Sitting at the computer reading and drinking coffee this morning, my phone rang at 9:30.

Woman on the other end:  “Good morning. Is this a good time? ”

Me gut-punched, recognizing the caller ID:  “I guess.”

I knew why she was calling.

“We have the results of your biopsy from Monday.  Poorly differentiated carcinoma.**  Thoracic will be calling you to set up an appointment.”

Me shaking: “Thank you for calling.”

What an awful job this poor woman has.

I can’t breathe.

I hung up the phone, grabbed my keys and left the house.

Driving down a familiar street, I saw a woman playing Frisbee with her dog in their front yard. Joyous and free, running leaping into the air.  I am reminded of the Mary Oliver poem about the joy of dogs without leashes.

At yoga class, we did lots of open-up-the-chest-and-rib-spaces movements. I swear every time the instructor said,  “Breathe in, open up the lobes of the lungs,” my poorly differentiated carcinoma lit up like ET’s heartlight, eager, defiant, and ready to differentiate itself.  But I worried that by breathing so deeply was I providing nourishment so the little bastard could get bigger and stronger?

In the white space between the lines of this post is a storm.  Can you feel it?   Probably not.  It is huge and dark – a violent, roiling, churning monster waiting to take me under.   I am alone and frightened in the vast, deep water.   But I am an excellent swimmer.  I will ride out the waves and swim where I can, as long as I can, until I am too tired to go on.

I will pick up my grandson from school, we will have a snack of Newman’s Own Cookies and play ‘Mater and Lightning McQueen with his Cars play set.  I get to be ‘Mater.  I love being ‘Mater.

I will breathe. I promise.

** poorly differentiated carcinoma

Two Things

  • every single one of Mary Oliver’s poems
  • birthday cakes with white icing

19 responses to “Storm”

  1. Truly powerful and quite emotional piece of writing. I couldn’t even blink.


    1. Thank you. I’m not a writer, so I guess it was emotion.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been there. It’s a roller coaster from start to finish. For me at 12 years out, I don’t feel finished although I’ve been clear for years. One good thing is that the treatment has improved substantially. More options and more humane (if I can say that). I wish you the best on your journey and keep us posted..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kate. That means so much. I was reluctant to write this post, but I’m glad I did. I hope we can email and you’ll share your journey with me, as much as you’re willing.


      1. Absolutely! You can email me at
        Something I learned along the way was that sharing with someone who has/is going through it, makes you feel more normal as the emotions take a ride.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I will absolutely be emailing you. Thanks for the offer.


      3. Consider reading the cancer series from the blogsite Ruth Pennepacker did several stories on her experiences that I wish I had read when I was going through it. Ruth is a humorous author but her personal stories were touching.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Of course, you’re a writer. Are you kidding? You wrote this and it was amazing. Really amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, coming from you, that’s quite a compliment. I know none of it tied together, just kind of stream-of-consciousness right after I got the news.


      1. It tied together beautifully. Hope you are ok.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I hope you’re swimming with a waterproof pen, so this beautiful writing will go on and on. Inspiration, that’s what you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, I haven’t cried yet, but you might have just changed that. So glad to have you in my corner.


  5. I got a call like that. I can feel the storm. {{{hugs}}}

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my. Is everything okay?


      1. Yes, all fine. Guess they were just preparing me for the worst case scenario. You’re right, it must be awful to have that job.


  6. After I wrote it must be awful to have that job I wondered how often she gets to say, “We didn’t find any cancer.”

    So happy to hear you’re fine.


  7. There is no doubt, I feel the storm between the white lines. I feel with you and I wish you all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much.


  8. I am moved to tears at your apt description of yoga and feeling as if you’re nurturing the CANCER. I have to stop and think, and then I remember, I have lung cancer. And I think of “Alien” with Sigourney Weaver…I’m harboring a MONSTER!!! And I don’t know if it will consume me or destroy me…
    Your poem was beautiful, lyrical, and heartbreaking . You give me strength 🙏🏼. We can beat CANCER!!

    Liked by 1 person

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About Me

This blog started out as letters to my dog maizie but devolved into meaningless observations from a half-deaf cancer alumnus introvert navigating the noise you other people make.


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