Band aids and brave faces


The realization I came to last night is that I have spent the last 17+ years trying to protect my children from pain. All types of pain. I am a mommy. A boo boo kisser. I have done everything in my power to insulate them from the pain they are all in now. The hardest part is knowing that I am the cause of all their distress. I just feel like such a jerk. Watching them mope about with fake smiles. Knowing that their brave faces thinly veil the sadness underneath. Kelly cries in private. I am hurting all of them. My stupid cancer is wreaking havoc on all my hard work. I am trying to not fall into a depression here. But it just kills me to watch them suffer. Kelly and I decided that we have to get them and us into a therapeutic situation. Now. We have a few ideas. I just wish I could make all the hurting stop. For me and for them.

I went to my last scan this morning. I also stopped into see the doctor about my biopsy. Yes it is metastatic disease but we knew that. Is it crazy that I prayed it would be a mistake? We do not know the hormone status yet. This is an important detail in treatment. Long story short if it is positive they can give me an additional medication that might help fend off progression. I showed him how in just two days the lymph nodes in my neck/throat have gotten even bigger. A concern to us both. Talk to your doctor. They may want to do surgery or radiation. You may see improvement with chemo. If not it will interfere with swallowing or breathing. I am pretty sure breathing is essential to life. Good to know.

This cancer thing is getting very depressing for us all my friends. What I am up against I am not sure I have the strength to fight. I think all this hard core chemo / surgery / radiation is wearing me out. I am sad. I am tired. And Goliath is very very big. I came home and cried to Kelly. He told me I am not dead. He wants me to fight. He wants me to be willing to do aggressive treatment. Why do I feel like I am fighting a losing battle? Kelly tells me everyday that he loves me. Then he says Don’t die today ok? It reminds me that I am still here. I just have to do this today. He also told me that because I am in a position where I am giving this news to several people each day I am focusing too much on the negative. I am missing all the good stuff as a result. This is likely the case. I need to spend a bit of time going this sucks poor me and move on. He and I agree that if I only have so much time I want it to be very joyful.

I try so hard to feel that. And meditate on peace and acceptance. Sometimes I am successful sometimes not. I want so much to be idealistic and hopeful. It seems like it comes so naturally to other women with my disease. I am a realist. Practical. It is not my nature to think in that way.

And despite my lack of faith, I did spend a few hours researching treatment options that are additional to chemo. Regardless of my willingness to throw in the towel, I researched other chemo options as well. I have been trying to outline a few other options so that we may have a better chance to add some time to my short life. More band aids. I am the boo boo.

18 Responses to “Band aids and brave faces”

  1. Michelle Wienke says:

    Hi Andrea-

    Finially back in the land of the online- I thought about all of you and prayed for you while I was gone. Working for Hospice & Palliative Care, I know what a roller coaster this can be for you-keep praying, keep your head up, keep your face to the sun- there are so many of us rooting for you-kiss your hubby, snuggle those babies- and relax and breathe!!
    Wishing you a crocus or a daffodil to give you the hope of spring, and all things renewed!!

  2. Marisa says:

    i am at work and every day during break i read your blog-have been for a while…i am crying today reading today’s entry-i can’t believe this is happening to you and your family. i pray constantly for you, for health, comfort, peace, a cure. you are truly an amazing, beautiful, and strong woman-a force to be reckoned with so it always seemed. i know it’s been a really long time-but if there’s anything i can do to help you all out please let me know-love-marisa

  3. joshua says:

    good call on the therapy now. it sounds like the right next move as part of treatment, indeed.

  4. Julie says:

    Therapy is a wonderful thing. I love you

  5. ruthie says:

    I love you. I am not afraid.

  6. Tina says:

    We had an evangalist at our church once who said that if he’s feeling down, he sets a timer for 20 minutes to give himself a pity party. When the time is up, he starts praising God and thanking Him for the circumstance he’s in because he knows that God is moving all the time. Your only human, girl. You have to give yourself permission to fall apart every now and then. It’s a vicious cycle sometimes – you feel bad about feeling bad. Because you’ve been such a caregiver, you feel like you have to be strong for everybody. You have shown more courage than I think you realize. You’ve still got a lot of fight left in you and I know you’ll find it when you need it. I pray God’s healing and blessings on you all.

    Love from WV

  7. Jaija says:

    So many varied treatment alternatives. There is so much to research and potentially experiment with. Perhaps there are immune system/cancer `healers’ amongst the varied suggestions in this (article) and other recommendations. Couldn’t hurt to try?!
    thinking of you. Jaija

  8. Renee Khan says:

    Breathe Andrea. You can do this. I say that to myself every day. I can do this.

