We may all live in a great big global community, but in my Blog, it's my world.

I talked to my mother a few evenings ago, it was her birthday and I was calling to tell her that I had gotten the phone issues (see earlier article Thanks for almost nothing Verizon) resolved and that our regular phone number was working again, as well as to wish her a happy birthday on her birthday (as we had already had a family gathering to celebrate the birthday back on the weekend).  I asked her how things were going and she answered that it could be better.

Mom isn't someone that normally would answer in that manner, as she is usually optimistic about how things are going and even if not the greatest, she'd answer with an 'alright' that could be translated into one of those 'not too bad, but could be a little better' type statements.  Her 'it could be better' was an indicator that something wasn't right in the family somewhere, so I braced a bit for news on what was wrong.

The rest of this story continues in the comments area.  Thanks for continuing there.


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on Oct 19, 2007

Thanks for continuing here...

Mom proceeded to tell me that her older sister, my beloved Aunt, is experiencing a relapse of breast cancer, this time apparently with the cancer possibly already in the bones.  She'll know more after getting a more thorough checkup and tests from the doctor, but either way it wasn't the kind of news you ever way to hear.

Back in 1999, while I was working in the Dallas area for my employer (who had contracted my services to a client in Dallas) I had gotten news of my Aunt's first battle with breast cancer.  In the fall of that year, while I was commuting to Dallas every weekend (flying in on Sunday evening, out on Saturday mornings so I'd have a little time at home with my family to get things done around the house), I was hoping to visit my Aunt.  She lives in Texas, several hours, but still a quite reasonable drive, from Dallas.  When I called to see about visiting, I was hit with the news that she had just gotten the word about the cancer and was starting up chemo treatments and wouldn't be ready for a visit for a while.

My mom started worrying about my Aunt a lot and didn't want to miss an opportunity to visit and show support for her sister, so we worked out an arrangement where mom was able to fly into Dallas, stay in the hotel that I was staying at (an extended duration type place) for the weekend, and we'd go visit my Aunt as soon as she was feeling up to it.  We caught her between the second treatment and the third, after she was more familiar with what to expect from the treatments and was more ready for company.

With my now-departed cousin having a slew of health problems (we believe AIDS related), my Aunt never had the time to get to the doctor and take care of her own health at the time, so we all considered it extremely lucky that it seemed that the cancer had been caught early enough to stop the damage.   My Aunt's other son had two darling little girls that were the light of my Aunt's life.  She doted on those girls all the time, and having them push their grandmother to get well soon really seemed to help give her a good reason to fight, as well as knowing that my now-departed cousin also still needed all the support he could get.

We were all very relieved when the chemo treatments were completed and my Aunt was given a clean bill of health and was back to normal, where she had been, for all we knew, for the last several years.

Getting the news that she is now looking at another fight, a fight that she might not really be up for, is hard.  She still has those grand-daughters, and lord knows my cousin (the father of those girls), needs all the help he can get keeping on the right track, so we hope she still sees good reason to put up a hell of a fight, but it is entirely possible that the size of the fight won't matter this time, and that my Aunt may soon join her own mother, my Grandmother that passed away last year, and her own son in the afterlife.

I hope that isn't the case, and really hope for the best, but as I write this article, I'm bracing myself for the worst.  Cancer doesn't care who it's victim is, or who needs that victim, or who loves that victim.  It hits whomever and it hits them and their family hard.

I don't ask for sympathy, and don't look for pity either, but ... if you are a believer in a higher power, I appreciate any good thoughts sent my Aunt's way.

on Oct 19, 2007
Your aunt and you and your family have my prayers.  God speed to her in her battle with the cancer.
on Oct 19, 2007

Thanks folks for the thoughts.  I do appreciate it.  I was just e-mailing a friend that had read this news here, and I know she and her family have been experiencing similar issues with their own family members.

Aging comes with greater probabilities of encountering issues like this and sooner or later the odds catch up with us all.  Eventually a high percentage of people we know will have had cancer, or know someone who has had cancer.  Much like a high percentage of people we know or someone they know will have had experiences with heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.  It is part of getting older, but it really does suck.

We don't know yet how my aunt will really respond to options that will hopefully be offered to her.  She may decide that the time she's had here on Earth has been enough, or she could hopefully decide that those two granddaughters still need her love, devotion and attention.  Assuming that she will even have an option, as the doctors may not offer an attempt at a cure and instead may be left just providing something to ease pain while she moves towards the inevitable.

I hope to not be attending a funeral in the near future, but I guess I'm preparing myself for that possibility.

Hopefully later I can add some happier info here.  I would sure like to be able to.

on Oct 20, 2007
Got somewhat better news this evening.  While still not good, the prospects are better than they had originally appeared.  Treatment does look possible, with medication by pills (taken orally).  Probably still won't completely cure things, but should prolong my aunt's life and not make her too uncomfortable.   I hope the news keeps getting better, and that she beats the odds for several years to come.
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