Friday, October 18, 2013

Andrew and his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Cancer Awareness Issues.

When you deal with cancer, all of life's normal bumps in the road become really big potholes. A few weeks ago, BC(before cancer- most recent cancer diagnosis) I was on the way back from my naturopath's office when the van stalled. I was a little PTSD already since the time I was on the H3 prior to that, I got a flat tire. (Talk about thrill ride- changing a tire on an elevated highway where people love to hug the shoulder.)  Fortunately the car restarted and I made it home.

Wednesday I had an ECHO at o' dark 45. As I made my way to Tripler, the van practically on autopilot- the engine light comes on. GDMFCSSOB. I call Phil to report the newest development. He takes care of calling and scheduling an appointment with Tony Honda for Friday. He's a very loyal customer. We've been going there since we moved here and he bought his CR-V there. We've tried other mechanics and although at times they are cheaper- long term- it always ends up more expensive. We know our maintenance guys pretty well. We are Honda people.We know that the red van has been through a lot. We got her after Kiera was born. She drove from VA to DC and  Philly multiple times. She drove us down the coast to Eglin, FL. Then back and forth to Alabama for multiple hurrevacs, trips to Disney and to see friends. Then she drove us all the way across the United States to LA- where she rode a big boat full of other cars to bring her to her retirement paradise.

Her retirement has not been all sand and sun. Well a lot of sun. And A LOT of sand- but mostly dirt and juice and goldfish while schlupping back and forth to school and Tripler. When we paid off Phil's car- we discussed trading her in. I decided it would be better to run her into the ground. It's what she loves. Yet today the ground came rushing at her , we are close to terminal velocity.

Phil drove her into the dealer, I picked him up and took him to work. I had to run some errands so off I went. I was all up in the child's clothing department at the NEX when I get the call. It's Andrew. Andrew is one of the maintenance customer service guys at the dealer. Andrew and I go way back. Other than an unfortunate incident involving wiper blades - our relationship is amicable. Until today. I answer the phone while sorting through shirts- I want to do family pictures before I look sick.

Hi Mrs. Mallory, this is Andrew. SIGHHHHH.

Hello Andrew.( Eyes roll. The van is old. I know what's coming. )

I'm really sorry, I don't have good news. 

Ok, How bad is it?

Well. It's not entirely terrible. The transmission is going. It's kind of like when the doctor comes in the room and says he has bad news....(I want to yell stop- don't do this Andrew- you are not ready to go down this path with me) but you know just like they can't tell you that you are going to live for a few months- it could be years- I can't tell you how long it will last. You have 2 vehicles right?

I think I snorted. I'm not sure. - It's ironic you used that analogy Andrew because I just found out I have grade 4 metastatic breast cancer and I need my vehicle to get me back and forth to Tripler for treatment.(yes I know grade 4 and metastatic is redundant- but obviously Andrew has the cancer awareness of a stone.)

Oh I am very sorry to hear that- but I know you are loyal customers and military and have been with us for years- I will talk to the guys in sales and make sure they get you a good deal.

Thanks Andrew- I'll be sure to let Phil know.( Maybe he can get him a good deal on wife #2 too, ass.)

SO I call Phil. And I think there were people around. With kids. And I think I may have dropped an F-bomb. Or 3 while relaying the conversation. Phil laughs. It's the same laugh that is squeaking out of me. It's the GDMFCSSOB laugh. He tells me to come get him- we'll go get the van together.

As I drive to pick him up, I am incredulous. I relive the conversation. I laugh. People really don't get it. I'm sure Andrew was doing the- it could be worse tactic- at least you're not dying. But I am. Maybe not now. Maybe not for many years- But God damn it now I'm mad. I don't want a new car. I don't want Phil to have to worry about a car payment now. I don't want to worry every flipping time I get into the old van that she's gonna die on me. I don't want to worry about a new car sitting in the garage and me being too sick to drive it.  Now I can't breathe again and I feel like the flipping car is a metaphor for my life right now and my transmission is failing. Now I'm really flipping mad at Andrew.

Phil looks at me and asks what else happened. Because surely Jen would never cry over a van transmission- it's utterly ridiculous. But Jen is tapped out. Jen's transmission is tired of trying to drive around potholes left by people whose lives aren't devastated by cancer. Jen's transmission is tired of other cars saying things like- my 92 year old car's transmission failed too- I know what you are going through. Jen knows her transmission can't be fixed. And when Phil drives us around the lemon lot to take a gander at prospects- I partially wonder what's the point? No car lives forever.

Then Phil starts chuckling. Flipping brand new shoes. Gonna trade her in with new shoes. I laugh until I cry, again- a reference to the new set of tires we had to get after the unfortunate H3 flat. I think for a moment of that damn Christmas Shoes song- where the little boy is buying shoes to send his mom to heaven in and how like pinkwashing all this month- I am going to have to endure hearing that blasted song this holiday season. That is not spirit. I have lived too many Holidays like that. My dad and brother were both diagnosed with brain tumors in November.  I don't want my kids to hear that damn song and have to answer hard questions, again. And I don't want to be bitter. I don't want to be like this. This is not living.  I worry about telling Lily. I know it's silly. She keeps telling Phil how much she does NOT want a step mom. Now she's gonna have a step van. But maybe she'll like the step van and it will be an avenue to accepting change. Phil says the van is connected to me and is devastated by the most recent development in my health. Perhaps the van is being selfless and wants to go on her own terms- maybe she knows something we do not- maybe she knows I'm gonna need a different van to get me through the many many years to come of schlupping back and forth to school. Yeah that's it.

1 comment:

  1. Jen, I so wish this wasn't happening to you! This Li Fraumeni monster has got to be stopped! I wish you lived closer so that I could give you a hug and we could flip the bird to cancer together!


Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)