Thursday, September 2, 2010

June, July, August, and September

It's been over four months since I've posted. May was a hard month and some things happened that took me time to process and I wasn't ready to put it all into words. I needed privacy, time to think, time to process and know what to say.

The first thing that stopped my writing happened while I was still visiting Hogar. I had a conversation that changed the course of my involvement with Hogar as an organization. I had to take a step back, reevaluate, and plot a new course. It in no way affected my relationships with the children or my commitment to them - it was just a personal hurdle I had to work through and some hurt feelings. I'm wiser for it. It opened my eyes and taught me a lot and now I'm busy planning my new course of action.

The second thing is that my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I also found this out while I was at Hogar and didn't really know how to process it. Being thousands of miles away...worlds away even, yet I had all these emotions and fears coursing through me. And at the same time, I was emotionally and physically very involved with the activities at Hogar and dealing with a discontent husband who was lonely at home. It was just a lot to deal with and I didn't know how to write about it.

My mom's okay. She will be having her 4th chemo session on September 20th. She's stage one ovarian cancer, which is the lowest stage and they rarely ever catch it that quickly. She had a full hysterectomy in June and now is completing 6 sessions of chemo just to make sure they got it all. She's amazingly positive and strong and just overall grateful to God that the doctors caught it so soon. I on the other hand have been working through the knowledge of the mortality of my own mother and also the knowledge that this is a battle that I too may have to fight some day. See, my aunt had ovarian cancer too (survived) and my great aunt had breast cancer (also survived). So the chances of me getting it are pretty high and that scares me. I've never seen my mom sick, at least not that I remember. And now she's so vulnerable and little and bald. And it makes me weep. However, I know she will be okay - which is not a certainty that most chemo patients have. Stage one is really beatable. It's the best news one could get in the cancer world.

Caleb and I came back to the States in mid July. We came back so I could be with my mom and so that we could go up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and spend time with his family as well. His dad is a master woodworker and Caleb's been excited to work with him on some projects. So we said our good-byes to Tulum, the bright blue sea, our dear friends, hot tropical weather, and our wonderful little apartment. We left Mexico.

And the transition wasn't easy. We were both sad to be leaving. The first day back to Michigan, my mom started to loose her hair and I went with her to buy a wig. Honestly, I was hoping to be in denial about the whole cancer thing for at least the first few days back, but that wasn't how it happened. It wasn't until I was in the infusion room five days after being back, and my mom had an allergic reaction to the chemo, that it really hit me and I couldn't stop crying. I just felt so helpless and it's horrible to see your parent suffer like that. Parents raise us and take care of us when we are sick and when the role gets reversed it really shakes you up. They're not invincible, they can get hurt, and they need us to lean on sometimes. Later that week I shaved my mom's head and we both shed a few tears. You know what though? It was really good. I wouldn't have wanted anyone else to have done it. It was painful but sweet to love my mom in that way. We laugh and find humor in it when we can, but we're not afraid to shed a few tears when all you can say is "this is pretty lousy, this sucks." One of my mom's nurses has a button that says, 'Cancer Sucks'. So true.

So now, I'm in the U.P. at Caleb's folk's house. I'm picking plums, painting dog houses, power washing the shop, cooking a lot, and going for mind clearing runs. It's very rural up here and so beautiful. I haven't been up here in the summer since our wedding seven years ago. I remember why we chose to got married here. The loose plan for the next few months is that we will be up in the U.P. until October when Caleb's sister gets married in West Virginia and then head to Chiapas, Mexico in November so that I can be closer to Hogar Infantil and the kids. Meanwhile I'm working on some ideas for projects with the kids for when I go back. I think about the children at Hogar daily, and I miss them so much.

That's the short version of the past few months and the ones to come. I do apologize for dropping off the face of the earth. Now that I'm in a better place, I'm looking forward to once again posting regularly.


Elisa said...

Ahh, friend. My love is with you and your family always. So happy to read your words again :)

Katie said...

Been thinking so much about you and your family during this challenge! God's presence is so strong, even in the "sucky" part! We have a "cancer sucks" window sticker in the car that I read in my rear-view mirror and it makes me chuckle every day. No need to paint a rosy picture when some days don't feel rosy!

Let me know when you think of returning to the ranch - there are some transitions happening...shoot me an email. Take care! Love, Katie

Katie said...
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