Friday, December 18, 2009

A letter to 2009:

Dear 2009:

You have been the best and the worst year of my life.

I have always liked the number 9. Probably because my birthday is on the ninth day of the twelfth month of the eighty-first year (i.e. nine-squared) of the twentieth century. I had good feelings for the ninth year of the twenty-first century. I was right ... and wrong.

During this year, my mom was diagnosed with kidney cancer. If you have ever had anyone close to you diagnosed with cancer, you understand the emotional implications that means. Fortunately, she was diagnosed before symptoms showed up during an ultrasound for an unrelated screening. Unfortunately, it was still pretty advanced.

[To give you an idea of how bad kidney cancer can be, my mom's cousin's husband was also diagnosed with kidney cancer, about 3 months after my mom. Today was his wake. RIP, Chris Barrett.]

In my mom's case, she will be on chemo for a long time. The prognosis is a million times better than it was just five years ago; that's how far treatment options have come in such a short period of time. That being said the cancer is more advanced than she lets on to most people. Nevertheless, the prognosis is better than you might assume. Cancer is not necessarily the diagnosis it once was, but it is still serious in many cases. What bothers my mom is when people (well meaning, of course) start discussing my mom's treatment/health with her. She receives suggestions about her nutrition, her kidney function, her liver function, and all sorts of other functions (many of which are irrelevant to her cancer). While she appreciates the sentiment, she is an intensely personal person and prefers not to discuss her health with friends or most family. And as a highly trained intensive care nurse, she knows a lot more about organ function than most of these well-meaning people. [Yeah, my mom and I are kind of opposites that way. I will discuss anything with anyone, but she won't. But she discusses almost everything with me.] My mom is doing a great job of putting herself first (something many cancer patients are NOT good at). I'm so proud that she put herself first. For years, she put my brothers and I first. That is, in my opinion, what a good parent must often do. But when it was time, she realized it was time for her to come first, and she has done that admirably. I have watched others still continue to give to their families, jobs or communities, at a risk to their health as they continued to battle cancer. My mom basically went: "to hell with it! My health comes first now!"

So, that's the worst part of 2009.

The best part, of course (and I presume all my readers know this) is that I got married this year. Yay!

Another low-light was losing my job in September.

Another highlight ... or five: welcome to the world Charlie in February (son of friends Dave and Pam), Charlotte in mid-November (daughter of friends Jane and Matt), Madeleine in late-November (daughter of friend Sarah), Olivia in late-November (daughter of friend from elementary school and baseball Angela) and Kiara in early-December (daughter of friends Corry and Ryan). Yep, that's a lot of healthy babies in one year! (And a lot of couples getting busy in February!)

Another lowlight was having to carry two mortgages for two months. I didn't discuss this much on this blog, but days before the closing date on our house, the buyer backed out. It was completely a breach of contract by the buyer, but nevertheless it left us financially strapped as we carried two mortgages on one salary for two months. Yuck. We sold our house at the start of December, so that time is behind us!

Another highlight ... our doggy Princess! Yay!

Those are the highlights and lowlights of 2009, which admittedly is not over yet.

Here's to: an uneventful end of 2009; a healthy, happy and safe 2010; many years of life for my mom; and many years of marriage!


  1. 2009 really has been a mixed bag, hasn't it? I'm sending your momma big hugs and I'm glad to hear she's making herself a priority.

    Any fun plans for the holidays?


  2. My thoughts are with your mom and you and your family. Glad the house all got sorted for you in the end and of course your wedding looked amazing. I also raise a toast to your 2010 wishes. xx

  3. Hear! Hear! All the best to your mom. Wishing all the best for 2010!

  4. All the best to your mom as well... A very full year for you hasn't it been?... For the good and the bad, one you're sure to remember. If we don't 'speak' before that, I wish you and Wade a very merry Christmas!

  5. My thoughts are with you and your family. I know what a toll cancer takes on a family. Js father passed away from stomach cancer 5 years ago and our best friend succumbed to breast cancer in April. I wish your mom all of the best. She sounds like a fighter. Good for her!

    Oh and I feel the same way about 2009. Some people think it should have been the best year of my life since i got married but between watching my best friend die a, salary cut, and numerous illnesses (strep throat, bronchitis, H1N1 and other random colds) i'm over it! bring on 2010! :)

  6. Thanks for your kind wishes, everyone! As for plans, just the regular stuff. Wade's family usually does dinner on the 23rd, so we have a dinner tomorrow and a dinner on Saturday, plus we're visiting my grandparents on Christmas Eve, so we'll be busy enough, but not swamped!