The vice that had been crushing my chest and twisting my stomach in knots seemed to loosen to a gentle caress. I could breathe again. My concerns settled back to how well I did on this test, if that boy liked me, and what I was doing next weekend. Life felt simple and light, the way it should be for a kid.
I no longer had to worry about cancer taking my mom, the infection induced shivering fits, or the chemical concoctions eating away at her body. Chemo therapy was finally over after months of grueling pain. Everything could go back to the way it was. It seemed like it truly was the end of a nightmare. That euphoric haze I floated in only got to last for a couple of weeks. Even more suddenly than my Mom’s first attack, life for my family spiraled back into cancer and all that comes with it.
Christmas morning, just a few weeks after Mom’s last chemo, everyone I knew was eagerly ripping through wrapping paper in hopes of splendid gifts.But on this Christmas morning,Mom and I were waiting for the surgeon to carefully slice through my grandma. We sat in the waiting room in hopes of a miracle. The nervous jitters battled against the somber grief.The fears no one dared speak aloud fueled the tears streaming from puffy eyes. The thoughts their tired faces screamed suffocated me, the pain and love in their tears drowned me. Waiting was almost worse. That room was brimming with raw emotion, more than anywhere else in the hospital. The place people agonizingly wait for a loved one, the place people droop with exhaustion, the place people rejoice or grieve news. This is also the room that time chooses not to exist. I swear the clock moved back a minute for every two it clicked forward. Time dragged on for a millennium before the doctors came to fetch us.
I swear the clock moved back a minute for every two it clicked forward.
Once again, my naive optimism got the best of me. Cancer, surgery, chemo, cured. That’s how simple I thought it all would be. I have an unhealthy habit of pretending the rough parts of my life don’t exist. I do what needs to be done, but I don’t want to talk about any of it. It’s as if addressing what we’re going through out loud makes it real. I can’t give it that power. I was in denial about how filled with gum drops and rainbows the future would be. Cancer isn’t that considerate of dreams like that. It becomes a permanent addition to life. It never stops, each day is plagued with little reminders of the damage it left behind.The cancer itself might get snuffed, but the appointments and medications continue to be a constant and vital part of that life.
I have an unhealthy habit of pretending the rough parts of my life don’t exist.
My mom has trudged on through more surgeries than I can count desperately trying to regain what she once had. Chemo destroyed her heart, she now has congestive heart failure that restricts her mobility and diet. She has to struggle with her heart while still working through reconstruction complications. Chemo did a lot worse to my grandma. Each week, she gives a minimum of two days to cancer. The functions of some of her organs are waning. She has to have truckloads of magnesium pumped into her every week and it still isn’t enough. We have to sit helpless while grandma struggles for peace within her own body. The ups and downs on this horrific roller coaster is the worst part. One week, she’s feeling well and her numbers are headed in the right direction, then, before I can blink, things are worse than before.
We have to sit helpless while grandma struggles for peace within her own body.
They say evil never dies. Once we met cancer, I found that to be far too true. Sometimes, for a moment or two, everything seems okay, like none of those awful things happened to us. Those moments are a break in the storm. I hold on to hope for those small moments. Nothing will ever be the same again, even when it’s over. I was ignorant to think it could be. Experiences like this stick around and remind us who we are now and how far we’ve come.
I hold on to hope for those small moments.