Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Hate Something Bad

Yesterday Niobe was posting about the phrase "nothing bad has happened yet." (NBHHY) I'd only recently come across this phrase/philosophy. I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I could see how it is an attempt to just live in the moment. Yet the fear and implication of impending disaster was disheartening as well. I decided to mull it over a bit before commenting.

I'd decided that I would finally call my best friend M to share our news of the babies. I was excited to pick her brain, as she has (non-ART) twin girls who are just turning one this month, as well as an older son. I was looking forward to living in the moment for a change, and talking about minivans and strollers and breastfeeding.

Before I knew it the world was looking very different. After briefly saying hello and both of us apologizing for being out of touch since the fall, the day simply shattered. My friend, MW, who has felt more of a sister to me than my own, began to fill me in the last couple weeks in their lives. Her husband, MM, had been having some health issues lately. I knew that MM had a history of atrial fibrillation, so was concerned he was having troubles again. Then she reveals he has had a colonoscopy and a rectal mass was found. I'm surprised, but not yet shocked. Then she calmly goes on to say the biopsy was suspicious for malignancy. Again, I'm upset but still hopeful for a good outcome. But the last shoe drops. A CT scan shows metastatic lesions in the liver, and possibly lung. I am speechless. This is something bad. Very bad.

This is the couple we have asked to be our son's legal guardians, despite many siblings in both our families. This is the couple who helped us get an apartment next to them when we had our big rottweiler. This is the couple who cooked dinner with us many nights a week for 2 years. This is the couple that we drank wine with and played cards until late in the night and then stumbled across the hall to our own beds. This is the couple who held my hand while we tried for our first child. MW was present and held my hand at the birth of that child. This is the couple we have considered relocating to be closer to. These are our friends.

MM is 35-years-old. Rectal adenocarcinoma with metastatic lesions has a 5-year survival rate of 10%. That means 90% of patients are dead in 5 years. He will likely need multiple surgeries, extensive chemo and possibly other adjuctive therapies. Their son is 4 and the twin girl are not even a year old yet. My heart is breaking.

I feel horribly frustrated that we live a day's drive away. Here I am, not working. I could do so much for them, if only we were closer. I know there are things I can (and will) do. Sending care packages, messages, listening. But I so wish there was more.

Right now, they don't even have a complete diagnosis yet. They will to talk with many doctors before settling on the plan. I still have hope. He is young, strong, otherwise healthy and motivated. But their normal life was difficult and harried. This future is going to become unbearable.

I welcome suggestions of ways to help. Since it seems that some form of chemo will be inevitable, I'd like to knit MM a cozy hat. I know many of you are knitters. Can you help me? I need a simple pattern, as I am a beginner. I've never knitted in the round, but hear it's easy. Then I need recommendations for some super soft yarn. Most of the projects I've done use cheapy stuff from the craft store. I want something luxurious.

I am not religious. But I can't help but ask for prayers and good thoughts for my wonderful friends.


Thanks for the suggestion to head to TEAM WHY MOMMY. I've actually been to Toddler Planet before, and was planning on heading back for advice. Thanks for the reminder.


Michelle said...

Oh, Amy, I'm so sorry to hear about MW! What a scary time for him and his family. They'll be in my prayers, for sure.

I've got to send you over to WhyMommy at Toddler Planet for ideas on how to help. She's compiled a great list of things that were done for her during her cancer fight, and there are even more ideas in the comments.

As for knitting a hat, check in your area for a knitting store -- they will carry the super soft, luxurious yarns (maybe cashmere, oooh! or just as super-soft pima cotton) and all the needles, and may even have classes you could take. For some quick getting started help, try - they have videos that really help, especially if you're a visual learner. For what it's worth, I went to a friend's house for a knitting lesson, and two days later bought the yarn and needles to make a baby hat for a friend in Florida, and finished it two or three days after that!

Shelby said...

I'm SO sorry to hear about your friend! What awful news! It's always so hard being away from friends when something like that happens. Definitely care packages, and maybe some gift certificates to places that deliver food or do take out. One less thing to worry about is what's for dinner.

