Tuesday, April 3, 2007

On Finally Finding Closure

If you notice on my side bar, I put links of "Cancer Warriors." People who have battled or are battling cancer. Although I am not a cancer warrior, I feel a certain connection to cancer warriors as well as to care takers of cancer warriors since 2 years ago, I too took care of a cancer warrior - My Mom. And so every now and then, I visit their blogs, excited to read what has been the latest updates on their battle. And it saddens me when I read prognosis' that seem grim. And I admire these warriors - their determination to fight this battle, the strength they carry knowing that they will never really know what to expect the next day.
I can only speak for myself. But I remember, when my Mom told me she had cancer, for the first time in my life 'uncertainty' just felt too real. Too real that I was scared to sleep. What would happen tomorrow? I didn't want tomorrow to arrive because I did not know what tomorrow would bring. I did not know what the 'next steps' were.
When finally Mom began chemotherapy, 'hope' started to paint itself in my heart. So many people encouraged us, showed so much support, gave financial support. Suddenly, I could not Wait for tomorrow. In my mind, the battle was finished. The cancer cells would disappear and Mom would finish the battle. She would see me grow into a young woman. She would enjoy her grandchildren until a good old age.
When Mom had her CT-scan after her 6th chemo cycle, scans yielded very good results. From a tumor the size of a golf ball, only .3 mm was left. Praise God! Good riddance tumor! But she had to go for an additional 45 radiation sessions to make sure whatever was left of tumor completely disappears. And then it hit me, I was reminded that remission takes 5 years before you are declared cancer free. How do you live those 5 years of waiting? In fear? Hopeful? Indifferent? What if the cancer returned? I could no longer imagine re-living the whole cancer thing again.
I guess I went ahead of what was actually happening. More than half way through Mom's radiation treatment, she got sick. They could not quite pin point if it was Tuberculosis or Pneumonia. Since she had to stop her radiation treatment in the meantime, they decided to do another CT-scan. Results were not good. The remaining tumor did not shrink at all and just remained the same.
Instead of fighting it out, Mom became very depressed. She no longer saw the sense in finishing the battle. That's how I saw it.
Her pneumonia worsened. Just sitting up from her hospital bed was too tiring for her. I would cry when she would be asleep. I would silently cry out and ask why He was doing this to Mom. To me.
One day, in the hospital, in between gasps for breath, Mom asked me if I would be okay if she left already. And in between my tears, I assured her not to worry.
I asked myself, why was I pretending to be tough?
Her last week in the ICU was the worst. At this point I don't think I am ready to write about it yet.
She decided to leave without me being by her side. Thanks Mom, I don't think I would ever get over it if I were by your bedside.
How does one truly move on? Where do I start?


SusieJ said...

Louann, I can hardly see the screen to write this because of my tears. I don't know how you lived through that time of fear -- and then of hope -- and then again of despair. How precious of your Mom to ask you if it was OK if she left. And how hard it was for you to tell her it was OK. My Mom died of Pneumonia too -- but unlike your Mom -- my Mom got sick overnight, and stayed on a vent, unconscious, no contact with us at all, for 21 days. I was so angry for so long that I was given no warning -- no chance to tell her I was sorry, and that I loved her.
But your story -- you had the warning -- yet how painful to carry that burden through her sickness for so long.
I can see you sitting by her bed, with your tears, feeling so helpless, and wondering why your prayers just weren't getting through.
I hold you in light Louann. Bless you.

louann said...

Thank You Susie J. Thank you Thank You. We celebrate Dad's 3rd death anniversary this Friday too. Miss Mom a lot. Been feeling lonely. Thanks. Hugs to you :)

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

This is so heartbreaking, Louann. I wish I could reach out and give you a giant hug, but I know that nothing will ever ease the pain and hurt you feel from losing your mother.

Just reading this post, though, I can see the love the two of you had for each other, and the way you cared for her.

I am thinking of you and wishing you healing.

- Jane, Pinks & Blues Girls

Shoshana said...

Louann, this is heartbreaking.

I cannot imagine without my mother and sisters and brothers near me, even if just a phone call away.

I do not know how I would go on...I guess one day at a time.

((((hugs)))) sweetie.