Sunday, February 1, 2009

living is the most precious thing

today i am a like a limp rag doll with a stiff neck. the essay, it is finished. in fact, my whole huge application to graduate school is done and turned in. i drove over to lewis & clark on friday late morning. the air was foggy and the graduate school of education was set back into a beautiful mossy forest. i must say, it felt a bit like a mythic quest.

this part of the future is out of my hands now. it will likely be weeks before i hear if i am accepted into the program. so this coming week, i refocus my energies on making jewelry, *ahem*, making a living.

since my job search of the past few months has yielded disappointing results, i am hoping that somehow, the universe will conspire to make my own business thrive until a) school begins, and b)financial aid arrives.

valentine's day is coming after all. and sweethearts need trinkets, do they not?

i can barely stomach the marketing, truth be told. how happy i will be to someday no longer care if people buy or not. to let the sales fall where they may. and to return to my heart, making exquisite one-of-kind objects and to hell with watching my price points!

but truly, these are minor concerns. hardly worth a mention. this past week brought deathly serious concerns that pushed everything else to the side. i didn't really even have the spirit to celebrate getting my application package completed.

back in michigan, my nephew, who is just 21, was very recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. a very bright kid, he's due to graduate from college with a degree in philosophy this spring. the whole situation has been heartbreaking and even though he and i are not close ( i moved away when he was in his surly teenage years and we saw each other infrequently) it all has been hitting me hard. his mom, my step-sister, is the most wonderful woman. i have always admired her, looked up to her. i think my heart has been breaking for her most of all.

i can only imagine how it would be as a mother to see your child struck with cancer. it has helped me appreciate even more fully how brave my mom has been these past 15 months with me. how difficult to see your child suffer, to be wheeled into surgery.

personally, each time i have been most afraid of not living through the surgery. i have never asked my mom what she was most afraid of, seeing it all happen to her daughter.

last friday was his surgery to remove the thyroid and the cancer. based on a needle biopsy the week before, it was supposed to be just five hours, we all thought. when my family posse arrived in the early morning hours to check him into the hospital, they learned it would be an eight hours surgery.

life gets complicated in the blink of an eye.

eight hours came and went, then ten. i was at ikea when my mom called to say that the cancer was more widespread than predicted and he would be another three or four hours in surgery. driving home from my errands, i couldn't stop crying. the longer it went on, the more afraid i became for his life. finally, after nearly fifteen hours, the surgeons finished and declared that they believed all the cancer was out.

can you believe this? he is being treated at a major cancer center at the university of michigan and his case was the worst thyroid cancer the surgeons had ever seen!

there is treatment ahead, but his prognosis is good.
he has a 'u' shaped incision that literally goes from ear to ear. emotionally, our family is all a little wrung out. but my nephew? well, i saw him on the webcam today in his hospital room. smiling, a little hoarse, but much more chipper than one could have imagined.

whew. deep exhale.


PetalsYoga said...

Just a note of support and well wishes for you, your nephew, and the whole family.

Thinking of you,


Meg an Aggie in Frisco said...


I have lifted up your nephew in prayer that his healing goes well with out any hiccups! I have known 3 women with his type of cancer... 1 dx last year and doing great.. the other 2 were dxed and treated some 20+ years ago. I hate cancer! Just hate it... I watched mom go through Chemo and Radiation for her breast cancer 7 yrs ago... No fun, but 7+ years cancer free is fun! My Dad had a lump in his neck skin... his radiation was no fun to watch this summer. Poop Daddy, but to hear his Dr. say he has made a wonderful recover is a "Good Thing". Father in Law is having a cancerous kidney removed Friday... I hope the surgery takes the scheduled 4 hours... So as I daily say a prayer for all the cancer survivors I know; I will send up a special one for healing of your nephew.

~ meg ~

Tay said...

Thank-you Jan & Meg!~ your thoughts and prayer mean so much to me and my family.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Holy cow. 15 hours of surgery and the worst case of thyroid cancer they had seen in a boy of 21.

Life just makes no sense at all. More proof that we need to get the most out of each and every day and not sweat the small stuff.

I hope he is doing okay.