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November 24, 2008


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I am so, so sorry to hear this terrible news. I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts every day.


I am so sorry. So very sorry. I hope the prognosis is hopeful. I will be thinking of you.

Jenn (dish)

Karen--I am so sorry to hear about your mom's cancer. I'm honestly not trying to be an assvice machine, but her initial workup sounds similar to my cousin's. They told him he had a year or less to live, and he's still with us two years later. He had the surgery to remove the bulk of the kidney tumor and has been through a number of clinical trials. The tumors are not totally gone, but they are small enough that he is living each day in a pretty normal fashion. He had some spots in the lungs that no one ever biopsied, but they were assumed to be cancer. Each case is different, I know.

If you want to find out anything more about his particulars, get some help with detailed information (I work at a med school and have good connections), or just vent a lot, drop me an e-mail and I'll send you my phone #.

Sending hugs in the meantime.

Jessica (from It's my life...)

I'm so very sorry to hear this.
I wish I had something helpful to say or do.
Sending your hugs from far away.


Oh, Karen. I am so very sorry.


Oh, Karen - I am so, so sorry. I hope that there's good news coming, and in the meanwhile, I hope that Random and everyone else around you is able to give you the support you need. Your deep love for your parents has been evident whenever you talk about them, and I know that all of us who have gotten to 'know' them through you are sending our best thoughts their way. I know I am.


Oh, babe. Oh, I am so very sorry. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.


Oh Karen. I'm so sorry. All I can say that I've been in a very similar place, needing to keep the kids safe and secure while their dad was facing his own terrifying health scare. It's hard. The only suggestion that I have is to ask for help frm the very beginnning, lean on others, on friends, on Random, on everyone. That is the advice that most helped me through.


This is going to sound like assvice, but take it with the kindness and compassion with which it is meant:

Just keep breathing.

My mom died very, very suddenly last January 28th. She fell. FELL. On the sidewalk. An accident. And that was it. I was then 27, with a then-2-y.o. and a 7 month old. My mother was my sidekick, my mentor, my dearest friend in so many ways. Long, long story short, we lost her. I was (am) devastated. I have learned this, though, through the hardest year of my life: just keep breathing. WIth two little ones and a loving partner by my side, I had to just get up, keep moving, breath, walk, live as I could. Doing it for them, for her, as much as I could (and some days, it wasn't too much). Just do what you do, as you can do it....keep moving. You'll do it, because you are fiercely loving mother and dedicated to your family.

I am so sorry. I will think of you and pray for you and yours.


Oh honey! You are all in my thoughts and prayers.


I am so sorry. I went through a similar experience with my dad a couple of years ago (stage 3b). My mom and sister were basket cases and my kids were only 2 and 4 so I know what it feels like to have to hold everything together when everyone else is falling apart. It is terrifying.

My dad's doctors feared his cancer had metastasized to his lungs too, fortunately a biopsy showed they were wrong. My dad had his kidney removed, and he is cancer-free today. So I hope the prognosis is better than it seems for your mom as well.

It's a long scary road regardless, and I know you don't know me (I've read your blog since long before you met MP) but if you need to talk to someone who's been there please don't hesitate to email me. I don't know where your parents live but if you want me to see if my dad's doctor has any recommendations for their area I can do that. Like Jenn I work at a medical university so I can make some calls here too.

Sending hugs and hoping for good news.


I have no advice. I'm just so sorry and will pray.


{{{Karen}}} I am sorry your family is going through this.


I'm so sorry. I'll be thinking of you and your family. I don't know how you do it, but you just do. I think one of the most miraculous things about kids is how much they live in the moment and drag you along, kicking and screaming sometimes, to do the same thing. Ultimately, it is such a blessing to have something which forces you to do that every day.

I'll be thinking of you and your mom and sending healing thoughts your way.


I'm so sorry. I'll be thinking of you and your family. I don't know how you do it, but you just do. I think one of the most miraculous things about kids is how much they live in the moment and drag you along, kicking and screaming sometimes, to do the same thing. Ultimately, it is such a blessing to have something which forces you to do that every day.

I'll be thinking of you and your mom and sending healing thoughts your way.


I am so, so very sorry. What a horrible thing to have happen. I wish I had answers for you. I hope you can be strong and that Random can support you in any way possible.


Karen - I'm so sorry to read this news. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. What a horrible thing to go through, but it's doubly hard at the holidays. Hug your girls close. I hope that they will bring you some comfort at this difficult time.


Losing my mother was one of the hardest times I've faced as a parent. Helping my son grieve for his beloved grandmother while I was falling apart was so hard. We're facing our first holidays without her, and again, I'm hoping for enough strength for the both of us.

I wish, your family, and especially your mother peace, wisdom, and strength.



Another loyal reader sending you the best possible juju I can muster. Prayers and good wishes are winging your way from Minnesota.


Wow, I am continually amazed at the amount of support and information people get from their readers. Makes me think I need a blog. I will chime in with keep breathing, you can do this, and we love you.


I know how terrified you must feel right now. Wishing you and your family the best.


karen, i'm so sorry to hear your mom is sick. i'm thinking of you and your family.

