So the news that I could not blog about last week is that my sister Nancy has been diagnosed with cancer. In the space between diagnosis and surgery she requested that I not say anything on the internet. Now she blogged the information herself. She seems very prepared to treat it all as an interesting experience. I look forward to reading her observations and hearing about both the good and the bad which will come from what lies ahead for her. Prognosis is good. It was caught early and the survival rate for this type of cancer is high. In addition, everyone feels strongly that she’s going to kick this in the teeth and be around for a long time to come.
Since I found out last week I’ve done lots of wrestling with my own thoughts. I want very much to be able to help, but the things I can do are severely limited by the fact that she is in Germany and I am in Utah. I am also very aware that while this blog is for me to discuss the things about my own life, her cancer is not about me. And it shouldn’t be. And yet it very definitely affects me. It’s like one of those slow-motion bullet strikes seen on Youtube or Mythbusters. Shock waves ripple far from the point of strike. I’m not in the middle. I’m out on one of those waves, moved and affected, but not directly damaged.
I had my turn in the middle with my tumor and radiation therapy (not cancerous) a decade ago. Those experiences may prove useful in understanding what lies ahead for my sister. Alternately, those experiences may lead me astray and merely make me more grieved than I need to be. I really can’t tell. It also sets me an interesting problem. In the middle of my radiation I found it very hard to communicate with many people because I did not have the energy to watch them grieve for me. Their grief, and desire to do something to help, was a huge elephant in the room that we could not talk around and no one had the courage to call out. So in the next few months during Nancy’s chemotherapy I shall have to do a careful dance to try to make sure that my necessary emotional processes do not cause her further fatigue during a time when energy will be in short supply.
In other news, I spent the morning in a nearly blind panic trying to simultaneously assemble a pallet to ship to Australia, stack everything we will need for the shipping day in a place where we can easily find it, and finish the last layout corrections on QFT. Fortunately Howard and Janci were here to pick me up when I collapsed into a quivering pile of overstressedness. The pallet is now on the way to Australia. The supplies are neatly stacked. Layout is not completely done, but I pick up what is hopefully the last test print at 8 am tomorrow morning.
Then I pack my kids into the car and head North for a family reunion, far away from my house and my work.