I'm not sure if I've posted this before, but I've thought it. So if you've already read this, my apologies. Apparently it strikes a chord every time I go with the folks to the LCH.
I was with mom and dad at the Large Cancer Hospital this morning. Mom needed an MRI of her spine and she shakes so much they had to sedate her. This is a separate unit from the regular MRI unit. Because it was a sedated unit, there were people of all ages. The youngest was under 10, the oldest possibly in her 80's. But that was hard to tell, mom looks about mid 70's, and she's just now 61. There was a young girl, maybe 7 or 8, bald as can be. When she went in, her mom pulled a blanket over her head and took a nap. No telling how hard her life is, how many hours has she spent curled up in a waiting room chair trying to sleep for a few minutes. There was a young woman, her shirt said 'Senior's 2010'. She was on crutches, but I wasn't in a position to see why she was on crutches.
While the MRI was going (it took 2 hours) dad and I went down for breakfast. It struck me, as it always does, that cancer has no boundaries. Not age, sex, finances, weight, education, race, religion and any other distinction you could come up with. At the cafeteria it's sometimes hard to see who the patient is. My dad isn't a patient anymore, but he looks like he could be. In the hallways it's a little easier, patients are often the ones in the wheelchairs.
My mom has a Lumbar Puncture (aka spinal tap) on thursday. I'm more worried and scared than I think mom is. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go in with mom. I wouldn't want to do that without someone holding my hand. I know they used to not give anesthesia for that procedure, and I don't know what to expect. And then I think about how crappy this is that it's my mom going through it. And then I think that it doesn't matter who it is, it's just crappy that ANYONE has to go through this. I'm normally sort of resigned when I think about my getting cancer. The genetics are definitely against me, it remains to be seen what kind of cancer I'll get first. But once in awhile it really hits me, and I get scared witless.
It was raining when we were done, so mom and I waited at a door and dad took the bus to the car, then came back to get us. While we were waiting a guy with a throat speaker, the thing they use when the vocal chords are destroyed, usually throat or lung cancer, was being wheeled out by a transportation person. He told her, 'You have to take me somewhere I can get a cab'. And I thought how REALLY crappy it was that he had to take a cab home from the cancer hospital.
I told mom that It was both reassuring and terrifying that if I ever get cancer dad will take care of me, whether or not I want him to. She laughed. She also told me it was easy as long as she was so tired. She didn't care, so she let him do what he wanted. I told her I couldn't wait for her to have enough energy to fight with dad, because after several years of dad doing what he wanted, when he wanted it and how he wanted it, they would have some HELLA good fights. She laughed again. I hope I can laugh when I'm in her shoes.
Dear God, Please give me the peace and strength to handle what you put in front of me. Thursday will need a great deal of each, I think. Amen.