Some Quick Desperate Dispatches From Ye Olde Vomitorium
Surviving in the Desert


As much as I would LOVE to write an incredibly detailed post about our weekend of non-stop stomach-flu illness (and as much as I'm sure y'all would LOVE to read about it), the fact is I previously committed today's posting spot to the American Cancer Society. They asked me to participate, once again, in their More Birthdays campaign, and contribute a monthly-ish post to help raise awareness of their research and programs and website

Today's post, according to my official editorial calendar (translation: an email from a few weeks ago that I have miraculously NOT LOST) is supposed to be an introductory sort of thing -- explaining why I chose to participate in the campaign in the first place.

Which, to put it eloquently, would be something along the lines of: Well, DU-U-UH

Last night, Jason's phone rang at exactly 2:32 a.m. I was deep in the middle of a stress dream involving being late for high school (after being awkwardly felt up and then promptly dumped by Michael Cera, that JERK) when I heard it ringing. It stopped soon after I fully woke up, but of course I lay there staring at the ceiling for awhile, panicking.

Was that The Call? 

My dad had another blood transfusion on Friday, meaning there was probably just enough time for his numbers to crater again. Or just enough time for another infection to set in. Was my phone on silent? Buried in the couch cushions? Had my mom -- or someone else -- called Jason after failing to get in touch with me? Would our home phone start ringing at any second, the clear sign that there was News, Bad News? 

I waited. I realized my phone was on my nightstand -- on silent, yes, but the screen thankfully did NOT register a slew of missed calls from my mother's cell phone. Our home phone never rang. 

It turned out it was just a wrong number, stupidly dialed in the middle of the stupid night. Jason never even heard it. 


When the leukemia diagnosis came in September, we didn't know how much time he had left. We still don't. When I was asked for four months of topic ideas for the American Cancer Society series -- I'll be writing once a month until March -- I couldn't give them that. I just...don't know what's going to happen, or when.


He was here when I found out I was pregnant. 

He was here for Noah's fifth birthday, and Ezra's second.

He was here for his 35th wedding anniversary in October.

He was here for his 81st birthday last month, and for my mom's birthday last week. (She would probably kill me if I told you her age, but I think my dad would be okay if I divulge the secret that he married a much younger woman.) 

I am pretty sure he'll be here for Christmas, and my birthday on the 27th.

After that, it's baby steps until they get to spend another Valentine's Day together, another grandson's birthday. Easter, spring. 

And then, my due date.

It could happen. I want it to happen. 

So. That's why I chose to participate in the "More Birthdays" initiative by the Amercian Cancer Society.



Oh, god. The Call. Mine came at 3 am, telling me my dad (who'd been living with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia for 7 years) was in the hospital. He died before I got there. It's been a decade, but every single time the phone rings in the night, I come awake with my heart pounding and my body shaking.

I know that it's too much to hope that your dad's story will end with puppies and sunshine and him at Noah's wedding. But at the very least, I can hope for you that you never get The Call in the middle of the night.


That waiting is the worst. You don't want it to end, you never want it to end. And every day it breaks your heart that they are in so much pain.

I think of your family often.


Bravo. If anyone can make those baby steps, I've the impression that it will be your Dad.


I like the simple "DUUUUUUH." The DUH wasn't making me cry. I'm cheering for your dad. :)


I feel for you. My nephew was diagnosed with Burkitt's Leukemia on November 23. He is supposed to turn 14 on January 23. I so want him to be here for that.


OMG you just made me cry.


Hooray for more birthdays!

Plano Mom

Here's for making it to birthdays, especially that original one coming up.


I am in awe of your Dad ..I want this to happen for you all, too.


The Call is the worst thing ever, no matter what time of day, but at night is even more panic-inducing. I wish that no one ever had to have The Call due to stupid old cancer. Here's to more birthdays!

