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Christmas is fun but sad when mommy has cancer

We set up the Christmas tree today, and Amanda reminded me that just under a year ago, we'd put all the decorations away with care, facing the very real possibility that she might not be alive to unpack them in 2014.

Thankfully, she is.

Amanda and Gordon hang a decoration on the tree.
And now our little boy Gordon is at an age where he can kind of understand some things. I mean, he understands an awful lot. He seems to, anyway. He certainly is a lot more with it than he was last year, when even sitting upright by himself was something brand new.

But, at 20 months, he's not the most patient little guy. He spent most of the tree-decorating process grabbing things he shouldn't, and crying and having tantrums. Pretty normal, I guess, but hard for Amanda.

As she wrote tonight on Facebook:

"Decorating the Christmas tree today resulted in misery, multiple temper tantrums and almost constant crying for Gordon. I wish his little brain could just understand I'm going to have too few Christmases with him.... and that I NEED each one, each minute of the holiday with us together to be precious."

That there's the heartbreaking part. Amanda wants to be mindful and present and checked-in so she can soak up every precious moment of time with Gordon and me. But that act of checking in and forced present-time awareness also includes a reminder every single time -- the reminder that this could be her last Christmas with her little boy.

She wants to be able to share this season with him and have him really get it. Will he understand presents this year? Will he have a clue what Santa is? He seemed to have a breakthrough over Frosty The Snowman tonight, but... every joy seems countered by a dark, powerful anti-joy.

Kitty gets in on the bedtime routine with a friendly headbutt.
I'm grateful for the time we do have together. I don't want to worry through every experience. Perhaps that's unhealthy somehow. I don't think I'm in denial, but I'm not choosing to give the sad part a bigger role than it has to have.

But frankly, I'm not the one with the malignant cells ticking away inside me.

She is. We're each going to feel things differently. It doesn't mean I don't feel things. Mine usually hit me hard all at once, or a little bit here and there. For Amanda, it seems like a constant struggle. It's hard. I'm trying to be the best support I can for her, and to keep us strong together. Goodness knows we need each other.

For those who've been wondering, there's been no major update on Amanda's health since the last post. She's still on the hormone blockers, and they're still having their side effects. She's still tired a lot and in constant pain from the long-term chemotherapy side effects. She still has that ureteral stent, and it still sucks. I think she pitched the urologist on the idea of not even having one in, and just getting by on one kidney. Turns out only *having* one kidney is one thing; having one live kidney and one dead, rotting kidney inside of you is Not Good. So far, no good options have presented themselves.

The next CT scan is coming up quick, and that's also casting a shadow over holiday comfort and joy. Will the tumors have stayed shrunken? Will they have grown? Will things be even better than last time? And whatever the results, what's next?

A short check-in from me: still working my butt off at the radio station. Despite some program changes that caused serious disruption in the lives of some listeners, ratings were pleasantly up in nearly all measures. It was good news, and a vote of confidence for some of the stuff I've been trying to lead. The whole staff has been doing great work, so I'm glad they were given the thumbs-up by our listeners. I'm working with a bunch of great people.

The Summer Of Endless Renovations has turned into the Winter Of Much Fewer Renovations. We're now enjoying the basement, free from leaks. The laundry room is still due to be drywalled. The front steps and walkway still haven't been poured, and the ground is frozen. Amanda has arranged for a concrete company to come take care of that this week. Fingers crossed that things stay peaceful on that front.

Merry Christmas to everyone! It's been another trying year. Thank you for reading along.


  1. Thanks so much for the update! It was encouraging to read your previous update about the CT scan, I am hoping and praying that this next CT scan will only show good news! Gordon is such a cute little guy!! So sorry that the Tree decorating wasn't a fun time for him, but it all sounded pretty normal from when my two boys were little. Hoping that Gordon and Amanda can find some Holiday fun together that will make everyone happy. I think of Amanda daily and look forward to your updates.
    Heidi from New Hampshire-Ovarian cancer survivor


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