So, it’s a couple of days into my news and we have not yet told our kids – both in their 20’s and who are at the moment blissfully unaware. But other family members know as do many friends, and we decide we better break the news before they hear it from someone else. Alan, my husband, calls them on the phone separately to ask them to come to dinner that night. He is terrible at hiding his feelings and it takes my daughter, Sara, less than 5 seconds to know something is wrong. He breaks down and tells her. Her reaction – sobbing, not believing, and then she springs into action. She comes to the house. She throws away any food she thinks “feeds” cancer – all white carbs, anything with sugar, the butter with canola oil, and who knows what else. She goes to Plum Market. like Whole Foods but local, and buys flax seed, organic oatmeal, flax crackers, carrot juice, green juice, blueberries, and other high antioxidant foods. And she makes me a “Mom Diet,” printed out and sitting on my kitchen counter with lists of the foods to avoid and the foods to eat. This is Sara’s way to have some control over the uncontrollable. Every time I look at the sheets titled “Mom Diet” it makes me misty eyed.
My son, Alex, who hears the news at work, runs to the bathroom and throws up, tells his boss he is sick, and goes to the condo where he lives to clean like crazy. He then comes home. Like my husband, he internalizes his stress – he is stiff as a rod, and so stressed I can feel it coming out of him. He helps Sara with the Mom Diet, but he is keeping it in. I can see it in his eyes. Sara goes upstairs to cry in her old bathroom when she takes a break from cleaning out food and doing the Mom Diet, Alex paces the house and cannot sit still. I feel for both of them, and am so touched, but at the same time I am also so anxiety ridden myself I have no ability to project a positive attitude to them. They hug me at every turn. Alex keeps touching my back. They just do not know what to do. They want this to be a dream from which they awake only to find out none of it is true.
At the same time, my husband, Alan, is a wreck too, and frankly looks like he is one step away from having a heart attack. While I am worried about him and try to comfort him, as long as my stress and anxiety are at a high level, he cannot lessen his stress and neither can my kids. That is why on Sunday when I finally break this cycle, my first words to Alan are that I will beat this beast, and then I call my kids separately and tell each of them to listen to my voice, which for the first time since I heard the news, sounds normal, sounds good and no longer is filled with anxiety. I can almost hear the stress leaving their bodies, or at least a lot of it, but I can still see in their eyes that they worry about me all the time.
I then follow as much of the Mom Diet as I can. I drink the green juice (not so good), I drink the carrot juice (really not so good even though I love carrots, but juice, not so much) and I continue to use the flax seed, the oatmeal, eat blueberries every day, avoid white carbs, avoid most sugar (except for the occasional jelly bean or two). I even for a time period give up my morning coffee (although that lasts only for 10 days and then I go back to one small one in the morning.)
My kids have regularly been coming over to have dinner with us and to hug me, or just come over to hang out. My husband never stops. And our dogs, Callie and Marco Polo, that first week especially, seemed to sense I needed comforting. They did not leave me all week, and Marco Polo cuddled even more than his usual cuddly self, which is hard to do. Love is all I need……..