Dear Cancer: Get Lost and Stay Lost. Sincerely, Her Daughter.

Today, my Mom sets off on a journey new to her, familiar to many: chemo. We spent the weekend with her and Dad in California, and despite the circumstances, we all had a wonderful time.

Our family has been consumed with the development of her cancer since the last week of October, two weeks before we moved back to Arizona. Since then, in the midst of boxes and unpacking and getting our residential affairs in order and job-searching and holidays, time has speedily hustled us up to this moment, because that is what time does. It moves us forward.

This is actually Mom’s second go-round with cancer, but she didn’t have chemo the first time. What’s happening now was not supposed to happen. The daily Tamoxifen therapy she’d diligently followed after her first surgery proved ineffective… the cancer came back, and this time, it’s different. It’s HER2+. Aggressive cancers need aggressive treatment, so we’re looking at a year of all-out war, all told.

I haven’t talked about this here yet (and I wasn’t sure that I would) because the audaciousness of it simply defies words. The whole thing has been rather bewildering. It’s devastating and scary when it happens to friends and relatives, but to someone in my immediate family? That’s when it exits the realm of thinkability, leaves us looking at it, agape and aghast, from another dimension. This thing, this cancer, it’s like an obnoxious, uninvited dinner guest who just kind of showed up and sat down at the table, elbowing itself forcibly between all of us at once, making space where there wasn’t any to be had. It’s installed itself there like a fifth member of the family, and it’s demanding to be fed. Its hunger is voracious, and it’s rapidly grabbing for whatever it can get its filthy, greedy hands on.

Sure. We’ll feed you. Enjoy your chemo cocktail. And Herceptin. And radiation. AND SO ON. WE WILL NOT STOP FEEDING YOU UNTIL YOU COME APART AND CEASE TO EXIST. AND THEN WE WILL FEED YOU SOME MORE.

We’ll feed it, alright.

Today, the doctors will start slipping poison to the intruder.

Unfortunately, the poison will affect Mom as well as the intruder. I preemptively wrapped her up in a fuzzy warm robe and socks and slippers and a hat, because the Bay Area’s winter chill will increase as her treatment progresses, and she’s tiny. Her armor. Soft armor for a strong woman. She’s still good-naturedly running around accomplishing twenty things at once with her characteristic efficiency; she’s as indefatigable as ever. Callaghan and I couldn’t get her to just sit while we did things. That’s where Dad comes in… Dad is another weapon in her arsenal, maybe the most important one.

She’s well-armed, and that’s reassuring. An abundance of love and lots of prayers from family and friends. A lively sense of humor, a great attitude and a great deal of fortitude. The way I see it, the intruder has no chance. It’s outnumbered.


Flying home to Phoenix over southern California

Flying home to Phoenix over southern California

10 thoughts on “Dear Cancer: Get Lost and Stay Lost. Sincerely, Her Daughter.

  1. Thanks for sharing Kristi! Now I know what to pray for your Mom and all of you! I can’t imagine how scary this all is. My sister Cathy has been on Tamoxifin for 2 years now. She only had to do a lumpectomy & radiation. She worries about it coming back. So do I 😦
    Love & Blessings,


  2. Hi Colleen, thank you so much… your love and prayers mean the world to us. Please know that I’m thinking of Cathy, too. Tamoxifen as a follow-up usually does the trick, so I have high hopes for her!

    Love and blessings back at you! oxox


  3. Hi Kristi, this is moving because C stroke our family too and my nom has been fighting this voracious unwelcome member for nearly a year. Lots of love from here and hope she’ll get over it. My nom is staying quiet until spring and then they will say what to do. Many wishes to you and yours stay strong ! take care xoxo


  4. Hi Sandrine, I’m so sorry about your Mom’s cancer. I’m hoping that the spring will bring positive news for you all after her hard year! Thank you for your kind thoughts and good wishes… they’re so very appreciated. Daughters against cancer UNITE! You take care, too. oxox


  5. So sorry to hear about your Mom’s cancer , our prayers for a complete success in treatment and a speedy recovery. Our love and prayers always , Uncle Mark n Aunt Cindy


  6. Dear Uncle Mark and Aunt Cindy,
    Thank you so much… you are wonderful. I’ll let Mom know. Your love and prayers mean the world to us. I hope that all is well on your end!

    Love always,


  7. Hi Kristi,

    I cannot imagine getting news like this. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. Your mom sounds like a strong woman, and she has an amazing support system… I have high hopes things will turn out perfectly.

    Big hugs to you, love. Max pup gives sloppy wet face licks, too.



  8. Hi G,

    Your thoughts and hugs mean so much to me… thank you. And thanks to Max pup for the face licks, too. =) Yes, Mom is very strong!! It’s going to take more than this to get her down!



  9. Prayers and best wishes to your mom. I lost my mom to Cancer last year after her two year fight. If you want to talk about your experiences I’m available, Everyone is unique and my mother had other purveying health issues and was in her late 70’s. Blessings to your family. xo Renee


  10. Hi Renee,

    Thank you so much for your sweet note and prayers and best wishes. I appreciate your reaching out. It means a lot. I’m sorry to hear about your Mom… I’m sorry for your loss. Blessings to you and yours, too.



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