Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Every few weeks, a friend calls or emails and tells me that someone they know has been diagnosed with cancer or a brain tumor. Or someone they know needs help with hospice decisions. And would it be OK if they pass along my contact information?

I always says yes, but I don't always hear back.

I completely understand. When you're in the middle of crisis, there's only so much you can handle. And, let's face it, our story doesn't appear to have the happy ending that people want.


Early in Steve's diagnosis, I visited on the phone with a friend of a friend who had taken the same oral chemotherapy (Temodar) that Steve had been prescribed.

She was refreshingly kind, open and willing to share her experiences.

Her experiences and resources weren't equivalent to ours, though. She suggested that we (1) hire a nanny right away and (2) enlist a private yoga instructor to come to the home and (3) have a swimming pool built so that Steve could jump in whenever he felt too warm.

I listened politely and asked some questions. We employed none of her advice here at our very nice but decidedly middle-class Frisco home that sits on a lot much too tiny for even the smallest swimming pool.

Still, I've always appreciated that she was willing to share.


Today I heard back from a friend of a friend, a mom whose husband has recently died.

I tried to listen more than talk. I tried not to be too bossy. (I'm irrepressibly passionate, though, when it comes to the benefits of grief counseling.) I tried to acknowledge that our family's journey won't be the same as her family's journey.

I've added her family to my too-long prayer list.


Steve didn't have the happy ending that we all desperately wanted. The odds were overwhelmingly against him. Glioblastomas, especially in the brain stem, are cruel. They don't offer much wiggle room for happily ever after.

Our story isn't over yet, though. This is a long journey. I'm thankful for the many joyful moments along the way.

(Photo by Ann Pinson, July 2013)
(Photo by Ann Pinson, July 2013)

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