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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Raymond

Raymond watched his workers. He always watched because he had to make sure everything went smoothly in the store. So he watched to make sure his customers had the shopping experience they deserved.

That Saturday he noticed Michael was not smiling. He watched. That’s when he started to worry. Michael smiled and chatted politely with each customer but when the customer was gone and before the next one approached, the smile was gone. In its place was the look of worry and anxiety. Raymond didn’t want to be part of that anxiety so he moved on and watched other workers. That’s when he asked Carol if she knew what was bothering Michael.

“Cancer. His mother was just and there’s no insurance.” Carol said it matter of factly and moved on.

“Wow.” That was all Raymond could think to say. He knew Michael loved his mother. She was the world to him. It had been just the two of them since his father had a stroke and  died  when Michael was only seven. Raymond really liked Michael. He had sort of taken him under his wing and he wondered why Michael hadn’t confided in him. He decided to talk to him and let him know he was in his corner and would try to help find some kind of resources for his mother’s health. There had to be something. She didn’t deserve this and neither did Michael.

Raymond walked toward Michael and signaled him to close up the register and come see him.

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oin me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Curtis

As Curtis walks down the hall toward his locker he is greeted with smiles, cheers, and high-fives! He’s a hero and he has learned to greet every smile with one of his own. Sometimes it’s really difficult to return those smiles and sometimes it is even difficult to make the walk down the hall, a hero’s walk, if you will.

Curtis doesn’t think he’s a hero. He just sort of fell into the role when the gym teacher discovered he was the quarterback his high school football team was severely lacking. They trained him to hone the natural skills and they build up the anticipation. When his father wouldn’t let him join the team, the coaches even talked to him and convinced him. And the glory days began. His popularity soared and everyone knew his name and his face.

But Curtis’ life didn’t feel like anything special. Sure, he was a great football player and he received the compliments and the pats on the back with outward gratitude. Inside Curtis hated the attention and he hated the physical pats on the back because they were almost always hurting the bruises that only the padding he wore during practice and games could protect. The kudos he received stopped when he walked in the door at home. Curtis missed the hugs and the love that had disappeared when his mother lost her battle with cancer. Cancer had taken his mom and Curtis’ happiness. It had also claimed his father. Once his mom was gone, Curtis’ dad was lost to drinking and bitterness and meanness. Curtis hated it but he felt sorry for his dad, and after all, he was his dad and he hadn’t always been cruel. It wasn’t his dad’s fault, just like it wasn’t his mom’s fault that she had gotten sick and died. It wasn’t anyone’s fault.

Curtis hated the attention but he made the most of it because it was his ticket out of the house and away from his father. That’s what he was thinking as he walked down the hallway smiling and high-fiving.

 

Alexa

Babs

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Lamar

This is not the post I was going to write today but I feel compelled to write it anyway.

Lamar was my brother-in-law. I first met him around 1980, which was about two years after I married. Lamar and Sylvia (she’s my sister-in-law) began dating long distance. She lived in Los Angeles and he lived in Berkeley. They were both in graduate programs, she at UCLA and he at UC Berkeley. Eventually, he finished his program and moved to Los Angeles where he became not only a part of Sylvia’s life but a part of all of our lives, including mine and eventually, my kids.

Lamar was from Maryland, if I remember correctly. He was raised with southern ideals and manners and thinking. Lamar, before any of us knew him, was in the Peace Corps and often spoke of the things he learned and the things he did in Africa as part of his stint with the Peace Corps. After that, he went back to school and studied architecture, finally becoming an architect which was a major feat as the road to becoming an architect is a long one, but he stuck with it and did it.

He had a lot of nicknames in the family, mostly because my ex-husband’s family is into giving people silly, and often mean nicknames. For example, when his arm was in a sling because of a shoulder injury, he became Lame Arm instead of Lamar. Ha ha. But the one that stuck the most was Space Case because he would often “zone out” during conversations. We would all be discussing something and one of us would turn to ask him a question or get input from him and he was “gone” to the point where we would have to call his name several times, usually ending with “Earth to Lamar. Come in Lamar.”

He was inventive, curious, handy, a problem solver, laid back, and supportive. As spouses of a brother and sister in that family, we often were the outsiders so Lamar and I stuck together. And, more than once, we also discreetly exchanged eye rolls when “they” were being “too Martinez.” He was my pal when we were all together. Later in life, we were both diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes) and so we had that in common and shared some tips and experiences that non-diabetics would not be able to understand.

Many years later came my divorce and their move across the county so we saw each other less often. I visited with them in D.C. twice and they were at my daughter’s college graduation in Baltimore so our contact was limited but when we saw each other we slipped into the same “us” and “them” routine.

Then came word that he had cancer and was starting chemo. That was in late July. Then three weeks ago came word that the chemo was not working and that the doctors had told them there was nothing else they could do. There were no other treatments for his type of cancer. A few days ago came word that his death was imminent, he had just a few days left. This morning, word came that he had passed. The only positive thing to hold on to is that he was medicated and was never in any pain. He was comfortable. He could understand everything but could not speak. And his death was peaceful.

I’m shaking. That part of the family is too far for me to get to. I wish I could be there with them to support each other and to share some favorite Lamar moments but it’s not possible. So here I am, sharing Lamar with you; sharing my pain. And it hits a bit harder because he was diagnosed the same week that my doctor told me I had cancer and had only three to five months. Of course, he was wrong as it turned out and I do not have cancer. But Lamar did. And I keep thinking that it could be me. I’m glad it isn’t but I also feel a little bit guilty.

I will miss Lamar greatly.

 

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If we were having coffee this morning, we would be in the 13th floor of the hospital in room 30 where I am recovering from surgery.  The great news? 

