The C-Word

She and her sister piled the kids into the car and took off south on a road trip. Her most recent set of Facebook photos scrolls something like this:

First up is her, completely bald, in a fluorescent pink cammo baseball hat with a gun in her hand. She is learning how to shoot.

Second she is grinning from ear to ear, proudly displaying her Target Man riddled with bullets. Almost every shot made it straight to his head. We can assume she’s got some acceptable aggression to work out.

Next comes the girls all smiles with Moon Pies and ice cream cones.

Let’s just say family vacations take a forgivably odd turn when you’re facing off with the C-Word.

Two Thursdays ago we celebrated the fact that she had no feeling in her hands. This was a good thing because the alternative is typically a burning sensation so agonizing she wouldn’t want to get out of bed. There are a lot of things that make her want to stay in bed. Headaches, exhaustion, nausea. How the Red Devil makes everything taste like sand. The part about the nurses having to wear protective gear because a single drop will burn through their skin.

I cringe when I think about what this week’s round will bring. Chemo sucks.

It sucks the disease out of you while sucking the life out too. So how do you reconcile the compromise of forcing yourself to the brink of death in order to come out living on the other side?

First of all you don’t sit around in bed thinking about it. You dust yourself off and take road trips. You shoot guns. Maybe check out some tigers. You keep all the balls in the air because it’s just too hard not to.

For 30 years I cursed her stubbornness. It scared me. Now I get to be so grateful for it as I watch it keep her in motion. She can break down later once she’s in the clear. But for now, fuck it. Come hell or high water, she’s gonna keep moving forward.

I love you E-ska. I’ll see you in a week.

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1 thought on “The C-Word”

  1. I should send you some of her pictures from the start of her journey, we have when she got the news, when she shaved her head, when she did work on her laptop while getting her chemo. in her “beautiful in pink outfit”.
    I raised some strong women, but this stubborn one “and oh BTW she came out of the womb that way” she never ceases to amaze me.

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