Friday, August 14, 2009

See, I listen...

Last night was an awful night. Cara fell apart, wanting guarantees that I could not give her, that I would not give her. "Cara," I said, "the easy thing would be to promise you that everything will be just fine. I can't. I don't know." I did not realize that her friend's mother had died. I hadn't realized that she was struggling. I tried to say all the right things, but you know what? I hated it. I hated watching her crying. I hated it when she looked square at me, fiercely, demanding that I promise her that I would not die of cancer. I hated it that I had to say, 'that's not my call, Cara.' It was an emotional evening. Being women of fine good humor, she said at one point, 'You are supposed to live long enough to get dementia and drive me crazy...' and I said, helpfully, "Well, if you like, I could drool on my shirt front to make you feel better." The conversation started off with tears, ended up with wry humor. "Hard times make you wise..." and "Well, I'd just as soon be dumb as rocks..."

When I went to bed last night, I could not sleep. My shoulder ached awfully, and the throbbing went into my back. I got up to take a pain killer. That was all she wrote. I laid awake for the rest of the night, unable to get into a comfortable position. This morning, I got up and went to work. I was sick with exhaustion, sick to my stomach. So, I gave up. Many of you suggested speaking to a doctor before the end of the month PET scan. Following your suggestions, I went to the cancer center. I told them them about the pain. About how sometimes I could not get comfortable enough to sleep. I asked questions so that I knew what to say to my kids.

The blood work 'looked good'. That was good news. And although there are unanswered questions, the doctor said there was no cause for alarm at this point in time. She also gave me a card with her phone number and a social worker's phone number for Cara. There was some discussion about controlling the pain and getting proper rest. I walked out of there feeling better. Like at least I have a plan to get through the rest of the month. Like at least I know how to help Cara.

Eeeh. This is such a roller coaster.

11 comments:

WhiteStone said...

I hate it that I can tell my family that my oncologist said I am in remission...but I have a difficult time telling them that remission is not necessarily remission. It only means that with the available tests, they cannot detect cancer. That does not mean the cancer is eradicated. My daughter, hubby, mother all want to hear that I am cured. I know that at this point I am not cured. I suppose they know that, too, but we tiptoe around it and grasp at "remission" so as to avoid the tears. In the meantime I leave it all in God's hands. I am grateful for today. And they must do the same..be grateful for what is.

Bob said...

This one got to me, Debby. You so want to fix things for your daughter, as you have always done. You so want to give her assurance, and you can't. And the fact that it involves you, well, that just makes it worse. But I have a hunch that she's strong, just like you, and she's helping get you through this. Hugs, blessings and prayers to you both.

quid said...

Good move, Debby, going in to get some information. No matter the outcome, this conversation and support session with Cara will stay burned in her brain all her life. In a positive way.

quid

heather said...

There comes a point when she is going to have to realize that she needs to deal with the situation herself. It is incredibly selfish and unfair of her to be angry with you for not reassuring her when in fact she should be the one being strong for you.

Bush Babe said...

I'm proud you went and got some advice. Be nice to have answers... and I am as impatient as the anyone when i have to wait for something I feel I need! Give Cara a virtual hug for me. Anger is natural. So is humour. This thing is tough, and it's a harsh way to find out what you are made of. But the answers to that last question are all good.
{{hugs}}
BB

Debby said...

Oh, that point will come, Heather. She's still learning to be a woman. She is wonderfully organized and strong and practical, but sometimes, for the really big stuff, she, for a moment, slips back into being a child, looking for comfort from her mother. I think that it is natural. By the end of the conversation we were again being humorous about things, and practical. It's a learning process, and I'm pretty amazed at the progress she's made in just a year on her own...

Kelly said...

First, I'm glad you went ahead and talked to them at the cancer center. A little peace of mind between now and the end of the month.

As for Cara... my heart aches for her. I remember after my dad died of cancer when I was 11 I thought there was no way God would take my mother away, too. As you know, my mother then died of cancer when I was 17. I can't even begin to go into all the emotions, life lessons learned, ups & downs that resulted from that period in my life. But, it made me what I am today, and I like to think that's not a bad thing. I know Cara doesn't know me from Adam, but still, give her a hug for me. In a roundabout way I can relate to what she's feeling.

Hal Johnson said...

Gosh Debby, it must be so hard to ride that roller coaster, and worrying about Cara must make for an even scarier ride. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and my hope is that this episode will prove to be just a minor bump in the road when all is said and done.

Bob said...

Heather, for Pete's sake, Cara is still her mother's CHILD and no matter how old you are or how old your mother is, you don't want to even think about your mother not being there. Lucky thing for Cara is she's got an incredible mom who knows just what to say at the right time.

Caroline said...

I think therapy is a great thing. I have gotten a therapist to help me deal with this roller coaster. From Cara's point of view, I think that the idea that her mother might die is very scary. What if the two of you went together to help talk it out. In the meantime, hang in there. I have a PET/CT scan on Tuesday....

PaintedPromise said...

Deb my heart goes out to you and Cara both. my oldest daughter was recently diagnosed with something that i can never remember the name of, similar to arthritis but worse, similar to lupus but not as bad... anyway your post really touched me because we are backwards here... how does a mother deal with what could be a serious condition in a daughter????? she sends me information links, i read them, i don't really comprehend... i am thankful for reports from the doctor that it was caught early and "shouldn't be too bad" - geez.

anyway just wanted to send hugs to BOTH of you!!!!