Monday, November 02, 2009

no one appreciates the sun until it gets cloudy outside

Last Thursday, my mom had surgery to remove the cancerous bits they had found in her previous test. The doctors will send the sample to a lab, where they will put a dye on it and slice it up to look at under the microscope. If they don't believe they've got it all, they will have to go back in and try to get the rest. Any other decisions--about radiation or any other forms of action--will depend on these results, which won't be available for at least five days.

She didn't allow me to take the day off, but because of my new working hours (11:30 am to 8 pm), I was able to see her into surgery before my shift, take a break when they were wheeling her out to the car and get home in time to help my dad make sure she was resting comfortably. And she didn't allow me to take the next day off, either. Of course, during that alone time she managed to do a week's worth of laundry, clean the whole house and call around to the bakeries to see if they could make H's favorite pie for his birthday the next day (key limes are apparently out of season during Halloween). She also dug out her "Trick or Treat" embroidered longsleeved tee to wear when giving out candy. When left to her own devices, this woman will do anything but rest.

My brother is in agony because he couldn't swing coming home (as if she would have allowed it anyhow), and sent a gorgeous bouquet instead. My mom stuck with the party line "Why did you spend your money?!," but I could tell she was touched. I know that's not enough for the kid; we learned at an early age that being present is worth so much more than anything money buys--my mom was at my brother's side 24 hours a day for every single night he's spent in a hospital, often sleeping in a chair for weeks at a time. And boy did that make her feet swell. That's the kind of stuff we'd like to do for her, if only she'd let us.

I'm having a hard time seeing her like this. If you ask anyone who knows her, my mom is the sunniest, most warm person to be around. The doctors and the patients adore her. And hell, a handful of people she works with who are our age refer to her as "Mom." but in the days after the surgery, she's been a little down. I can tell her energy level has taken a hit, and she's actually been sleeping more than four hours a night. I explained to her that I learned (from a reliable source, the '80s animated show Muppet Babies* "Scooter's Uncommon Cold" episode) that when you're sick, you need lots and lots of rest so young Kermit, Piggy and the gang can fly around inside your body in a tiny spaceship and help your immune system fight off the bad guys. All I got was a chuckle and a wan smile. It's killing me that all our love and jokes aren't enough to make this cancer go away.

This futility-of-love-against-life-threatening-illness seems to be a running theme in my life.

*Dude, Muppet Babies had a ridiculous premise, but it was awesome. Am I right or what?


Madelyn said...

I've only met your mom once, but I think she's pretty damn cool.

It can't be easy, but I bet they got it all.

Syar said...

Pats for your mom!

I don't think it's futility of love so much as...well, she's gonna need to rest up a bit before she can absorb all that love and get back to her old form. She sounds like she's doing okay, and I've got my fingers crossed for the test results. I wish these things were defeated simply by how awesome a person is, because if that were the case no cancer would've dared touch your mom, even with a 10-foot pole (or the stilt of a guy in a Death costume in Chicago).

SupaCoo said...

Moms don't always know best. Spoil that woman no matter what she says!

Hoping for a speedy recovery and great test results...

Willowtree said...

There's just something about moms, they get a smidge of superwoman that we probably wont ever understand until we are parents. You and your brother and your dad just being there for your mom is so big - her heart is full of smiles. Sending feel better wishes mom's way.

Jon said...

Having been around your mom before and after, I can definitely say that she was off. She didn't cook anything for me when I came over, so you know she's out of it. I mean, I am her favorite.

That woman really doesn't know how to quit, so I know she'll get through this.