Random Thoughts

The phone rang really early (around 8) yesterday morning.  Jerry, Calli and I were up to hear the message that came from the kids’ pediatricians office saying the results of Lana’s blood tests were in.  Shortly before Christmas Erin had brought her in for some tests to answer some questions about blood sugar.

There was something chilling about the call coming so early, I think.  Jerry said that they were just taking care of calls before things got crazy in the office but maybe calls from doctors terrify me these days.  At any rate, Erin called them back as soon as she got up and as I sat at the kitchen table unable to hear anything but silence from Erin’s end, I started praying, “Kill me off, if you want to, God, but don’t let anything be wrong with her.  Not now, not ever.”  And she is fine.

It made me realize all over again how lucky I’ve been, how much easier it is to go through things yourself than to watch someone you love go through them.  Many of you who are reading this have been on far darker roads than I have.  Maybe the things you think you cannot do…get out of bed after you lose a child, go on living after you lose a spouse, keep on keeping on when a child or grandchild is terribly sick..maybe you find out you can do them.  I guess I just don’t want to have to find that out.  But when people say I’m brave or inspirational or whatever, I cringe because I know what I am doing is so small compared to what so many of you have already done.  Know that you inspire me.  

I just finished This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett. It was a perfect end of the year book.  I simply loved it.  It’s a collection of essays and I loved the window into her life, her thoughts, her advice on writing.  I loved the essay about her grandmother and especially loved the one about her teacher, a Sister of Mercy who becomes a good friends years later.  Actually (to use Declan’s favorite word) I loved them all.

On the other hand, I tried George Saunders’s Tenth of December and decided it’s just not my kind of book.  It’s on all the best books of the year lists but not on mine.

We went ice skating yesterday.  Or rather, Erin and the kids went ice skating.  Erin announced that Jerry and I weren’t allowed to go.  Arriving for chemo (as I said on Facebook) with a broken leg would be beyond pathetic and my caregiver/driver needed to stay fit.  I didn’t fight her on it.  It was COLD at the rink and I kept going to the warmer bleachers to watch them.  I don’t think I would have lasted two hours on skates anyway.  But next year, I’m going.

The kids were beautiful.  Declan (first time on skates) lasted about fifteen minutes and said he was NEVER going to skate again.  We took him to the bleachers where after another fifteen minutes he was back on the ice and Erin had the backbreaking job of keeping him up. Calli (second time on skates) worked her way around the rink holding on the the wall for the first hour and getting braver and braver as the time went on.  She let go and started to shuffle.  She’s on her way. Lana, (second time on skates) shuffled along for about an hour and then started actually gliding and looking like she could skate.  The girls both said they just watched everybody else and figured out what they needed to do.  I think all three were pretty proud of themselves.

Lana, ever the best big sister, told Declan, “Declan, you are a great skater.”

Declan frowned and said, “Actually I’m not a great skater because I don’t go very fast.”  (Actually he can barely stand up without mom holding him)

I got a call yesterday from a doctor in the Proton Therapy Center.  They’re doing a clinical trial around the side effects from the chemo/Proton regimen (which they tell me are pretty rough).  It’s a blind study so I may be getting the placebo but I’ll have extra meds that may or may not reduce the side effects.  My only question was “Does this mean I won’t get the regular stuff you give to reduce side effects?”  Not at all…I get the regular stuff and just may or may not get the extra stuff.  Sounds good…only inconvenience to me is more pills and questions once a week on my energy level, ease or difficulty eating (I guess even the proton burns the esophagus), nausea etc.  No problem…sounds good to me.  Anything that will help me feel more human during this next round is fine with me.

Erin and Declan

Erin and Declan



Erin and Calli

Erin and Calli

Lana and Calli

Lana and Calli


18 thoughts on “Random Thoughts

  1. You are an inspiration just for being Mary! Like many other people, I just love you!

  2. You make me cry and smile at the same time! Love your attitude and strength! May the new Year continue to bring many blessings to you!

  3. You know the old statement “It takes a village to raise a child”? I always thought it should say “It takes a village to live this life”. I am so glad you are part of my village as we all need just a bit from all those around us. We all need to hear each others “voices”. It just makes our lives so much richer.

    Happy New Year. Linda

  4. An inspiration, you are. I’d love to see you take your thoughts and create a small limited edition book about “moving through” or “facing” cancer. I’ll volunteer to help with the process. I’m sure others would like to contribute with the book making as well. Perhaps when you return to Venice, we could begin the thinking process. Best to you and your family (and all my friends on this blog) as you move into 2014.

