My mom was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She is 73 years old. Her experiences with doctors and tests and surgeries and anesthesiologists and diagnostics are limited. She dealt with some of this with my grandfather when he got cancer, and then some when my grandmother became ill. She dealt with it when I got sick, too. But always as an outsider, as the support system. Now, it’s a first-person experience for her, and she hates it. I can’t blame her, I know how it sucks…to a point, of course. I know the on-going tests, the waiting, the appointments, the waiting, the doctor’s offices, the waiting, the results. The questions, the lack of answers, the run-around. The lack of information.
Mom told my brothers what was going on a couple of hours after she told me, mostly because they all work and she didn’t want to call them while they were at work. I’ve since spoken to one of my brothers, who is really the one who questions everything. The one who challenges everything. The other two have not spoken to me yet, but I’m sure we’ll talk at some point. But the one brother, he’s already asking questions, challenging things, doing research. And I’m not.
I’ve asked my mother questions, but when she answers them I accept what she says. I don’t challenge her, I don’t challenge her doctor. And I am not doing research. I feel like I’m doing something wrong by not doing research. Every hour I try to remind myself that I’m not a doctor and I’m not G-d. I cannot affect the outcome of this situation, I can only try to affect the journey. I can support, I can listen, I can do the laundry and cook dinner, I can grocery shop, I can drive to appointments and/or go with them to appointments. I can pick up medications, I can help clean, I can take care of Cray-cray Lab. I cannot affect the cancer, I cannot affect the surgery, I cannot affect the doctors and how they perform. I can pray, I can hope, I can do the things I can do. I can make the choice to be in the current space with myself (and/or my mother), and not spend that amount of time wondering, researching, worrying, being anxious, feigning control.
I am in the moment. And the moments feel helpless. I feel helpless. The other things I am not doing–the illusion of control–at least made me feel like I was doing something. This not doing, it’s hard. This accepting that I cannot affect change in the cancer, it’s hard. And it hurts to accept that I cannot affect change in the cancer for my mom. This is not to say I am not able to help (see above) in other ways, but I want to do more.
My mother is a woman of faith. A woman of no regrets. A woman of strength. In the good days, in the bad days. It’s easy to have faith, no regrets, and strength in the good days. It is the measure of a person to have that same faith, lack of regret, and strength in the bad days. I choose to follow in her footsteps as best I can. I am awed by her every day.
I choose to be in these moments of helplessness. I choose to be in these moments of fear. I choose to be in these moments of faith. I choose to be in these moments of strength. I choose to be in these moments of no regrets. I choose to be in these moments of love. I choose to be in these moments with my mom. I choose them all now because I may not have these opportunities again.