Monday Open Caption, Non-Kitchen Edition For the Love of God FINALLY
The Missing N

In Lieu Of

This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

I was in the ninth grade. It was early spring, a few weeks before Easter. My mom offered to take me out for lunch, and I, in my infinite gastronomical taste and sense of occasion, chose Taco Bell. We sat at a tiny table by the window. I remember I talked a lot.  I don’t remember what I talked about, but afterward, when we got back into the car, my mom drove out of the parking lot…and then parked the car a few yards away, in a different fast food parking lot.

That’s when we had the conversation I realized my mom had probably intended to have at the restaurant.

“Your dad has cancer.”

***

He had cancer of the larynx, to be exact. The voice box. He’d quit smoking when I was a tiny little asthmatic thing, but the long years of cigarettes and daily high school English lectures had taken a terrible toll. He underwent radiation. I have a weird memory of going with him to a radiation treatment that I think I may have made up. I started writing short stories and essays in earnest around this time. That Easter, my parents gave me a tiny black-and-white kitten. Her name was Sabrina. She cheered us all up, and she was especially fond of sleeping on my dad’s chest and stomach during his naps. He took a lot of naps.

But the cancer went into remission.

***

Five years later, I was a freshman in college. I was attending a tiny Christian college in the Midwest, 13 hours from home, and absolutely miserable. Not even a full semester had gone by, but I knew I’d made a terrible decision. I had no idea how to fix things or admit that I hated it there without disappointing my parents – especially my dad.

That’s when the phone call came. I was sitting outside in the hallway, the curly phone cord stretched across my tiny cell of a dorm room, when my mom’s words buzzed over the receiver, causing me to slide down the wall to the floor.

“The cancer is back.”

***

I came home and stayed there. My dad had accepted an early retirement package from the school district after his first diagnosis, and been teaching as an adjunct professor at a local community college. I got to attend it for free. I was happy there. I made friends and good grades and landed the lead in the drama production.

I also, inexplicably, like a jackass, took up smoking.

But I quit just a few months later, at the urging of my boyfriend. A tall, dark-haired boy who held my hand for hours in the hospital waiting room, whom my father had eyed warily from his bed as they wheeled him into surgery. He would lose his larynx, and his voice. His voice that I listed to on my old walkman while we waited, a tape he’d made at my request, a recording of his rich voice reading bits of Shakespeare and Bible passages until the rasping, tired soreness of the cancer took over and he had to stop.

***

The tall dark-haired boy and I were married a little over a year later. My dad read I Corinthians 13 at the ceremony in a hoarse whisper, his new voice. A few months after that, my cat Sabrina died of lymphoma.

***

I was pregnant when the next call came. I don’t remember any details like I remember details from the other moments. The grey interior of our Ford Taurus. The slickly painted cement walls of my dorm. The ugly blotchy pastel furniture of the hospital.

I was probably at home, probably wandering aimlessly around the living room like I always do when I’m on the phone. She’d probably told me to sit down, but I’m not sure I listened, since I was so sure it was nothing, so sure there was no question that my parents were fine now and would meet this grandchild. My dad had been cancer-free for years, my mom’s few scattered health scares had a remarkable track record for not being anything really, truly serious.

Until now. She had breast cancer. She needed a mastectomy.

***

Both of my parents are still here, still alive. They’ve met not one, but three new grandchildren since my mom’s diagnosis in 2005. My father has gone on to fight many other health battles, from thyroid cancer to skin cancer to an aortic aneurysm to diabetes to emphysema to congestive heart failure. AND HE IS STILL HERE.

When my grandmother died several years ago – of complications from a fall in the shower, not cancer; in fact cancer has yet to successfully take out a single member of my family – my mother still asked that donations be made to the American Cancer Society in lieu of flowers.

The American Cancer Society asked those of us participating in this sponsored post/awareness campaign to keep our stories of how cancer has affected us mostly positive, to not dwell on the insidious, the unrelenting nature of cancer, of the fear that hangs over your head once the diagnosis is made – fear of every check-up, every late-night phone call.

I could have easily written that entry. Cancer changed the course of my life – cancer was *right there* at every major turning point, nudging and sometimes walloping me in directions I never would have otherwise gone.  I don’t ever want to get cancer. I don’t want my husband or my children to get cancer. I will continue to donate to cancer research to up our odds.