Leigh Ann

Very touching. One of my twins is named after my husband's sister, who succumbed to Leukemia at the age of 17. She would be 36 now, and everyone tells me how much my Rachel is like her. :)


i hate this for you.
of course!
but i love love that you are giving your voice to ACS.

i would still be working for them, if i didn't have my littlebean.

it's great to see one of my favorite (powerful!) bloggers getting the word out about the American Cancer Society.

i truly hope your family is finding comfort in each other during this uncertain time.
and may there be many more birthdays to come....


Thank you so much for doing this. I've volunteered with ACS for many events over the years, and it's such a great organization. I hear a lot of positive feedback on the patient support activities that ACS can help coordinate, so please encourage your family to take advantage of those services if they haven't already.

More Birthdays!

Life of a Doctor's Wife

I hate that you are going through this, that your mom and dad are going through this, that anyone has to go through this.

But thank you for posting about it.


Here's to more birthdays. May your dad find reasons to celebrate every day and may he have the strength for many, many more baby steps.


just realized that today is the anniversary of my Granny's passing. She was diagnosed with Stomache Cancer and only was with us for six weeks after her diagnosis! it was very quick and very sad! I think of her often...

I too got the call in the middle of the night...well about 5am!! And rushed to her bedside....and was with her when she took her final breath...

Cancer sucks!!!


More birthdays indeed. I got The Call last week, and they always do seem to come in the middle of the night don't they?

I so hope your dad is here to see the new baby. xo


we're all hoping right along with you. ((hugs))


Here's to more birthdays for you, your family and everyone else having to go through the same situation!


that is some great stuff. those night calls always give me palpitations and keep me awake the rest of the night even when it's just some drunk bastard.

and is it just me or does michael cera TOTALLY look like a grown up noah??

Parsing Nonsense

This made me cry. I'm so grateful he's still here and I hope to goodness that he's still here when your newest little buddy makes his/her big debut.


My father is in the end stage. Hospice at home, no more treatment. About 100 pounds. Unable to move (had a stroke). He is determined to hang on until his 85th birthday (Feb.13). Meanwhile, every phone call is torture. And in life's cruel way, my phone - which virtually never rings, because every knows I don't do phone - has been ringing off the hook for the past few days. It is a slow-motion nightmare. Waking up in the a.m. is the worst - wondering if that first call is going to be the one. You have a nanosecond where you are not thinking about it, so every morning, it hits you again.

Amanda P

You and your family are in my heart and prayers. God Bless you all. Here is to every moment between now and then.


Thank you! Bravo! Yes Yes. We are here with you.

ccr in MA

Baby steps, absolutely. As much as we can, we take them with you.


If you haven't heard of the Gerson Diet or seen The Beautiful Truth documentary you need to ASAP!! It offers a lot of hope for cancer.


I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I got The Call too. It was devastating, because it was my dad, and I only had 30 days after The Call to be with him - colon cancer. I will PRAY for you and your family. Stay strong. (I'm sending you a big CYBER HUG!!!)


8:30 am Sept 21, 2000.

Fuck Cancer.



I'm here with my fingers crossed that it will happen too.

(The baby steps to Valentine's and birthdays and due date that is.)


My daughter was dx with luekemia when she was 15...that is a rare age to be dx with a childhood leukemia as 5 is the average age. Infants and teens have the most difficult treatment and lower odds of surival. But she has just celebrated 5 years off treatment after 2 1/2 years of daily chemotherapy. More birthdays, more sunsets, more laughs, more Christmases, more teasing her siblings, more dates, more thunder and lightning, more daisies and more normal days!

Lori McBride

My heart is aching for you....praying for more time....((((((hugs!))))

Springsteen fan

Oh Amy, I hope and pray you get to freeze time as much as possible. Every day I read your blog and I think of you, your dad, and hope for good things for all of you.


The part about The Call -- expertly written. Encapsulates what you're going through right now so simply, which is often the most devastating way. Heart still goes out to you and your family...

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