Screw Melanoma

The news of Jimmy Carter’s diagnosis threw me for a loop, as you might imagine. This is exactly the cancer that Adam had. One commentator referred to it as “hidden melanoma” and said that it can begin in the mucous membranes or tissues like the esophagus! And, as in Adam’s case, Carter’s disease seemed to, as Tom put it, have gone “right to the brain.”

Apparently there’s still no treatment for the brain lesions other than radiation. It sounds like Carter’s lesions are small and fewer than Adam had, so perhaps his treatment will be more successful. Reports say that Carter will be receiving an immunotherapy drug, and that’s great, but my experience was that it’s the brain lesions that kill you.

I don’t wish Mr. Carter a poor outcome but I do thank God for his condition because now maybe it will get some attention. Most people (including me, before) think of melanoma as an ugly mole that you cut off and then you’re fine. But now we know how insidious it can be, how its behavior can be nothing like we expect. And all-the-more scary because if it starts inside your body you don’t know it’s there until it’s too late for a cure.

I propose that researchers start working on a cure for *the brain* and not so much for the body. Drugs can’t cross the brain/blood barrier and so the brain is left to be devoured by insidious tumors. Right now the only treatment for the brain is radiation, and if there are too many sites the radiation just makes the brain swell and, well, the effects of that are *not good.*

The memories this announcement has stirred up are not good either, but I can see how much I’ve healed because I haven’t been crying for the last 24 hours.

A Widow at Midlife: Seriously?'s photo.

Just Not in the Party Mood

Our house used to be a gathering place. If a party needed to happen, we were good for it. Fourth of July, Christmas, college reunions, the odd Thanksgiving. Since Adam died I’ve had Christmas here twice and honestly, the last one didn’t go so well because I lost my cool. You may remember my rant.

Today I find myself sorting through my party supplies. Platters, large food-storage containers, once-a-year small appliances, acrylic margarita and wine glasses, insulated containers for every variety of beverage.

Lately I’ve not felt like partying. Christmas 2012, just after Adam had died, I was still in shock and had its adherent energy to help me plow forward as if nothing had changed. Went pretty well. Then the aforementioned Christmas 2014. Those are the only gatherings I’ve had and my motivation is still wanting, so what should I do with all these party supplies? In a few years I may have my mojo back, and if I get rid of all this I’ll have to replace what took years to collect.

It’s not like they’re paper plates and plastic spoons and knives. It’s easy to decide to trash, recycle, or donate those. But what about the food-storage containers? Those are expensive to replace. My 30-cup coffee percolator? It’s not only useful, but sentimental, its harvest-gold exterior harking back to my childhood. Beautiful glass salad/dessert plates. A countertop deep fryer.

I really want to keep these things. I want to think that I’ll feel like hosting again. But I don’t want to be realistic. Problem is, I have no idea what is realistic. It takes space to store this stuff and space I lack at the moment because I’ve not sorted through stuff in almost four years. Help.


So, the tough month ended, this year, with my kid being awarded his Eagle scout. It’s tough to type that, because merely saying it doesn’t reflect the commitment from, truly, a village.

Yeah, I cooked some spaghetti. But he had to work hard under conditions that would have, did, prevent coherent thought in his mother.

There were men who had promised my husband that they would make it happen, and they did.

Some of these men I’ve known since my early 20s.

You *have* to feel more than gratitude for this.

My son is strong. He made this happen. The men who knew him and my husband made this happen. One of these men gave me my first job out of college, when he, himself, was just past 30 and bold and brash and motivated to make it happen.

July is hard for us. Our anniversary. The kids’ birthday, Adam’s death anniversary, about which I have yet to be able to write. Today adds a happy day to July, for which I am deeply grateful.

Thank you, thank you, as Anne Lamotte says. Thanks. Wow. I can leave “help” for tonight.