Birthday in the Icy Tundra and Getting Through a Frightening Diagnosis

Feb 23 2020
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Lodi and I both have terrible birthday dates for where we live in north country. His late January birthday and my late February birthday means that NO ONE (including us) wants to do a damned thing because its either a blizzard going on outside OR, maybe even worse, dangerously cold out. My family has always done all they can to rally for me and throw something resembling a party but, this year, I accepted defeat. For both birthdays we kept it low key then everyone returned to their respective hibernating.

Somewhere between the two I decided that we deserved at least something resembling a “vacation” so I got us a hotel room with a hot tub for his birthday for a couple of nights. Granted the view was of a frozen lake but the jetted tub and wine helped make it feel like a getaway anyway.

Its not just the weather at this point in the year its really just how LONG its been winter that finally starts getting to us. We’ve absolutely been hammered by snow to the point where I’m starting to feel claustrophobic lol.

Well I am REALLY into my 30s now... 34th Birthday in the Icy Tundra Nobody likes Minnesota in February. If its not a blizzard on my birthday then its COLD

Well I am REALLY into my 30s now... 34th Birthday in the Icy Tundra Nobody likes Minnesota in February. If its not a blizzard on my birthday then its COLD

Well I am REALLY into my 30s now... 34th Birthday in the Icy Tundra Nobody likes Minnesota in February. If its not a blizzard on my birthday then its COLD

Besides that though I myself needed a break in light of the last few months that have been very hard.

I had a couple of years where nothing really happened in my life. I worked on me and on my house and stayed single. The end of 2019 changed all of that with not just Lodi entering my life but with something I have not yet mentioned here on the blog.

My Mom was diagnosed with cancer in October 2019.

We headed for the Mayo clinic in Rochester and her diagnoses is a positive one but no cancer diagnosis ever comes without terror.

I did not handle it well.

I was reading the Dark Tower series by Stephen King at the time and heard often in my head, “If it’s Ka, it’ll come like a wind, and your plans will stand before it no more than a barn before a cyclone.” In the past the wind took everything but each other from us – but Mom and I did always have each other.

So, her getting sick, shook me badly.

I have an image of my Mom and I getting our “boots and big girl panties on” that first long day at the Mayo clinic. We’ve still got them on and she’s doing well through the chemotherapy. But of course it all just totally SUCKS for her.

She’s not doing any of this by herself for as long as I’m here though. Unfortunately my company and “taxi service” is all I can offer and the helplessness of it all is just so fricking maddening.

Any birthday with this type of situation going on feels like a frivolous waste of time. Of course the opposite is the truth. Even when we haven’t felt like it we’ve still done all we can to pursue celebration and normalcy.

Lodi and I had a lovely time on our little birthday retreat. I simply have not been “all there” and going somewhere different definitely helped my brain take an actual break to just set reality aside for a little while.

I’m permanently in a state of “I’m sure I’m forgetting something” but I think I’m covering it – whether I feel like I’m doing that “well” or not is not the point lol! I’m trying to get farther ahead of things than usual here on the blog etc. It makes me feel like I have control when I don’t at all in the situation that actually matters the most.

But, like I said, her diagnosis is a “good” one – they feel she can be totally cured of her specific form of cancer its just getting through the six months of treatments before surgery. Its just getting through it.

A huge part of me wants to throw it all to the wind, the job, the blog, any birthday in light of what is clearly far more important and that is absolutely not how this works. We still have our responsibilities and still have to pay our bills and we still even have to live.

Even if it were possible that I could just sit beside her for the next six months, I’m pretty sure I would drive her crazy enough to kill me. She reminds me daily where I got my Independence and stubbornness from. She’s going to work and so am I. We are all just continuing with our daily schedules as best as we can. We celebrated my birthday as a full on 34 year old and I feel absolutely ANCIENT.

But we’re getting through it together. Guys I would SO appreciate some good vibes sent our way, thank you and I hope you are all having a good winter!

Well I am REALLY into my 30s now... 34th Birthday in the Icy Tundra Nobody likes Minnesota in February. If its not a blizzard on my birthday then its COLD

Well I am REALLY into my 30s now... 34th Birthday in the Icy Tundra Nobody likes Minnesota in February. If its not a blizzard on my birthday then its COLD

Well I am REALLY into my 30s now... 34th Birthday in the Icy Tundra Nobody likes Minnesota in February. If its not a blizzard on my birthday then its COLD

Well I am REALLY into my 30s now... 34th Birthday in the Icy Tundra Nobody likes Minnesota in February. If its not a blizzard on my birthday then its COLD


  1. Lynnie
    February 23, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Lots of LOVE and hugs to your Mom … and to you! Pease take care of YOU … I know how hard it is to be in your position (I’ve been a caregiver TWICE and it’s damned hard!). Best of luck to your Mom … and to you!