Rachel Henry

So sorry to hear this news. I know what you mean about trying to hold it together for the kids in the face of terrible news. My brother died suddenly in 2002 (suddenly == code word for suicide) and the shock of it all floored me. I did a lot of shower crying -- the only place I get a little space for me with a 3yo and a 5mo. Personally I found the routine (aka daily grind) of childcare soothing. It helped chain one day to the next until things felt a little more normal again. I was honest/simple in explaining to my 3yo what was going on -- it helped that he knew "mom is upset" for a reason that wasn't about him.

I really hope that "all" you have to deal with is a healthcare crisis with your mom. Wishing you resilience and health.

another karen

thinking of you and your family....

(another) karen

Woody's Girl

Many prayers headed your way, that they are able to manage the cancer - surgery? chemo? radiation? - in a way that gives your mom more quality time. And dare I say, perhaps even remission?

I can only imagine how overwhelmed you must feel right now. I hope your father is able to get some strength from others, too. Bless his heart...


My thoughts are with you.


i am so sorry to hear about your mom. i am wishing the best for you and your family.

Caustic Cupcake

I'm so sorry. I hope you can find the strength to make it through this awful time.


So sorry to hear this news.


I am so very sorry to hear about your mom and I will pray for her and your family. Please update us when you can.


Karen, I am so very, very sorry! I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers. I just wanted to say that it's okay to break down in front of your kids. They need to know it's okay to express emotion and deal with things.

However, I'll also pass on the tidbit that when I was dealing with my Mom dying of cancer (13 years ago...my senior year in high school) I would bawl my eyes out in my car when I was driving practically anywhere. A car can be a wonderful place to get frustrations out.{Hugs}


Karen, I am so sorry. For what little it helps...


Robin from Israel

I'm so sorry Karen. I hope that the prognosis is not as difficult as you fear. I'll be holding you and your family close in my thoughts.


I'm so sorry Karen. My thoughts are with your family.


Oh Karen! My (just turned 5) daughter's introduction to serious illness, and eventually, death was mercifully gentle -- it was *my* grandfather, not one of *her* grandparents. But I can say that at the end I told her stories about my grandfather, and cried, and she absorbed it and still talks about it several months later. Honestly, I believe your kids will amaze you with their resilience, and I'm with Bethany -- it's OK to show emotion in front of them. They will understand something is terribly wrong even if you don't, and it's better to be open about it.

I've not faced this yet with one of my own parents, but I would be feeling the same -- I'm very close to them too. In the meantime, y'all hold each other up by sort of leaning inward as a group, OK? You can't hold everyone up all by yourself, that's too much to ask.

I so hope the prognosis is better than the docs think. Hugs to you.


I'm so sorry, I'm thinking of you, your Mum and your family and hoping for good news.


Oh no! Karen I can't even imagine being in that position. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. I wish I had some words of wisdom for handling this but can only send my thoughts and prayers. You and your family are in my heart.


being a grown up absolutely sucks sometimes. just do the best you can. hugs and prayers to you and your family.


I'm so sorry. I have no assvice to offer but will be keeping all of you in my thoughts.


I'm so, so, sorry, Karen. I hope the prognosis is better than you fear it is.


I'm so, so, sorry, Karen. I hope the prognosis is better than you fear it is.


Oh Karen, I am so very sorry. Hugs to you and your family.


Oh Karen, I am sorry. So very sorry. I will keep you (all) in my thoughts and prayers!


I will keep your mother in my prayers and the rest of your family as well. Many hugs.


Hi Karen, I am very sorry to hear this too-thinking of you all and hoping for the best. Take care.


Short and true answer? You don't. I've been down this road before (ironically enough also due to kidney cancer.) We found out my father was dying when my son was a month old. I went from "new mother everyone doted on" to "person responsible for everything" in the blink of one MRI. The truely sucky thing? I have no advise to give. Do what you need to do, take it one day at a time and hope/trust yourself enough to make the right decisions. We're pulling for you.


Karen that is such a terrible stress and worry for your family. I don't have any helpful words, but am sending as much love and internety support as I can.


Karen, I am so sorry. This is terrible news, just terrible.

As for holding up your children's worlds... What worked for us was actually coming clean-- telling our daughter that a horrible thing has happened, and it is making us feel very sad. But that it's ok to feel so sad, and to cry (my daughter was startled to see me cry-- she didn't remember seeing that before), and to talk about it. In our case it was a death, and it was affecting her immediately (her baby brother died inside of me, and so was stillborn), but I think the approach would still be the same for your situation.

MP is old enough to get that something isn't right, and not letting her know that grandma is sick and it is making you worry and be very sad might allow her room to come up with wild ideas of her own as to why her parents are so upset. Obviously C is too young for explanations, but I think it's ok to cut yourself some slack in the entertaining the baby category-- if her basic needs are met, it's ok to let her play in her crib for a bit while you go into your bedroom and cry buckets, or make phone calls, or whatever you need to do just then.

I am so sorry...


Oh, Karen, I'm so sorry. If I were there, I'd hug you. There are no easy answers. I think all you can hope to do is take care of the day-to-day things - your house, job, kids -- and give your parents your love. I know you are feeling like you have to be the strong one, but it's OK if you don't feel strong. I hope and pray that your mother has a successful recovery.


Thinking of you Karen and sending out the best possible wishes to you and Random and the girls and your mom and dad and brother. Big hugs from my corner of the internet.

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