This blog is for Jim Marventano's family and friends to review his status and updates while he goes through treatment for Stage IV Colon Cancer. We can beat it together!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So, today is a great day for this post. You know something weird? I've been contemplating this post for a while. Today is Suzy's birthday - it's the perfect day for it.

One of my very best friends is Susan. I personally think that Susan has meticulous taste in friends, because...I'm one of her friends. And I like the crowd that Susan runs with here in Kohler because...I'm part of that crowd. But also because I got to meet one of Susan's best friends who lives in Oregon. That's Suzy. It seems odd that I would write about Susan's friend Suzy, doesn't it? Susan used to live out in California, and Suzy is a friend from way back in the day. (Along with Marie, who I haven't had a chance to meet yet, but you'd better believe I'm going to push for it!)

In any case, I met Suzy this spring when she came out to visit Susan. I liked Suzy immediately. This is one hell of a competent woman. She's sharp as a tack, but relaxed at the same time. Suzy's words are carefully chosen. She can talk to anyone. She's got the reflexes and drive of a Type A personality. ...But there's something different. She doesn't come off as Type A. There's nothing about Suzy that would make anyone feel rushed or jumpy. You know what it is? It seems like a lack of judgment on others. She's just...good. (For the record, I can see where she and Susan are good friends. Susan is that way as well.)

When I got to meet Suzy, we had an interesting talk about Oregon. She nailed me from the minute she met me and told me (in a very gentle way) that she didn't think Ashland was exactly my speed. And she just flat out told me she didn't think I'd like Medford. She was right. At the end of my trip to Oregon, I spent an evening out with Suzy. She gave me a little tour of Portland and brought me to a fabulous wine bar that looked out over the city. My goodness we had fun.

To tell you what a mark Suzy had on me, when I mentioned that I was dating furiously, etc. we had a nice talk about it. And then she said "You should start dating John! I love John!" This was AFTER texting with him the whole vacation and AFTER my brother teased me and I realized I might like John as more than a friend. I was so stunned that I stammered out "I...I don't know. I don't know what's going on with that. We're just friends. ...And I don't know what Susan would think of that." Suzy wasn't buying that. Bear in mind, please, that this is my second time ever seeing Suzy. And she said "Kate, I'm sure Susan (her friend, John's sister) is going to be mature enough to handle it." So Suzy had a distinct hand in putting John and I together as well. The first time I posted a picture of John on Facebook, my phone rang not 30 minutes Oregon area code. I laughed until tears came out of my eyes and we had a great talk.

Some people come into our lives for a lifetime, some for a season, a week, or a day. I am blessed to know Suzy through my good friend Susan. I am delighted that Susan has such awesome friends and that she's got a support network spread out across the country. Suzy has impacted my life in profound ways after meeting *twice*.

You're good people, Suzy. I'm honored to know you. Have a very happy birthday today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


First off, let me say that I believe my therapist is worth every dime, and then some.

One of the things I've been working on with my therapist is establishing boundaries. I'm not very good at it. I just tell people whatever they want to know. I don't stand up for myself very often. I rarely tell people if I believe they are doing something wrong. If someone provokes me I often try and make the situation smoother by laughing it off. And to top it off, I have a very self-deprecating sense of humor. My therapist pointed out that we train people how we want to be treated.

Lately a couple of people have really offended me with butting into my business and making nasty comments to me. I've laughed off or stayed silent at moments that *really* hurt. But in reality, I'm not setting a good example for my kids when I'm self-deprecating to a fault or when I don't stand up for myself.

One of my friends lent me a book about boundaries. Right now, I'm working on maintaining physical boundaries because verbal and mental boundaries are more difficult for me to manage. It's funny because I believe I have a very strong personality, but when push comes to shove I tend to get nervous. I'm generally a peacekeeper.

Yesterday I unleashed a little bit of my anger over my lack of boundaries on an unwitting candidate. She asked me how things are going, and as I have for the last three years, I said "Things are really good!" And she mistakenly said "I wish I had your life."


You wish you had my life? I got hot and said "No you don't." And I paused and said "I would give my right leg to have my husband back. You don't want my life." She got quiet and said "Well, I meant the fun part." Yeah. I know. I know it was an accident. She didn't mean to phrase it that way.

And yet, I still feel the need to let people know that it's not all cupcakes and roses here. I still have a gaping hole in my life that will never be fully repaired. I still go to bed at night *alone*. I still have to call a sitter if I want to go get a gallon of milk. I still have to LEAVE my own house if I want a break - because heaven knows my kids aren't old enough to leave without me. I have lost friends over the last three years because I've just been too tired to consistently maintain the relationships and they've dumped me. I hate doing things like picking out pumpkins or a Christmas tree without my spouse. I do go on fun trips and I'm having some fun going out. But I'm going out to meet people because my husband DIED. OF CANCER. I'm having fun dating. But honestly, what I wouldn't give to just have Jim back. That someone who loves me through crazy, moving around the country, childbirth and...crazy. Seriously. It's all I can do to literally mind my own business. It takes all my energy to make it through the day. I look normal like the rest of you on the outside. But I'm so tired. All the time. From doing everything by myself. And if one more moron says to me "I know how you feel - my husband is out of town for the next two weeks." Or even better "Yeah, I know how you feel, my husband works late every night." I may be forced to kill them. Because WHAT THE HECK kind of comparison is that?

It's not that I don't care what you're doing or have sympathy for you. It's that I don't care what you're doing because I'm using my energy to try and complete what I'm doing. I am simply trying to survive and give my kids happy, healthy, normal lives.

I am dating John now and I am feeling blessed. And so happy. Happy like this for the first time in YEARS. Happy like I was before September 13, 2006. The day Jim was diagnosed.

My time with John is glorious and fun and blessed. All THREE MONTHS of it. We're still in the "getting to know you" phase. My date nights with John are not the relaxed, much needed time away that a married couple has. These are actual dates. To try and ascertain if we're compatible or attracted to each other or even interested. That's exhausting. Not the comfort and devotion and pure feeling of relaxation that comes with someone you're committed to. I know he's special, but I also know that he has the ability to decide at any moment that I'm not as special to him, and he could end things. There are still embarrassing moments and things that I wonder if he's normal for tolerating. Like when I mispronounce a word or sing off-key. (I never once sing on-key so he'll have to accept that.) Like if he'll enjoy my kids. Finding someone at 37 with two kids is a totally different ballgame then finding someone at 22.

So it was a bit of an "oopsies" that I unleashed my annoyance about boundaries on someone who honestly didn't mean anything wrong. But let me say this: I am working on establishing my boundaries. On not being so self-deprecating. On telling people when they offend me. Right now, I'm just going to avoid any situation that I find annoying or offensive in order to create a much-needed physical boundary as I prepare and draw my mental and verbal boundaries. I deserve that.