Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I haven’t lost it yet

My 73 year old mom has cancer. She learned of this because she had bubbles in her pee. Such a simple thing results in her learning she had a tumour in her kidney and a tumour in her vena cava. Mom did not cry. Everyone else did.

Off she goes to Toronto for what the doctors said would be a two hour operation that would leave her cancer free. After eight hours in surgery we learn the operation did not go as planned. Can you say understatement? The tumour in her vena cava was in fact a thrombosis; a tumour - blood clot mix that was higher then expected. We learned this thrombosis could not be sealed off and that during the operation further complications damaged her spleen resulting in it also having to be removed. Now, due to a botched surgery, the cancer would spread thanks to contaminate blood coming into contact with her other internal organs. Can you say incompetent doctors? Mom did not cry. Everyone else did.

At 72 years old she worked right up until the day she was diagnosed. Yes! still working way past retirement age, taking the bus in the early morning so that dad didn’t have to get up or could go golfing if he wanted to. Needless to say mom is a strong independent women.
Mom has not had the easiest life and sometimes I despair not always the happiest. With a large extended family she has always been our backbone, holding us together through thick and thin.  I regretfully put my parents through hell during my teenage years. When I eventually came home at 18, unwed with a 6 month old baby, without reproach, she opened her doors then got me back up on my feet. Forget vacations abroad, a big home, fine jewelry or a fancy wardrobe she was content just to have Bingo night with the Ya Ya sisters. No life has not always been easy for mom but she met every issue and every problem head on with common sense and a large dash of humour.
Mom has now been on chemo for a full year and she tells me she did finally cry once over a silly argument with my dad.

Chemo- it keeps you alive while killing you.

Mom has been relatively lucky, if you could call anything lucky while being on chemo it’s that she has had few side effects. The biggest one for her is that it makes her extremely tired. Four weeks on, two weeks off and so on and so on.
At week one she starts to slow down and limit her outings. At week two she starts to give into the dreaded nap. By week 3 she is limited to her once a week supper and bingo outing with the Ya Ya sisters (more on them later) At week 4 showers are a thing of the past and lifting the blankets to turn over becomes a chore. Two weeks to regain strength then the cycle resumes.

I haven’t lost it yet                                      

Scene: mom phones me, giggling

Ring, Ring

Me: Hi mom, what’s up?

Mom: Why didn’t you answer your phone when I called?

Me: what do you mean? I just did!

Mom: No I mean when I dialled all ten numbers before I realized I was holding the TV remote.
Me: Oh Mom, are you’re losing it?!!!

Mom: No, not yet. when you find I put the Iron in the freezer then you’ll know I’m losing it

Scene: mom phones me, perturbed

Ring, Ring,
Me: Hi mom, how are you feeling?

Mom: I’m wearing two pairs of socks and a mitt on my foot.

Me: Hysterical giggles.

Mom: Why are you laughing?

Me: I’m sorry but I just pictured you walking around with the fingers waving around with each step

Mom: I said a mitt not a glove!

Me: Sorry but the image just popped in my head and I can’t get it out.

Mom: Well stop it; there are no fingers, only a thumb

Me: (once the giggles subside) Mom please tell me, why are you wearing a mitt on your foot?

Mom: don’t worry I’m not losing it yet, I just have a couple of blisters so I have to stop my chemo.

Scene: Hospital parking lot after visiting my sister who was admitted after a serious heart attack that stopped her heart. Mom drifting to the right, car is parked on the left.
Me: Mom where are you going?

Mom: giggles, wherever the wind takes me!

Scene: mom phones me after my sister is released from the hospital

Ring, Ring

Me: Hi Mom

Mom: I just spoke to your sister

Me: How is she feeling?

Mom: She told me she went to bed and just died so I said… AGAIN?

No comments:

Post a Comment