Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Very Bad Daughter

My mom is dying. I don't have hope. I want to, but I don't. This is going to happen. But I can't grasp it. I cannot imagine not having a mom anymore.

Do you know how much it sucks to not even have faith in her that she can overcome it? That I've already written her off?

...

They never see tumors that big, except on people who are already dead.
Her steroid regiment (for lupus) most likely kept them from finding it sooner.
Not that it would have made any real difference anyway.
There wasn't one tumor, there were multiple tumors.
Except the rest were smaller, and more importantly, inoperable.
They told her this the day she started treatment.
She started treatment, radiation and chemo, late, because they were closed during the holidays.
She has radiation burns on her face.
She won't take the pneumonia medication, because she's afraid of seizures, because she wants to drive again someday.
She won't be able to drive again, because while her left field of vision is intact, her brain can't process things on her left.
My dad and I saw this first hand in the weeks before she was diagnosed. When she was driving smack down the middle of a 4 lane, 55 mph highway at no more than 20 mph, with the Cracker in the back seat while my dad was screaming at her, cars honking and flashing their lights.
For, like, 10 minutes.
I was watching it in my rear view mirror; she was supposed to be following me.
Why didn't he grab the wheel and force the car over?
She has always said she can't imagine life without books; she is an avid reader who no longer reads.
The radiation and chemo are starting to really kick her ass. She's on week three of the initial six.
When they start the maintenance phase, chemo will be 5 days on, 23 off.
But the amount of chemo drug they give her then will be triple what she's on now.
She's having headaches again.
Which may mean a lot of it has already grown back, or that the other spots have grown.
Headaches = increasing pressure from growing tumors.
It is not uncommon for this type of tumor to grow back to pre-surgery proportions, or even bigger, before starting treatment.
Which she started late.

And the worst for last: she is having left side weakness. BAD!BAD!BAD!BAD! BAD!

...

What's going to happen when I call her cell phone? How long until it stops ringing, disconnected? My mom and dad are on a family plan, they share minutes. Is he seriously going to have to call and tell them he no longer has anyone to share minutes with?

...

I'm a planner. I need to plan.

I have no California appropriate funeral clothes. I start looking online. Spring is hitting the stores, so everything is bright and obnoxious. Black is gone. So I order a dress, online, from Black House White Market. And I haven't worn anything from there since middle school back when it was just White House. And I usually have to try on a gazillion dresses before I find one that fits my ill-proportioned body. And I'm cheap. But I want something nice. But fuck if I'm ever going to wear the dress I wore to my mom's funeral ever again. So I find this dress that looks just okay online, down from $178 to $59.99, and they have random free shipping, and I can return it in Albuquerque if it doesn't fit. But I can't handle actually driving to a store to try it on with bright lights and mirrors. I want it anonymously delivered to my doorstep. I just order. I don't measure. I have no idea what size. And it comes. And it fits, like it was made for me, or at least me wearing with muffin sucking underwear. I don't even try without. I even already own the perfect shoes, though as Jason pointed out, I have to go bra shopping. Blech.

Ollie has several options if it's in the next few months before she grows out of them. yeah us for thinking black and other dark somber colors are "cute" on a baby. The Cracker has a shirt that works if it still fits, and I bought him pants two days ago that he has yet to try on.

We are going to work on Jason too, soon.

You know what? I don't even know if there is going to be any funeral, or any service. I just assume there is. Because that's what people like us do. But I can't ask her. And getting my dad on the phone alone is nearly impossible. She doesn't want us talking about her, and so she makes sure we can't. We have to sneak phone calls, and lie, but I don't blame her. I totally understand it, because I inherited that from her.

My friends are aghast. I am buying clothes for her funeral now, while she's still walking around. But I explain it's inevitable, and I need it to be done. I do not want to be doing this on her deathbed.

I'm trying to be ready...for my mom to die.

...

I am flying out to California on Tuesday for 10 days. I am taking Ollie, leaving the Cracker with Jason. I have never, ever left him before. There are a million reasons why I can't take him. I want to but I just can't. I'm too tired to list why right now.


All of this...surreal doesn't even begin to describe it.

5 comments:

Niffer said...

fjaiodhgiehgakldnglkesjrlksrnfsfkvies AND fejiworshsiogjeksrjiogiepsq,c.xz!!!! Because I can't think of anything else.

Trish said...

I wish I had profound or comforting words.
All I can say is that I'm sorry.

M.B. said...

Cancer sucks.

I love your Mom and I've never even met any of you.

My heart aches for you.

Sara said...

I'm so sorry. Cancer stinks. There are really no words for how much it stinks, and I'm so sorry you are going through this with you mom.

There is nothing wrong with thinking about things like funerals, and being ready. Because you're right - the only thing that sucks more than buying a funeral dress is doing so while someone is actually on their deathbed. I know this.

Does it help to know that there's no evidence that positive thinking improves outcomes? It helps me to know that. The Positive Thinking folks made me blind with rage after awhile, because they kept implying that my loved ones were dying because they failed to be peppy enough. I've got a bookmark in my browser to send the next person who tells me someone just isn't thinking positively enough about their cancer.

((Hugs))
(SaraV)

Heidi said...

Sara,

I'm pretty sure that your above comment is the best comment I've received ever. You get it. I wish you didn't, but you do. Thank you so much. I think I may need that link if you don't mind sharing.

--H