The C word.

It’s that time again .. Time to lay to rest another good man, lost to cancer. This one was a godly man, a coach (both literally and figuratively), a loving husband, a father of three and a grandfather to five. He was my neighbor my whole life. His middle son was my brother’s best friend growing up. His wife and my mother were pregnant with myself and his youngest son at the same time. There is still a photo somewhere of their bellies together as Morgan and I “met” for the first time. Later, Morgan’s wife and I would be pregnant at the same time. We don’t have that picture, but it happened.

As I heard of the loss of Matt I could only think of his beautiful life and his brave and determined battle against this disease. I am so heartbroken for his amazing wife who stuck by him every single day. I swallow so hard and can’t help but choke back tears when I think of Ben, Jake and Morgan and the pain that is burring your father. Not only do they have their own sorrow, but they are raising little children they must explain this to and regretfully watch as they try to understand.

I am really bad with this stuff. When someone I care about has been diagnosed with cancer I don’t look the other way but I do stay more silent than I would like. I pray. I hope. I build up this super hero in my mind that will fight this and come up on top no matter what. I don’t know if it’s the right approach, but it’s all I know how to do. I am scared. I am confused. I am anxious. Most of all, I am angry. I am so angry because it just isn’t fair.

Cancer is my biggest fear. Not having any control of your body as a sickness makes you weak, unrecognizable, dependent and scared shitless is the worst thing! Now, of course, sharks really upset me too. What is worse than being eaten by a shark and drowning at the same time? No thanks. But you know what .. That’s why I stay the hell out of the ocean.

Cancer is not so easy. You can’t just stay away from the ocean and not get it. You don’t get it because you are the best person in the world, or the worst person in the world. You just get it. Sure, you shouldn’t boil water in a plastic cup and drink it, you shouldn’t eat bacon every single day, you shouldn’t smoke or lay out in the sun all day, but you could and you might be just fine. My brain has a hard time wrapping that up into a nice package.

I want to fully understand everything, understanding is powerful. I can’t understand why a mother of seven, nursing a baby under a year old would black out at a family barbecue, find a brain tumor and be dead just a few months later. I can’t understand why a 28 year old veteran who barely survived an IUD while fighting for his country would then get leukemia and die of phenomena, after a stem cell transplant. I can’t understand why a woman would go to the doctor 10 weeks pregnant and find out that she has cervical cancer and the best thing to do is abort her baby and fight it aggressively, possibly leaving her with no chance to carry another. I can’t understand a cancer battle that was seemingly going well until a platelet loss turned into a massive brain bleed. I can’t understand these stories as much as I can’t understand how a man can smoke a pack a day for his entire life and never get cancer.

I wish I could go back to when I was a very small child and all I knew about cancer was that you got sick and lost your hair. Remember that? When you thought that they lost their hair because of the sickness. As a kid you KNEW you didn’t have cancer because you had hair.

I met Corey when he was 14. He had hair. He made out with my friend Faith. He jumped on the trampoline (maybe a little less than us). He signed my tree house in black permanent marker, just like all my friends did. If possible, his clubhouse was cooler than my tree house. Him and Josh, my best friend, would steal dirty magazines from their dads and look at them in the clubhouse. I remember going through his cd collection and asking why he had Britney Spears cds and he said “I like to have all kinds of music just because everyone likes different things.” He was wonderful. That was his last summer. His dad invited Josh into his room after he passed away to see if he wanted to take anything. He had left his room untouched. Josh vividly described to me how a pair of Corey’s pants were on the floor, as if he had just taken them off, as if he was still there. We all wished that we could have grown up a little slower and learned a little later about how sad and unfair cancer really is.

With the recent passing of Matt and so many others, all I know for sure is that no matter how much we all try to feel in control and feel like we understand, we will never truly be better off than when we were young children and everything seemed so simple.

Rest Peacefully ..

Matt Locke,

Clare Oliver,

Corey Hillsgrove,

Tony Lance,

Ryan Goggin,

Nita Donnell,

John Bowles,

Midge Burnham

                         FUCK CANCER.

 

 

 

Bomb Baby.

What is it like to have a BABY with type one diabetes?

It’s like being a nurse, a first responder, a service dog, a pancreas, a negotiator, a nutritionist, a calculator and a bomb defuser all at once. The latter is really the most accurate.

Kids are really all a little “bomby” aren’t they? The difference between a kid without type one diabetes and one with it is that the type one parent needs to be on their game 24/8 because diabetes never sleeps.

There is also a difference in consequence between myself and a bomb defuser. When a bomb defuser fails, the bomb goes off anyway. The bus explodes, the building explodes, hell, maybe even the city explodes. If I fail and that bomb goes off, my entire world will explode. There won’t be a second chance. There won’t be the option to rebuild.

I have this itty bitty human that is stronger than an ox but as fragile as an egg shell. I have seen her run, jump, push, throw and hold her own against older siblings and animals four times her size. I have also seen her body pale, cold, unresponsive and drained of all life. It’s a scene that no mother should have to witness, yet only a mother could.

It is not a burden to constantly watch over this child, in fact it’s the greatest gift I have ever received. I love every single thing about my little cyborg bomb baby and I accept this challenge because she is still the girl that I gave birth to. It is my pleasure to walk this journey with her because a journey without her is NOT an option for me.

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Perfect Imperfection.

How long does it take to make a perfect carrot cake from scratch?

Find the ingredients … crush the nuts … bolus the two year old … grate the carrots … Freeze dance around the island … “Mom is the cake ready yet?” … measure the brown sugar … snack time .. prep the pan .. “Mom is the cake ready yet?’ ..

Making my perfect carrot cake with my children bothering me constantly is probably the only way I’d have it. I genuinely can’t remember the last time I felt comfortable standing still and silent. I have really always found calm in chaos. I also have always enjoyed being alone.

Things are a little different now. Yes, please, if you see me leave me alone. But hell, if for some very unusual reason I find myself alone in my house during the day you better believe I’m dying on the inside FOR REAL. Without the pitter patter of little feet, the shouting, the laughter, the whining and smashing; I’m completely lost and planning my escape, like I am running from a hippo.

I feel broken and so whole at the same time. My life hurts without them and that’s exactly what I know that every parent needs to feel. That moment to realize how much you miss your kids, that is the moment! The diapers, the tears, the dirty faces, the sticky fingers, the bum wiping, the mud puddle you didn’t know was there until somehow it’s all over your child’s forehead, the sibling rivalry … this shit is so REAL .. and the list could go on for days.

It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed, stressed and annoyed. The important thing is to remember that it’s normal and okay to take time away from your kids … and when you do .. listen. Listen to that silence. I guarantee, in that silence, you’d give anything to hear a little voice say “Mommy, can you read me a story?”

My carrot cake is perfect. I’m not perfect. But as long as I can still hear those kids in the other room, I’m all set.

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