For A Moment

Last night my mom called me.  Last night I thought as we were on the phone fuck there is going to be a day where my phone won’t ring anymore and say mom.  And then I went back to listening to what she had to say because I can’t give any more of my time to that thought.  Because if I really think about that and what all of this means it is unbearable.  I had another moment like this during the 4th of July weekend right after we found out.  We were at the drive in and sitting in the back of the SUV just talking.  Chemo hadn’t started, we had only known for a week.  And I just looked at her and thought there is going to be a day when I can’t do this.  I know that all this could work and she could have some good years ahead.  But I also know none of us live forever.  So there will be a time when we will say goodbye. 
I told her the other day she could live til 80 and I would still be devastated because she is my mom.  She is the one I talk to about the big and little things.  She is the one that keeps me in check.  I’m almost 30 and she asks me if I’m doing my laundry because she knows I’m a messy slob. No matter how many times I tell her I’m a grown up she still pushes me because she knows I’m capable of more even if it just means a clean house. She is the one I talk about reality shows with.  My sister doesn’t watch the housewives but my mom does.  So I can go over my parents and we will both be like ok did you watch orange county last night and then we will discuss every ones behavior.  So ya I can’t devote more than a moment to these thoughts because it just totally and completely sucks.

Research

Today marks the first day of Cycle 3.  The last double dose before scans.  A cycle is 21 days.  She has to complete 3 cycles before her CT scan so 9 weeks of chemotherapy.  I remember when we found out and a doctor came in and told us about cycles so I asked what is a cycle? A she told me 21 days and I was so confused thinking 21 days in a row of chemo.  

So I started reading scientific papers and learned some of the chemotherapy lingo. I have read scientific papers on CA 125 levels and what they mean.  I have read papers about neoadjuvant chemotherapy which is chemotherapy given before surgery in order to shrink tumors.

 What are the statistics? What are the odds? What are her chances? Desperately looking for an answer of hope or perhaps knowledge to soften the blow. I have read all of this research and I have come to my own conclusion who the hell really knows. There are so many things that could go wrong and there are so many things that could go right.  The human body is a crazy crazy thing.  Last week white blood cells were low and we thought for sure there is no way she would be able to get chemo today.  Well today they are back up and she is getting that final double dose.  My mom doesn’t fit in that box. She is not simply a statistic. My mother is resilient.

Normalcy

Tonight we sat in a gym and watched my sister coach her volleyball team. I don’t think I could think of a more normal scenario for my family if I tried. See for a chunk of time volleyball was our life. And while my sister was the one that played, it was a part of us all.

During summertime my brother and I would shag balls while she practiced in the yard.  She worked on her vertical in the garage trying to hit a tennis ball. Our weekends were spent watching her play Junior Olympic volleyball.  The night before was a subway run and trailmix making.  I remember the sound of the espresso machine as my dad would head with her first thing in the morning so she could practice serving. My mom, brother and I would follow behind.  We were a well oiled volleyball machine.

Her high school career ended after an injury but she picked it back up when she was in college. So tonight we were just a family watching a volleyball game which is a nice change of pace (minus my brother who showed up as the second game had ended). 

Not To Be Morbid But…

There has been a lot of talk of death and dying this week. We did a lot of this talk in the beginning when she was first diagnosed and then we kind of stopped. But now as we are approaching her scan and doctors appointment it’s kind of ramped up again.  I think we are all just scared that the doctor will tell us surgery is not an option and we are trying to be prepared. I’ve got a notebook going with her wishes. Two days ago I told her she could haunt me as a ghost. We laugh and cry. But we’re trying our hardest to laugh. To make twisted jokes. Because the reality of all of this is too painful. 

2 Months Ago

On June 25th the 5 of us sat in a hospital room waiting for doctors to come in and tell us more about my mom’s ovarian cancer. With each Doctor the news got a little worse. The final doctor came in and told us without chemotherapy AND surgery she would have about 6 months. I am aware that is just an estimation and they don’t really know when anyone will die. But six months from that day is Christmas. 

Here we are two months later. She decided to go ahead with chemotherapy and possible surgery. The effects of chemotherapy have taken their toll, robbing her of her hair and dropping her white blood cell count.  With 3 chemotherapy sessions left we are approaching the big question…have the tumors shrunk enough that surgery is an option? Time will tell as we continue to ride this emotional roller coaster.  Fuck cancer. 

3 Weeks

Genetic testing has been like this fly buzzing in our ears for years. Doctors constantly asking us if we have been tested for the BRCA mutations. The answer was always the same…No. I didn’t want to know. I thought of it as this cloud hanging over my head. And then I had a child and then my mom got ovarian cancer.

I thought well crap ovarian AND breast cancer maybe this is a BRCA mutation.  And then I started to look at it a different way. We could use this knowledge. If my mom does have the gene I will be tested. And if I test positive they will watch me and catch things early and whatever. So in 3 weeks we will know.  In 3 weeks we will have the answer to the question we have been asking ourselves for years and it feels very strange.

Waiting…

It’s 1145am. My mom should be seeing her doctor right now. And I’m just sitting here trying to eat lunch. Waiting on a phone call. What did he say? What does he think? We think she’s making progress. We think it’s getting better. But we’re not doctors. We are just people hoping there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I despise this. This just sitting and waiting. So I’ll just sit here and read celebrity Twitter feeds and housewife blogs and hope that there’s nothing unexpected.