Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When The Cancer Bomb Drops

My long-time friend Mandy and I had a chance to catch up last night during a long car ride. There is something precious about 1-1 time with a gal pal. We laughed so hard that my cheeks ached and my head buzzed. You know that feeling?

We were reflecting on Kevin’s close encounter with melanoma. She asked me what my 1st thoughts were when I found out. You always think you know how you’d feel or you assume you’d feel like what you’ve read from other patients' accounts, but you truly don’t know until it rocks your own world.

I expected to have some profound answer for Mandy. You know, a deep philosophical reveal. But I didn’t. However, the only thing I could immediately tell her was my initial thought when Kevin dropped the cancer bomb: I don’t want him to die. I don’t want him to die. At the time he was initially diagnosed, we didn’t know the stage yet. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t need to know. I just knew I didn’t want him to die.

Once we received the news of his prognosis, the 1st question I morbidly asked his oncologist, was, “is he going to die?” He point blank told me that he didn’t have a crystal ball. I responded, “I gotta tell you, I am a black and white kind of girl. I have 3 babies at home that need a daddy around. What numbers are we looking at?”

For awhile, I lived by the numbers. PET, CT, MRI every 6 months. Body check by me 1 time a month. See the dermatologist every 4 months. 5 year survival rate…

But then I had to let it go. The numbers were becoming like a prison. It was a count down to the unknown.

Instead of focusing our limited energy (I mean really, we have 3 boys), we decided to reflect on how we were living. We were stressed, exhausted, and more focused on surviving the daily grind than we were on having fun. It sounds simple…the having fun bit, but we really lost touch with it. So that’s our new goal. Yeah, the house projects may take a little longer and it may take a little more work to coordinate babysitters, but we’re having fun again.

No longer are we waiting until the boys get older to enjoy each other and the fun opportunities of life. We’re enjoying those things now. We’ve stopped making excuses for delaying the things we loved most. Life doesn’t have to stop just because we have kids. Keep on rollin’ baby!

And that’s what I call a life lesson.


Stephanie said...

Oh Katie, many prayers for Kevin always. Yes, so true and a good reminder for us all. We DO totally just try to get through the daily grind. Doing things that are actually planned and fun and out of our routine is so rare and that is so wrong you are right! I am going to remember that and try to plan more fun and get out of just the survival stage all the time. Prayers prayers and more prayers always. God is in charge.

Mandy Arioto said...

your blog is amazing- love reading it...and love being your friend!!!