When we visited my parents for the holidays in early December, they told us that some shadows had appeared on a chest X-ray Mom had gotten during a routine physical. It was too early to confirm just yet, but the probable diagnosis was lung cancer. I flew to California from their house after that visit for a week of work there, and during that week, Mom and Dad confirmed inoperable non-small-cell (the “good” kind) cancer in the lungs, around the bronchi. They engaged a world-class oncologist to build a team to fight the disease, but things were still a little up in the air, and more thorough testing needed to be done. The following Thursday (I was back home), Mom and Dad called to let me know that the cancer had spread to her adrenal glands and one of her hips (she had been hobbled by a case of sciatica that it turns out is actually the cancer).

Friday morning at about 11:30, I was on the way home from Home Depot after buying a bunch of stuff to help spiff up our new house over the holiday break when they called again and suggested that I pull over. The cancer had also spread to Mom’s brain, and they were preparing to admit Mom for brain surgery the following morning to remove the tumor. From zero to brain surgery in two weeks is pretty fast accelleration. Mom and Dad have been dealing with this for just a few more weeks than I’ve been in the loop.

Naturally, I dropped everything and went to Charlotte for the weekend. Mom’s surgery was mostly successful, though the surgeon had to leave some cancer intact around a blood vessel he didn’t want to cut near. They’ll attack that with radiation, which was on the agenda anyway. I stayed through Christmas Eve to try to give Dad some support, and I drove back late in time to get home and spend Christmas with my nuclear family (funny how the nucleus of your family shifts when you partner up and have kids). Mom was able to go home Christmas afternoon, and they’ll kick off radiation and chemotherapy starting in the new year.

No need for commiseration or comment of any kind; I deal with this sort of thing in my own quiet, private way. I’m just posting this to capture the timeline for my future reference.

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