Friday, July 8, 2011

No Time To Celebrate

I got the good news on Wednesday, June 29, that the cancer has not come back.

This was completely tempered by the fact that 2 days earlier, my Mom had a heart attack, stroke and a blood clot near her kidney and was in ICU clear across the country from me. So there I was, struggling with the decision of when to hop on the next plane while I was waiting to hear what my fate was going to be with cancer. You can imagine the thoughts and feelings that were racing through my head––worry, anxiety, sadness, guilt, happy, concern, confusion, conflict––that were ringing in my brain at various levels.  I was like, "c'mon, really? Someone or some thing thinks I can handle all this crap, all at once?

I got on a plane Friday morning, not knowing what to expect once I was able to see my Mom. The reports from my Cousin and Sister were not encouraging. And unfortunately, this was looking like a life altering incident. I didn't know if I was going to able to handle it. I remember the last time I rushed back home to the West Coast to see my Grandmother. She was barley hanging on when I got there. I got to tell her I love her, hold her hand and kiss her on the cheek and forehead. I also told her that if she needed to go, it was OK. You held on until I got to see you. And I'll never forget her face––she had a peaceful look even though she was catatonic. She passed away a couple of hours later.

We take for granted that life is fragile. Precious. And it will end. For myself, having stared death right in the eye and telling it to "go screw yourself, I'm not ready" was an experience I hope I never have to go through again. But if I had to, I know I can and will fight to win at all costs. And that's the scariest part of watching my Mom in her current situation. I'm not sure if she's willing or able to fight––her brain is damaged from the stroke and her anxiety disorder has kicked in to high gear. I wish I could do something for her to make her better.

Until then, celebrations are on hold.