  5. Those pictures remind me why I never learned to skate (first tried (& last tried) at age 30)! Good for them starting early!

    Sent from my iPad


  6. So sorry you had to go through that scare, if only for a short time, about Calli. So relieved to hear all is well. I can’t even let my thoughts travel to anything happening to my grand girls! Love the skating pictures. I remember skating at Forest Park in St Louis as a child, weak ankles and all!
    I had the same thought as Tori regarding your putting together a book. It’s a wonderful idea, you are a fine writer, Mary.
    Happy New Year to all of you!

  7. “Actually”, I really love reading your blogs Mary. Keep your spirit high and never give up on writing.

  8. Mary,
    Wishing you a happy (and much healthier) New Year!

    Love you!

  9. Oh my, Mary. I was touched by the words of understanding you have for those of use who have faced things, and inspired at the same time as you lift us up. You put things in context like no other.

    I loved, loved, the ice-skating episode. Darline pictures. I was always happy when our kids were in strollers – then I could skate around our lake and pretend I was simply skating along to push them. (Hah!) Everyone else in our family could really skate.

    Let’s hear it for those who make cocoa and watch from the side lines. 🙂

    Love, Barb G.

  10. Herb is the only old man I know who still skates. So, next year when you return to skating, you can skate for free as there are some rinks that allow old people to skate for free. I don’t know if those rinks are only in Massachusetts, but when you’re ready, I’ll send info. I know Herb has a membership card.

    I just learned that a nephew had proton therapy in Boston about a year or two ago. He’s doing well and is WAY older than you. In fact, he’s Myra’s brother-in-law (married to My’s oldest sister and she’s WAY older than I by at least a year or two!)

    Went for L O N G bike ride this morning to help eliminate some of the calories and the weather was perfect. Tried sitting at the pool, weather not so perfect but reading was great. I finished David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. I am a Gladwell groupie and really enjoy reading him. He is inspirational to say the least. You might enjoy his works. Definitely food for thought. (Kindle available).

    As 2013 draws to a close, there is much for which to be thankful not the least of which is modern medicine. As you are about to head into pavilions of man’s knowledge, I will continue to pray for your well-being as I do everyday because in spite of our increasing and ever-growing medical knowledge, I still think there’s a little bit of G-d helping along the way.

    Wishing you only goodness and health

    • Actually, I want to say that I enjoy reading everyone’s comments almost as much I look forward to reading “Mary’s Latest”! Here’s to much happiness and good health in 2014!

  11. Having waves of emotions reading your blog, I feel we all travel on the edge of heartache and fears yet find a way to stay strong for ourselves and our families. It’s the love around you that will help you heal; perhaps that’s what’s helping you be brave during this trying time. And you ARE inspirational for so many reasons, if not for the talent, insight and humor you share with us all. peace & love

  12. It is a privilege to share your reflections. Thank you .

  13. You really ended the old year on a positive note for all of us. There is NOTHING more important than Faith, Family And Friends. You have ALL of these things in your life. These three things will hold you close in the New Year.

    On a lighter note, I still can’t get up from my yoga towel without using one of my hands. You may be a little more coordinated than me! A very wise choice not to go skating. Just watching the grand kids must have been super fun!!!

    Happy New Year!!!!

  14. Love those skating pictures!! You can take them to skate at Rockefeller Center next year. I’m sure Uncle Sean would love it

  15. Just got Amanda and Andrew suited up with ice skates too. We have a lovely new town outdoor rink, that will likely be covered with a ton of snow by Friday. Ah, New England.

    Today I also drove my oldest CT friend to her 4th from the last radiation treatment, 6 weeks daily total. Then she gets chemo every 3 weeks for a year. Full mastectomy. The real deal. She’s a youthful 74 year old widow, who is staying positive and cheery most of the time. I love you powerful ladies. SO grateful to have you in my life!

  16. I too love reading all the comments and always feel as though there should be a DITTO button to push after every one! All of these strong, interesting, smart women are inspiring – and you are at the head of the line, the center of the circle. I too am so grateful to have you in my life. Thank you. And may 2014 bring you all you wish for. Most of all, good health – for you, for all of us. xoxo

  17. Your blog is a blessing to all who read it, Mary. Thanks for your insight and loving compassion for others of us who have gone through tough things, but come out with more faith and love than ever. Hold on to that wonderful view of life and our Lord will see you through this trial. Wishing you a New Year filled with many blessings and comforting, loving friends and family who will add to your already amazing strength. Love, Rosanna

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