Sunday, August 12, 2012

Gearing Up

Brian left the zoo as soon as I called to tell him that we had moved to the biopsy stage.  They were at the lions' den and didn't have a chance to see any more.  Teddy being Teddy, he told everyone later that afternoon, "That was a small zoo!"  Gotta love that kid -- he always tells it just like it is.

By 2PM we had told my immediate family of the probable cancer diagnosis.  By 7PM my mother had returned early from a business trip in Nashville, my sister and brother-in-law had flown in from Virginia, and my brother had run out of work to give me hugs and assure me that everything was going to be alright.  Brianne and Seamus (my best friend and her husband) had scooped up Teddy for an indoor mini-golf adventure so that Brian and I could process everything while Annabel napped.  They have always been our angels.

My Mom's reaction was exactly as I would have suspected -- obviously crushed and wishing she could take my place, she cried a bit, hugged me tight, made a few jokes, then got down to business.  Within hours she had talked to anyone and everyone that could be a resource for us and perhaps in record time, we were hooked into the system at Dana Farber and she had made friends with key people there.  This is one lady you want in your corner, and I've been blessed to have her in mine for 32 years.

My Dad's reaction was also as expected -- he doesn't take no for an answer.  He hugged me tighter than he ever had, crying like I'd never seen.  He grit his teeth, and with a tone intertwined with love and anger, he declared, We'll throw the world at this thing.  It has no chance.  We will fight it.  You will beat it.  We will fight, fight, fight, you got that?  I didn't feel that fire just yet, but appreciated his big comforting hug, and the fact that I had another fighter in my corner.  But just days later as I write this, I'm getting that fighter's spirit -- that attitude to scream at the intruder, "We're coming after you and you don't stand a chance."

My sister was different.  She strolled in without a tear in her eye.  She hugged me, totally sympathetic but oddly relaxed too.  When we finally got a minute alone she looked me in the eye and told that she's only upset that I'll have to go through grueling treatment, but not really upset because she knows in her heart and soul that everything is going to be fine.  For the first time since I had heard the dreaded word I felt an ounce of peace.  I made her repeat it over and over until somehow, I started to believe it.  My sister and I have always had a connection that we instinctively know things about one another before we even talk.  Rachel was 100% sure that Annabel was a girl and even called the baby "Annabel" when she was no bigger than a lima bean.  Oddly, on the day of my mammogram, Rachel hadn't gone to work.  She had no reason not to, she just had a feeling that she should work from home that day.  So when my mom called mid-afternoon, Rachel was home, packed in minutes, and on the next flight to Boston.

Then there was my brother, "Un-coe" as Annabel constantly repeats, my angel, my techie, my Googler, my doer.  He cleaned our house from top to bottom that night, hugged me, and took care of me as if I was his little sister.  He knows exactly how to make me feel better, and his girlfriend who is studying to get into medical school is going to be just the kind of doctor I'll want at my bedside.

That night, we all huddled in our house, so close and so nervous it felt as if a war was going on outside.  Even the Olympics, my ultimate pick-me-up, provided only a tentative distraction.  But somehow, amidst the utter terror we all felt inside, I felt safety and comfort that we were all gearing up for a battle we would win.


  1. Love you T. Lots of Logans and DeLeos in your corner too!! On the ready when you need us. xoxo

  2. I am so glad you decided to write this, Tara. You are a beautiful writer. May others find strength and hope in what you write as well. There's no underestimating the power of a supportive family (and I couldn't agree with them more - you are going to CRUSH this thing!). Interestingly, when my mom was sick, she went to all of these meditation classes and they told her to envision the cancer as an intruder and imagine her healthy cells defeating the cancer cells. Just like you are already doing!

  3. PS Let me know if I can do anything. We are all pulling for you!

  4. Tara, As you know this could be Lynda, Janice or Susan (that's creepy, I know!!) Well, it's Susan. Even though I have never been the texting, writing, or phone calling type, I had to leave you a message. Ever since we heard the news, we have all been praying, hoping and wishing you the best. Of course we have, we love you soooo much! You are our favorite neice-in-law (as Mark would say!) I KNOW you will fight this hard and I KNOW you will win!!
    Keep writing and I'll talk to you soon.
    Hugs, Kisses and Love,
    Susan, Mark, Michael and Rachel

  5. Your determination and strong will will prove to be successful in your fight against breast cancer. My thoughts are with during this time.