Thursday, June 10, 2010

People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk

In case you didn't see the whole post title, it's "People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk" This was a short story from Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, edited by one of my heroes, David Sedaris. Peed onk is short for pediatric oncology.

It popped in my head today, as I spent most of the day in on the oncology floor with my mother. That's one place you never expect to be. Sure, statistically, plenty of people will be there at one point or another, either as a patient or in support of one. Then one day, you're there. Wishing you weren't. Wishing you were anywhere else. Trying to balance remaining positive with understanding the fear your loved one surely feels. Saying it'll be ok, when you know that right that moment, that person sure as hell doesn't feel ok.

That said, it was an incredibly positive meeting. Dr. Malhotra was patient and kind and above all, positive. He literally said that classic HL is "extremely curable" and well, ya can't say that about every cancer. Below is a picture I snapped of us on the way out today, see, she's smiling.

The plan is this - chemo every other week for 6 months. He believes her to be stage 2, with multiple masses on only one side of the diaphragm. They've scheduled another battery of tests, including a PET scan, in order to create a baseline for comparison while she goes through treatment and verify that the masses they've documented are indeed the only ones present. A bone marrow biopsy (ouch, it hurts just to write that) to make sure there's no cancer in her bone marrow, which would move her to stage 4. He says even in that event, it would still be curable.
They have plans for controlling nausea, so her hope of losing weight on The Chemo Diet were dashed when Dr. M said she probably wouldn't lose much weight. But, he says, you will begin to lose your hair 2-4 weeks after the first treatment. Now, I know that everyone says this is a little, minor, temporary thing. But dammit, imagine for one moment that you're going to lose YOUR hair, and see how you feel. So we talked wigs and scarves. That doesn't make her feel any better. Your identity and self esteem are directly linked to how you look, how you see yourself. It sucks.

And so, a week from tomorrow, she begins the cancer fight. There's a great prognosis, a solid support staff at the hospital, and friends offering help. I'm happy about these things. I know it will be ok. But right this moment, somehow it's just not. When we got home, I asked, "How do you feel? Ready to do this? Positive? Optimistic? It's only a few months out of your life. You're going to do this. So.. how do ya feel?"
She replied, "I feel scared."

Me, too, Mom. Me, too.

"I Was Meant for More Than This"

Oh my dear, abandoned, pushed aside blog! It's funny, I started blogging as a way to vent, share and be able to jot down my musings and experiences for... well, I don't know.
But here I am, busy as the day is long, and in need of venting and sharing, and I've stayed away from the blog here.
No more!
So here's where we are, dear reader: My mom's been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and had surgery last week to remove a lump from her neck. Today we meet with the oncologist to discuss the next steps, which will be chemo and/or radiation.
Terrifying? Absolutely. Before there was a solid diagnosis, they thought it was lung cancer that had already spread. all I could think was that even though she irritates me on a regular basis, she's my mother, and I can't bear losing her. Over the last year or so, we've finally gotten into a rhythm of talking and hanging out without constantly arguing. She's my shopping buddy, and my confidant. I can tell her anything and she will always support me (unless it has to do with punishing my kids....) no matter what. She's on my side, right or wrong.
I tell her that cancer sucks, but that this will be over by the end of summer, and it's something she'll be able to put behind her.
My uncle is on his way to pick me up, because he's going to the oncologist appointment with her. My grandparents were invited to lunch today to present a unified front and show our support. However (and this is where it gets fun) they live in my aunt's building, and my aunt has decided to sue my uncle. So while they're battling it out in court and out, my aunt told my grandmother that if my uncle shows up in court this morning, he's going to be arrested because she's having him charged with molesting her when she was a child. So my grandparents are afraid to see my uncle for fear of pouring gas on the flame of my aunt's insanity. Oh, and they've got to get 6 dog licenses today, because their neighbor's called the city and reported them for having too many dogs. *sigh*

And I'm sitting here, watching Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa host Live! with Bradley Cooper visiting. This makes me want to quit working and stay home to watch daytime tv forever.