Mar 11, 2017


I have seen my surgeon, and he said there is not much he can do at this point except a biopsy on the liver to see where the primary cancer is. His best guess is the pancreas. I had a CT scan and looking at the images were pretty scary. Right now, we are working on controlling the pain and nausea.

I have my biopsy next week, so hopefully that will let me begin treatments. I saw my oncologist, and she is wonderful. She was very supportive, and hopefully she can slow the progression some. Sometimes when I am alone now, I worry about dying. Not so much a fear, but the mess EJ will have to deal with.

I reached out to my brother and sister. My brother told me I should talk to my family, and I thought well I thought you were my family. I thought wrong, I guess. I really don't have any close friends up here in the northern neck of VA. Most of the people I care about live in Smithfield, and West Virginia. I need someone to talk to, of course, but there is no one. I can, of course, again, talk to EJ, but maybe its best I let him deal with all of this in a way that is comfortable to him.

I feel alone, but its my fault that I am alone.

Feb 26, 2017

Bragging Rights

I think I called myself a cancer survivor one too many times. I have recently been diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer. It is already in my liver. I am frightened, and not really believing it all right now. I will have a CAT scan tomorrow to determine the extent of the cancer. The next day I will see a surgeon, and the next week, an oncologist.

I can't bring myself to tell my son yet. I don't have life insurance. Doesn't that beat all, huh? I have considered becoming a body donor after I pass to MCV. I will have to get some insurance but I will have to survive for at least 2 years. I would like to live much longer of course, but the odds are against me.

I hope it will be possible for me to have surgery to remove it all, even if they can only give me a bottle of whisky and a stick to bite on. I have heart disease, so I'm not sure how all this will work out now.

My first go-round with colon cancer was back in 1995, just after I had turned 40. I tolerated the surgery and the chemo well. I didn't receive my full course of treatments, though. My husband, bless his heart, decided it was time to quit his job and move to Georgia. I had stopped working at this point, so the timing wasn't the greatest, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

I think I am more frightened for my son, EJ, than myself. He lives with me and has done so pretty much since my youngest son died in Iraq. I just don't know how to tell him.

More later.

Oct 11, 2016


My sister, Linda Jean, died today. I can't process this. I know she is gone, and I know she is with God, somehow, someway, however it is when we close our eyes for the last time in this life and awake to what comes. I feel so empty.

I know her children are grown, and now have to make difficult decisions. I pray for them. I feel for them.

I will not be able to attend her funeral, and that seems so wrong. However, that is how it is. I will miss her very much. We didn't talk that often, but we did talk, and she did read this blog.

Growing up, Linda was always laughing. She seemed to have the wonderful ability to see the absurd in everyday life, and find the humor there. When I was eight, I watched her breastfeed her baby in absolute awe and wonder. I said, "I didn't know you could do that." She replied, "Well, what did you think they were for?" I said, "Decoration." I made up my mind that if I ever had a baby, I would breastfeed it. And I did.

When she moved to California, we would talk maybe every few years. Somehow, we kept in touch. I am glad I talked with her. I'm glad she knew that I loved her.

Around the year 2000, she came home for a visit, with her husband, Hank. He was a genuine Indian Chief. Of course, we talked and laughed. We got a big kick out of listening to my father, who couldn't hear, and his brother Tommy, who couldn't hear either, have two different conversations at the same time. Every so often they would look at each other and say, "Yep."

She joined the marines after high school, and married a Sergeant. That didn't last long, as I recall. She married a mechanic, then a Merchant Marine, and lastly, an Indian Chief. I think that's pretty impressive.

She followed her own path all her life. No matter what anyone thought, she did what her heart told her to do. I respect that.

I miss her.

Once there was six of us, and now there is only 3. And, I wonder, just how did this happen so fast?

Apr 22, 2015

More on Fear


Fear was a constant companion. It directed my every move and thought. Beginning at the age of 4 or thereabouts, I was indoctrinated into the familial society of Fear. It was not a good thing.


We lived pretty much to ourselves, my siblings, my mother, and I. My father was there sporadically, as his job took him often away from home. Perhaps that’s where it started. My father’s sudden absence from home, leaving my mother in charge of us all.


A sense of duty and responsibility must have gripped my mother that was overwhelming. Just keeping us fed and clothed was a monumental task. We accepted no help from the state or churches, or anyone that I can remember. My mother would have seen it as a weakness, and this she could not and would not tolerate.


As my brothers and sisters reached the age of 16, 17, 18, they began to leave. I suppose anywhere was better than being at home. I had the sense that it was expected for them to leave. I know that I missed them terribly when they had gone, and keenly felt the circle of isolation tightening.

Jul 19, 2014

Therapeutic Endeavors

What I Learned As a Child

I see a therapist every two weeks now. It has helped me a lot. He is a good therapist to work with. He gives me homework to do. This is part of it. I haven't written anything here for a long time. Life has been hectic and those curveballs keep on coming. I'm catching them as fast as I can, but sometimes I need help, so, hence, the therapist.

The goal of this cognitive therapy is learning to change the self-talk that everyone has inside their head. Some of it is good. When it holds you back, it isn't. It keeps you from being the total person you can be.

So what did my childhood teach me?

1. Fear. The biggest thing I learned in childhood was fear. Fear of what was outside at night trying to get in and kill us. Never mind it was probably all in the mind of my mother. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming her at all. She did the very best she could do at all times when raising her six kids. She had her own issues to deal with at a time when we didn't go see therapists or doctors, and there was no Prozac or Zoloft to help keep the demons away.

Fear is a contagious thing. It jumps from one person to the next in the blink of an eye. It creates panic, which in turns brings chaos to an otherwise peaceful place. It doesn't matter who you are, or what your economic situation, fear can keep you locked inside your own little world, one created solely to keep you from facing that fear. I believe my mother became agoraphobic at some point in her life. She would not leave the property we lived on for many years. I learned to grocery shop when I was 11. No big deal, but it seemed strange to me. I always felt apart from others, not quite fitting in, because of the fear.

I can remember being very small and sleeping under the covers to hide myself at night. It wasn't until many years later I would realize we all are equal in the dark. The hunter and hunted are on equal turf in the blackness of a hot summer night.

More later.