Despite living healthy, eating organic, and thinking positive… heredity will tell. You can remove pesticides from your dining table and petrochemicals from your cleaning supplies, looking to raise your children as healthy as possible. These are all good and worthy actions to take… but heredity began long before you were born.

You can mitigate it. You can delay it. You can even work with it, but you cannot escape it.

My father lost all his teeth in his twenties. Both sets of my grandparents wore dentures. Bone loss cost my mother her natural-born teeth while she was still in her early to mid 40s. Brothers and sister have various dental issues, but this January I am the first to lose all my upper teeth.

It has been a struggle for me to deal with. This loss of teeth and bone resonates as ‘old’ to me. My vanity shames me. It is so petty, the whole dental image thing, when a near and dear deals with stage 3 melanoma. She is young. She is pretty. She is smart.

She WILL be fine.

Take perfectly smooth, blemish-free arms, and create scars born of the excisions made in an attempt to remove the carcinogenic cells. Endure the pain, discomfort, and uncertainty of healing while waiting for results. Cherish children, maintain a cheerful demeanor, and endeavor to live as ‘normally’ as possible. Do not scare the children. Do not alarm your partner. Do not dream of relatives who have had cancer… those who lived, and those who died, too.

The results come, and they didn’t get it all. Now it is time to see the oncologist, make schedules and plans for treatments, research the options, and submit to further incisions/excisions, etc.

She WILL be fine.

Difficult choices lie ahead and I cannot do anything to change that. I can pray (and I do!) and I can try to cover as many of the stress points as I can with my presence, support, faith, and love, but the truth is, I really cannot do anything at all to take the pain away… take the fear and worry away… and I cannot lie well enough to promise it will be all better soon…

She WILL be fine.

We all know survivors. She will be one, as well. Part of her heritage is a bone-deep conviction that life cannot complete its job without her. (And honestly, we know it would really rather not.)

I have faith that she will hold her grandchildren… but the in-between times are a little murky at the moment.