Monday, July 15, 2013

In the thick of it

I never thought I would see the day I'd be taking my own mother to the hospital for cancer treatment. Her first one was exactly a week ago, and we spent over 11 hours there. When we arrived at the radiation area, sadly, ironically, my mom ran into a woman she knew. She has brain cancer, has had surgery, and getting both chemo and radiation. She was wearing a hat and when she took it off, the top half of her hair was gone and a huge scar ran from one side of her head to the other. Just another example of how common this horrendous disease has become. My dad and I stood beside my mom as nurses fastened a mesh mask to her face and slid her into a tube where she would be getting radiation. We watched from outside the room as she lay there, still, for 9 excruciatingly long minutes as the beams bombarded her cancer. From there we went to the cafe, ate, and proceeded on to get my mom's blood drawn. As we sat in the waiting area, I took note of how busy it was. Old people, young people. Some in wheelchairs, some walking on their own. Some bald, some with full heads of hair. One gentleman's face was disfigured and he had a stoma and voice valve. Everyone was chatting and laughing. A woman in a wheelchair and wearing a wig complimented my sandals. A man joked around about needing more of the "good stuff." A mother and daughter sat next to each other reading books. A weird scene, really, but somewhat "normal." And there sat my mom, among them. After another hour or so, the nurses directed us to the 3rd floor. The floor my mom was dreading. The floor where she would be getting chemo. We sat around and her best friend who's an oncologist came to join us, bringing gossip mags and sandwiches. My mom took a break to go to the bathroom and soon after she left her name was called. When she came back, the four of us walked in. A small army. Soon after she was seated in her own room and a flurry of activity began; introductions to nurses, what would be happening, what the time-frame was. I wrapped her in a prayer shawl my friend's mom had made for her and they began flushing out her system to prepare her body for the chemo. A nutritionist came in and had my mom list off all the things she does and doesn't eat. She's a good little patient; the only thing she really doesn't like is ice cream. Then they pumped her full of anti-nausea meds and finally the nurse came in with a large bag of chemo. Seeing her face as she wept and wanted to run away was one of the hardest things I've ever had to experience, but I squeezed her hand and assured her it wasn't poison; it was the medication needed to save her life. So she sat there, for hours and hours on end, while it ran it's course. We got her to laugh through her tears, and in those moments I realized just how much I love my mother...and how brave she is.

1 comment:

  1. Poetic words for such a hard time Doll Face. Still sending you love and healing energy & strength in this hars time.

    From your Sister in the same struggle....

    Jae Lowe