Sunday, June 1, 2008


If you want to read cheerful things, you're at the wrong blog today. For that matter, this is not all that diet/low carb/anything of the sort, although I do want to talk a little about maintaining lifestyle in the face of life problems.

I've known since my mother's cancer recurred that the likelihood of a good result was slim. Recurrence in this short a time period is nearly always a terrible sign, and her age is against her, too, and ovarian cancer is a killer. Yesterday my doctor sister decided to say what I already really knew, that she'd seen the scans and that they basically look terrible. The best hope of the chemotherapy is to buy a little time, not cure anything. I knew this already, knew it when I heard the symptoms weeks ago. In a lot of ways, I deal better with reality than with the vague "everything's going to be ok" sorts of notions. At least reality is... well, real. Not an ephemeral hope that's never going to materialize. And then you can sort of plan.

There is always hope. But you have to temper hope with realism. And you have to use the time you have wisely.

I'm just sad. Nothing else, really. There's nothing else to be. There are so many things you could say, so many ironies to it all, which is a whole different story... so many things you could say about living for the day and life and death, and so on. But I don't have the heart for any of them.

The best scenario is that somehow this will be able to bring some healing to my fractured family, and that in turn will give my mother some kind of peace. The last time my entire family was in the same place, maybe 6 years ago, my uncle was dying of pancreatic cancer. This all has a horrible familiarity. But that was the beginning of the deepest and worst fractures. So maybe this will be able to mend some of the things that happened then. Maybe. The scars run pretty deep.

And the other thing that this does is what I do every day... renew my determination to beat this weight thing. For me, for Michael. I'm determined not to let this be a reason to let the structure of diet and exercise that we've so carefully put in place disintegrate in the face of chaos. Determined not to let food be a comfort for things for which there is no real comfort, anyway. I see so many thing... well, I see my own life, and the way that I've gained weight around every crisis. I see other people say, I was doing well, and then this thing happened. And I know how easy it is to go down that slippery slope. I don't want to do that this time. Neither of us can afford that... and I want so desperately to get physically to where we need to be to have the life we want. Yes, before it's too late.


Marilyn said...

I found your blog post through a Google alert for "ovarian cancer." I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in March 2007 and have been cancer free now since September of that same year. I'm 61--don't know how old your mother is.

I was treated at the best cancer center in the country, M.D. Anderson in Houston. My doctor has some patients who have been OC-free for 12 years following TWO bouts (and therefore two rounds of chemo, at least 6 treatments per round).

Unless there's a lot more to the story that would preclude her going to another doctor and trying again, I would certainly suggest it. Sloan Kettering is #2 in the country and is closer to you. A whole lot of ovarian cancer survival depends on the talent of the team treating you.

Good luck in all your current challenges!

Nina said...

Thanks so much for commenting, Marilyn.

My mother is nearly 79, so that seems to be part of the issue. She's at Johns Hopkins, which is #3... so I'm reasonably confident that she's getting the best care possible. At the moment, it appears that there are new carcinomas in the abdominal wall and on or around her liver, plus the lymph nodes are involved, so they seem pretty convinced that all they can do is try another chemo round, which she started last week. I am hoping that this works, or at least buys time, but... well, you know the story.

I wish you the very best of luck, too... this is such a difficult and challenging thing to fight.

Marilyn said...

Keep me posted, Nina. I'll bookmark your blog.

Marilyn (

My current blog:

Roy and Hazel said...

I'm at a loss to say anything meaningful to you in the circumstances. This must be terrible for you.

I am so sorry, Nina, I'm thinking of you and wishing you all the very best and the strength you need for the time ahead.