Did you miss me last week? Seems I no sooner announced that I’m going to keep up with this blog that I turned around and missed three entire posts–a week’s worth. There is reason for that: overload.
Let’s skip all the overwhelming news and the internal battle I’m fighting to keep myself on even keel. Let’s skip the discussion about the Covid virus and the frustration of having to walk all the way back to the car because I forgot my face shield–or even the fact that I have to wear a shield instead of a mask (a story for another time). Let’s jump straight in to the two main reasons I can’t seem to keep my feet under me: my mom, and my inability to say no. This time at least, these are two separate issues.
Starting with the second first, my ongoing struggle with my inability to say no–a.k.a “What was I thinking?!”
It’s the beginning of the year, right? So at the beginning of the year, I have lots of reports coming in from the organization I volunteer for, American Christian Fiction Writers. I’m the Zone Coordinator, a position I enjoy most of the time, and a lot of things come my way before being presented to the national board of directors or filed away for future use. Year-end financial reports. New officers lists. New membership rosters. New members list. Purged members lists. For every email I answer and complete, five more are awaiting me. Whenever I clear the inbox one morning, it’s doubly stacked the next.
So why would I say yes to editing not one but two manuscripts during this time? I must be insane. In my defense, I accepted the manuscript from a new-to-me author presented by a managing editor I trust before I realized I’d be getting the manuscript of one of my favorite authors from another managing editor I trust. I couldn’t possibly turn down the second, so I have no other alternative but to do both. Also, in my defense, these are paying jobs while the ACFW position is voluntary. But on the flipside, and giving myself a good butt-kicking, having these jobs means I don’t have time to write. Not and still be a good wife/daughter/gramma. Somethin’s gotta give, and for now, it’s my writing, which includes blog posts. Sigh.
Lest you think I’m complaining, I’m not. Not really. I love being busy. This is more explaining than complaining. Explaining where I was last week while you, my readers, were expecting a blog post full of wit and wisdom from one of your favorite redheads.
And I’m still not complaining when I introduce the second reason I’ve been a bit overwhelmed: it appears Mom’s cancer is back. And I’m not complaining at all about taking care of her.
Four months ago, we got the wonderful news that the radiation worked on the troublesome spot everyone was worried about. The other spots hadn’t changed in almost a year, so the doctor seemed to doubt they were actually cancer. Not long after that, Mom had a miraculous healing from shortness of breath and her inability to walk from the bedroom to the den without huffing and puffing like she’d just finished a 10K run.
Then, two months ago–two months from the time she got her wonderful news–we got the report that her lungs are riddled with “nodules.” The doctor said he hesitated to call it cancer, but he couldn’t imagine what else it would be. Since he was the radiation oncologist, he had to recommend her to a medical oncologist to take over her treatment. The nodules are too many and too spread out in her lungs for concentrated beams of radiation. The treatment would damage her lungs far worse.
So, we returned to the doctor who treated Mom decades before. This is her third kind of cancer, and we’re not sure yet whether it really is lung cancer. According to the medical oncologist, this could be lung cancer or it could be that the breast cancer she had back in the early 2000s has returned or even the kidney cancer that showed up closer to 2010. Before, because of the location of the cancer in her lung, the doctors couldn’t do a biopsy of the mass that was ultimately obliterated with radiation because Mom–with her severe degenerative arthritis–couldn’t hold the required position long enough. So we had no clue at that time what kind of cancer she had.
But before Mom can undergo a biopsy this time, the doc wanted her to have a PET scan and a CT scan of her brain to see if the cancer has spread beyond the lungs. Considering it took only two months to go from “all clear” to “uh-oh,” anything’s possible. She had the scans last Friday. We find out the results sometime this week. If the cancer has spread, the method of treatment is basically to keep her comfortable. If it hasn’t, then she’ll have the biopsy and we can find out what method of treatment would be effective then. With one of the cancer types, the new immunotherapy might be effective. One of the other types can be treated with a pill. But the last type can be treated only with chemo, and she’s not capable of going through that–bringing us back to keeping her comfortable as she prepares to go home.
Mom amazes me. She seems to stay upbeat. She’s still interested in life and all the goings-on. She manages to get up every day, fix her own meals (although she’s limited to microwaving frozen dinners or leftovers from what I cook for her), dress herself, and despite limited mobility, just do for herself in general (sometimes with the help of an aid). She has adjusted to all her ailments and insists that as long as she is able, even to the extent she’s limited to now, she intends to continue doing for herself. What an amazing example she is.
But you can see why this blog has dropped considerably on my list of must-dos. The idea of keeping up with it–the New Year’s resolution of keeping up with it–is just as insane as any other resolution I come up with, but this one didn’t last as long. Second week of January, and I already failed.