Wednesday, August 20, 2008


We're in Week Three of chemo & radiation in CancerLand out here and it reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally bites. Mom's holding up, I guess, but I've discovered something that feels worse than seeing your child weeping. Moms can comfort their children, making things "all better" with a hug and a kiss and maybe a Hello Kitty bandaid.

But when YOUR mom suddenly dissolves into tears? There just ain't enough Hello Kitty bandaids on the market to make that all better.

She's trying to keep hold of her sense of humor. Surgery looks to happen in October, and she'll have to have a temporary ostomy while she heals. Can't say she's looking forward to that, but my daughter (who has clearly inherited the family twisted humor) has promised to knit her an ostomy cozy. (Like a tea cozy. Only.... not.) She was going to make an octopus, but between the two of them, they decided an octopus was not suitably vile enough to fit the purpose and they have settled on a remora.

It's funny how your whole world can abruptly narrow down to The Disease and its eradication. Ok, its not funny at all, but you get the idea. Still, there are moments of hilarity in which we think we might get through this. For instance, she's opted for the continual infusion pump for her chemo. The port was surgically inserted into her chest, and she has a bag that holds her chemo. Every 2 minutes, it sends another burst of chemicals through the tubes and when it does, it makes a little squeaking noise.

Her cats? Think there's a mouse in that bag. They have spent the last three weeks trying like hell to find that damned mouse. We cannot seem to convince them otherwise.

* * *

My cousin was married this past weekend and mom was unable to go so the rest of us drove out to attend. As late as Friday, I still had nothing to wear, and dashed into a local TJ Maxx on my lunch break. As luck would have it, I actually found a possible dress and squeezed myself into their absurdly small changing rooms to try it on. I must admit that although I was wearing a good suit, underneath of it I was hardly dressed for success. My unmentionables were of a caliber that would probably inspire more laughter than racing hearts... but I had no plans to share them with the general public, so whatever. I'm confident that many a woman out there has done the same thing around Laundry Day.

So the dress appears to fit and I get it zipped most of the way... tug. tug. Oops. Huh. I can't seem to get it to move. Tug. Tug. Tug tug tug TUG. Aw hell. I try and unzip and.... nothing. Nada. It's stuck. I'M stuck. Tug tug tug yank tug. I am really really stuck.

I manage to snake one arm out without dislocating my shoulder, and contort myself and the fabric enough to see that the zipper is actually broken, and as I zipped it up, it was coming open beneath the zipper pull. Yep. I am well and truly stuck and will need assistance to get out of this.

I hold the bodice up and go in search of the 18 year old attendant. We do not fit into this little closet of a changing room together, so the girl stands in the open door and starts yanking on the zipper for all she is worth. I am trying not to fall on my butt, because this girl has got some serious upper body strength and I'm close to flying backward with every attempt she makes.

Finally, she gives one last savage yank on that zipper and it practically FLEW downward. And so, alas.... did the dress. She exerted so much force on that last pull, not only did she rip that broken zipper open, it pulled the dress clear OFF of me and it fell onto the floor.

Just as three women entered the dressing area.

And there I stand, trying to gather the shreds of my dignity.

Go figure.

* * *

Also? I don't think I hear myself thinking, lately. Mostly I just get this high-pitched humming noise that could possibly indicated that I've shorted out my brain. Overload. Syntax error, does not compute. In the family roles, I've apparently been cast as the worker bee, the "fixer", the problem solver.



J said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

I laughed my ass off at your TJ Maxx story. Sorry! :)

Robbin said...

It's hard to try not to laugh so hard when I know what you are going through. I saw my Mom through breast cancer while I was pregnant with my son, and now she has a swelling in her right side under the ribcage that I am praying is not serious. Not something I want to go through again.

But I love the remora. That's laughing at disaster, that is.

giants fan said...

I have been thinking about you and checking in often for updates. I am sending as many positive vibes as I can!!

a Tonggu Momma said...

I've been checking in often for updates and I pray every time I visit. My momma lived through breast cancer while I was in college.

Still had to laugh at the TJ Maxx story, though. I'll bet it make your momma crack up, too.

JoeinVegas said...

Oh mom - hope all goes well and things get better.

Midlife Mama said...

Ohhhhhhh boy can I ever identify with your story. I found your blog, btw, through "I'm a Troublemaker."

Once? At the doctor's office? The nurse person that takes you back to the room and stops at the torture chamber --er-- scale, to weigh you? Well, here's what happened to me: I am 5'11". I am also over 100 lbs. overweight. My normal weight is 170. So. This skinny little bitch wasn't my doctor's usual back office person, and I don't know what her problem is, but she announced -- ANNOUNCED -- my weight (you can guess what it is, yeah it's a lot thankyouverymuch) OUT. LOUD. Oh yes, she did.

And as if THAT wasn't mortification enough, when I turned around to get off the scale? There were three people standing behind me, looking at me like I'd grown three heads. Their mouths were agape in astonishment. I kid. you. not.

I have never -- EVER -- been more humilitated in my entire life. I nearly burst into tears. I mean, you can look at me and DUH I am overweight. But I am so tall, that you'd never guess I was **that** overweight. Unless someone announced it so you could all hear it. I gave her a look that would have melted steel. I wish now I'd said something like, "Gee, why don't you say it a little louder; I don't think the people across the street heard you!!" Gah.

Believe me, my doctor got an earful!

Guess what. I went back for a follow up in a month. Same person. Guess what happened. Yep, same thing -- this stupid bitch announced my weight again out loud. AFTER I'D ASKED HER NOT TO!!!! Just five seconds before I got on that scale. She still did it. Fortunately, there were no other people around this time. But still. SO WRONG!!

Next time I had to go to the doctor (several months later) she has a new backoffice person, and she is WONderful and I love her. That other skinny bitch? Who has never had a weight problem in her life? There's a special place in hell for people like that.

So believe me, I totally *get* your humilitation. **sigh**