FanPost

An Escape From Life at Busch Stadium

I've not written a Fanpost/Diary in quite some time, and with good reason.  I feel I generally don't have anything worth creating one about, considering the wonderful job our regular posters (Lboros, Azru, et al) do creating interesting "main" threads and generating discussion within them.  I also don't have time, as the majority of my life is devoted to more important things, like my family and whatnot.  However, something has come out that is only slightly baseball related that I wish to share with the entire community.  So here it goes:

Two years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer.  She underwent surgery, chemo, radiation, physical therapy, and a great deal of embarrassing examination by a series of doctors.  Eventually she was declared "cancer-free," and while she still had some difficulties involving uncomfortable swelling everything seemed to be quite fine.

Sadly, cancer isn't always that pretty.  Roughly a month and a half ago she returned to her oncologist for a routine checkup and discovered the cancer had returned and had attached to a lymph node.  After rushing around to a series of oncologists and radiologists and other-ologists, the cancer seemed to be relatively treatable.  She had a strange setback involving extreme hunger, dehydration, and some powerful sleeping pills, and also underwent another surgery, but as of ten days ago everything seemed to be turning around.  But then something came down like a ton of bricks.  Her surgery scar ripped open, revealing cancerous growths (I'm not doctor, so the exact term escapes me) inside the muscle tissue.  Biopsies revealed the cancer had spread remarkably rapidly, and by eight days ago the sonofabitch had spread up her spine and into the bones in the back of her skull. 

After some scrambling about, my courageous grandmother interrupted a radiation treatment and asked the doctor how much time she had left.  "Not much," was his reply.  Immediately she called off all radiation, chemo, etc., and asked to be transferred home.  She told my mother and her sisters that she had no regrets, and that she was perfectly content and ready to pass on.  In the time since, things have accelerated rapidly.  She's had serious bowel issues (i.e. no BMs for nearly two weeks), and is beginning to slip in and out of conscioussness more and more rapidly.  How much time she has left is questionable, but it isn't much.  Tomorrow, my wife, mother (it's my maternal grandmother FTR), and myself are driving to South Bend to see her and spend what precious little time we have left together.  But there was one thing we had to do first...

Today, my father, sister, and myself traveled to Busch III to take in the Cardinals and Phillies at Busch the Third.  We sat in section 170, in row 18, and watched as the St. Charles West (the HS of which I am an alum) choir sang "God Bless America."  Then the game began, and Adam Kennedy of all people pops a home run into the right field seats to put my boys up 2-0.  Lohse pitches a beautiful game, failing only against Pat Burrell, surrendering a two-run home run to make the game 3-2.  However, the BOB held on from there, sealing a win. 

Clearly I was thrilled at a Cardinals victory.  However, to me this game meant far more.  It was a chance to escape the nightmare cancer has brought to my family.  It was a chance to temporarily escape the fact that my grandmother, such a witty, bright, and loving woman has been trapped inside her failing body and a hospice bed that will likely be her last place on Earth.  It was sort of a last gasp of normality before traveling to see my grandmother for the last time. 

After Ryan Franklin retired the final Philadelphia batter, a wave of emotions crashed over me.  It occurred to me then and there that my next task in life was to say goodbye to "Gramma S" as I used to call her.  I began to openly cry, in a section full of fans.  My father and sister joined in, and we all had a big cry right there in our seats.  I have no earthly clue how long we sat there, just watching people file past and watching the Cardinals take their handshakes and clear out of the dugout.  After it was over, all I could think to do was to whisper a thank you to my grandma for being such a wonderful woman, and to whisper a thank you to the St. Louis Cardinals for giving me something so pure to hold onto while I hope to muster half the courage my grandmother has shown over the past few weeks.

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