Did I tell you that I suffer from Depression and General Anxiety Disorder? When my medication doesn’t work, I can have up to 6 panic attacks a day. I have this feeling of everything spiraling out of control. I’m terrified on a daily basis of someone I love dying and my own death. I count down years I have left, how many years my loved ones have left – and these thoughts have terrified me most of my life.
My mom’s cancer surgery was booked for the end of September. Until then, it was about trying to perform daily life as normal as possible.
During that time, more family members were finding out and over and over again, we had to explain what was happening. My mom would break the news, the person would cry, and I would explain the procedure in the most positive way possible.
It was so strange that my mom was the one comforting and reassuring people about her own diagnosis. It should be the other way around shouldn’t it?
The day of surgery arrived and at 6am the family was at the hospital. My mother was prepared for surgery.
Before being brought in, we were allowed to see her and give her courage. She laid there on the stretcher with various wires attached to various places. Under the flourescent lighting, she looked very small.
The fear that this might be the last time I talked to my mother, was in the back of my brain. I tried to push it back and ignore it – but it was there, hiding in the shadows.
In case your unclear still as to why I named this section of my blog, “Waiting on a Life Sentence”, I’d like to explain (because, really, I just figured this out myself):
This was my mother’s life on the line – her pain and her health – but the fear of losing her; the idea that your whole world will never be the same; the threat of your heart being wrenched out of your chest – that belongs to the loved ones. We were the ones that would be left behind to live our lives without her.
I hope that makes sense. Its a hard thing to describe to someone if they’ve never lost a loved one. It sounds selfish when you try to explain it, but never the less – there it is.
After several hours of surgery, my poor mother was in recovery. Her medications were strong but the pain was worse.
They moved her to a room where she could be watched by a nurse and we tried to make her feel as comfortable as possible. She was trying to cough up a build up of mucus from her chest but the pain was too much. She didn’t have the strength.
The doctor came in that night to tell us the surgery was a success, but he was worried that if my mother didn’t cough up what was in her chest than she might catch pneumonia.
By the next night, her body was weak and she was so tired she didn’t have the energy to sit up. We tried to get her to cough but she couldn’t bring it, and we were getting super worried. Within 24 hours, the doctor came in with the news that she wasn’t getting better and would have to be put on life support.
I don’t know how to explain the feeling you have when you know that someone you care about is slipping away. The doctors had to put her into a coma, and none of them could tell us if she would come out.
Everything in my life was tilted on its side. My mother was facing a cancer diagnosis and I felt like my world was about to end.
After the exploratory surgery had been completed, and we had the diagnosis, we had headed home to try and….hell, I don’t know – I guess live as normally as possible. My mother is a strong woman, and the idea that we treated her with any pity, seemed to bother her the most.
Its been 6 weeks – I can’t believe its been only 6 weeks – since we got the news that my mother probably had cancer. And for the most part, as callous as it is to say, I was able to forget about my fear and go about my normal life.
Yes, I’m not going to lie, it would be fantastic to own a high-end SLR camera with a 65x optical zoom lens, and state-of-the-art image capturing technology (hint, hint to my fairy godmother); but, for the average amateur photographer, carrying around a big, expensive camera all the time, wherever you go, is not exactly practical or affordable. For most of us, we tend to use the camera we have on hand. That camera is usually the one built into our smartphones.
These last four days haven’t been easy on her. She was putting on a brave face, smiling through terse lips. Her hazel eyes were glassy and tired – strained from holding back a flood of tears. I looked to her, trying to find a way to ease her anguish, but when she caught me searching, she’d turn a way from my gaze and bury her pain down deeper.