Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I always want explanations. My whole life, I have constantly justified or reasoned things out in my mind, to the extent that I make a lot of shit up to make myself feel better. I'm sure a lot of people do this. Part of what makes Mom's disease so scary for me is that I don't understand it. I don't understand the trajectory it took, what the tumors look like, where they are, what the hell happened to Mom's vision...I don't understand why she lost all of her strength and stability-was it tumors around the part of her brain that control mobility and motility? Is it being in bed 24/7 and just losing the muscle strength or neuron memory? Does that usually happen with cancer? I don't understand how one day she was in yoga class, in crow pose, and one week later she can't move out of bed. The first week in the hospital, she went from being able to ambulate to the bathroom with moderate help from me to not being able to sit up in bed by herself. What happened?

And now, she's battling nausea constantly. It ebbs and flows, but the past couple of days, it has interrupted physical therapy and prevented occupational therapy. The medical team has played around with her medications to hopefully get it under control, but why is she nauseous? She's not on chemo. Does cancer make you nauseous? Has it spread to her stomach or her ears? Will this impact her ability to tolerate chemo when it starts up again? What about her ability to tolerate the surgery on Tuesday? Could it be a side effect of another medication that she's taking?

You all understand the insomnia now, right? No amount of kava kava will turn that obnoxious track off (and I'm toning it way down for your benefit). The doctors have been very honest and open about their limitations in understanding how all of this works. They just don't know. And I appreciate the honesty from them, it's just frustrating to me, because they're way smarter than I am and have a much deeper understanding of the way our bodies work and they've made peace with uncertainty. I would give anything to have an understanding of what Mom is going through, even though I know full well that understanding doesn't change anything, that I still can't make the nausea go away even if I could define what was causing it. Or maybe I don't know that. Maybe I'm still in that stage of Magical Thinking where I believe on some level that if I could just discover the mechanism for all of this, I could undo it. Or if I could just find the right acupressure point, I could stimulate it and at least make the nausea go away.

All these feelings of helplessness on a personal scale, and then I counter it with the all the feelings that come up watching footage of Japan. Maybe it's healthy, or maybe it's destructive, but it does bring the helplessness and the frustration and basic raw sadness to focus. And again, I realize how lucky we are.

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