Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Another family picnic

Brooke’s uncle, the one who drank himself into a seizure at her Grandpa’s funeral, has another subdural hemotoma and has had his activity level limited. No driving, no lifting anything over ten pounds, no power tools, and so on. Brooke’s aunt, an odd woman with no tact who married into Brooke’s complicated family, was reporting the various medical tests and procedures he’s recently endured.

“The EEG,” she told us, “showed no activity.”

Brooke, her mother, and I all bit our tongues. We weren’t surprised.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Brooke and I have been a little stressed about finances lately. There are some things that really need to be done in and to the house, and we’re not in a position to do all of them at once. Suffice it to say that when the basement rec room started flooding during a recent storm, we were not pleased. Brooke made me call my father to thank him for giving me a wet/dry vacuum for my birthday some number of years ago.

Saturday, it rained again. This time, Brooke went down during the storm to determine if she could identify the location of the leak. This had previously been very difficult, as we hadn’t seen the flooding until after the rain stopped, and there’s fake wood paneling on the walls. But on Saturday, Brooke found this.

fishbowl window

I was still in my PJs, but I threw on a rain jacket and went outside to bail out the window well. There was water pouring out of the gutter, splashing directly into the window well. Thunder crashed, the rain continued, and I went into the garage to find something to deflect the water. The first thing I saw was going to work: a storm window. Since it’s July and I live in North America, the storm windows were just hanging around the garage, waiting to be used. I leaned it over the window well, and the water stopped gushing in.

When the rain and lightning cleared, Brooke went out to clean out the gutter. However, it wasn’t clogged—there was a loose nail that made the gutter sag. She pounded it back in, and the problem seems to have been tempered for now, although there’s still a slight drip just a foot or so away from the window well. The leaking seems to have stopped, and that’s the important thing for now.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Carry me away

I’m a cystic fibrosis carrier. This is relatively new information to me. I’ve known for almost two weeks, but by now, I’ve pretty much grown accustomed to this reality.

Finding out that I’m a carrier brought up more questions than it answered. What do I do now? How do I get him tested? What do I need to know about my mutation? What are my odds, his odds, the kid’s odds? Do I terminate if Ebry has cystic fibrosis?

When you’re a pregnant cystic fibrosis carrier, the medical folks want you to make sure that the father of the baby is tested. In a case like mine, this isn’t simple. For one reason or another, my donor doesn’t have health insurance, and my insurance won’t cover him getting tested. I spent several days worrying about what to do, how to get him tested, and how to pay for it. My father has offered to cover the cost, but I’m not so sure we’ll be getting it done.

Throughout that weekend, I thought about it and calmed down more. We decided that no, we wouldn’t terminate the pregnancy if the kid has cystic fibrosis. Even if my donor is also a carrier, there’s a good chance the kid won’t have it. I know someone in his late 20s with cystic fibrosis who leads a very healthy life and plays in a band. We live near a big medical center with an accredited cystic fibrosis treatment center. This is going to be okay.

I spoke with a wonderful nurse at a cystic fibrosis care center. My goal was to get more information about how to get the donor tested and if there were any public assistance programs for such a thing. When I told her that I did not intend to terminate if the kid had cystic fibrosis, she told me not to pay out of pocket for my donor’s test. She said that the several hundred dollar test would be better off run when the baby is born and covered by my insurance. It won’t make my pregnancy high risk. My kid having cystic fibrosis won’t stop me from having a midwife for my delivery.

And to think, I had all these plans to put up a link to my Paypal account on this blog and make a tearful plea for someone to help me cover this cost.

I will say that while visiting my mother’s grave this weekend and walking through the streets of the tiny town that’s so far away, I realized that if I lived there, I would most definitely want to know. If I lived there, I might well consider moving closer to a treatment center, preparing to live my life to revolve around treating my child’s disease.

But today, now, here, everything is okay. I’m beginning to feel my uterus poking out from behind my pubic bone, and Ebry and I are doing fine.

Friday, July 01, 2005

If it weren't true, he wouldn't have said it

This guy needs some smartening up, and maybe a better attorney.

Washington (AP) - It was supposed to be a short sentencing hearing - a mere formality - until a man who threatened to blow up his van near the White House said he might do it again.

Lowell Timmers of Cedar Springs, Michigan, was supposed to have been sentenced to 34 months in prison - just under three years - after pleading guilty to making a false explosive threat.

He was arrested back in January - two days before inauguration day after parking his van across from the White House and threatening to blow it up.

But when U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan asked him on Thursday if there was any chance he'd do it again, Timmers responded, "There's always a chance of anything, Your Honor."

This gif is freely copyable. Just right click, save
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