Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Beginning again in a different way.

I just got off the phone with Mom. She had warned me that if she didn't call tonight, it was because she didn't want to talk. She called me even though she didn't want to talk because she didn't want me to worry. So she told me how her appointment with the oncologist went today.

I do want to know. I want to be informed. I don't want any of this to be a surprise. I don't want to be protected from the ups and downs of cancer survival. I just don't want this to be happening.

Since her diagnosis in April 2000, she's had surgery three times: once for her port, once for her lumpectomy, and once for her liver masses. The last was the biggest, but the recovery period was up just before the wedding. She was able to enjoy my wedding. It was around that time that we learned that my sister-in-law was pregnant. Hannah, my niece, is Mom's greatest joy now.

It used to be me, but hey, I can deal.

We've had ups and downs since that April, but we've pretty much managed to move on with our lives, too. The only problem is that every time we reach the next down, I try to imagine commuting to my parents' hometown to take care of her. I mentally prepare a work schedule that allows me to be with them four days a week. I reschedule some future point in my life so that I can use my FMLA to take care of my mom, and I pray that I get to use all of that time to be with her.

Tonight was one of those nights. It is one of those nights. It will be one of those weeks.

Mom's liver masses are about twice the size they were before. There's progression in the size and number of the bone metastases in her hips. She has fluid in her lungs and around her heart. There's something about a bleeding cyst in her brain, something they need more views of before they can decide what it is and how to treat it. She's starting a new drug, gemzar.

I thought the Xeloda was our saving grace. I thought wrong.


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