Tuesday, August 25, 2009

JENNA MORASCA: GETTING THE DIAGNOSIS

From Jenna's Comcast Blog. I find Jenna and Ethan to be courageous people.











Jenna Morasca: Getting The Diagnosis - It’s War

by Jenna Morasca
Aug 20th, 2009
Have you ever been dunked underwater unexpectedly in a pool and experienced that feeling of helplessness, fear, and panic all rolled into one?

That was the feeling I had as Ethan and I stepped into the waiting room for his first doctors appointment.

It felt like my head was covered with water, it was hard to breath, and I wondered if I would ever be able to come up for air again.


Why do waiting rooms have to be so ominous?

This particular waiting room felt like a foreign land to me. We walked in with Ethan and his full head of curly hair, looking young, and fit. I didn’t see anyone who looked close to our age bracket.

This incongruity made me even more angry and scared.

How could Ethan have possibly gotten cancer?

Instead the waiting room was filled with older patients, patients in wheelchairs, patients with protective masks on, and an overwhelming amount of bald people. Ethan was so overwhelmed by the sight that he actually needed to step outside for a moment and gather his emotions.

This was it, our confrontation with reality, this marker that proved Ethan had cancer.


This was now our world.

It’s possible that up until this point we might of been in denial. But there was no more denying anything after placing one foot in that setting.


When you walk through the hospital, you waiver between feeling bad for everyone else and feeling bad for yourself. It’s a war of the worlds – the healthy and the sick.

Again it felt like being dunked underwater and not knowing how to swim. I wondered if it possible for the brain and body to process so much information and emotion at one time? I felt like my head was going to explode.

As we entered the doctor’s office, it was like going to war. Ethan and I were ready for battle – and in retrospect, it is a battle.


You don’t treat cancer – you fight it. Cancer was the enemy. We had questions about it, about the mode of attack, how long the battle would be, and the most important question, who was going to win.

There was so much information flying around when we were talking with Ethan’s doctor that I decided to take notes. Not that I didn’t have faith in my memory it was more I was worried I would leave the appointment and suddenly realize the severity of what was going on and forget details.

I wanted to know everything. I knew I would be studying this information over and over.


Indeed, Ethan’s doctor informed of news we did not want to hear. Ethan had a rare, aggressive form of Hodgekins. Rare! Aggressive! Those words do not conjure up good thoughts. Why couldn’t he just have had a regular run of the mill Hodgekins!


Like everything Ethan does, he is always unique and different, cut from a different cloth. In this case it wasn’t a good thing.
After a mild panic attack, we formed a new game plan - a new battle plan.


We set up his first appointment for chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is an opponent in itself -simultaneously curing you and hurting you.

I almost wanted to run out of the doctors office as fast as I could when the appointment was finally over. I figured maybe if I ran I could outrun the cancer.

Being a caretaker we all know we have to put on a brave face all the time, many times that is the hardest job of a caretaker. When their are moments of dispair, grief, and sorrow the caretaker needs to keep it together. I knew the car ride home would be a somber one, and it was.

But I did my best to ensure Ethan we WERE going to beat this, this was treatable, and I would do whatever it took to win this battle. At that moment I knew my role as caretaker was going to be a one I was famiiar with, one I took with my mother.


The role of being the strong one, positive, a cheerleader of Ethan’s always seeing the light at the end of this long dark tunnel.



If I needed moments to collapse (which I would have many of) I would do those with family and friends: after all that’s what they are for.

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