Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Off to Work

Every time that Annabel hears a train in the distance or sees one up close, she looks at me as if she has some exciting breaking news. Her eyebrows raise and she declares, so proud (of herself) and so excited, “Mama’s choo choo!” I haven’t ridden the train to work since the day before my mammogram, but I love that she still associates that noise with my normal schedule. I hope to be back on that schedule before she stops making the connection.

Today, I won’t ride the train into work, even though part of me desperately wishes that I could. I won’t catch up with my colleagues about their Labor Day weekends or remark that the dreary weather is perfect for the back-to-work mood. I won’t even get to use my Viga card for my favorite lunch salad, (I’m just one click away from $5 off my order!). But today, in my mind, I’ll start my new job. It's a temporary job, for sure, with a single goal -- to beat cancer.

At 7:30AM (when I usually leave for work), my Mom will pick me up and we will head into Dana Farber for two (possibly three) appointments. First, I’ll see the nutritionist. I am really curious what she has to say. For a week, I have been following this diet that a fabulous colleague of mine sent to me. (Actually, Alan sent me a whole book about nutrition for cancer patients but I am still too scared to read much about cancer so I flipped through and found the one page color chart in the middle and ripped it out. I have been religiously following that chart, which categorizes several foods from “Best” to “Worst.”) My new effort basically means I’ve been snacking on cauliflower where I used to eat the left over munchkins that typically linger around our house during the summer. (Donuts, one of my most beloved treats, happen to be in the “Worst” category. Darn it, I'll miss you, Boston Cremes.) It means that Brian has had his cooking creativity limited largely to brown rice and things that are green (although, no surprise, he’s still aced every meal). And it means that last night, I achieved the impossible – Brian and I took the kids to Crescent Ridge (or as Teddy says, “Question Ridge”) and I didn’t get an ice cream. (OK, I did sneak a few scoops of Annabel’s vanilla with rainbow sprinkles once it got all soupy and extra delicious, but I didn’t order my own Moose Tracks.) Anyways, I hate when people tell me about their diets (sorry!), so I’ll spare you any more details about this one, but if today’s appointment with the nutritionist proves interesting, I’ll write more about it later.

Next, I meet with the psychiatrist at Dana Farber, that poor guy whose job today includes trying to dial my brain down a few crazy notches. That will be interesting, because I don’t even know where he’ll begin.

After that, I may meet with Dr. Bunnell. I emailed him a message over the weekend because I have been having pain in my breast that, no surprise, has me terrified (and I wrote him just that). It was a big step for me to even send him an email because I’m so scared to talk to anyone who could tell me any bad news. But I know I need to be able to talk about these things, even if it means more tests and possibly, something I don’t want to hear.  So I hit send, and am back to dreading the sound of my phone's ring tone.

When my workday is done at Dana Farber, I’ll commute home with my Mom. We’ll chat like we usually do when we commute home together (since she works in Winchester, at least once a week, she drives through the city to pick me up and we drive home together -- two wild ladies in the HOV lane). Brian will make dinner, like he does every night, we’ll give our kids their baths, and as the night winds down, Teddy will set up his Baseball or Soccer Guys while Annabel tries to destroy his line-ups. Then I’ll sneak out to my kids’ school for the beginning of the year “community meeting.” It all sounds pretty normal when I think of it that way.

Yep, I’m just going to work, like I do every Monday (or every Tuesday that feels like a Monday). I’ll try my best while I’m there, enjoy the good people around me, and head home when I’m done. And I’ll treat this job like the most important one I’ve ever had. Because it is, and I’m ready for it.  So I better go take a shower before the kids wake up.


  1. Hoping today's appointments help provide some reassurance and comfort for you. Thinking of you. xoxo

  2. Tara-

    I've been reading your blog for a couple weeks now, and I am amazed (but not surprised) at the way you've handled your diagnosis with such strength and grace. I haven't left a comment so far (I was waiting until I sent you a note!), but I wanted to wish you luck on all of your visits in the coming weeks. I am blessed to have had you as a teacher, a fellow lawyer, and a friend.

    - Jessica Pezzone