  2. Rosie
    February 23, 2020 at 11:13 am

    My room mate has cancer, blood cancer. Very scary, but she is doing great. Been 16 months and there are no scary signs that it is going anywhere. Have faith and ask for prayers and you will get them.

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:25 am

      It can be SO scary, thank you so much Rosie!!

  3. Toni (in Niagara)
    February 23, 2020 at 11:13 am

    We are sending you and your mum good vibes, prayers, and the best of wishes for her speedy recovery.

  4. Darlene
    February 23, 2020 at 11:49 am

    I am sorry for your Mom’s issues. Will pray that all goes well for her. Have been through this with family and all you can do is be there, love and support her and continue on with your handsome new guy and hope and pray for her. Have several friends who have survived cancer for many many years🙏🏻

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:25 am

      Thank you so much Darlene!

  5. Lucy, Kent ~ England
    February 23, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    My 63rd birthday was 21st Feb my 2nd husband died 10th Feb 2019
    I nursed my husband through his illness and although losing him
    was incredibly hard. Being there for him when he wanted me too and
    especially for the last month, though incredibly painful was is also
    what keeps me going now. Remembering in the hard times the small joys
    we gleaned in the sadness.
    I’m facing dealing with cancer of the spine alone, Mac was my only
    relative and my dearest friend. I do have friends but not as close.
    I’m sorry this isn’t full of joy, but it is real. You can come through
    this whatever the outcome. Look for the joys however tiny, store them up.
    Enjoy your time with Lodi as well as Mum and I promise that the biggest
    gift you can give her is showing her that you can and will make a good
    future no matter what happens.
    That said I’m sending your Mum lots of positive vibes, and to you too.
    Take care, “live long and prosper” anything else is cheating.

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Hugs to you Lucy in your journey, spring is almost here. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me and for your kind thoughts <3

  6. Marilyn Dalrymple
    February 23, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    I enjoy your emails and I have found comfort in your daily life and your routine of redoing Grandma’s House. BTW…Great Job. Love what you’ve done.

    I know only too well the terror of hearing the devastating news and the fear of receiving the diagnosis of CA. I’m a survivor, after going through the paces and I say a prayer for your Mom and for you. I have 2 very grown children and I wasn’t fortunate enough to have them near me throughout my ordeal. And you stay as close as you can for your Mom, because it’ll get her through this.

    I send my love and prayers,
    Marilyn D.

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:36 am

      Thank you so much Marilyn, sending hugs your way!

  7. Karen
    February 23, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing your highs and lows, it may sound weird, it’s actually helpful to hear how others are dealing with life. Prayers for your mom and hopefully you have a fireplace to snuggle in front of on snowy nights…..

  8. Trudy Locke
    February 23, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    I have been a great fan and look forward to your Sunday posts. I don’t usually respond to much, but I felt the need. You have been through some crap in the time I have been reading your posts. I have come to realize that even though we are four decades apart in age, we have much in common. I spent 20 years in a poor marrige. Thank your lucky stars you had the sense to get out fast! Then I met my “Lodi”. So I understand your joy. I am sorry your mother is unwell. If she is anything like her daughter, she’ll do fine. My love passed away two and a half years ago from Alzheimer’s so I know your need to be there. I know that “what am I forgetting” feeling. You will do what is necessary and it will all turn out the way it is supposed to. Give yourself a break, hard as that may be. Good wishes and prayers.

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:35 am

      Oh Trudy, I am so sorry to hear that you lost your own “Lodi” – thank you so much for sharing your story with me and for your good wishes and prayers. *hugs*

  9. February 23, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    I had cancer last year, went through treatment and now will take pills for 5 years and hope it doesn’t return. I kept telling myself, don’t let cancer define your day. I tried to make each day as normal as possible with cancer just as a footnote. I wish your mother all the best.

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:27 am

      Beth, thank you for sharing your story with us here, lots of good vibes sent your way too!!

  10. Marilyn
    February 23, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Wow, where is that ice sculpture? How spectacular! Sending you peace Tarah.

  11. February 23, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Just stay positive and see your mother as often as you can. You never know where life takes you.(I do everything I can for my mother she’s 93 this July and I want no regrets) you know what I mean). Everything will work out.
    I know that’s easier said than done.

