Friday, November 03, 2006

How much do you tell?

Momma goes to the oncologist today. She is rightfully very frightened. Today she will get a new estimate of the rest of her life.

The chemo was going well if you consider what it was doing to the cancer. Her ca125 had dropped into an almost safe range. She was well on her way to being on the 3 end of the number of years she had left to live.

Then came the pneumonia. After having the fever and cough for several weeks and finally being admitted to the hospital, put in the ICU and being on life support for 9 days, the chemo now looks like it wasn't going so well after all. She is pretty scared that they are going to tell her that she shouldn't take anymore. Or worse yet, that while she had been on hiatus from it and trying to recover, that the cancer has taken over and is unstoppable at this point.

I haven't told her that I'm pregnant yet. Each time that I call, she is so busy trying to tell me how alright they, and it exhausts me. She does this thing. If there is someone that she feels like is getting picked on or unfairly treated, then she does this passive thing where she makes sure to tell you all the good things they've done. Growing up, she would do that for my brother. She would try and passively change my dad's mind that my brother was a screwup. It never worked. And he wasn't, by the way.

Now, she is doing this for my dad. Every time we talk to her, we have to get the update on how well Daddy is doing. Nevermind the fact that while she is telling my brother the wonderful news on my father's miraculous recovery, he's in the other room falling off the air mattress that is supposed to be where my mother is sleeping for now. Hitting the floor, my mother's accolades are interrupted by unintelligible yelling, and Mom having to call out to him that she can't help. Oh yes, they are doing just fine.

I tried to have a conversation with my mother about the difference in being a wife and a caregiver. I have tried to help her understand how my Bro and I dealt with Daddy when he got mean and nasty. I have tried to encourage her to step up and take control so that Daddy will relax more and be easier to manage.

The bottom line is that she is incapable of seeing him as someone who is sick.

She still needs to see him as her husband and her rock. Really, if I step back from it, I can understand that. She needs a rock. God bless her, the woman has metastatic ovarian cancer. Doctors are telling her that she is going to die sooner rather than later. Her children are telling her that her husband is already gone just when she needs him to be there the most.

So how much do you tell each other? What is she leaving out of the reports? We know that he is yelling at her and berating her because he was doing it while she was still in the hospital. The fact that it is not his fault, rather the disease's fault doesn't make it hurt any less. Is he hitting her? Probably not. Would she tell us if he was? Probably not.

She did tell me about five years ago that he would hit her in his sleep. Part of his REM sleep disorder, this was probably one of the earliest symptoms. My reaction was to tell her that they needed to sleep in separate rooms. She never mentioned it again.

We keep so many secrets to be such a close family. I don't understand. Now, I'm keeping my pregnancy a secret. Part of me just can't get happy about the news as it relates to them. It just reminds me of how much they will not be with me. Another part of me doesn't want to tell her because I don't want it to effect her decisions about further chemo. Is that really my choice though, or should I let it be her?