All right then...

You know what's funny? When you lose sight of who you are.

Example: Most of you don't know who I am, don't care to know either. Which is cool, lol. I'm just a guy in Ohio. The interesting part is when you look at my last post: October 30, 2003.

My grandfather told me once, and it's been used many times and in many ways, that if you ever don't recognize that guy staring back at you in the mirror, that you should retrace your steps back to the last place you did recognize that face.

It's there that you really begin to know who you are.

It's true. And I've done that. I found this web site again that I hadn't posted on, let alone viewed in over three years. Isn't it amazing how time flies?

In that span of three years, I've let go of the past (if you ever read any of my other WU's, you'll know what I'm talking about). I've met a wonderful woman, the woman of my dreams. I've lost almost 150 pounds and I feel great. I'm in school and loving it. I've lost old friends, but not forgotten. I've been on one side of this country to the other. I've watched the sun come up on the Atlantic and I've watched it set over the Pacific. I've forgiven everyone in my past. I had to, to move on. I feel like me again.

Yes, I have my down days, but who doesn't? I've beaten depression. I've beat being fat and miserable. I've beaten the loneliness.

I've changed myself.

It just took a journey down a path, a path called life and all of it's experiences, but it was the words of a single man. A man with short white hair and deep blue eyes that held infinite wisdom who's time with me was too short.

I finally recognize that man in the mirror now.

That man is me.

And he is always smiling back...

I discovered a few days ago a truth which I had long suspected but feared to verify: I'm not ready for this.

0700 telephone call; my mom is in the hospital, trouble breathing, not much else known. I was asked not to travel yet since they didn't know what hospital she would be in. She lives in a lightly-populated state, and her regional health care center wanted to transfer her to her primary care facility - the 'big hospital' across the state where her records and current physicians are.

"What happened?"

"She was having trouble breathing. She's got fluid in her chest, and they're going to drain it. That's all we know."

I went through the day in denial.

When I couldn't find either of them at home or at the number I'd been given, I called her main hospital, but they didn't have a record of her. I decided to wait.

Later, I got a call from her directly. "Your father's gone to the motel. He needed to sleep. I'm at <the big hospital>. They finished testing the fluid. They found-" her voice cracked into a sob, which is not ever supposed to happen to her but she recovered - "they found cells that match the cancer I had removed a couple of years ago. Which means it's probably in my lung."

It was 2200 at that point; and I was a good 225 miles from the hospital. "Okay Mom. Hold on. I'm getting in the car now."

Departed 2245 after garaging the convertible in case of rain, getting home, packing; arrived at 0130 having managed to receive only one admonitory flash of high-beams from a parked Statie.

"Hi Mom."

She was already starting into suppressive denial. I'd missed the window of real emotion. But that wasn't why I was there.

It's several days later now. They've done CT scans, and found a lesion on her right lung. They're testing it to make sure it's the same cancer from before rather than a primary lung cancer, which would mandate fairly different treatment. I'm not sure how to feel. The lung cancers are worse, but the recurrence of the UTCA has a fairly low response rate to chemotherapy and is in a place that makes surgical intervention difficult - whereas the lung cancers likely could be removed from this spot, I'm told. I don't know why. I presume it involves how deep in the tissue they're likely to have rooted. Of course, that would mean a whole new cancer.

So I'm back home for a couple of days to deal with obligations I backstacked. When they let her go home (which they likely will in a day or two, since she's not in any pain and draining the fluid perked her right up) I'll go back to be with her at home. She's got her five cats, my dad, and a coterie of friends in the village to back her up until then; she's declared that she's "of a mind to fight this" and started researching oncology centers and protocols. While part of me is admiring her and applauding, part of me is silently railing at her for walling off the emotional response to the situation which, I feel, the family desperately is going to need to experience all around in order for the whole thing to become real quickly enough for us to be able to support her.

But it's her life, and this is how she's handling it. I don't know what to do. Maybe I only want that for my own reasons, and that's not good enough.

One thing is for sure. I'm not ready. Can you ever be?

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