At long last … an update!

Dear, darling friends,

We’re approaching the eleven week mark in this battle we’re all waging against brain cancer.  How are you doing?  Getting tired?  Getting ready to toss the towel in?  What do you say, is this a nightmare or what?

Those of you who getting up in years like I am probably remember a song from the old peace movement:  “War!  What is it good for?  Absolutely nothing!”  Well, my friends know I like to write my own song lyrics.  Usually I do it for a laugh.  Nobody’s should laugh at these lines, “Cancer!  What is it good for?  Absolutely nothing!”  Let’s go over the material we’ve all covered together so far: 1) Cancer Sucks! 2) Cancer Sucks! and 3) Cancer Sucks!  I hope you’re taking notes because there’s definitely going to be a test.  

The good news — excuse me, the “good” news is that I have only six more days of treatment before I get a four week vacation.  I’ve made a promise to my family, but mostly I’ve made a promise to myself to make good use of the time.  We’re definitely going out someplace nice for a celebration dinner!  Better still, Paul and I are planning a little getaway.  Hey, it’s autumn in New England — nature’s in her glory, the weather is getting cool, anyone with half a brain ought to take advantage and grab a little peaceful quiet and snuggly romance.  Even when you take into consideration the bite that cancer has taken, I probably still have half a brain left for my own use — and I’m using it to plan our time away.

For those of you who are keeping track at home, my doctors have prescribed a year of therapy — or five rounds, each lasting ten weeks.  My upcoming four week vacation, combined with the six weeks of treatment that’s going to end on October 3, compose Round I.  So far it really hasn’t been too bad.  I’m well aware of the fact that a lot of other folks have much more trouble with this sort of treatment than I’ve had.  Up until two weeks ago, I’d been able to skate by with no side effects; but, boy, when they start you don’t forget it.  There’s no need for you to know the details, but it’s an experience I would have been more than happy to pass up.

If I can remember back that far, it seems to me that I once had an actual job to satisfy my need for purpose and direction.  These days, my job is napping.  For some reason, that’s direction enough.  Well, maybe it’s not quite that bleak.  I’m going to be starting an on-line class soon.  I’m also working with a very talented acupuncturist who has been opening me up to an entirely different dimension of health care than the good folks at Dana Farber are supplying.  But, mostly my purpose in life is napping.

Some of you may be wondering how I’m doing in the ‘tears’ department.  Truth is, I’m as bad as ever — maybe worse than ever.  The diagnosis makes me cry, the life losses make me cry, the uncertainty makes me cry.  That’s plenty of tears right there, but it’s worse than that.  The good stuff makes me cry even more!  I’m really having such a hard time accepting your amazing generosity, support and love.  Kindness chokes me up more than illness does.  If so many of you hadn’t reached out in so many unbelievably wonderful ways, I wouldn’t be crying nearly so much.

Want proof?  Well, just yesterday I decided I really had to show a little recognition to one of “Auntie’s Angels”.  So, I got on the phone to order a little trifle for my niece, and got patched in to a very nice lady who took my order.  When she got around to asking me what I wanted inscribed on the note I said, “Thank you for all your love and support”.  Then it happened!  I spent the next twenty minutes crying on the phone to a total stranger who probably forfeited a nice slice of commission money just to comfort me.  Now I’m crying thinking about how wonderful she was!  I’m a mess!

For some reason, my dear Angelique seems to be adjusting to life at home with her super lame parents.  She’s sensible enough, of course, to put a life together for herself beyond nursing her ma.  For starters, she’s added her beat-boxing skills to a local a capella group, the ‘Pow Arrangers’ — so that’s one sure source of joy for her.  She’s also taking classes locally.  The classes can’t be as engaging as the ones she would have been taking at Haverford but she’s making do somehow.  The real reason for her adjustment, though, has to be the delicious meals that her relatives — especially her Auntie Virginia and her cousin Stephanie — have been preparing.  I’m so grateful she’s able to enjoy anything, but nothing pleases her more than good food, and that’s been in plentiful supply.

My husband continues to try and hold it all together for all of us.  It can’t be fun for him to listen to his wife cry all day and all night.  I’m not sure how he does it.  He’s always boasted that he can explain the secret to a good marriage in two words: “Time apart.”  He contradicts me when I tell him I’m a burden to him, but he probably values our time apart more than ever.  Just the same, though, he’s found a way to make himself available for everything I need.  Pray that he can keep it up.  I depend on him so much now!

I’ll end here.  It’s nap time!




About pamvbradford

I am a fifty seven year old banker specializing in government banking. I have a beautiful twenty-one year old daughter and a wonderful husband. My husband and I recently downsized, and purchased a beautiful condo in Watertown MA. We love our new home. I know I am a very fortunate person. I am surrounded by supportive family members, by supportive coworkers and by the marvelous support of our faith community at Sacred Heart Parish in Lexington MA. As the Psalm says, "There is nothing that I lack." My whole life changed on July 18, 2012 when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The news came from out of the blue. My tumor was removed by the marvelous Dr. Mark Johnson and his wonderful team of surgeons at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The surgery truly was a miracle. I couldn't possibly have gotten better care. Now the 'easy' part is over. The tough part is to learn to walk with God in the midst of danger and surprise. My mood shifts from gratitude to fear and back again but I know God has a purpose for me. There's a reason I didn't die on the operating table. There's something that God wants me to do. This blog is my effort to share with others, with all of you, what it is that I am learning as I put one foot ahead of the other, live each day as it comes, and discover what it is that God has to teach me. Your prayers keep me going. Your love comforts me. Your knowledge and faith guide and teach me. God bless you all!
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4 Responses to At long last … an update!

  1. Mary Newman says:

    Pam, Paul and Liqa, my thoughts, prayers and love to all 3 of you….next week will be peak season up north, NH and Maine, should be a perfect time to see all the beautiful colors and I’m hoping you can get up there and enjoy some of that, maybe autumn will start the healing process for you, Pam. I miss you, my truly wonderful friend.
    Love you,

  2. ronald lancaster says:

    Pam, I really enjoyed this post.  I can hear the enthusiasm for the milestone you have reached.  Four weeks of vacation.  I am so happy that you will have a change. Nice that Liqa is singing again.  Maybe that is a metaphor for all of you. My love to you and your wonderful family. Julie


  3. Maria O'Brien Hylton says:

    Lots of people praying for you and hanging on your every written word…hope you enjoy a wonderful Fall getaway during your “vacation”. Lots of love and hugs!

  4. auntiekim0223 says:

    So happy to have an update! I sit here crying with you and glad the tone of your writing voice sounds as upbeat as it can be. Harry and I think about you all the time and keep you in our prayers. Enjoy your “time off” and take in all the amazing beauty Autumn has to offer. I wish I knew how we could help. If you think of something let me know. Warning: you might want to leave me off the “meals” list – I can’t imagine anyone would enjoy my cooking.

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