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.