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Cancer: The FINAL Chapter

The oncology number flashed up and I almost dropped my phone trying to answer it. “Hello…hello?” I said. “Hi, Mrs. Dempsey, this is Katie from Nemours. I’m calling with test results.” “Yes, yes. Go ahead.” “Dr. Sandler reviewed Marjorie’s ultrasound and said everything looks good.” I exhaled, taking my first breath since answering the phone. “Thank you so much. Blood, urine…everything okay? You’re sure? Everything is normal? Good?” “Yes m’am,” the nurse kindly replied. “Okay, thank you so much,” I…

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The Scanxiety Dance

This blog has always been a place of comfort and my personal way of therapeutic processing. Through my eating disorder recovery, Marjorie’s early birth and of course, Marjorie’s cancer. It is only fitting that on this day, I find myself back here, trying to process the surge of emotions bubbling inside. Ever since I heard Marjorie’s oncology doctor say, “Last scan” at our appointment three weeks ago, I’ve been dreaming of writing about the relief that would come with finally…

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Ditching the BUSY Diet

Yesterday, I almost forgot to eat…almost. It was one of those work from your car, the hair salon and be the kids’ chauffeur kind of days. I couldn’t help but think of a diet I used to be a big fan of – the BUSY Diet. I grew up hearing the phrase, “I was so busy today, I forgot to eat.” This led me to connect that forgetting to eat (aka restricting) means you are busy and productivity means you…

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When Grief, Cancer and Life Collide

I knew today was going to be tough – returning to GaGa’s house for the first time. Little did I know today would put me to the ultimate grief and trauma test. Mom, Marjorie and I drove to GaGa’s home. I felt good, but nervous. I entered her home through her back door and immediately noticed the silence. The TV was not blaring Price Is Right and the wood floors didn’t click as GaGa walked to greet me. There was darkness…

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Where I Finally Found Peace In My Best Friend’s Death

I’ve always been curious about cemeteries. I think it’s human nature. They always seemed so peaceful to me, but I was so afraid of them, always shuddering at their perfect mix of death, serenity and beauty.  When I was in grade school and middle school, I spent every weekend at GaGa’s house. Literally, every weekend. One afternoon, we drove out to the cemetery to put flowers on my grandfather’s grave. GaGa told me all about Papa Jimmie and how he…

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Scheduling Grief

“Do you think you could carve out 20-minutes a day to grieve?” I looked up at my therapist after her suggestion and quickly replied, “Nope. I’ll pass, thanks though.” It has become apparent that I have gone from intense grief to completely driving the denial bus. I haven’t shed a tear or grieved in weeks because I have convinced myself that GaGa is still here. We just haven’t talked. She is here, just a phone call away. Life has just…

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Because Not Even Jesus Could Do It All

This working mom thing has been kicking my ass lately. I do my best to manage my foundation, mentoring folks in recovery, while also taking care ofmy family, pets (because that struggle is real) and the house. On the days that end in ‘y’, I feel pulled in a thousand directions, never completing one task before getting overwhelmed in another. I don’t think I’m alone in this scenario: I start an email and suddenly find myself meticulously cleaning a nail…

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2

Why I Am Quitting Normal Life

For years I’ve been waiting for a break – a time in my life where everything was good and normal. Through the work of EMDR and the loss of my best friend, I realize life will never be normal because there is no normal – at least the ‘normal’ I always pictured in my head. Maybe on some level I always knew this, but I am beginning to embrace this normal – the normal ebb and flow of life. The…

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The Day I Didn’t Want to SMASH

On Monday, for the first time since starting Southern Smash five years ago, I woke up and didn’t want to go to the Southern Smash event. I wanted to stay curled in bed with the covers over my head. I wanted to sink into a hole and never come out. But I got up and marched on, giving myself a pep talk on the way, “It will be great when you get there. You’ve got this. You love this campus…

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Six Weeks Gone

Yesterday marked six weeks since my best friend passed. It feels like yesterday and a lifetime all rolled together. She is on my mind and heart nonstop. Some days are easier than others, but the wound still runs deep. I am discovering that grief is like a silent ninja that attacks out of nowhere. Just last week, I found myself having a great day, until I strolled past a display of hydrangeas, Gaga’s favorite flower. I stopped in my tracks…

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