10.14.2011

Tempus Fugit: Uterine Cancer

Not only are most of the leaves in our area on the ground after today's gale, but there's very little color besides the sky to look at and enjoy this weekend. That makes me realize how much of this year has gone by. It's mid October. Where has this year gone?

I got into the habit in May or June to call my grandmother almost every day. Either in the morning while I drive to work, if the traffic isn't lethal, or else during my lunch hour.

The calling card service tells me how many minutes are left on my card for the call. I sometimes wonder if these minutes will last longer or less than my grandma. Grandma has again been diagnosed as having a cancerous tumor. This is the second time since 1997. The last time it was in her kidney, so they took it away. I was starting my last year in college. I'll never forget the loneliness and sadness.

This time around, grandma is too old (at 91) for an operation. She's quite resolute that she doesn't want an operation. I'm pretty sure the doctors screwed up one of the tests a month ago, because all of a sudden her antigen shot through the roof. Cancer doesn't all of a sudden act up over one month. Zero to sixty? Not likely.

The doctors keep going back and forth saying that grandma's remaining kidney and that her liver are showing excessive toxicity levels which could negatively impact her health in the short term. If they go ahead with the operation, it would have to be under a partial anesthetic. They are pretty sure she wouldnt' make it out of a general anesthetic at this point in the game.

Can't help but wonder whether I missed a fork in the road in the past, that would have led to a better outcome right now. But with thousands or millions of instantaneous decisions you take in your life, you can't exactly do a delphi analysis of every little thing you're making a decision about...should I walk on the paved pathway or take a mini hike in the field next door? Should I stay in my lane or change lanes in rush hour traffic?

I don't think I believe that the doctors attending my grandmother are aware of the many options there exist today to help tackle the emotional and physical effects of a cancerous tumor. If my grandma were covered by insurance in the US I would have brought her over here in a heartbeat. To the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. But this isn't an option.

I'm in the middle of mourning, stressing, and accepting. I had a severe acne breakout five weeks ago that I'm still trying to recuperate from, and my gastric system is as tattered as one of those fake spiderwebs adorning lawns this times of year. The stress level has shot through the roof. I'm not doing too well, even with yoga and meditation. I forget to breathe.

I'm not sure what's going to happen. I'm not sure knowing what's going to happen would make any of this any better.

What I do know is that I will continue to call grandma on an almost daily basis for as long as I can. Her memory is terrible and she can't remember things that happened five minutes ago. But her long term memory is spectacular. She loves to reminisce about past outings with me, when I was toddler. She was about 60 years old back then.

What I wouldn't give to go back in time, but I wouldn't be able to convey my love for her in words or actions, if I could go back. I would just be as helpless as she is now.

I read a quote yesterday that hit the nail on the head:
“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." Robert Heinlein

Yes. Yes, it is. Hug someone you love today. And make plans to hug them tomorrow too. Meanwhile I'll go get my calling card recharged.