But I know it can be survived, and survived spectacularly. That’s the story I really want to tell, the story I hope came through in my rambling today, the story of a family who kicked cancer’s ass, in lieu of the other way around.

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Comments

Tracy C.

Thank you so much for that. I lost my Mother to cancer 8 years ago. It was a quick moving cancer and she was so young. I am glad to know that others can kick its ASS. God Bless!

laura

thank you for this post.

my mom was diagnosed w/ breast cancer my first year of college. 8 years later it came back - in her lungs, liver and spine. she's been kicking butt for the past year, with nothing but good news from tests. A positive attitude, as difficult as it may be, goes a long way.

nonsoccermom

Beautiful post. Thank you.

Sprite's Keeper

I AM finding this post uplifting. It shows that people do survive. I've lost many family members to the disease and also kept many due to their fight. And the fight concerns everyone, not just the patient. We ALL need to fight cancer. Brilliant!

MariaV

Beutiful post, Amy. Thank you.

wordnerd

My immediate family has been touched by every disease except cancer, but I have dear friends and extended family who curse this disease and others who beat it. Thanks for sharing your story.

Beautifully done.

Abra Leah

Thank you for this post! Two aunts and my grandmother also kicked cancer's ass as they are strong breast cancer survivors.

Elizabeth_K

So glad your family continues to kick cancer's ass.

Kim

Cancer robbed me of my mother 8 years ago.
That last picture warms my heart.
Thank you for this.

Jill

Oh my! I have tears in my eyes from the beauty of this post. No ramblings. Pure beauty. Thank you for sharing and here's to many, many more years with your parents!!

heidi

posted in..."fuck cancer."

that was cool.

Gwen

I loved this post Amy. That's all. Anything else I start to type sounds terribly wonky. Thanks for writing this!

Missy

Thank you for that. My dad passed away in November after a 5 year battle with thyroid cancer. And as a matter of fact, did NOT die of cancer, but a heart attack. (Brought on by the experimental reseacrh drug he was on to treat the cancer. irony? We got it.)

Thanks for reminding us that there is just so much cancer can't do, including taking our loved ones away from us - they are ALWAYS still here.

Melissa

I loved this post. I work in insurance and I hear horror stories all of the time; this was lovely to read.

Totally unrelated topic - the short stories you describe need to be shared! I too wrote short stories at that age, and they are just awesomely bad, about AIDS and romance and intrigue, all topics I knew absolutely nothing about. Great fun!

Kim Demuth

This was wonderful. Thanks for sharing it with us.

die Frau

Thank you for this.

jenn

What a lovely, uplifting post!

Stephanie

That was beautiful.

Julie

I lost my Mother to cancer. It was about six months ago. Four months after I got engaged. I am still in the vice-grip of the exhausting, bottomless grief, trying to remember how to breathe without collapsing.
Reading about your ass-kicking family was difficult for me. At first I was pissed. Naturally, I want my Mom back, it isn’t fair that others peoples Mothers survived and mine didn't. She was 47, a soldier and in perfect shape; she should have kicked ass. She'll never get to meet her grandkids; the unfairness makes me want to scream.
Then I reread the post without the self centered haze. Cancer is never, ever easy. Nothing is ever really the same after such a battle, whatever the outcome. Cancer is a son of bitch, no matter what. You did this over a span of years, with both of your parents... damn. I just want to hug you. I only had to deal with cancer for seven months. I really do not think I could have done it for years, and then to have another parent get sick… you and your crazy strong family have my deepest respect and sympathy. Forgive me my initial angst-y crap and thank you, so very much, for the post.

Kat

I've been lurking for a bit, but this made me jump out to say "Yay Family"!!!

Lost my mom to Leukemia (AML) 8 years ago - proud to say she beat every diagnosis the docs gave her, but her body just gave out, still miss her. Lost my nana to lung cancer (spread to bone and brain) before that. She also kicked Legionnaire's disease's ass in the 80's too (such a cool woman, my nana!). Lost my bf's mom to Multiple Myeloma and his dad to Leukemia too.

So yes, Cancer sucks and that dark haired boy was right to have you stop smoking!

Keep on kicking that Cancer ass!!

