Saturday, October 01, 2005

When Lives Collide with Sharp Objects

Life is always in session. No matter what one might do to try to control that concept, that is simply the way it is. Those Zen types that gave in to this concept long ago and who live stress free, miraculously zit and wrinkle free, with a “half-full” attitude at all times – have a little handle on that little factoid. Life is always in session. But there is always the potential for a curve ball to completely change the course of your game (oh wait – I’m switching metaphors mid paragraph…shit….oh well) causing one to have to reconfigure their comfortable lives. Hurricane, flood, firestorm, earthquake . . . family.

I have a sister. She and I actually haven’t spoken to each other in three years due to one hell of a falling out. It has been a lifetime of getting along, not getting along, being roommates as adults, not being roommates, writing a one-act play together that actually got produced and then reviewed mighty nicely; times we’ve been fiercely dependent upon one another – and times we wanted nothing to do with each other. The last three years has been the worst example of the latter. But “Cancer trumps everything,” as she said to me last night when we spoke for the first time after the long big chill. She has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and will be undergoing surgery next week. They actually caught it early by accident – there are usually no symptoms, so it is usually too late by the time they detect it. She was undergoing a surgical procedure for something else and during the testing prior to the procedure, they found it, did a biopsy, and Voila. Or Tah Dah. Or Motherfuck.

She lives in St. Louis, Missouri and thankfully her medical plan has her at Washington University Medical – which is apparently where one wants to be if they happen to find out they have the worst form of cancer. She’s young to be having it – just what you want to be at a university medical institution – an interesting case . . . and we all have really no idea what to do except show up in St. Louis and take it day by day.

So . . .I’m withdrawing from school for this semester, kissing Manpants and the doggies who will stay home to run things here that have to be run – like the pesky notion of working and paying bills - and will be meeting up with my parents (who are getting to be older and neither of whom are taking this news very well), flying to St. Louis next week for an indeterminate period of time while she has surgery and recuperates. After that, we’ll simply have to try to be like the Zen people and take things as they come and plan for the day to day after that.

I have no idea what tone, subject, rants, blatherings that my blogs will take on – I will more than likely have a lot of time to write them - and I'll need to . . . I understand that St. Louis is a red state and that fine dining consists of something containing a burger . . . I have an inkling that I won’t be going out much except to the hospital or to the store. Sharing with my parents and/or my sister whatever fears, angers, whatevers I have during those empty spaces between being busy will more than likely not be appropriate. Thank goodness for blogging.

Manpants has been an incredible, understanding and selfless rock through all this and I wish everyone could have someone in their lives like that – he makes the room better just by being in it.

Until later. And if you’re the praying sort, put one out there for that sister o’mine. She’ll need it.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

01 October, 2005 07:27  
Blogger Laura said...

I'll pray for her, for what that's worth (the Big Guy and I aren't on the best of terms lately). Yes, you are lucky to have Manpants, and your sister is lucky to have YOU. I'm so sorry that your family is having to go through all of this, and so glad that you and your sister are using this opportunity at reconciliation. BTW - I have a St. Louis connection - it's where my parents are from and I actually lived there myself from the ages of 3-4. I have lots of racist relatives there, but I'll spare you the introductions.

02 October, 2005 06:02  
Blogger Seamus said...

I'm so sorry to hear that this has come up for your family, but TG that they caught it early!
Yay! for supportive mate, it does make times like this far more bearable! Holding you and your sister in good thoughts for a speedy recovery! :)

02 October, 2005 06:55  
Blogger Deirdre Cooley said...

I've been meaning to visit your blog for a while, now... And then after Catharine said you came to her performance last night (I was there, too!), I knew I should pop in and say hello.

I'm so very sorry about your sister's cancer. Whatever crazy goodness that can come out of such terrible events... it's hard to see these things without sounding like you're trying to justify the bad thing. In any event, the ability to find meaning in tragedy is what makes us so beautifully and uniquely human. All that is to say that I'm glad your sister called you and that this is an opportunity to reconcile, when a reconciliation wasn't otherwise on the horizon.

As far as feeling like you'll be in enemy territory, that'll be tough. I was going to suggest listening to Air America Radio... but I just checked their site and there are no affiliates in MO. All the more reason to stick close to the blogosphere.

Your sister's cancer and your new-found relationship with her will be in my thoughts.

02 October, 2005 11:57  
Blogger R said...

Well. I think the best thing you can do for her is to walk into her hospital room and say "You bitch. Get out of that bed immediately. No...stay. Just LET ME bury you in the ugliest dress you own."
That'll get her well. Pronto.
Or it would in my sick family. I will pray for her. And for the healing of your entire family dynamic. Interesting the people God pairs us with. Yet, somehow...he knows who we can love. Take care of you and all of you. God bless us some manpants!!

02 October, 2005 22:02  
Anonymous pia said...

This is my time of year for trying to pray--so I will

Think sisters have to be the most difficult relationship--and then having to be supportive for her and your parents.

I am tearing my hair out for you!

manpants sounds wonderful

Throw everything into your blog, every feeling and emotion you can't find the words for will come out, mix metaphors--life is filled with them and they end up becoming something more than the original.

Wasn't going to go to blogs today; glad I did; and yes I'm registering my vibrator rating system.

Use the chick thing in non-honor of my former writing teacher--a male who is "king of chick lit."

03 October, 2005 07:06  
Blogger Catharine said...

I'm astounded... amazed... IN AWE... that you managed to find time to come to the show in the midst of all this. I re-thank you for being there and for the nice things you've said, and I will keep your sister firmly in my thoughts. Pancreatic cancer is not the dismal news it used to be, and with her youth and her early diagnosis, she has everything on her side.

Good luck, Mil. Talk to you later. Promise me that you will continue to read Cranky Liberal, so you can fend off those evil "red state" vibes as they bombard you.

~C~

03 October, 2005 12:14  
Blogger Tracey said...

Oh Millicent! :( I'm so sorry to hear of this tragic news. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

Like Seamus said...thank God it was caught early! And like Catharine mentioned, the cure rate for pancreatic cancer has GREATLY improved. Just let your sister know that lots of healing thoughts are being sent her (and your family's) way.

03 October, 2005 20:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry about your sister and yes the only cure for that(if any) is early detection. A friend of mine too who is diabetic and requires a blood test every 3 months was also diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was operated on in Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital in NYC. We live on Long Island. They were able to remove all of it as well.They wouldn't have known if she didn't go for that blood test.
It's amazing how illness changes things. I too have a sister I haven't spoke to in(I am ashamed to say) 10 years.

10 October, 2005 12:19  

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