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:34 am

      Thank you Cheryl, sending my best to you and your mom <3

  12. Susan
    February 23, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Dearest Tarah
    Prayers are on the way. Not sure why we have to go through things like this; they say it makes us stronger.
    Take good care of your Mom and yourself.
    Keep the faith.

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:30 am

      Thank you so much for your prayers Susan, spring is coming!

  13. Julie
    February 23, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Hi Tarah, you and your loved ones are in my thoughts. I’m glad you have Lodi by your side, someone to help carry the load.
    Take care of yourself, and you know the next six months will fly by! March through September always do! Spring is coming, hang in there! Sincerely, Julie

  14. February 23, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Tarah…. have missed you. I do understand about your Mum and there are times in a life when there is only one important thing. I do hope all will be well at the end of her treatment, and send good wishes to you – the cool guy will certainly look after you if you let him – and you MUST!

    Here we have no snow but serious floods in parts of the country. This little house is at the top of a hill so no worries for us, but some poor folk have been flooded right out and will be homeless for months. So it’s still really cold for you? and here the daffodils are up and blooming so Spring is on the way – yours will just be a little later. Anyway, enough. A hug or two from me. xx

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:33 am

      Susan, I lived in the south for a few years and those daffodils coming up in the spring were such a lovely sight! We’ve been in a heat wave lately (at least for us lol) seeing highs in the 30s. Maybe we’ll get an early spring! Thank you so much for your thoughts!

  15. Carrie Krumrie
    February 23, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    I have missed your perky story of what you were doing!
    One of the most helpless feeling, is when family members are going through cancer treatment.
    Being there. Helping out!
    Ginger snaps help with keeping food down. Cheerios are also super! Tiredness is also a part of the process. Depending on treatment, there may be hair lose.
    Praying for you and your mother.
    Carrie Krumrie

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:32 am

      Thank you for the tips Carrie and your prayers!

  16. Sandy
    February 23, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    Tarah, I will be adding your mom and your family to my prayers. I am glad her diagnosis is a positive one. I am so happy Lodi came into your life, the timing sounds perfect. You certainly need the extra support. Will be thinking of you.

    • February 24, 2020 at 9:29 am

      Lodi being here really was timed perfectly, he has helped me and mom through all of this so much! Thank you so much!

  17. February 24, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Sending love and prayers to your mom and you. You are a great daughter and she is definitely lucky to have you by her side. I am so happy you found someone. You both look so happy. Continue to put your faith and trust in God….he creates miracles everyday. Much love.

    • February 24, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Thank you so much Pam! *hugs*

    February 24, 2020 at 11:21 am

    prayers for all of you ….fighting this together and all being the winners…

  19. Diane
    February 24, 2020 at 11:36 am

    sending hugs and good thoughts! Take care of yourself too!

  20. February 26, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Hugs and prayers to you and your mom. You are stronger than you even realize! Spring will be a time of celebration for you.

    • February 27, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Thank you so much Donna! *hugs*

  21. Laura
    February 26, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    Tarah, read your blog all the time and really enjoy it. I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer 3 years ago and it was terrifying. I completely understand. Sending all my good thoughts to you and your mom. You seem like such a positive joyful woman and I’m sure that will help you and your mom be strong!

    • February 27, 2020 at 9:57 am

      Thank you so much Laura! Hugs sent your way!

  22. Carolyn K.
    February 27, 2020 at 7:18 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your mom. I have great sympathy for both of you. Last year when my husband was diagnosed with two different types of cancer I found something that was of great help to me as I watched him struggle and there was so little I could do to help him. In essence I learned to live only for one day, not for a lifetime, nor for a week, or for tomorrow. So for the day I had the gift of him, and that was enough.
    I hope this helps and for this day you are both in my prayers.

    • February 27, 2020 at 10:16 am

      Carolyn, thank you so much for your thoughtful response. The gift of her in my life is definitely something we’re focusing on. We talk about her treatments as an adventure, the reason we’re there sucks but there is no reason why we can’t make the best of it. Thank you again *hugs*

  23. Anna
    March 1, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    Dear Tarah, I so enjoy your blogs- thank you. My thoughts and prayers are with your family, especially your Mom, at this time. Spend as much time as you can building even more memories with your family. My Mom left to join the angels 33 years ago. My young granddaughters have learned to “know” and love her because we talk about our memories of shared times as if she were still present. This is of great comfort to me as I still miss her so. Take care and many blessings, Anna

    • March 2, 2020 at 9:34 am

      Anna, I am so sorry to hear about your own mom *hugs* thank you so much for sharing your story with me and for your wonderful thoughts and words.

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