Chris

Thank you. My dad is in the hospital yet again due to cancer related problems. It's been a long year and I really needed this post.

lis

My mother is 16 years in remission. Cancer is the most terrifying thing in the world to me.

This made me cry, in the most beautiful sort of emotions possible.

Donna P

Cancer will affect each of our lives in one way or another. I know firsthand. I am a survivor myself of Lymphoma. Five years later, I'm considered cured.

Knock on wood.

What a lovely tribute to your parents, Amy. You absolutely kick-ass.

Kim

Bravo, Amy! Bravo!

Pamela

Thank you for writing this. I lost my grandmother to colon cancer, my aunt to breast cancer and, this past weekend, my SIL's mother to liver cancer. It's been a rough week.

On the flip side, my BIL beat AML without needing a marrow transplant, even though his cancer was caught late and they didn't think he would make it out of the hospital (in remission for almost a year now!). And my husband's great-uncle is kicking lung cancer's ass. He's a crotchety old fart and isn't going to let a little thing like chemo stand in his way. ;)

LL

I should not have read this at work, I'm furiously trying to staunch the tears without messing up my makeup. Beautiful, touching, surprisingly and perfectly uplifting post.

catnip

We have much in common. My father has lymphoma, strangely enough it was found during an abdominal aortic aneurysm repair almost 6 years ago. There have been ups and downs over the years but right now he's doing great.

catherino

What a wonderful, touching post. My baby boy was born with cancer 6.5 years ago and I never, ever forget to thank God that he's still with us. My dad is now fighting his second cancer battle in as many years. What if someday cancer was so rare that people couldn't imagine being personally affected by it? I hope my children get to see that day.

Amy

Amen. And I must say that I first mistook you for a flower girl in that wedding-day photo. You were so young!

Kristin

What a remarkable story. Thank you so much for sharing.

Laurie

Great post - love your blog, this is one of your best entries ever.

Heather

wonderful! what a testament to your parents' love for one another, too!

Stephanie D.

What a GREAT post! Oh and yes, cancer can be beaten!!! My 93 year old grandmother is a 48 year survivor of breast cancer!! She survived and thrived and has lived to see grandchildren & great-grandchildren! Just love that woman...my Nanie. :)

Thanks for sharing Amy and keep spreading the news!

Jenn

Well written... been there still going through that.

Amber Mc

Your category summed it up, "FUCK CANCER"
Thank you very much to your mom and dad for kicking it's ass. Fucking punk.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com

What a wonderful post. I was 10 when one of my parents was diagnosed with skin cancer. 12 when I found out they'd fought and survived a different cancer years before my birth. 15 when I found out that cancer could recur. 19 when the whole family waited for news about my sibling's test results. 21 when we waited for more test results.

It is so easy to write about what cancer takes away, how dark a thief it is.

It takes alot of strength to write about the positive side of cancer. The way you learn to value your family above all else. The way your priorities are switched around. The way you love deeper and harder and are a better person for it. The way survival feels, even if you aren't the survivor.

And for that, I applaud you.

Molly

Thank you for this post. My aunt died from cancer way too young. My two cousins grew up without their mother. Melanie is now 19, and we've had conversations about the possibility of her one day having a double mastectomy, as a precaution. This isn't a conversation two college kids should be having on vacation. and yet, cancer is tied to us now. It has left its mark.

Ashley Fitting

Lots of cancer in this family too, most of which has been beaten back down. Fuck that disease.

But you still wait for it, lurking around every corner... especially as I expect my first child and realize how important it is for him to know all of those people that have beaten it, but may still get it again... ugh... stupid stupid disease.

Baileyswedishfish

Fuck cancer is right.

My mom is one of 5 sisters. She's a breast cancer survivor. Another sister is a breast cancer survivor. 2 fought a valiant battle but fucking breast cancer took them. A final sister is cancer-free. So far.

My dad is waging a battle of wills against prostate cancer. He was told his prognosis was about 5 years. That was 8 years ago. He read at my wedding as well. He's 77 and that fucking cancer is not going to win.

My husband has had malignant fucking melanoma.

Cancer sucks.

But surviving cancer and going on to treasure every single moment of every single day is a fantastic gift. And I hope more people are given that gift.

Heidi

Thank you for your words. It's been a really bad couple of weeks around here -- brain cancer. We just found out that 5 months of chemo didn't work towards buying my mom more time.
Wishing you and your family good health.

