May 23, 2011
I’m still reeling from the news I got from the doc. I reached out to my family to help make sense of it all. You could say, “it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” that old post-game interview cliché. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t just win the Super Bowl.
I was at work when I got the call from my doctor. I had to step outside to get some air. My mind was still searching for answers. I walked through the parking lot. Overwhelmed, it all caught up to me. I slumped down on the curb and called my wife, Erica. She knew something was wrong right away. Her voice was calming as she asked me what was wrong. Still in a daze, I explained what the doctor told me. I fought back the tears, but I didn’t even know if this was tear worthy. I just knew it wasn’t good. She consoled me and let me know everything was going to be ok.
My sister, Julie, valiantly kept her composure. She was already making plans to pack up her family in Walnut Creek and come down to be with me through this ordeal. No matter the outcome she assured me she and her family; husband, Eliot, and her two boys, Josh and Nate, would all be there for me.
I just happened to have plans to have lunch with my dad that day. He knew about my chest pains. I told him what the doctor said. I think it really caught him off guard. Oh and pass the ketchup. He normally likes to discredit anything doctors say, but he knew that a mass could be very serious. He worked in the medical field and dealt with doctors and cancer patients for many years. He comforted me and let me know he would be there for me. The timing worked out well, since he had just recently been laid off. He would join me at my doctor appointments. Well, that and to look for a job.
Naturally, my mom freaked the fuck out. This didn’t come as any surprise. Within seconds of me telling her, I think I could hear her running south on the 5 to SoCal to be with her baby. I told her to hold on a sec, no need to panic…yet. We need to get more info on what we’re dealing with. This call was harder than the one I received from the doctor. I think I was pretty calm up until this point. My mom was a crying, emotional mess. It took everything I had to keep my composure and of course keep my eyes on the road as I drove down the freeway. Everyone up to this point had kept their cool when I told them. Hearing my hysterical mom made me realize how grave this could be. I had to calm her down and reassure her that I was going to be ok. Somehow this took the burden off my shoulders for a minute. She asked if she could tell the family. I don’t know how to start a conversation with this news anyways. I told her, yes, it would help me out. I lit the match that is Diane. The news would spread throughout the family like a wildfire.
I grew up the baby of the family, with three older siblings. I’m sure hearing the news of their little brother was probably hard to take in or understand. At the same time, I’m sure there was a little bit of satisfaction in it as well. After all, I was the one that got spoiled all those years. He got all of mom’s love and anything he wanted, but hey, no mass in my chest. Balance in the universe…restored.
My sister, Dani, called to check on her little brother and lend her support. She got singed from mom’s news about me. She had to put out the flames and let her know I was going to be ok.
My brother, Gerry, called to give his support and he mentioned how he talked mom off the ledge. I’m noticing a trend here.
My aunt, Suzy, called to give her love and support…and to tell me she had to calm Diane down.
Seemingly blindsided by this news, it was confusing and frightening, but hearing all my family’s support was reassuring. They had my back. I didn’t know what I was dealing with, but WE were going to get through it.