cancer diary

Phone call (2 of 2): coffee

"They're checking my blood sugar levels all the damn time now. If it goes above 200, they come in and give me a shot, and if it drops below 100, they bring me food and make me eat."

He stopped for a second or two. I heard indeterminate noises; I think he was eating.

"Those shots hurt, you know. Had four of them in one day a couple of days ago. I don't particularly want that again."

He laughed."I've about figured it out, though. Mom found where they're keeping the coffee pot. It's just a couple of doors down from my room. I can pretty well avoid the insulin shots if I don't put sugar in my coffee. So I get your mother to get all the Sweet&Low packets she can, and I put those in my coffee."

"Is the coffee pretty decent? If it's not, you could get Mom to bring up that little travel-sized coffeemaker I got for you a couple of Christmases ago."

Phone call (1 of 2)

My enemy is still nameless and faceless, but we know it lives in my father's bones.

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The results were supposed to be back sometime between eleven a.m. and three p.m. By five p.m. I was verging on a nervous wreck. I didn't want to call; what if something had gone horribly wrong and they were trying to get things handled before calling me?

So I called my grandmother—who, it turned out, hadn't heard anything either, and was wondering what I was wondering.

What were Dad's biopsy results?How to explain to someone else that some results need to come in on time? That the waiting is the hardest part, and that the sheer frustration of not knowing is enough to drive daughters and other assorted family members to cluster around the nearest bottles of antacids?

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Things needed doing

It was the first time I'd ventured out of the house since I'd gotten the news, the first time I'd managed to pull myself together enough to brave going out into public. Shock has a way of making you wanting to draw away from the world, to tuck your nose under your tail and shut your eyes until the storm passes—until you begin to suspect that the next time you open your eyes, the world you see isn't going to be the topsy-turvy one that kicked you in the gut a few minutes ago.

I put myself together carefully; after all, I had no idea who was going to see me. I made my socks match and clasped my hair into a neat twist. My shirt was clean, my jeans passably so, and about half a minute's soft pressure from a hot, wet washcloth made the circles under my eyes a little less noticeable.


An oddity that's not really worth mentioning: I develop muscle tics when I'm under some kind of stress. Sometimes it's an uncontrollable finger twitch, but most of the time it's an eyelid twitch.

My right upper eyelid's been twitching for about 48 hours straight now. I wish it would stop.

I wish Mom would let me know how Dad's liver biopsy went. Sometimes the waiting is the worst.

Murphy's Law, redux

Phone call from my mother: it's confirmed. My father has pancreatic cancer. The biopsy this afternoon will determine how bad it is, and whether or not it has spread.

Plan B begins now.

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