Lindsey

I was so glad to read this post this morning. I actually work for the American Cancer Society, helping to raise the money needed to fight back against this awful disease. It's hearing stories like this one, stories of awesome families kicking cancer's ass that keep us all going here in my office! It's a tough year to raise the money we need to find the cure, but we won't stop! Thanks for posting this today, I really needed it.

shriek house

I've seen family and friends stomp all over cancer's ugly ass, and I've seen family and friends lose the fight. Either way, it's exhausting and terrifying for all involved, but sometimes it can also be that thing that can realign priorities and help us make sure the people we love KNOW we love them.

Thank you for sharing your family's story, it is always so wonderful to hear of triumph over cancer.

To everyone struggling with cancer or a cancer loss, my love goes out to you, may you find peace.

cindy w

Thanks for posting this. My mom is a breast cancer survivor too.

Also, that picture from your wedding? Until I clicked to enlarge it, I thought maybe you were getting excessively done up for your first Communion, because I thought there was NO WAY you were older than 12 in that picture. Wow.

Megan

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I have to admit, I read it and thought "oh, no, I hope her parents are ok!"

julie

Just beautiful Amy.

Thank you for including the pictues.

Just how old were you when you got married? I know your a young woman but you look so very young in that picture.

jan

Sheesh Amalah you're so sweet. F cancer and long live you and your's.

Wendy

Crying like a baby. Cancer sucks!!

NancyPants

Beautiful, just beautiful. You come from some strong stock there!

I hope your parents have won the battle, and live many more years in peace and health.

Dad Gone Mad

Two things, Amy:

1) Blogs almost never make me emotional, but this one really got to me. Your parents must draw a lot of their strength to fight from the pride they feel for you. That tall, dark-haired dude is pretty lucky too.

2) This post once again demonstrates the insane range of your writing voice. You are really, really, REALLY good.

Emily

Amazing post. I've been reading your blog for a few months now and it's great--especially the pictures of those adorable boys! I have 2 boys as well and there is nothing better.
And, if my husband hadn't kicked cancer's ass just before our wedding, I probably wouldn't have my 2 beautiful boys.

Nelia

Love the post! Thank you for it. We lost my mother in law of cancer, I guess we all have that in the back of our minds. Beautiful pics.

Nelia

Love the post! Thank you for it. We lost my mother in law of cancer, I guess we all have that in the back of our minds. Beautiful pics.

Barbara

Well Amy, you're the best. The beautiful wedding photo really made me cry and made my day. Thank you for being one of us and letting us know it's ok to just "be"...

Photomom

My 100 year old grandma (not a typo!) is both an ovarian and breast cancer survivor. She has outlived my uncle, who died of leukemia ,32 years ago. She's a tough old bird! Thank you for this post, Amy. Beautiful writing, really.

Suzanne

Amy, once again, our paths are very similar. My dad lost most of his voice box to cancer. A month before the surgery, he gave me a tape recorder and taped his voice pre surgery.

Cancer sucks, but it's powerful to hear the success stories as much as it is to hear losses.

Keep fighting, Amy's Mom and Dad.

Kathi

Wow. I shouldn't have read this while I still had work to do. Cancer sucks. I was watching my toddler son and holding my infant daughter when my dad called to tell me he had lung cancer. He died 5 years later. By then, my own dear husband had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died when the kids were 8 & 11. Six weeks after my husband died, when I was still dumbstruck and sleep-walking through each day, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It's been 3 years, and my health is fine, but I still haven't gotten past the anger I feel for cancer putting my sweet, innocent kids through a continued nightmare, and stealing their childhoods from them. I will do all in my power to kick cancer's ass!!

kris

Holy Moly your parents sure are tough. Glad they are still here to see their Grandchildren growing. My Uncle passed away this winter after battling his second round of cancer (but not from the cancer, he got sick and was just weak from the battle) and his first grandchild was born in May. Makes me cry every time I think about it.

Cancer certainly does suck. For some more than others.

Maureen

Beautiful post!

rkmama

My grandma didn't kick cancer's ass. Instead it beat the shit out her.
I'm so glad you have a different story to tell. This is what we need to procure hope that this awful disease will go the fuck away. Why we NEED to support organizations that can get us there someday. I don't want my kids to have to take care of me like my mom had to take care of my grandma for the last months of her life and with the genes in my family that it a very terrible, very real possibility.
Thanks for sharing your family's story. Weather it's deodorant, babies or cancer- your writing is inspiring.

