Stage 4

I don’t even know what to think today.

With the craziness that is a family birthday, I’ve come to read on facebook of all places that my mom’s diagnosis is stage 4 lung cancer. We knew about the nodes in the lungs, and knew about the hot spots from the bone scan. But there wasn’t a number assigned until yesterday. We even heard “terminal” but somehow having a number assigned makes it more real. Knowing that she’s going to start a low dose of chemo this week gives you hope. But then I had to go and do some research into stage 4 and find out that chemo in stage 4 is usually used as a pallative care method.

Pallative care.

Pallative care meaning to make one comfortable before death.

Death.

I know we came face to face when she was diagnosed but there was still a glimmer of hope. Now we know it’s stage 4 and there is nothing we can do about it. Sure she could still live another 5 years but her life will not be comfortable.

I had no idea when I was 6 years old and came home from school in tears that my parents were going to die because they smoked, that my mom would get lung cancer and die before her time. She quit smoking immediately after that little tirade but she still got the disease that I was so worried she would.

My heart is broken knowing that I haven’t had the chance to gain all the knowledge from her that I could. There are so many things that she knows that she won’t be able to share with me. Add to that her constantly being surrounded by my relatives, and it makes it even harder to talk to my mom.

I’m getting the party line from her rather than the truth. My oldest sister, who recently went through treatments for her own skin cancer, is the closest to her right now and has been taking her to her tests. My other sister sees her daily due to the proximity that they live to each other. I feel out of the loop and hate that I had to read my nieces facebook in order to find out the truth.

Stage 4.

It’s different for everyone but most of what I’ve read indicates that this could be the end. Generally they say 8 months, but it’s all a grab bag. I know she could survive. I know she could fight this, but they’ve already told her that she will die from this. that means she will die from the pain she’s been suffering. She will die.

And then I go to twitter, and see my friends chatting about this, that and the other thing. All things I would’ve been fascinated with only a few short weeks ago and now only passing with a blur and looking like chatter. Nothing soaking in. Nothing interesting me. Even what I say on there doesn’t interest me anymore. I realize life is too short to be focused on other people’s problems. I even begin to wonder if anyone will even care what’s going on with me. Do they really care? But then I realize I don’t care about that either.

I’m going to go on treading water. I’m still not going to wear mascara because I won’t know when I will cry or what will set it off. I’m still going to set one foot in front of the other and go on with life because I do have a life.

My mother wants us to be happy. She wants our dreams to be fulfilled. She knows what my number one dream is and doesn’t want to pressure, but it’s her number one dream too. I fear I won’t reach that dream in her lifetime. I also fear that I won’t live up to her expectations.

And there I go crying again.

Will this ever get any easier?

I’ll leave you with a picture I took of my mom this past weekend. My father asked me to come and do them before she got too sick and wouldn’t look healthy anymore. He wanted her smiling and looking like herself so that we can remember that. He wanted her with the lilacs so that we can remember how much she loves spring. He wanted us to remember her. I didn’t cry that day but somehow looking at the photos now I have tears. Or maybe that’s just the weight of everything suddenly hitting me. Either way, I love her and I always will.

2 thoughts on “Stage 4

  1. I don’t even know what to say. I would be falling apart right now. Not even at a functioning, able to get out of bed level.

    You never know what might happen. Cancer is one of those diseases that doesn’t follow the rules.

    Call your mom, make plans to spend time alone. Make yourself heard. If theres one time that it is the most important its now. Dont just sit back and say “Oh shes too busy with other people”. Just do it, right now it doesnt matter what anyone else says or thinks, it matters that you get the time you need.

    And lean on your friends. Its what were here for.

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