Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bad News

My mom called today as the work day was drawing to a close and I was frantically trying to finish charting in a depressingly tall stack of charts.

"Well, the news isn't good," she said matter of factly.

"They found a tumor that's taking up 60% of my bladder. No wonder I've had to go to the bathroom so much lately!" (A symptom she had failed to mention until this moment.)

She continued, "the doctor thinks it looks like an aggressive kind of cancer, and that one or two lymph nodes are involved, but not the kidneys. But he can't be sure.

He wants to do a biopsy, hopefully later this week, to see exactly what we are dealing with. But most likely they will want to do chemotherapy first, before surgery, to try to spare the bladder."

Almost cheerfully she added, "but not to worry, Massachusetts just passed a medical marijuana law!"

My heart is heavy tonight.

I'm trying to stay present, and not think too far into the future, and also not tell myself stories about why this isn't fair. Although I don't know how to meditate, and surely wish I did, and also that I had the discipline to actually do it, I'm mostly dwelling in my feelings, and not my thoughts. I learned through my dad's fight with cancer as well as other painful events in the last few years that thinking is a dangerous occupation.

Geneen Roth, a writer I admire, says to describe how an emotion feels in the body, to give it a color, a texture.

So how I feel right now, it feels like a gluey, gelatinous grey cloud is sitting on my diaphragm. Not making it hard to breathe, exactly, but just making my heart feel very, very heavy.

Tonight, after I dressed Calliope in her pajamas and fleece sleep sack, and gratefully nursed her (one side only), I just sat in the chair and held her for a few long minutes. For once, she was still, and simply rested her head on my shoulder, sucking her thumb quietly and contentedly. Finally, she pulled away and looked into my face with the kindest, gentlest, most loving smile... and then leaned in and carefully pressed her lips against mine in her first ever closed mouth kiss.



15 comments:

  1. Aw, kids just know, don't they? So sorry to hear that your mother is ill. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 and is still around, despite being diagnosed with metastasis years later so don't despair. Medicine can work wonders nowadays

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  2. Thinking good, supportive thoughts for you. It must be a very scary time -- I hope further tests show the best possible situation for your mother.

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  3. Oh, I'm so, so, so sorry to hear about your mother being sick. I really do hope all works out with whatever the treatment plan needs to be, and that all will be well. If you need anything any time you happen to be up in Massachusetts, please let me know! I'm more than happy to help if I can.

    And I have to say, the last paragraph of your post is just so beautiful, and I could see it happening in my mind as I read it (the sign of a great writer, I think!).

    Hang in there...

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  4. So sorry to hear about your mom. I will be thinking of you and your family.

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  5. I am so sorry to hear this news. I am sure your mom is in the best of hands and I hope she makes a full recovery. I know the treatment won't be easy but I hope it won't be too hard for your mom. Calliope is just the sweetest child such a beautiful example of compassion and love for her mom. It also brought tears to my eyes.

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  6. Calliope knew exactly what you needed - the sign of a well loved baby.

    I'm so sorry the news from your mom wasn't good. Sending up lots of prayers for her - and for you, too.

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  7. Terrible new Abby. I will be thinking of you and your mom during this difficult time.

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  8. So sorry to hear this news. As you already know, it is difficult to watch a parent go through a cancer fight. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  9. So sorry. You'll be in my thoughts.

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  10. Very sorry to hear this, Abby. Glad Calliope knew exactly the right thing to do. Let me know if I can do anything to help.

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  11. So sorry Abby. {{{{Hugs}}}} but it sounds like your mom has a great attitude and that really is one of the most important and valuable things in fighting disease.

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  12. So sorry about your mom. Let me know if Elsie and I can do anything!! even if it just distracting you guys for an afternoon or evening.

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  13. So sorry to hear this news. Sweet little C knew just what you needed, didn't she?

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  14. I'm so very sorry to hear that your fears were confirmed. Indeed a scary and disorienting time for you. Thinking of your family tonight...

    Tara

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  15. I'm just catching up on blogs so I'm sorry for my late response. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. I can only imagine how scared you are. Sending you prayers & love

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