Greg S.

I started to get a sinking feeling after the second ***. So glad it wasn't bad news.

I've lost a grandmother and an aunt to cancer. I've known more people who've had it and survived. My wife's grandmother has beaten four different types of cancer and is still going in her nineties.

Thanks for this post - it helps to put my crappy day into perspective.

Alyssa

This is a slight threadjack but I just had to say how clearly Noah resembles you in that wedding photo. It's amazing.

Danielle

What a timely blog for me - my mom and I just celebrated her 5 year breast cancer remission date (the date when the docs use the good C word, cured :) at the Susan G Komen breast cancer walk last weekend in DC.

Thank you for recognizing that the fight is worth it.

Jean

amazing story...cancer is still the fear in my family as we've had some on both my husbands side and my side...i will always donate to cancer research.

cheekymonkey

Both of my parents have also had cancer and kicked it's ass too! My father's came back a couple of months ago. We are kicking it's ass as a family currently.

Thank you for posting this. It brought tears of pain for knowing what you have gone through and it also brought tears of happiness and smiles of knowing that your family kicked cancer's ass too!

Jensboys

Amy ... thank you for this. In March of this year in a two week time span my father was diagnosed with colon cancer in his liver (and given 9-18months). It was beyond comprehension, and then two weeks later I got a call from the surgeon that was going to take my kidney and dontate it to my dying cousin. I will never, ever forget the tone of his voice, even if his words fade from memory "Jen we found a tumor in your kidney". On May 11th I had the cancer removed from my kidney. I am 35, mom of 4 boys, foster mom of two baby girls. I have never smoked. I thought I was home free. Now I am a survivor and my dad fights for his life, Papa to my boys, we need him still for many, many years. This coming weekend is our Relay for Life in our community. I will do the survivor mile, I am just not sure I will be able to hold it together. I hate this disease and what it does, but I am so glad I found out now. Prayers for you and your family.
Jen

Jen L.

Thank you so much for sharing your family's journey with us.

Chrissy

Hi Amy,

I'm a provider to the rural native population of Alaska. I just attended a Cancer CME a few weeks ago and took a tour of the Oncology department of Alaska Native Medical Center and saw this hanging on the wall to the entrance. (Sorry to take up so much of your comment space) It said it all when it comes to Cancer. The name of the poem is "What Cancer Can't Do".

What Cancer Cannot Do
Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the spirit.
~Anonymous~
Thank you for sharing your story.

SAB

Thank you for your story. I also survived cancer. It can be done, and is being done more and more. I hope your family continues to thrive and never hears a cancer diagnosis again!

blacksred

I got so scared when I first started reading this I almost stopped because I didnt want to know where you were going. I am glad I finished and I will be donating to the american cancer society in your name!

CanadaSteph

Well I certainly understand your post and your fear of cancer for all. Unfortunately I lost my mom to Cancer when I was 22 and five years later I lost dad to cancer. They didnt' drink, didn't smoke, were healthy and active and busy at the tennis club. Loving and lovely people who gave me a magical childhood. In retrospect I am one of the lucky ones. But yes, pardon my French, Fuck Cancer.

You have to take the good times and squeeze the good from them.
Good for you!

MommyNamedApril

fantastic :-)

Aubrey

Cancer and I don't go way back. It just casually waltzed into my life on January 6th 2009 when my mom received the diagnosis of Stage IV adenosquamos cell carcinoma.(She thought she had pulled a groin muscle at the gym). It did not dilly-dally, just ravaged my mothers body. And also the hearts and minds of those who love her. Quickly and painfully. Here it is June, and it's hard to believe I'm already 10 weeks into the grieving "process". As I move through the motions in a world that will forever be changed, it's hard to feel anything but rage and utter defeat. But, your post...your POST reminds me today that there ARE people kicking the F*ck out of cancer. And I applaud them. As well as the family and friends that are fighting right by their sides.
Well done, Amy. Well done.

Bamba

Both of my parents have also kicked cancers ASS!!! Mom is a breast cancer survivor, and Dad survived prostate cancer!!! You have put into words the exact way I feel! Thank you!!!