I have no cancer. They found that the “tumor” was actually a huge gallstone which was hard as  a rock!  The part that was in my liver was an inflammation from the gallbladder situation. So they pulled out the gallbladder and cleaned a lot of abscesses that they found throughout the abdomen. I have 3 incisions. No chemo port because I “ain’t gonna need it!” I will be here for 3 to 5 days. Lots of pain. But I can handle it. 

Thank you all for the support and prayers and for being here with me.  Going to cut this short because I’m writing it on my phone and it’s also time to find my magic button did the pain medication. 

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Parttimemonsterblog. Go check it out!  (I can’t seem to link this to the bloghop but ilk see if I can get Diana to link if for me.)

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Not good news.
Apparently, gall bladder cancer is inoperable. I don’t yet have a diagnosis but the assumed (by the doctors) diagnosis is gall bladder cancer. I’m having surgery on Friday. They will biopsy the colon, gall bladder, liver, any anything else they can. The hope now is that they find that the tumor consists of a different type of cancer, meaning one that originated in the colon or the liver. Those types of cancer they can remove. But gall bladder cancer they cannot. All they can do is administer chemo to prolong life. On Friday they will also be putting in a port for me to receive chemo. The surgeon said that anyway we look at it, my case is not going to be an easy one. He says I am in for a “tough ride.”

So I guess I now will ask you all to pray that what they find will be a treatable cancer, a liver cancer or a colon cancer, and not the gall bladder cancer they are sure they are going to find. I want more than 4 to 5 months. I’m not done living yet. I’m not done. This is really tough.

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If we were having coffee, I would try to be chipper but I would have to cut it short as I’m not in the best spirits these days.

As many of you know, doctors found a large tumor in my gall bladder seven weeks ago. Upon further examination, they’ve seen that a portion of the tumor is also in my liver and there is a good chance that it is in my colon, as well. I have had test after test and they keep coming back benign but what they see on the CT scan says it’s malignant. I didn’t understand what they meant by “what they see and how it is acting” until I read the latest CT scan report in MyChart. What they are going by is how it is effecting the tissue around it and by “gas bubbles” and other stuff I don’t really understand yet. I kind of lost it when I read that and the word “metastasized.”

I see the surgeon Monday afternoon and I am pretty sure they have my full file now, including the reports from my surgery two years ago in which they found a borderline malignancy in an ovarian cyst which was removed. I think, and I hope, that tomorrow we will have a much better picture of what is going on and a treatment plan. I’m very nervous and very anxious. I am often near tears these days but I’m one of those people that doesn’t let herself cry so it’s all inside.

Today I will spend the rest of the day with Anderson and Spencer and Maya and we’ll probably go for some ice cream because it’s National Ice Cream Day here in the U.S. and lots of places are giving out free ice cream cones! The weather is nice enough for ice cream. I haven’t taken them to the park since before the fourth of July and I usually take them every day. So maybe a park trip is in the works, too.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading. I can’t concentrate to write or watch TV so I read. I am trying to read all of the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva.  There are currently seventeen titles and I’ve read six. I had some in my Kindle library and I’ve recently discovered how to borrow digital books from the library so now I’m in business! If you’re looking for a great spy thriller, this might be the series for you.

In any case, I have been horrible about keeping up with everyone’s blogs. I read a lot of them but I read on my phone and I have fat fingers so it’s difficult to comment. I end up liking a lot of posts. I will try to be better about it; maybe I’ll start carrying my tablet with me which will work if there is Wi-Fi at the doctor’s office and other buildings.

In the meantime, if you are so inclined, I am needing a lot of virtual hugs and positive thoughts/energy these days. Please send them my way.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster. Go check it out and you’ll find a lot more shares. Maybe you will want to write one.

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Note: This is a copy/paste from the post I just put up on Face Book. It’s difficult to write these updates and not forget things so it was easy to just paste it here.

On Thursday I got a call from my gastroenterologist saying the needle biopsy was benign but he doesn’t think it’s benign. He has actually seen it and was the first to detect it. He’s worried that we are not getting the full picture and might be lulled into thinking that all is okay. He really thinks it’s malignant. He said go ahead and see the oncologist today while I wait for the authorization to see a surgeon. His feeling is that the more eyes on my case, the better; another doctor may have had a similar case.

Today, the oncologist was also stumped and could only recommend either another biopsy, this time with an arthroscope as that will give them a better and bigger tissue sample even though it will be more invasive than the needle biopsy I had last week.

The tumor is on my right side and many of you will remember that I had a serious surgery two years ago during which a very large fluid filled cyst was removed from my right ovary. The tissue removed was biopsied and came back as borderline malignant. None of the current doctors had done a full health history so they didn’t know this. I felt it was relevant because both instances involved my right lower abdomen.

Once I explained all of that to the oncologist, he was able to access my records from two years ago and found that the growth two years ago was a “serous tumor” which he said are almost always benign. So now his theory is that the current tumor is also a serous tumor (not a misspelling) but is probably benign. So he wants me to stop worrying about it for now until we get the next biopsy which will hopefully give us a more complete picture of what is going on. So while I have some surgery coming up, it might not be a horrible thing. The tumor has to go so we can biopsy it and see what it is and also to prevent it from spreading to other organs and/or becoming a worse kind of tumor with a higher incidence of malignancy.

 

The oncologist is also going to try to present “my tumor” before his “tumor board” which meets Tuesday (the 11th). The tumor board is an opportunity for oncologist to present a case which is unusual or difficult and try to get input from other top surgeons. It’s up the hill at Oregon Health and Science University, a teaching hospital. So maybe that will help shed light on it!

So I wait some more. Hopefully I will hear from the surgeon and get to schedule that soon.

Thank you for your continued support. I cannot tell you what a huge difference it has made. It’s a very wonderful feeling to know that I have so many people to lean on. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

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