Bad days don’t have to be relived…that’s the best part about them. When a day is done you can’t go back and change anything about it. You don’t have to go through it again. The effects can linger, sure, but whatever heartbreak and anguish yesterday contained – that cherry can only be popped once. Then it just wedges its way into you, into your soul. Nestles there. One minute up, the next down. Disbelief. Anger. Worry. Stress. Sadness.
My mother has lung cancer. My father and I were told yesterday and we had to live with that knowledge for about 2 hours before my mom knew, as she was waking up from anesthesia and getting her bearings about her. To sit in her recovery room with her, having her say “I hope this takes care of it” (“it” being the reason why her right lung keeps collecting fluid), but knowing that no, it’s not taken care of. It’s worse. Far worse. My dad ended up breaking the news to her when I left to use the restroom because he couldn’t bear her rooting around with her hopes that it’s all over with when really we are beginning. We wanted to wait for the doctor to do it so that she could answer questions my mom would have but it was hard to carry the weight of knowing that what she likely has is treatable, but not curable, and will likely kill her no matter what we do.
The details as to the stage of the cancer, the exact type (the doctors do think it’s mesothelioma), is it in the left lung – we don’t have these answers yet. We don’t have a game plan. We will hopefully know more over the next several days as the test results come back.
As my dad and I sat in the waiting room, fighting back tears, I wished I could have given him the chatterbox distraction he needed to bring him out of his own head but I couldn’t. My sister is good at that and when she arrived, she was able to give that to my mom and dad. I brood in silence, tending to feel the claws of sadness and stress wrap themselves around me, stifling my breath. I am not a happy distraction when things get tough. I’m the one silently wrapped up in planning for what’s next. Okay, how can we solve this? All right. What about this next step? Logical, until I’m in the shower by myself. Falling apart in the shower just feels right. I like to pretend that the misery is washing off of me, swirling down the drain and out and away. I’ve always done my best crying in the shower.
My dad and I aren’t holding on to that secret anymore; at least there’s that. My dad, sister, mom and I don’t need to relive what we went through yesterday. Today, we just have to live with and through it.
My mother never smoked. Someone like her isn’t supposed to have lung cancer.
I expect I’ll be talking a lot about my mother in the days to come. She is insanely private so I will not share all of the details and it’ll be about my own memories and my own feelings as we move forward.