Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Alternately titled - The Post in Which I Try Being Serious


Alternately Titled - Well, At Least I'm Not Fat!

Yeah.  I think I'll stick with just calling this post INSOMNIA since I find myself working during those twilight hours when the house is dark and quiet.

If you have spoken to me in the past week, you know the reason for my recent absence once again from the blogging world.  You may proceed to the end of this entry as you are already aware of all that I am about to post.  If you choose to continue reading here, let me just say I warned you!

Yeah, I know.  I'm not being very serious yet.  I'll work on that.

I had surgery last Wednesday to remove a tumor found in my abdomen.  This would not appear to be just any tumor but one of monolithic proportions....I managed to grow what turned out to be an 18 cm tumor in the area that should have contained many other life sustaining organs.

Now I can stop right here and say if you've ever been pregnant...especially if you've been pregnant with twins....an honor I can proudly claim....you know this is really no heroic feat.  Life sustaining organs DO go somewhere else when pushed out of the way by growing little humans and apparently by growing tumors as well.  The fact that I did this with no conscious knowledge negates my ability to claim monolithic tumor growing as a skill.

The fact that I was not simply getting fat is wonderful.


The good news was the tumor was benign.  It resulted in me bidding farewell to an ovary.  It also bought me a couple days in the hospital to recover.  Some might think of that as a bad thing.  I prefer to look at it as an opportunity for my kids to learn things like how their socks mysteriously make it from the living room floor to the laundry hamper with no assistance from them.  It also meant hot meals were brought to my bedside by smiling people without me so much as lifting a finger to help.  There is nothing to complain about when that happens.

Thursday I was sent home to rest and recover which I have done with very little complaining I might add.  Monday morning David took me back for my follow-up appointment with my doctor.  You see, due to my recent abdominal surgery, I have been elevated to a level of importance requiring that I be chauffeured about.  Thus David gets to take me to lots of important places like the grocery store, McDonalds and of course the doctor.  He was thrilled to be included.  I'm sure.

Much to our surprise, the doctor who performed my surgery informed us that the pathology which was initially called benign had been changed once the entire tumor had been evaluated.

Yes, folks.  I have ovarian cancer.

Now in all seriousness I must say that did not have much impact on us.  I think working through my two diagnoses of melanoma the past eleven years has somewhat prepared us mentally for what might be a shocking moment.

The cancer boogey man only gets one shot at scaring us to death.  After staring down the unknowns of any life threatening diagnosis, I don't think there is room emotionally to be that scared a second time.  You simply accept the new knowledge and the new reality and start addressing what changes this will mean to the short and long term plans you have made.

And so we did just that.

I of course came home and began reading what I could find on the internet about ovarian cancer (because of course if I read it on the internet, it is true) (I've covered that lesson in a previous post.)  Once I filled my head with all the worst possible scenarios, I turned off my computer, threw in another load of laundry and walked up the hill to greet my kids as they got off the bus.........

because what really does it matter?

Cancer happens.  

Every day.

What makes me think I am special enough to avoid hearing those words?
Or even to think I am important enough to never hear them again after living that moment twice already??


That is what makes life great.....and precious......and sometimes scary.......

knowing that we have no promise of tomorrow.  We have the choice each day of how we will live life.  Eleven years ago when I was thirty-four and first heard the word cancer, it sucked the life out of me.

How could that be?  I'm too young!  I have tiny children who depend on me!
I'm not ready to die!

Every one of those thoughts and a thousand more flooded my mind for days and even weeks.
It didn't change the diagnosis, and it sure didn't change the outcome.

What it did change was me.

I became a more patient mother.  I listened with my heart instead of just my ears to the incessant chatter of our four year old twins.  I stopped seeing everyday tasks as chores to be completed but as moments to be cherished.  There were a lot fewer to-do's checked off my Type-A lists, but there were a lot more hugs and smiles and cookies shared in our home.

Everyone benefited.....but mostly I benefited.  It gave me a perspective on life that I had not appreciated nearly enough before being diagnosed.

Am I June Cleaver every moment with my kids?  Oh no!  I yell.  I lose patience.  I make poor judgements.

But I know I am better than I might have been.

So I can't say as how I am thrilled to be diagnosed with cancer again, but I can say a few things with certainty.

Cancer doesn't scare me.

Life will go on.

Our kids are capable of handling whatever happens.

We don't know much at this point.  My doctor today seemed to think this might not involve chemo or radiation, just more surgery.   We see an oncologist next week to figure out a plan. 

I will try to keep this blog updated as I navigate this new course over the next few months.

I will not however turn this into a daily grind of the highs and lows of cancer.  Cancer sucks.  We all know it.  I want my kids to look back at these entries as a record of their lives, not as a record of their mother's many medical maladies.  (Hello!  Bonus points for alliteration!)

So this was the post where I tried (unsuccessfully it seems) to stop hiding behind humor and be real about what is going on at the zoo.  I hope it answers a few questions for those who have been wondering.  There are many questions still unanswered, but we'll get to those in good time.

For now, I will be happy with the knowledge that an 18 cm tumor in my abdomen means I was not simply getting fat.  That is enough good news for now.

So on to a few developments at the zoo while I've been recovering the past week...

Grant has his first baseball game of the season Tuesday evening.  We will be there to cheer him on.  He is extremely excited.

John throws a baseball every night.  Poor guy misses playing this year.  Let's hope a few ski trips and four wheeler trips with Cousin Cale will help fill the summer void.

Emily received another promotion in ROTC.  Not sure what rank she is now.  I will report that little detail later.  She would not want to be roused from sleep at this time of night to gather that tidbit of information.

John and Emily are both receiving awards at the ROTC awards program Thursday.

Emily dropped ROTC for next year.  Instead she will study Latin.  Good call, young lady!

The third momma goat had her babies.  Two more...bringing the total count of babies to six.


Using a touch screen becomes an amazing adventure when a fly is attracted to the bright lights of my screen in a dark room.  My cursor is moving as if possessed with each contact the fly makes on the screen!

Dead flies do not affect touch screens.

Grant informed his father that I have a word for bad drivers.  That word is dumbass.  I guess muttering under my breath is no longer an option since my kids have bionic ears.

Grant insisted he had important news to tell me after bedtime the other night.  The news that just couldn't wait?  He wanted me to know that turtles can breathe out their butts. (yes they can too)(I confirmed it on the internet)

Laughing while recovering from abdominal surgery is quite painful.  However, I choose to laugh anyway.



  1. From one mom of a zoo/ sizeable crew ( whatever you want to call them) =) to another, I just wanted to let you know that I'm amazed at your courage, outlook and attitude. You are definitely in my prayers. I look up to you in how you are handling things so beautifully...I can not say the same for myself when a health crisis struck me several years ago. I still panic at the thought of facing it again. I really admire your faith and strength and wish for you that continued peace that you have found with your situation. I could relate very well with how these game changers reveal new gifts and as we slow down and can better appreciate our many blessings. Love to you and your family from Quebec City, Canada.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Grace carries us many places we cannot walk ourselves. That is where I find myself right now. So sorry to hear of your own health issues, but yes, it does make us step back and look at life through a different lens. I consider that portion of the diagnosis such a sweet gift in the midst of what can be such a time of personal loss. I just keep reminding myself that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Right now I rest in that amazing knowledge. The rest of the story will unfold only as He allows it. What an amazing God we serve!