Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Moving is moving

Mom’s tumor marker doubled since she started Doxil, and it’s over 1200 now. It was in the low 200s in July. They’re trying another treatment regimen, but I don’t know how many more there are. The thing about cancer is that as long as stops, it doesn’t matter if it leaves. We’re willing to negotiate with it, and may offer up deceleration as an option.

She’s so scared. She said she’s losing this fight. She said she’s not ready to leave me.

When I was 9 or 10 years old, I convinced Mom to let me get a perm at a salon. We went to Haircuts Plus, and she sat with me through the whole thing, sometimes talking to me and sometimes to the perm lady (cosmetologist?). Somehow, it came up that Perm Lady’s mom had died when she was young, and my mother told her how I had made her promise not to die before I got my period. I was mortified.

I’ve been menstruating for a while, but I’m still not ready for this. I’m moving back in with my parents part-time.

The severity of this doesn’t seem to have sunk in. It's a huge thing that I've started, and it goes beyond my obsessive planning. It's not the list of people to call and the list of people to email when she gets really sick as well as when she dies--it's changing my work schedule, buying train tickets, getting a cell phone, making arrangements for the cats, and essentially moving back in with my parents. This is moving now.

My mother's thrilled. She laughed that she hopes this isn't pressure to die. I want more time with her while she's still healthy (she gave me a hard sell on rubbing her feet when I arrive). We talked about the train ($15.30 each way for the least popular times) and the cell phone and that it won't be a fixed schedule. I have appointments and obligations here that I can't miss, and she knows that. They’re going to contribute a lot to this deal, like my train fare and part of the cell phone cost, although they don’t know about the latter yet.


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