Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Life lesson


Cancer and its treatment is an all consuming thing I'm learning....both for the patient and those around them- it affects everything and everyone. I remember this from my father's relatively, and perhaps mercifully, short fight. At the time, my mom provided most of the hands on care and my sister and I were the peripheral support, the cheering section, if you will. This time around, with my mom, my sister and I are 'it'. There is support from friends but I think it's family that takes on the bulk of it. I've had a lot of time to think lately, about what's important and how to deal with the anger and frustration that has threatened to consume me at times. I'm trying to find something here, a lesson maybe? It's been almost 3 months since my mom's tests started, two months since we got the final results, one month since her surgery and now we're almost one week into 18 weeks of chemotherapy treatment. Through it all, my mom has remained relatively strong and maybe even somewhat detached from the whole ordeal. She has instinctively gone into what I call the "dance while you still can" mode of thinking. She has seized every opportunity to be happy and enjoy what she can, when she can. She has not buried herself in reading and researching and worrying about this disease (that is for my sister and I to do), which would be her normal reaction. She has probably had private moments of sadness and despair, but we have had far more laughs than tears. She is even suprised at herself in this regard. And I have seen a whole new side of my mom, and I like it.

And it's got me thinking....about my own struggles with life in the last two years- the adjustments to motherhood, the isolation I felt in E's first year of life, the struggles with my own health, the chaos of life sometimes, the juggling/balancing act I must perform (and have grown to resent) everyday just to get everyone fed, clothed, to the sitter's and to work, the never-ending renovations in the house we bought on a whim- not knowing just how time consuming or expensive a new baby would be, the precious little time my husband and I have together, the worrying over my son that keeps me awake at night. What I've come to realize is not rocket science, and perhaps should even be obvious. What I've learned now, finally, is that everything I have is precious and I am lucky overall, and really, I'm not that badly off. I used to know this, feel this, but somehow it had gotten lost. I am looking at everything with new eyes these days, and weirdly, at this stressful time, for the first time in a couple of years, I am somewhat at peace. And, I too, am enjoying every moment of happiness right now, seizing any opportunity to laugh and taking whatever time I can to play with my son- sucking up pure unadulterated two year old joy, to sit with my husband, to chat with my friends and stay connected with the world. Dishes, laundry, home renos, even work be damned. I know the months ahead will be hard and sad, but I think feel strong enough to deal with it now.

My mom's first chemo treatment was not so bad, even by her own admission....the nurses were upbeat and friendly, and we had a few laughs. There was disappointment on not being able to get the pic line in (bad veins, or perhaps just uncooperative that day) but we decided to go ahead with the chemo anyways, using a more risky injection approach. I think it was important to start as my mom was mentally prepared. So far she has been queasy and tired, which is to be expected. There were a couple of days of feeling like utter crap (she used more colourful language!). No hair loss yet.....but perhaps it is as stubborn as her? She has been able to go out a bit and visit with friends. Every day should be a bit better now, until the next treatment.

The picture, by the way, of Oma (my mom) and Ethan was taken earlier this year, at the Butterfly Museum in Cambridge.

1 comment:

Mo said...

I know I haven't been blogging lately, but I am reading yours. Beautiful post today. Tell Oma I am thinking of her and saying prayers.

Love you Bea.