Amy

When I think about your father, I always picture the picture of him & Noah where he's making the frowny face b/c Noah is crying. And so I just spent a good bit of company time searching through the early Noah archives looking for the picture. http://www.amalah.com/amalah/2005/11/or_as_some_read.html
All the other times you've mentioned your dad, I picturing him making this face. Now I realize there is no point to this comment except that I love your dad. Idiot.

Haley

Beautiful post. I too fear that I may have pulled the genetic cancer shit stick...my dad is a prostate cancer survivor, his mom died after a valiant battle with lymphoma, his dad has survived both prostate and colon cancer, and his twin passed away last year from bile duct cancer. On my mom's side, her dad died after his cancer (of unknown origin) spread to his brain, and her aunt succumbed after a battle with lung cancer. Ironically enough, I don't think it is all this cancer that scares me the most, instead it is the horrible demise that dementia left my maternal grandmother in for over a decade.

Death makes me fearful, so instead I am just going to do a damn good job of living.

Starbuck

Wiping tears and breathing a sigh of relief that everyone is still here.

Meghan

i like this post a lot (i like all your posts though). but i too, like many here, have been touched deeply by cancer.

my father was diagnosed with cancer of the pharynx when i was eight. it wasn't found really early, and i don't think his odds were good from the beginning, but since my sister and i were 8 and 6 respectively he gave it his best shot. there was surgery, lots of radiation and chemo but in the end the cancer won.

i don't remember much from those 2 years, but i do remember vividly a conversation i had with my mom two months before his death. i went grocery shopping with her and when we were finished and got in the car i turned and asked her if he was dying. she stopped cold and told me yes they had stopped all intervention and it was only a matter of time (one of those it could be 3 weeks, it could be 2 months). we sat in our car, in the IGA parking lot, holding eachother and crying. after that day my father's remaining time is blurry to me and it something i truly wish i was able to look back at it with the feeling that we made the most of our time when we had it, but unfortunately i do not feel that was the case. i wish i appreciated then how precious every minute is, but that concept was too big for my 10 year old brain to encapsulate.

having this experience has only made me value people more and know that every year that passes and more money that goes into cancer research means more people being able to share life's precious moments in life. as much as the death of my dad still stings, knowing that other people may not have to experience the same gives me comfort. i commend the american cancer society and will always honor any request for donations in lieu of...

thanks amy.

Tam.

Love this post.

As a fellow member of a cancer ass kicking family, your post makes me think of my Mom. She had breast cancer at my age, 42. She will be 66 in July and will be running her 3rd marathon in November. :)

Kendra

That was beautiful. My mom's dear friend was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago--unknown origin, spread all over her body, and around Easter plans were made to say goodbye to her children and grandchildren. And now, somehow, she's seeing improvement. I don't know what the future holds for her, but it's been extroardinary to see the change as her death seems less certain. Suddenly a lot of things seem possible.

Those photos made me tear up. What a beautiful family, and fuck cancer indeed.

Snarky Mommy

Awesome post. And my goodness, I know you got married young, but you were a BABY!

Jill

That was very moving. My family has had our own successes in beating cancer... so far. I was captivated by the pictures at the end of the post. They held so much emotion after I read your words. Your parents seem like beautiful, vibrant people.

Kristy

This was very hard to read, after today one of my best friends from high school buried her mother who died last Wednesday from The C. She was so loved and a joyous person that touched so many people. (We'll never forget you Robyn).

Holly

I needed to hear this post today. On Friday my mother was diganoised with Stage 4 lung cancer. I know in my heart that this is not her time to go and she will beat this cancer. It is wonderful to hear success stories. Her name is Roberta. I'd like to ask your readers that see this comment to keep her in their prayers. Thank you.

Karen

My hubby had cancer (Hodgkin's Disease), 20+ years ago when he was a teenager. He was really, really lucky to have a doctor who had noticed that some clinical trials in Europe were having success with chemotherapy (radiation therapy alone was standard-of-care at the time). Very long story short, hubby not only survived but thrived and we have been VERY fortunate that he's had relatively few aftereffects from his treatments.

Hubby is the first to say that the experience was absolutely horrible, but in large part made him who he is today. I don't much go in for the whole fate thing, but if that hadn't happened to him, we wouldn't have become parents through adoption and we wouldn't have our wonderful son and (hopefully) soon, his new little brother.

