Thursday, January 11, 2007

Moms and other stuff...

My mom called the other night and left me a message that her scans came back and her doctor thinks that her current medication might be failing now and he might need to put her on something else.

I should explain: my mom has breast cancer. In her lung, which is pretty unusual. She first had it in 1994 and went through the chemo, etc., and was in remission for 10 years. Then, three years ago, she developed what she thought was bronchitis--it didn't clear up, so they upgraded it to pneumonia. The anti-biotics didn't help much, so she had the lung drained. Then it filled again. When they drained it again, Mom asked them to do a lab test on it, and after a biopsy, it was discovered that the cancer had come back. My aunt called me from the hospital (I had just gotten to work, having taken a half day off to record vocals for the "Flesh Hungry Dog" CD--a fact which makes me almost laugh now...). She'd clearly been crying and I was numb. It was like deja vu--I remember going numb when Mom first got her diagnosis in 1994, too.

I took the next few days off work and drove down to Peoria to be with them. Mom was doing pretty well and surrounded by friends and my aunt and uncle. She stayed in the hospital for three more days (to recover from the biopsy surgery), while I stayed with my aunt and uncle. She stayed with them as well, while she recovered, and I always had a nice time visiting with them.

It felt strange the second time she got her diagnosis. The first time, I was so much younger and had that strange sort of optimism that we carry around as a talisman in our youth, and which, somehow seems to work. This time, however, I felt useless, defeated, overwhelmed and old. So many things in my life were going wrong (at least in my view), and I didn't think I could take one more thing. And I thought, "How can I be her support when I feel like this?"

And that's when I learned that when you concentrate on someone else's crises, your own don't just seem to diminish--they actually do. They're like plants, really--if you don't water them with your anxiety, they wither up and, if not die, at least shrink. Of course, the problems themselves may not disappear, but when you take the urgency and anxiety away, what's really left? I wish I could say that I took that lesson to heart from then on and never let little problems affect me again, but you'd know better--hell, look at the blog! But slowly I keep learning.

Now I'm not as worried about Mom as I was three years ago. We've learned so much more about the cancer itself, and so many new drugs have been developed, that as long as there's something that works for her, the cancer becomes something to manage, almost like diabetes. Hopefully, if they do change her medicine, the next thing they give her will shrink it--so far, it's just been sort of "frozen" and stopped. Her life has really improved, too. She finally sold her dreadful, falling-apart, fixer-upper-that-never-got-fixed-up-because-we-didn't-have-the-money house and moved to a two-bedroom apartment back in our old hometown. I should mention that she's always worked, too. She just plugs right along. I hope I'm like her in a way! She says she thinks I am, especially in the sarcasm department...:-)

So, any good thoughts/prayers are appreciated if you'd care to throw them our way! The management thanks you.


In other news, I still haven't heard from the property manager about my wall. He's contacting plumbers to see who can give us the best rate and come out, so I'll just expect to hear when I hear. Ironically, the water is no longer leaking out of the wall, and it's totally dry now. But of course, if I let it go and paint over, it'll leak again!


Big Girls has a gig tomorrow night (January 12) at 9:00PM at Underground Lounge (Newport just east of Clark Street). We're playing for about 45 minutes to an hour. Fun shit! $7 cover (there are other bands playing also).

More later!


Blogger dirk.mancuso said...

Aaron, tons of good thoughts and positive vibes to you and your mom.

Big hug,


1:11 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Thanks, Dirk! The same to you...I mean it!

10:56 AM  
Blogger BC said...

Sorry to hear about your mom. I'm adding her to my prayer list. I've also discovered that just when I don't think I have anything to offer someone by way of support, any feeble attempt is met with bales of gratitude. I guess that means it's not how we help the people we love, it's that we just do.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Very nicely, put, BC...and thanks for the prayers!

4:31 PM  

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