My Mom


There are moments in life when everything suddenly becomes prioritized. What seemed to be of great importance yesterday now is a distant memory and unfortunately this new found perspective is usually the result of bad news. I wish I had the ability to grasp what is really important without an accompanying tragedy. But I suppose only a few can in the fast paced society that so easily takes over our lives.

In early September my mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I am not the type who gets overly anxious about bad news because I need to understand all the factors. In my mind there is a fixable answer to everything and nothing is final until every single resource is exhausted. So upon hearing the news from my dad I was concerned but emotionally, very detached.

Almost immediately she was put through a battery of tests and a few were very intrusive. There were also countless appointments with therapists, nutritionists and surgeons to widdle down the appropriate treatment. Most of the tests’ outcome were good but a few were not. Really, until the surgery the long term prognosis is unknown. And at 9am tomorrow she goes in for the surgery.

Still, up until a few hours ago this hasn’t been very real for me. I have been living here in the Northwest thinking that solution for the cancer is an ongoing battle placed in the hands of the most competent professionals that the medical science community has to offer. Everyday I call home to see what the parents are up to and it seems that the days are full of activity and fun and not thoughts of illness. I wanted to fly in for the surgery but they insisted I stay and save my time off for the holidays and now I am wishing I was home.

Today I talked with Mom and she is fasting and drinking a clear liquid that was given to her in preparation for tomorrow. I could hear the nervousness in her voice as we talked not of tomorrow but of Thanksgiving and how excited Dad was over the Redsox on Saturday. Some of the extended family is coming in town later in the week to help out and we discussed whether my 81 year old Grandmother was capable of driving the family Volvo suv around Roswell, Georgia. Then the air of lighthearted conversation turned to the reality of uncertainty.

My Mom and I are not as close as my Dad and I are. We are just very different people in personalities. That doesn’t mean that we fought all the time but being an only child, I would imagine she felt on the outside a lot. These things weigh heavy on my heart now and today when she told me that she was proud of me, that she loved me and that no matter what happens she can be at peace knowing she was the best mother she could be, the cancer became real.

I try to live my life free of hate and regret. These emotions are a waste of time and energy and after a while, they will kill you. But I still feel them. I hate cancer. I hate how it can indiscriminately come and take a loved one away. I hate the fact that I put rational thought before reaching out and being there emotionally. I hate the thought of my Dad wandering the halls of the hospital. I hate the thought of him eating alone in the hospital cafeteria. I regret that I couldn’t wait one fucking hour until my Mom came home from a meeting to leave for Idaho because I was worried I would hit traffic in Knoxville, Tennessee. I can’t remember when I hugged her last.

We got off the phone and I said I loved her very much and there was nothing to worry about. Inside I wanted to burst but right now she needs strength and not weakness. I know that the surgery, while very serious, is not uncommon. Millions of people are survivors and this is a struggle shared by a large percentage of the world. I understand all that but this is my Mom. And the night before an operation, there is a sense that the battle is only fought by the three of us.

So tonight, I think I will sit outside for a while and watch the sky. I always feel a sense of vitality when in nature. I can’t say if I feel closer to God, since I haven’t been very close to him/her in many years. We sort of have an understanding; I live a good life and He/She protects my family and friends. Which now leads me to wonder what I have done so badly that I haven’t already paid for. But I don’t think God is a “tit for tat’ kind of creator.

Sorry that this post isn’t the kind of light and humorous (or sick) post that I usually write. A very good friend of mine recently told me the good thing about a blog is that when you write something, it then becomes real. Almost making your feelings tangible in a way. I say that is true.

I love my Mom. And she is going to beat this.

20 Comments

  1. From everything you’ve described you have ZERO reason to feel regrets. All will be well and check your email ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks Romi. Your emails are always the best!

  2. As a cancer survivor myself it’s not unjustified to hate cancer, just know in your heart that your mom will be fine. Medicine has come a long way in the last few years and with all the mojo we’re gonna be sending you and your families way you’ll be getting the phone call saying she’s doing fine in no time.

    And you have no reason to apologize for the serious post, it’s your blog and your entitled to write whatever the heck you want to!

    Wow Dan. I’m glad you are healthy now. You must have a zest fr life many people take for granted.

  3. We will through up a few words of prayer and hope for your family bro…

    Thanks guy. All those worked like a champ.

  4. I lost my dad to cancer so I can relate to the complete hatred of it. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and hope that everything turns out well.

    i am so sorry for your loss. You are a pretty strong person.

  5. If you need someone to talk to, even if it’s just text messenging you can call or text me anytime. I might be asleep, but I will respond as soon as I get up if I am asleep.

    When your parents or grandparents start having medical problems it sucks. It really does because it reminds you they won’t be around forever. And that is a horrible feeling. My grandma got diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago when I was about 19 or so and that made me feel bad. She got through it ok because it wasn’t too severe of a case. She booked a cruise for her and my granddad, the day before the tests came back, and asked the doctors if she could still go. Because that is a lot of money to throw away. They said it isn’t spreading too fast, you can wait but about 4 days after they came back she went into surgery. Everything turned out ok, the radiation got all of it out and she didn’t act like it was a big deal. She just didn’t like going to the hospital 6 days a week.