So take that, nasty evil malignant cells.

Jamie

My father died of cancer when I was 18. He fought so hard, for five years, and there were many wonderful moments through his battle that I'm grateful for. However, ever since I find it extremely hard to be optimistic when I hear someone has cancer. My boyfriend's 15 yr old sister was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor recently and it helps a lot to hear positive stories about survival like yours. Thanks.

Mama Bird

Such a beautifully-written post. You have a way with descriptors. I wish my memory were as keen. That's exactly why I journal now. Started on my daughter's 1st birthday, also the day my husband was diagnosed with Lymphoma. He is now cancer-free and my journal still keeps record of all our daily happenings. Can't wait to record her 5th birthday, when my husband will be 5 years cancer-free and considered "cured!"

Thanks for the hope you share!

Mama Bird

Such a beautifully-written post. You have a way with descriptors. I wish my memory were as keen. That's exactly why I journal now. Started on my daughter's 1st birthday, also the day my husband was diagnosed with Lymphoma. He is now cancer-free and my journal still keeps record of all our daily happenings. Can't wait to record her 5th birthday, when my husband will be 5 years cancer-free and considered "cured!"

Thanks for the hope you share!

SueBee

Amy, I think this may become one of my favorite posts.

You come from incredibly good stock--your parents' will to live through so many battles is truly something to behold. Thank you for sharing your story and the photos.

Cancer hasn't touched my family, but I've recently found out a good friend has tested positive for the breast cancer gene. She's having a double mastectomy and hysterectomy next month after we have a girls' trip to NOLA. She's kicking cancer's ass before it even has a chance!

LaLa

Beautiful post. I'm glad my boyfriend encouraged me to give up smoking too.

Peggyp

My family is fighting this ugly monster right now. Thanks for the post that we can kick cancers ass

Fairly Odd Mother

Cancer took my dad in December '04---he got to meet my 3rd baby but neither one of my sister's two.

Then my SIL was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, and is now considered cancer-free and has a beautiful baby girl. There are good stories out there too, like this one and the beautiful one about your parents.

Anna

This post made me cry. Thanks for writing it.

Rachael

What an amazing story! You have such a wonderful voice.

Vana

Good for you. My husband has survived two bouts of non-H lymphoma, the second time in his brain. He was a professor of math, but the full-brain radiation that helped save his life also has robbed him of his memory and he had to take a disability retirement this year. His quiet little battle every day--and those of so many others--is amazing. Cancer sucks, but thanks to you & others raising awareness (and money), it's going to get its ass stomped, hopefully soon. Thanks again, with many good wishes for your whole family.

MargieK

Relay for Life is this weekend. Probably the reason for the PSA. And you can bet your life I'll be walking!

This past year has been a landmark year in terms of cancer diagnoses and deaths of people I love, people I know, work with or their relatives.

My beloved Aunt Helyn died of lung cancer in April, after surviving cancer of the larynx something like 30 years earlier.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both were diagnosed with different forms of non-hodgkins lymphoma this past year, and are survivors, as are most of the others I know who've been diagnosed with various kinds of cancer this year.

I say all this only to underline and emphasize how cancer affects us all, and echo your plea to donate to the cause so that others can continue the fight.

(and if you want to donate to Relay for Life, e-mail me for more info -- mak329 at yahoo dot com )

Kyla

Way to kick cancer's ass, REPEATEDLY!

This was very well-written, Amy.

aimee

This was a really great post. My grandmother also lost her voicebox to cancer (the first of five cancers she had). After she died I had the most vivid dream where she was talking. It had nothing to do with what she was saying but it was all about that she had her voice again. I think the guidelines about keeping it positive are perfect. There is too much bad to dwell on and it is the good that we need to focus on. Thanks.

Emily too

My mother just discovered she has lymphoma last week - we are all very relieved that it's a slow-growing kind, but it still sucks. I'm now the only woman in three generations of family on my mother's side who has not had some kind of cancer (took most of the men too, of course.) It all seems so insane that parts of our body can kill us.

Thank you for the hopeful post.

Thais

You kick ass!

Karen

This is beautiful. I love my parents so much and this made me cry. At work, at my desk.

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