Friday, September 3, 2010

Hey Cancer, Up Yours!

Guess what majorly sucks? Cancer, that's what.  I happen to really hate it.  My grandma was just diagnosed with incurable cancer of the trunk (that's not really a thing, but it's less depressing than listing all the things she has cancer of, all of which happen to be in her trunk.)  She doesn't read this blog, because she's in the 99.9999999999999999% of people who don't read it, so she doesn't know I'm writing this, and I don't usually air private family stuff online (shut up, Mitch), but like I said, 99.9+∞% of people don't read this blog, so this is just between the five of us.

I'm so sad.  Sure, she's ninety two and she's already beaten breast cancer and everybody has to die sometime of something, right?  Yeah sure, but it still stinks.  It's so hard to watch her suffer and to see her upset about the news.  Today I was sitting with her and a nurse came in to give her a shot IN HER STOMACH and she said, "Okay, think of something good," and my poor Grandma said, "I'll think about getting better."  Oh. Hello again, Broken Heart, haven't seen you in a while, how have you been?   

It is hard to watch such a feisty and sharp lady decline the way she is.  She is the person who taught all of us grandkids to play cards.  She taught us the game of Gin when we were at the tender age of about 8 years old and by 9 years old we all knew that Grandma was a hustler and don't be tempted to bet your quarters just because she lost a game, because she's just playing you and you'll be broke by the end of the weekend and when you say, "I want to get a gumball but I don't have any more quarters, Grandma," she'll say "Well, I guess you shouldn't bet all your money on cards." Of course she then went ahead and bought us just about anything we wanted because she's very generous, but still.  Tough-love lessons about gambling that have continued through the decades.  You think you can beat an old lady who's 90 years old because she pretends to be all confused and frail and has to look in the discard pile after every draw?  Think you might win some of those childhood quarters back?  Think again.  She's still a hustler.  On game number two, the money game, she won't have to look in the discard pile anymore and she'll put the pressure on by saying things like, "Are you ever going to discard?" and "NO PAWING THE DECK!" And then while you are flustered, trying to remember if she has been discarding aces or not, she will handily kick your ass and those quarters that you had to prove you had by laying them on the table will disappear before you know it.  When will you learn?

One time in college I dyed my hair red.  She's always very complimentary about how I look, telling me I look like I have lost weight even when I was at my very fattest.  But when I dyed my hair and I said, "How do you like my new color, Grandma?" she said, "You know who has red hair?  Prostitutes."   

Now she's struggling to breathe and there is nothing we can do for her except hold her hand and comb her hair, tell her funny stories, and try not to blubber.  In just a few days she has gotten so much worse.  My sister Beth said she stopped in to see her yesterday and I said, "Did you cry?" because you feel like you shouldn't cry in front of the patient but I guess until you are the one dying, you don't know if you should or not.  Maybe you should go ahead and let it out in front of the patient but what if they then think to themselves, "Really?  I have to watch you cry now, while I'm dying, of cancer?"  but if you're chipper and upbeat maybe they're thinking, "What is that little asshole smiling about, doesn't she know I'm dying?"  Anyway, Beth said she held it together pretty well until Gram said something about how long-winded the chaplain was.  (I told you she was feisty!) And then, like always she said, "Hand me my purse," and she tried to give Beth some cash and Beth was all, "Gram, you don't have to give me any money, really.  I just wanted to be with you for a while."  And then when she was leaving Beth realized she didn't have the two dollars for the parking lot so she had to go back and say, "Hey Gram, can I have two dollars?" No, she didn't do that.  But only because my uncle was there and he did have two dollars. 

The people at the hospital here in Duluth are great.  Although, with news as bad as this I think they should come in with a round of Xanax for everyone, on the house.  I'd pay extra taxes for that.


  1. I am so sorry to hear about your grandma. The reality of what it means to have older parents and grandparents really starts to come into focus from your late 30's onward. Cancer does indeed suck worse than anything else.

    It sure does sound like you and your family have a sweet and loving relationship with your grandma.

  2. So sorry, girlfriend! Hopefully they can just keep her relatively comfortable. She sounds like a really fun lady - you're so lucky to have her!

    Cancer does SUCK.

  3. This is terrible! So sorry. I will be praying for you and your family. And, you are correct, Cancer sucks!

  4. Thanks you guys. It's been tough. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Oh..I a so sorry to hear this...Grandmas are the best...and your sounds terrific...My thoughts are with you all..!

  6. Dana McKibbage WaldbilligSeptember 7, 2010 at 11:49 PM

    Your gram is too cool to have cancer, but this post still made me laugh. How do you do that?? Loved the Xanax part. You know those "BOOBIES" tshirts and bumper stickers they have for breast cancer? You need to get one that says "CANCER SUCKS"; I'd put that on my car.

  7. So sorry to hear about your grandma. I am assuming this is the grandma whose house I visited with your family back in the day...loved that big ol house in Canon Falls...she was so good to me and funny. I know where you guys get your humor! Riley has a bracelet he wears everyday that says " I heart boobis...keep a breast." Thinking of you all.

  8. So sorry to hear your Grandma's cancer has come back. I'm thinking of you at this tough time!


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