    About 3-4 years ago, she started getting horrible pains in her hip. So much she couldn’t do anything but lay in bed and take pain killers. She went into surgery, they replaced her hip and got all of the hip cancer out. She started walking with the assistance of a cane or if she really isn’t up to it a walker. She had physical therapy and things were looking up. She loathed using the walker and the cane not only it’s a pain in the ass to use but it is a symbol of being a disabled old person. Imagine being independent for so long and then having to depend on something, it’s hard to admit defeat like that.

    She still gets around with a cane and a walker, she still has hopes of being able to walk without them, but everybody in the family thinks she will never walk without them. Some days are very painful some aren’t. It’s so hard seeing her walk around with a walker and a cane. It’s hard for everybody. She has fallen sometimes like out on the pavement when it just stopped raining and the road is slippery. I was with her once (on my birthday of all days) and she couldn’t for the life of her get up. We had to get a neighbor to help. A big strong guy that pulled her up with one fell swoop (am I right? lol!) and then we went to the store, and I lied about where she fell to my Granddad. He even asked me what happened after she explained how. She didn’t want him knowing she fell visiting my two sisters. He loves me and gets along with me, but doesn’t like them. Comparing me to them is like comparing apples to oranges. I can go on and on about how awful they are but I won’t.

    But the point of my story is, everyone that has decent parents goes through that. And it’s one of the hardest things to go through. It’s better if they slowly breakdown rather then them dying in a freak accident or something along those lines. At least that is what my opinion is. You can brace yourself that way.

    I like looking at nature too. I am not a nature girl, but I can see myself staring off into the stars being alone with my thoughts. People don’t do that enough in this busy world. I love watching sunrises and sunsets too. I tell myself as long as that happens, everything will be ok. It’s comforting to me. It gives me hope. Babies give me hope too. And small children in general. Life is still so new to them. The plastic wrapping has just been taken off of their lives, and they are still amazed by the little things.

    I feel there are no accidents. I am an atheist by all means but that is the one thing I cling onto that someone would call spiritual. I feel our stories have already been written in a way. It’s forgivable that you didn’t wait an hour to see your mom. Don’t beat yourself up for it. You show your love in other ways, it’s ok you didn’t hug her. I make dinner every day my best friend works and pack his lunch for work. I also do the housework. I feel that shows love just as much or more then a hug. It depends. Sometimes people need an “I love you” to make them feel better. It depends on the person. But some people, it’s not easy for them to say i love you or they think you already know why should I say it again? It’s an unspoken love. I know some people love me, but they don’t say it every time I talk to them. But my best friend and I say I love you every time we see each other. We say it how people would say goodbye and hello. It falls into the if you don’t see this person again because something unfortunate happened to them, at least the last time you saw them you said I love you to them category. Him and I have talked about it before.

    (this post is going to be SO LONG lol!!)

    I think these situations call for people to make a grateful list. Thanksgiving isn’t the only time you should stop and think about being grateful. We as people should stop at least once a month and make up a mental or even writing down on a piece of paper a grateful list. It definitely is longer then the things that you hate about your life. If you have a job, a place to stay, etc. you are ahead of the game. And one pet peeve I have is people that feel bad for themselves all the time and they can WALK! I understand having a pity party, I have them too, but on and on with the why me approach to life. I want to punch those people. But then people would feel sorry for them more. Sigh I can’t win ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also, this year I learned about the law of attraction. I am not completely into it, but I do think it helps. At least it helps the stress. And it helps you feel like you did your best. First you think about what you want. Like if you want a car, you imagine yourself driving it, feeling the steering wheel underneath your fingers etc. You send out positive waves for it. Then, you feel grateful like the outcome has already happened. Like in your life, you would feel relieved and appreciative. Then you would go through the steps to make it happen. It’s not just sitting around wishing it would happen, like some people think. In your case unfortunately all you can do is wait for updates. The last step is paying it forward. You rinse and repeat until you have what you want.

    The law of attraction is all about sending positive vibrations out into the world and getting it back. It bounces off the universe’s walls and comes back to you 10 fold. There is a great video explaining it but I searched through youtube and I cannot find it. If I find it sometime I will send it to you. And favorite it so this won’t happen again.

    In my life I am trying to make a conscious change. I am trying to not be one of those people that walks by something in public and thinks “someone else will probably solve that problem so I don’t need to get involved” and actually being the first one to step in and try my best to fix it. Most people would just walk by. You should really watch on youtube his name is antcomic. You know ANT the comedian? He has such awesome videos. Some make you laugh, some make you well up almost in tears, some make you think. One of my favorite people I am subscribed to. I post comments sometimes on his myspace and youtube. I hope this extremely long post helped you. If you need a friend, you know where to reach me. Always.

