Why am I awake at 4 am? And why have I been in all day?

Because we've been waiting to get some more news.

And here's the news, folks.

My grandfather's cancer is no longer just brain, lungs and adrenal gland (as if that wasn't bad enough). They've just found a large tumor on the spine as well. He went in last night complaining of back pain -- that was the message I got that made my heart drop this morning. We were hoping he was just being melodramatic (this cancer that he has is the result of kidney cancer he had 13 years ago which has been lying dormant ever since -- at that time, he had one kidney removed and the worst news we can get now is that the other kidney is infected -- therefore, we thought, back pain... psychosomatic? or at least we hoped....). It turns out he wasn't.

So. That's all we know at this point. It's still Saturday there, and the oncologist is not in. We don't know how long we'll have to wait to find out more information. But let's just say, at this point, it's not looking likely that I'll be finishing this contract. By how a big a gap, I still don't know.

I don't really know how to reckon with any of this. It feels a bit like if I leave Korea, some Liz sized and shaped hole will just close up behind me. Like it will be like I was never here, or somehow can never come back.

I can come back, of course. But come back to what?

My chest has been heavy for weeks now. I've lost ten pounds in the last two weeks. And most of that, yes, is worry about my grandfather and my family. But part of it, too, is worry about my future here in Korea, and anxiety about walking away from the momentum I've finally managed to gain.

I don't know. There's nothing to say. I just don't know.


Sid said...

good luck.

you and your grandfather are all in my thoughts, which i hope means something coming from a stranger on the internet.

MikejGrey said...

Hang in there.

Wish there was something I could do for you comrade.

Sabrina said...

I´m very sorry to hear that. It´s so bad to leave the place and the people and job that you love and also to be so far from your loved ones when one of them is really sick. I had a similar situation in Japan and know how hard it is. I wish you all the best.

Ms said...

I am so very sad to hear about your grandfather and the stress you are under right now. My father died suddenly 3 years ago, and I had to leave Korea within hours of finding out without knowing if I was ever going to come back to my life, job, or boyfriend again. Well, that boyfriend is going to be my husband in a few days, and I'll probably be in Korea for the next 10-15 years, so the situation did work out for in the end, and it will also work out for you too. Somehow, no matter what choices we make, life seems to sort itself out in the end. I wish you the best in making your decisions and wish the best for your family.

Tiffani said...

Hey Liz <3

I'm sorry you're going through so much right now. It's hard enough to be losing someone you love at any time, but halfway across the world and with all the responsibilities your job entails, it's gotta be overwhelming.

The only comfort I can offer is that I truly believe things happen for a reason, or in order to teach us something we need to learn. I know a lot of people don't believe this, so I don't fault you if you don't, but it's the one thing that's gotten me through a lot of hardship in my life - and it's always turned out to be true, in the end. For all the shit that I went through, I wouldn't change a thing. It's made me the person I am today, and I'm proud of who that is.

I think that, no matter what happens with your life in Korea, your family, or your future - you are a very smart woman with a big heart. You will find what you need, and make many other people feel happy and blessed to have known you.

Anonymous said...

hang in there, liz!

Diana E.S. said...

Sorry to hear. I know how powerless and crappy this feels.

I'm going home this year primarily because if I don't, I'm going to deal with the same call within a couple years about my dad. :( Hang in there. Go home if you need to. Korea will be here if you decide to return after taking care of your family.

ok... word verification? hyman.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot said...

I'm so sorry Tolkien. I had to do that when
my dad finally died. It took me three years, but I'm finally headed back out. You'll take whatever time you need and then something new will pop up on the horizon and just because the door to this particular room closes doesn't mean there aren't a thousand more rooms to explore.

I'm no Picasso said...

I can't tell you guys what all the interwebs support means at the moment. Thank you all so much. Especially those of you who have shared your own experiences, because last night/this morning on the phone, the one thing I kept repeating was, there's no handbook for how to deal with this situation. It's a particular struggle of those of us who choose to live and work abroad. But I guess you guys are my handbook, and my support system in this situation. My family loves me and supports me, but they've never experienced this before. You guys have. Thanks for letting me know that, and making me feel less alone.

Sid, of course it does. We ould use all the thoughts we could get at the moment.

Sabrina, thanks for the commiseration.

Ms, thanks for telling about the happy ending. It gives me hope.

Tiffani, I generally believe that too. Even in hard times. Thanks for reminding me off it when it's hard to think about or see as possible.

Anonymous, you bet I will. I always do.

Diana, thanks for the hyman laugh.

WTF (o.m.g. I just got that....), thanks for the nicknames. They always make me smile a bit. I hope we get a chance to hang out before I go.

Mike.... Comrade.... you just better come visit me down in Texas, and let me come out and make fun of you living amongst the hippies out in Portland. The thought of that makes this situation a hell of a lot better.

saharial said...

I wish I could do something too, but I think i can only add to the 'hang in there'
I can't imagin how you feel *sends hugs*

Wonder Woman said...

Hi Liz,

I've been reading your blog for about a month now. I used to live in South Korea, so I love reading about wacky culture stuff - and you explain it all so well!

As it turns out, I'm abroad again and two of my family members are struggling with health. One is essentially dying and the other is undergoing surgery for cancer. While I do feel guilty for not "being there" I finally realized (and hope you know too) that we can never be close enough during these times. Hang in there!

Thanks for sharing your stories!

MikejGrey said...

As long as you take me the Dr. Pepper Museum.

Hippies. Lord almighty save me. At least they have good beer and coffee and record shops.

My word verification is peans. Liz..... peans. That's not right.