I have a background in medicine and so when she finally called a doctor having having double vision on her way to work I thought maybe she'd had a mini stroke. And still she insisted on driving herself to the hospital after working for half a day. Cancer was never something that crossed my mind. Especially not anywhere near the brain. But when that doctor told her to get herself to the emergency room and she was admitted after they found a mass under her brain I spent that night searching online for what a mass was, hoping for an explanation other than the one I knew. That was Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
But it wasn't until she got home on Wednesday that I knew even how big it was. I knew it was cancer before she told me because when I asked the operator what floor she was on I was told oncology. My mom kept calling it a mass. Even Wednesday night, she kept calling it a mass and refusing to give it the name of cancer. I'm a worst case scenario type of person. I know what cancer can do because I've worked in hospice and seen people with it. Its not that rare and the survival rates aren't great for a lot of cancers in the head. I was freaking out, on edge and feeling raw because I knew all of this.
On Thanksgiving my mom wouldn't give it the name. She was in denial and I knew that she was trying to protect me. But she can't. I'm not a child and though I'm afraid of losing my mom, I'm not afraid of going through this with her. She doesn't just have a mass, most of the bottom of her brain is covered with cancer. I wanted to go find the doctor that told her she had a sinus infection and scream at him. Its not his fault he didn't look closer and I don't even know if my mom told him enough that he would even think to consider cancer. But I'm angry at him for not knowing. And I'm angry at her for not going to the doctor sooner.
The lymph nodes in her neck are also hard and swollen. Another thing that's been going on for at least a month. One of them was biopsied at the hospital. They did a barrage of tests and then she found out just how bad it was. They're going to have a cancer team meeting on Monday then call her and go over her options. Then she'll find out the risks and personal cost of chemo. She thinks it'll be like taking pills where she can go to work right after. I hope she's right but I've seen that it's not.
My mom is in her sixties and she's a good person. I know people say that about their parents all the time and though she doesn't have a Nobel prize and didn't invent a new way to cure the common cold, she doesn't deserve this. I see people in the news getting life sentences for heinous crimes. They're the ones that should be suffering, not my mom. They get cable TV, hot meals, shelter, and a bed even though they murdered people or raped children. Its not fair and its not right and I'm so angry right now.
On Thanksgiving I had to lie to the people I love because she still hasn't told them anything. She's waiting until she has a plan and can just give them all the facts. In the meantime I've of course spoken to my dad and grandparents but have kept my promise to tell them nothing. Its getting harder each time they call and I find myself making excuses to get off the phone early.
I'm starting to hate this time of year. My birthday is in a few weeks and two years ago my grandma died around it. Last year my uncle died at the beginning of December. I love my family and have an amazing guy but I don't want to be cheery right now. Happy Holidays sounds so false and I can't stop crying long enough to say the words anyway.
I'm able to do things to distract myself. I had a lot of fun hanging out with the Out in Colorado group of authors. I was looking forward to it, practically needed the distraction, and it went really well and for a few hours I was able to remove myself from the idea that my mom has cancer. I don't think any of them knew something was wrong with me. I'm glad about that, that I was able to hide for a little while and just be normal.
Yesterday she had another appointment. I now know just how bad it is. Its a rare cancer so I guess I can't blame the doctor that said she had a sinus infection too much. Apparently it gets missed a lot until it gets to the later stages. Which this is. I'll know more after the team meeting on Monday. Until then I'll just keep going. I don't like this and I don't want this but I need to just keep going because I don't have any other option. I have work to do and books to edit and write and things to get done and if I stop working I'll have to live with the silence that is my mom's diagnosis and that's not okay. I've dealt with grief and pain before. This isn't anything new to me. But watching my mom suffer is. If it was someone that had hurt her I could do something about it. If it was debt I could pay her bills. I can't get the cancer out of her and I feel so helpless right now.
If you made it this far thank you for reading. I had to let it out, had to say something because I was too close to breaking and haven't been able to do anything more than stare at my WIP today. I deal with things by writing, by moving through them and pushing past them and then looking back when I've got some clearance and everything isn't so incredibly raw. Again, thank you for reading this. It was cathartic to me to be able to get this all out there and write down everything that I'm feeling and thinking so that I can deal with today and do the things that need to be done.