    Thanks Jodi!!! You’re a great friend. Your grandparents sound amazing.

  6. I’m sorry, Billy. Your mom is in my thoughts.

    Also, I admire that you want to live without regret or negative emotions, but sometimes living without regret is impossible. And if you hate something that has no feelings, like cancer, you aren’t guilty of bad karma. Don’t worry so much.

    thanks! Yeah, it would be nice not to have regrets but I am coming to find out that in life, you will. No matter what choices you make.

  7. Billy, I feel for you sweetie…. I know what you’re going through. You are not being punished either… this is just an unfortunate part of life… It’s sad that it sometimes takes something like this to make us realize what we have… but, I think it’s just human nature to take things for granted.

    I will keep you and your mom in my thoughts…

    Big Hugs to you….

    I’ll take a hug or two. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. My grandpa broke his hip about 2 weeks ago. He’s ok, but he has to stay in the hospital for a while :(.

    I hope the best for your mom.

    I’m sorry about you’re grandpa. Hip breaks are a scary thing. I’ll say a prayer for him, pal.

  9. Thanks for the well wishes everyone. Mom did great and she is out of recovery, resting in her room. You guys are the bestest. Even when I’m a wet blanket. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. I’m sorry for the harder times Billy, but very glad to hear that your mom is in recovery. Good thoughts and karma to you and yours.

    Things are much better and your good karma worked! Thanks for your thoughts!

  11. “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”
    ~Gilda Radner

    We’re all here; glad to also hear she’s doing well….

    Gilda always speaks the truth. Thanks buddy. That means a lot.

  12. Glad to hear everything went well Bill. And like Shuanfu said we’re all here for you whenever you need us.

    Thanks man.

  13. Glad to hear your mom is recovering well. I still have one more injection in February and thankfully I’ll be vaccinated against cervical cancer.

    That’s so important, Mystie. I was on the fence about giving vaccines to little kids but now…

  14. Will, I teared up reading this post! I was genuinely touched by your words (although there may be some pregnant hormones coming into play too). I’m so glad to hear your mom is doing well and I’m thinking nothing but positive thoughts for her and you and your family.

    I think you positive thoughts worked. Everything went as good as it could have. How’s life as a soon-to-be-mom?

  15. Glad to hear that everything went welll with the surgery… keeping you and your family in my thoughts…

    Thank you so much Girly

  16. I too teared up reading this and am extremely glad that by the time I read it you were out the other side with things going as well as can be expected. YEY!

    Many many moons ago my mom was in the hospital for heart related things and I remember the hardest thing about it was seeing my dad at their house, without her. Just sitting in this chair, staring out a window. He’s six feet tall and looked just tiny that day. Helpless.

    Often, the worst part of a loved one being ill or in hospital for tests etc. is that feeling that you cannot do a bloody thing about any of it…

    And, for the record, I was incredibly emotionally detached as well. I think i was pretty much a mess inside about it but on the outside I think I may have even seemed cold… This too might be related to control, I think. If I can’t do anything about it then why bother feeling? I dunno’…

    In any case – I am truly happy to hear you are out the other side and that the next parts of the process are smooth as can be.

    Thank you for posting so honestly and openly about it all.

    Thank you so much Sulya! Yeah, we lucked out. Big time. I think you hit it on the head about being in control. If I lose control I am a wreck. Especially when I see how it effects so many aspects of life. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. I meant to write “your mother and your family were out the other side ” up there. Or, if I didn’t then I damn well should should have…. *sorry*

  18. I just spent the last hour or so catching up on like the last month’s worth of posts. As always, I spent the last hour absolutely entertained. I have a tendancy to disappear from all my favorite blogs for a while and when I do I always regret it because I’ve missed SO much good stuff. I’m glad to hear that things seem to be looking up.

    I sometimes feel like I can’t escape cancer. It seems like every elderly person in my family has died of it and one of my best friends in the world who’s like a sister to me is slowly loosing her fight to it. I feel guilty for not talking to her more, but honestly it’s hard for me just to see it and it seems like when we’re together it’s the only thing we talk about. I don’t know. To hear her tell it, she’s got like a year left with us, tops. Reading this makes me want to give her a call. I’m glad everything turned out well with your mom. She’ll be in my thoughts for sure.

    Glad you are back my friend! Thank you for your kind words.You should give your friend a call. Sometimes that is all people need to give them peace.

  19. I, like many others teared up, when I was this too. I’m glad to hear that the surgery went well, and don’t ever apologize for being a “wet blanket”. I like your serious posts; they really give a glimpse into what a good person you are.

    Aw, thanks Allison. I appreciate your kind words. I know you know what it’s like. I always keep positive thoughts for you and Matt.

  20. Billy, I’m terribly sorry to hear about this. It’s great to know the surgery went well. Tell your parents hello for me. I know it’s been awhile since we’ve spoken, but I wish you the best and am glad to see you’re doing well.

    Holy cow! What’s up Jonathan? Long time no talk! Man, I’ll email you. It would be great to catch up.


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