    I have your disease and I am definitely not idealistic. I am a realist with a hopeful spin. I know what is real, but I am hopeful.

    I, however, am older and I do not have small children. That, alone and in itself, is more than heartbreaking.

    There is just nothing to say Andrea. Except that you have it in you. You can do this. Whatever this is. Just live in the now. Now, yes, you have cancer and in horrible places. Now, yes, you have your beautiful children all around you. Now, yes, you are sad and they are sad. Why would they be happy at what is happening to their Mommy. But you will live through this now and maybe by tomorrow in another now, you will be able to feel a little more hopeful. Maybe by tomorrow the kids will feel a little more hopeful too.

    Breathe Andrea. Just breathe.

    Love Renee

  9. Check out the website I am not sure how close to Reading, PA or NYC but there are groups in both of those cities. Kids Konnected is an organization for kids whose parents have or have passed from cancer. The group is run by therapists. Your little guy is too young but it may be helpful for your teens.

  10. megan says:

    praying…praying all day. joy sounds good. maybe they found joy deep down in your heart this morning? i love you. your joy, your family. it has been especially nice to see kelly with you, to see kelly love you. he’s alright. as are you, in the reality that is your spirit. you are alright. i will pray that you can fight the good fight.

  11. alison says:

    let me know if you would like for me to ask around and make a recommendation for a good family therapist for you. or if there is anything else that i can do.
    and i wanted to let you know that i continue to keep up with your blog everyday and think of and pray for you often. you are so tough, so faithful. and i’m betting that you will be amazed by what you are capable of. the rest of us already are.
    hang in there.
    you are loved and admired.

  12. leah says:

    you are still here and you are so worth the fight!
    i love you Andrea there isn’t an hour in the day i don’t think about you really.
    i wish i could take your pain away i would take it for you if i could!

  13. Michelle Wienke says:

    Alison says you are “loved and admired”- that is exactly the phrase I have been racking my brain for- you are loved, by so many that you will never meet, and admired-not only for your brave journey, but the humor and candor with which you share it with all of us! I continue to be inspired to help others because of your strength, and send you continued wishes for strength to fight, good sunny days, and the ability to kick this cancer in the ass!!

    Be well-you are loved!

  14. Deb says:

    I have been reading your blog for quite awhile – ever since the article appeared about you in the Arizona Republic – but have not posted any comments yet. It’s not that I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing, I’ve just been wracking my brain to find something RIGHT to say to you. I finally decided just to write to you and just tell you I am praying for you. It’s all I can do, but oh how I wish I could do more. I’ve had cancer too and so I know just the tiniest bit of what you’re going through. While writing everything down is probably cathartic to you, what a wonderful legacy to leave, whether you “leave” in the near future or in 10,20,30, 40 years – only God knows the answer to that – for all of us. I think you are a brave, strong, compassionate and loving woman and you are an inspiration. I pray you find peace and strength and healing. Love is being sent your way from all corners of the country.

  15. Linda Conley Soffer says:

    As I see it, you are not causing any pain to your family & friends – your cancer is. You, with your strength, courage and honesty, are a gift to them. You keep it real, Andrea, and that is a rare & amazing trait these days. I am so so sorry to hear about the progression of this disease in your body. Please remember that it cannot and will not ever touch your spirit. You will live with Kelly and your children forever. Continue to embrace all of it – the pain, the frustration, the joy, the love. Allow yourself time to mourn your losses and give support to your family (I am a big believer in therapy) so that you can bask in the glow that is their love. It seems that when we try to block the hard stuff, we block it all. Be open to everything. Be like water, always flowing from one moment to the next. There is always another moment. My heart is with you.

  16. Sarah S. says:

    I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers 🙂

  17. Ed says:

    It is not you that makes them feel so bad, it is the thought of the “not you”.
    They could not feel bad if you had not been the kind of person that made them feel so good. It is who you have been as a mother and a wife that gives them a reason to grieve. Would you take that away from them so there would be no pain now?

    And as a mother, you want the proverbial magic wand and just take that pain away. And if you did not give them the gift of you, there would be nothing for them to loose. It would be easier for them if you were a shitty mother and wife……Ed

  18. Kim says:

    You are doing it, Andrea. Just take it one day at a time right now and know that we are all rooting for you.