The PET scan has been postponed until tomorrow. I'm not sure why, though even without that procedure, Mom had radiation, chemotherapy, an echo cardiogram, surgery to implant the portacath and a brain scan. We don't have any of the results yet, though the whispers are that the echo at least was fine. Due to having the portacath inserted, Mom couldn't eat during the day-the surgery was later this afternoon, so she went all day with no food. Though it sounds like she more than made up for it; when I spoke with her this evening, all she was talking about was the amazing food she'd been eating. Soup, muffins, salmon, cookies and above all, some strudel drink (huh? no idea) she was totally crushing on. She was a little stoned from the anesthesia and just so cute.
Between raving about different succulents, she kept telling me what an amazing experience all of this has been. That's a direct quote: "It's been an amazing experience." Who says that? Who in their right mind, after enduring two surgeries in two weeks, the complete loss of independence, loss of vision, baldness, daily uncomfortable radiation, tummy unrest...who says it's been amazing? Of course she's not saying that cancer has been great, but she wholeheartedly sees beyond the physical discomfort and is mesmerized by all of the people who have flooded out of the woodwork to hold her up. The only times I have seen her cry were 1) when she was presented with the healing quilt and 2) when I said goodbye. And it wasn't really crying, it was just a few tears from being so overwhelmed with love that they couldn't be contained.
A dear friend wrote her a letter today, expressing the awe he felt when thinking about her. I agreed and wrote back: "I have been so in awe of her-of her fierceness, of her willingness to allow what is, what life has become; and let go of what she can't hold. I am in awe of her hope. I don't have it. I would have mourned everything she's lost by now and she authentically is embracing what she has left." It's such a beautiful way to view life. It's such a gift to know and love someone who feels that way. Every bad diagnosis I've gotten in my life (and there have been 3 and they don't come anywhere close to this) has led me to tears. I came out of the sorrow to rise up with fists, but I go to that place of pity. When I first heard her diagnosis, I was so angry that it was her instead of me-I'm the fighter, the one with high pain tolerance. I'm the one who toughs everything out. I was worried that she wouldn't fight. I had no idea. She fights so gracefully that you don't even realize it's fighting. She is so focused on all of the positive things this has brought that the negatives fall by the wayside.
When I teach yoga, I ask the class to set an intention for their practice; it can be physical, emotional, personal or community oriented. Sometimes I'll set the intention for them. Yesterday we (I) decided to bring yoga to the radiation oncology department and set an intention for both Mom and the technicians: to bring back her eyesight. I explained to them that I was a little bit hippie and that sometimes we do this and they were all totally on board. And Mom was, too. Since then, she keeps talking about setting intentions and how she continues to do so. It makes the treatments more bearable. It helps her focus on something she really wants, on a goal to achieve, on a positive note. "Amazing experience." Indeed.