do feel that way. i know you have bad days and everyone does.
    I love you!

  11. Andrea says:

    I am leaving for my scan soon. I actually feel sick. My head feels fuzzy/spacey. I am trying really hard not to freak out and just be mellow. I hate these scans. I am trying to brace myself for the bad news. But they always try and make bad news sound like good news. Its a cult I tell you. I will write more later.

  12. Barb says:

    Holy shit Andrea, I am feeling this with you and I don’t even know you! My prayers are with you…..and I hope you don’t have to take 95!

  13. Jill Bacon says:


    I’m with Pamela, I agree that we should get as many of us as possible to pray and fast until Thursdays results…. Who’s in? Andrea, we’re here for you, at least in prayer… God Bless and take care…

    Your friend,

  14. Pamela says:

    I’m in, I have my 6 kids and husband praying, and I’ll pass it along the prayer chain here!

  15. WhyMommy says:

    Yeah. That is the way … praying for you that it’s nothing.