Tuesday, December 30, 2014


It has been almost four weeks since I heard the words, “You have cancer.”  The one word that could best describe how I have been feeling during this time is -- OVERWHELMED.  I am overwhelmed with new information, appointments, feelings, worries, “stuff” that needs to get done, etc. 

In my earlier letter to Undear Cancer, I wrote about having more FAITH THAN FEAR.  I wish I could say during this time I have always had more faith than fear--but I have not.  The balance between my faith and fear wavers constantly, moment to moment.   My biggest fear, at this point, is the fear of the unknown.  The oncologist does not have a treatment plan yet because he needs more test results to determine staging.  The stage is unknown, the treatment is unknown, my future is unknown.  I’m not used to the “unknown”.  I’m used to the “known” -- taking the trash out Wednesday, Spelling tests for Luke on Thursday, and basketball games on Friday.  Waking up and having a pretty good idea of what  to expect for the day, the week, or the month may be considered boring, but it is comfortable.  Not knowing is unbearably uncomfortable.

 I am struggling  with my feelings between faith and fear.  I know ultimately, faith will prevail.   I have been amazed, blessed and truly OVERWHELMED with the kindness and generosity of friends, my family, and the many “Secret Santas” who have truly blessed me and my family during this time.  To all of you who have blessed us, I thank you.  You give me, and my family, FAITH.  The faith I will need to overcome my fears.   The FAITH I will need to be  the strongest I have ever been and to take this battle on--with everything I have inside of me. 

Tomorrow is a new day.  I hope to have it filled with FAITH.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Friday, December 26, 2014

Ho Ho Ho ...the Oncologist doesn't know...

Just wanted to let you all know what we know...
Surgery on Monday has been cancelled pending further tests ordered by the oncologist. Kathy did some more bloodwork and is on a waiting list for an MRI. The PET scan showed some suspicious areas and the oncologist is hoping to rule them out as cancerous. 
It has now been 24 days since she heard the words, "You have cancer. " She is frustrated and wants to move faster toward treatment.  Waiting for tests, then waiting for results,  then waiting for a doctor appointment...enough already!
We have all been on an emotional rollercoaster. It has been hard to be joyful this holiday season. That being said, I am thankful for the friends, family, and community,  who came together to help brighten the holiday's for Kathy and her family. 
Some have asked to remain anonymous...sorry..I tried.. (lol)
Others actually gave less to their own family so that they could afford to help. (The true spirit of Christmas.) 
On a lighter note, Christmas also delivered a tow, a glow, and a 
blow to our family.  On Christmas Eve, my truck was towed home...seems the security system no longer recognizes the key...or the flux capacitor is broken. My Dad's truck dashboard was "aglow" with the check engine light...oh please let it be an easy inexpensive fix!
 And lastly, Kathy's microwave "blowed up". Of course that is not proper grammar but needed to rhyme. 
Wish List: a microwave-will pick up...if we can get our vehicles running....fa la la la la
This just in...some of Santa's elves delivered a microwave for Kathy today. We are blessed to be surrounded by such awesome friends. No news on either vehicle yet...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

There is never a good time to be sick...
The last two weeks of the year are closing in and Kathy is busy scheduling herself for a pet scan, oncology consult, and surgery.
She is also calling the insurance company to find out her copay,
(we call it "entry fee") for each appointment and doing battle with the State Disability office.
Today she received what will most likely be her last paycheck for at least 6 months. Since her last two brain surgeries have kept her from working, it is possible that there won't be enough money in her disability account.
Since this situation is quickly becoming overwhelming,  we are trying hard to focus on one day at a time.
On Monday December 22, she will have a pet scan.
On Wednesday December 24, she will meet with the oncologist and also the surgeon. Based on oncology/surgeon consults, she may have surgery on Monday, December 29.
Somehow she will schedule in grocery shopping and Christmas shopping...and of course holiday baking....

Please keep Kathy and her family in your thoughts.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pathology and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On this first day of the 12 days of Christmas...Kathy received a call from the lab. It seems her tumor pathology report was in limbo. The spokesperson for the lab said the bill was over $3000.00 dollars. (After the insurance portion was paid.)
They wanted to know how she would pay...
(Insert sound of her jaw dropping)
"Well," the spokesperson said, "Perhaps you will qualify for financial aid."
...since her income was below $145,000.00...she applied for assistance.  Instead of a Partridge in a Pear Tree, Kathy did qualify for help!
She started her day feeling blessed and thankful. There is no room in her family for a Partridge.
I hope tomorrow is filled with holiday miracles...the back fence is still broken and the dog is escaping...and the check engine light is still on in the car.
When it rains...well...it rains a lot!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Holiday Letter to Cancer

Undear Cancer,
How dare you show up on my doorstep December 1.  You were not invited into my life.  You forced me to say the three toughest words to the three toughest kids I know--Jesse, Anna and Luke--
"I have cancer." They have been through so much this past year or so with "other tumors" and they still stand strong--but they did not NEED or WANT you on our doorstep.    

Well, guess what, Cancer.  If you think you are tough--I am tougher.  I am prepared to fight and win.  I refuse to lose. I have more faith than fear.  I am surrounded by people and doctors that will help me through this.  You don't stand a chance, Undear Cancer.  You will leave me like a bad dog with its DNA-mutated tail between its legs, cowering.

Show me what you've got, Undear Cancer--because I have more.  My spirits are up, my Christmas tree is up--and most important--I am up to kicking your mutated **#@$###***?!!!!!

So, there you are, Undear Cancer.  Your holidays WILL NOT be merry and bright.  You WILL NOT be decking my halls.  Your HO! HO! HO! will GO! GO! GO!  And furthermore, you will not be invited into the homes of anyone else I care about.  Since you showed up on my pathology report, my sister and  one of my friends had their mammograms, one friend has hers scheduled for this Friday, and another WILL BE calling to schedule today (STACY!).
 I am angry at you, Undear Cancer, and one of the best ways for me to beat you is to warn others about you.  You'd better accept the fact that you are going to be one lonely mutated cell, cowering on doorsteps, BUT NOT GETTING IN.

So have yourself a very unmerry Christmas, Undear Cancer.  My Christmas will be different this year because of you--but it's still going to happen in my home.  You'd better get used to the fact that you WILL TAKE NOTHING of importance from me.


P.S.  It's true what they say about you--YOU SUCK!!!!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A care giver's journal.

Before she was a wife and a mother, she was my sister.
Kathy Dougan. I am starting this blog so our friends and family can stay updated on Kathy's journey.
If you saw my fb post yesterday, I cried. I cried for Kathy's kids. She told them last night. My tears are for the changes, small and large that come when someone you love has cancer. 
It is breast cancer. We will have more information after her lymph node biopsy on Thursday.