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Posted on Oct 14, 2010 in Dear Diary | 5 comments


Yesterday, I was so excited to blog today about having gone for a run & walk with my sister and Amanda and knocking out over 3 miles. I was psyched to tell you all about running a mile outside, and then continuing to walk for an additional 2+ miles, including hills. Yesterday, I was amped to tell you about my super sore legs, and how I was considering signing up for a 5k in December, and how my brother has been teaching Daxter to roll over, and how dinner with my family was.

And then yesterday, I found out that my mom has lung cancer.

Nevermind the fact that she has never smoked a single cigarette in her life, or that she has absolutely no family history of cancer of any kind. This is just… how it is now. And all I can do to try and keep my head above water.

I’m an emotional person, I always have been. I’m the one who cries at the movies, gets angry at the television, and takes everything personally. And right now, my emotions are crashing down on me, breaking over my head in waves of incomprehension. I want to be logical about this, because it feels like the only way I can really cope. Do the research. Determine the odds. Fight. But the past 12 hours have been such an intense roller coaster of emotion, I’m still reeling from the news. Trying to absorb it. Trying to see past it.

Logically, I know that this is not the end of things. That they have caught it really early, that my mom isn’t even exhibiting physical symptoms yet. That modern medicine has come a long way and that there are plenty of people out there who have survived this. That have survived worse. That this is just the very beginning and we have good odds. And that even if we didn’t, my mom is strong, fiery and isn’t going to let this beat her down.

Emotionally, I can’t stop thinking in worst-case-scenario terms. I can’t stop imagining my wonderful, kind, amazing mother not being there on my wedding day. Or for my sister’s future kids not being able to know their grandmother. Or for her to pass on her years of experience to me when it comes time for me to become a mother. Because the reality is that even though I know we caught it early and I know that there are lots of options for us right now, we can’t escape the fact that this is Cancer we’re talking about.

I didn’t know if I should even write about this on here. I didn’t want to burden anyone, or broadcast this intensely personal thing for my family. But this is part of my life now, and I needed to get it out. So I can try to at least learn how to cope. So we can hope to move forward, together.

Edit 10/15/10: Sorry if I confused anybody yesterday with the posting, unposting, and now reposting of this post. It’s been an emotional few days.


  1. Hey Grethen: I recently found your blog (through Ali Black) and I too am really working on weight loss for the first time so your blog has been a huge encouragement to me. I just want to thank you for your vulnerability about your mom. I am praying for her and your family.
    -Lizzie Keegan

  2. So sorry to hear this news! Please tell your mom I am thinking of her and wishing for a quick and complete recovery. And you hang in there, too. Anne told me about your blog and I am proud of your journey so far!

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about this. That is absolutely shocking. My family has no history of cancer either so I always considered us relatively safe from cancer, but I guess no one is really safe. I hope your mom will make a full recovery and that she will live many more years and be able to do all these things. Keeping your family in my thoughts.

  4. *insert hang in there kitty poster*
    Sending you all my love.

  5. Gretchen,
    I’m really sorry to hear your sad news. I know how hard it is. My mom has already battled two different cancers (breast and thyroid) and my dad went through a really tough treatment for throat cancer this past year . Although it was scary and hard at times, they are both alive and doing very well today. I wish the very very best for your mom and the rest of the family. Hang in there 🙂

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