As for knitting advice, I've got loads of that! Knitting in the round is very easy, you just need a longer circular needle or double pointed needles. Any LYS will show you how to get started. As far as where to get the luxurious yarns, here are a few suggestions in the area. Elmwood Yarn Shop is on Hertle Ave, and they have a great selection of yarns of many different fibers, and they are all amazing. I've had great luck wtih customer service there too. There's a few more shops in Williamsville, on Main STreet. Have Ewe Any Wool (just about a mile up from where Main hits Bailey- going to Williamsville- not the city...I can never remember what direction that is), and Karma Knitting (again on Main Street, past the first shop, and about a mile past where the 290 exits/entrance is. I'm not sure where in the area you live, but if those aren't convenient for you, let me know the town and I'll find one closer. They all have great yarn. As for a simple pattern, you can check out, they have some great ones, that may be more complicated, but it is easy to deconstruct it and just change the pattern to have simple stockinette and a 2x2 rib around it. Again, let me know if you need help figuring that out. I'd be happy to.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad. I hope for nothing but the best outcome from all of this. It is scary to deal with, especially with someone so young and with such small children.

Rebecca said...

This is horrible. I don't knit, so I can't give any advice on that, but my step-mother did pass from cancer last December...the only advice I have is to just be there for your friend...the packages, letters, notes, anything to let her know you're there will be so appreciated and never forgotten. It is hard to feel so helpless, but your little tokens will do more for them than anything. Good luck with your hat...I'm jealous that you can even attempt a hat!

Sticky Bun said...

Oh my g-d, I am SO sorry to hear about your friend. I can't imagine the fear and the shock and I really hope that his otherwise good health and strength, and the strength of their family and your friendship, help them pull through.

Lori said...

How difficult for all involved.

I will do some energy work on your friend MM tonight. (By remote.)

I am sorry your friends are facing this. And, by extension, that you are, too.

How about sending them some meals via Schwan's or something? (

Rachel said...

I am so sorry about your friends. That is such difficult and terrible news, and something that must make them feel so out of control. I will think good thoughts for them.

If you'd like knitting advice, I'd be happy to give any advice I can.

Here is a website with lots of hat patterns:

Katie said...

I am so sorry to hear of this for your friend and her family.

What about sending ready made meals through the mail? Some friends did that for us around the time of our D&C. It really helps sometimes not to have to worry about the mundane things like preparing food.

I don't know how spendy it was, but they used

The food was really good.

LAS said...

I'm so so sorry to hear about your friends. It breaks my heart. I've lurked here now and again (found you through Niobe I think). I'm not sure if I've commented before. Anyway - I will pray for him and their family. I'm a breast cancer survivor - I was diagnosed at 29 and it's only been just over a year since I survived. It's all very fresh in my mind and painful and scary. I wish I could think of what to tell you to do - of what they would need. But I feel at a loss for ideas. I do believe in miracles though - I really do and I'll be praying.

Magpie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend - all best to you and to them.

slouching mom said...

Oh, God. That's awful. I'm so sorry.

WhyMommy's site would be helpful. Also, maybe, flutter's. Do you know flutter? She knits and can be found here. If you don't know her, just tell her I sent you.

chicklet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chicklet said...

I'm with Lori on the meals thing. There's a lot of places now that do prep of meals and they're not like packaged crap at all. Super helpful for them, and a nice thought.

Ms Heathen said...

I came over to say thank you very much for your supportive and helpful comments on my own blog, but now I am so terribly sorry to hear about your friend - that really is such devastating news.

It must be so difficult for you being so far away from them. But I'm sure it helps them knowing that you are there for them, even if it is at the end of the phone, rather than in person - never underestimate how much you can do simply by listening.

LIW (Lady In Waiting) said...

That is SO horrible. Please tell them that I am asking the universe for some good news......

My father used to tell me all the time, so much so that it made me crazy, but now I understand, "LIW, don't ever take good health for granted." Unfortunately, I am starting to see why....


Laura said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friends. I will keep them in my prayers. They are lucky to have such a good friend.