The cardinal rule about setting up a blogging schedule and sticking to it, no matter what.
I broke it. Big time.
I don’t even have a good excuse. Last week sucked. (so?) I didn’t feel like writing. (what’s new?) I was sick. (the whole week?) I had writer’s block (liar.) I was overwhelmed. (again, what is new?)
Here is what is true about last week and me:
(1) On Monday, Mom had a Gamma Knife procedure, which, it turns out, doesn’t involve a knife. It’s radiation surgery (?) that is supposed to have absolutely no side effects. Except maybe a little swelling and headache right after the procedure.
It’s true that there is no “knife” involved in Gamma Knife….but what they don’t tell you (until you get there) is that they BOLT a large metal cage looking thing onto your HEAD to hold it still during the procedure.
This seems like something they should have prepared us for.
It’s scary. It hurts. It look ridiculous. And it is kinda major.
After the procedure, the neurosurgeon came out to say that it all went well and that Mom will need to have a follow up MRI in about four weeks. And then she will need to keep having regular follow up MRI’s because, in all likelihood, there will be more tumors. Oh yes, another thing all of the other Doctors failed to mention, once your cancer has metastasized to the brain in more than one spot, it’s pretty much just a matter of time until more “mets” show up in the brain.
Super. Good. News.
The bright side of all this, according to this guy (who clearly has never had brain surgery +Gamma Knife) is that you can just keep getting Gamma Knife as many times as is necessary.
Because there are no side effects.
Unless you are my Mom.
First there was the utter exhaustion after the procedure. That lasted all week, literally. Then the matter of the holes drilled into her skull. Ya, those HURT. And the little bit of swelling around the puncture wounds? We are 9 days post procedure and the swelling is still making its way down her face. She could barely see for a couple of days right after the procedure due to swelling.
2. Then, on Wednesday, we went to see the Clinical Trials people. This was a mixed bag. The good: OMG finally a Doctor who seemed to care about my Mom. This is unheard of: she read Mom’s file before we got there. She was caring, concerned and honest. Mom felt heard for the first time in the two years this has been going on. The less good: It’s hard to qualify for a clinical trial. Almost impossible when the brain is involved, since these are (by definition) new and unknown drugs/treatments that aren’t geared for the brain. Plus, apparently someone told this Dr. about the likelihood that the brain mets will continue to be an issue, because she said that even if Mom were to start a clinical trial, she would have to stop it if she had more brain mets, so it didn’t make a lot of sense in her case. So, the clinical trial idea is pretty much off the table.
3. Then we talked. And it went something like this:
Us: “Shit. This cancer thing is real.”
Me: “I’m sorry. What do you want to do now?”
Mom: “I’m not ready to go.”
Me: “I know. I’m not ready for you to go either. What can we do to make the rest good?”
Mom: “I want to be at my home in Mexico. I always feel better there. That is what I want.”
Me: “Let’s do it.”
4. Then I got food poisoning or a virus and spent a day and a half in bed or on the toilet.
5. Then I sent out graduation announcements, sent out graduation party invites, took Awesome Son to pick out his prom tuxedos (he’s going to two proms this year….stud), cleaned house, did laundry, went to a Mother’s Day BBQ at my brother’s house, held Mom while she had a total breakdown after the BBQ (she was beyond exhausted and the thought of travelling put her over the edge), helped pack her stuff, somehow got all our luggage (she is going for almost 3 weeks, I’m going for 2 = lots of luggage) down three flights of stairs and into the car (thank god my brother sent a car/driver for us), got through the airport (it’s much quicker when you’re handicapped, fyi), got on the plane, got off the plane and through the Cancun airport (thank god for wheelchairs), met our friend Magaly who brought us to Mom’s house in Puerto Morelos, crashed, woke up the next morning and had my own emotional breakdown (didn’t see that one coming), then got a message from my Doctor who had reviewed my pelvic ultrasound and, long story short, looks like I will be having a total hysterectomy pretty soon (haven’t had a breakdown about this yet, stay tuned), got cramps (for real, it’s that time), took some prescription pain pills that are not prescribed to me, zoned out, slept, read, etc. etc. etc.
6. Right now I’m at Ojo de Agua in Pto. Morelos. Sitting at a red plastic “Coca-Cola” table under a palapa facing the amazing Carribean. I see at least 5 shades of blue and green in the ocean today, plus the white foam of the waves hitting the reef about 100 yards offshore. My feet are in the sand. The nice waiter gave me the password to their wi-fi. He has a lot of product in his hair, but I like him. Mom is at home napping in a hammock on her patio. (NOTE: it’s the hammock that is in my blog picture above…)
7. I am here. In this moment life is good.
Hopefully I will keep writing this week 🙂
p.s. the picture is the view from my table. not bad, huh?