Well, just when you thought it was safe to go into the water..........

Most of you know Mom lived with us for 6 years, and died March 19 here at home in home hospice. You also know my husband Rod, has frontotemporal dementia (I do the FTD Chat on Mon and Sat and the monthly Talking FTD podcast). On my son’s 44th birthday, Aug 22, he had a colonoscopy and found out he had a mass. They took a foot of his colon on Sept 13. The pathology was Stage 3 colon cancer. He gets his chemo port Oct 14 and starts chemo Oct 21.

I am a tough cookie, and conquer challenges, but this one threw me so far off base. There is no history of cancer on either side of the family, of any type. The worst has been not knowing “the plan” for so long. Yesterday was his first oncology appointment. There is now “a plan”.  I feel some relief, but once again I am in that relief/grief state. This is lifelong, edge of the seat at every PET scan, every colonoscopy, every pathology report.

I have lived ambiguous loss for 5 years with my husband’s FTD. Now my son is on the list. I know this is different and long remission, and even cure is possible, but I sometimes think, “Wow, is this karma? Was I a serial killer in a previous life?”

Those moments pass over me like a little tsunami as I lay down to sleep. I have had a heaping helping of loss this year. I can’t seem to catch a break, literally. I had a week of respite (after a year of no respite)  cancelled when my son had the colonoscopy and we were waiting on pathology. Who could fly across country and relax at a time like that? Luckily, we have found a great day program for my husband 2 days a week (wish I could afford 5 days) so I get a little break to do everything that is easier to do alone, without distraction.

I have many things to be very thankful for, like a fantastic daughter-in-law who loves my son completely and who shares things with me that my son feels I can’t handle. I have the best, most loving, caring son in the world with a heart of gold, and I have excellent care for my husband. These are wonderful blessings. But, when my head hits the pillow at night, that tsunami catches me off guard and sweeps me into the land of the losses.

Once again, on my life journey, I am learning to keep my head above water. My purple streaks in my hair will now be alternating streaks of blue (colon cancer) and purple (dementia). Those are enough colors for me, I would like to request a break. Oh wait, my long time friend has metastatic stage 4 breast cancer and has opted for no treatment, so maybe pink bangs??

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Oh, Sharon, my heart goes out to you. I haven’t been on board for a long time, but I remember you well and tears filled my eyes reading this. I’ve known the loss of my mom, mom-in-law and best friend in quick succession and recently my younger brother. I know the overwhelming stress and total drain of caregiving. But I cannot even fathom what you are living now. \r\n\r\nYou have been such a huge support to this community. I have always been amazed at your strength and generosity in sharing. And still through this, a glimpse of your humor came though in your serial killer comment. I wish I could wave a magic wand and shower you with anything and everything that could make your life better. Know that you are loved here, and my thoughts are with you. Hugs.