Monday, July 31, 2006

Last Sunday, I called my mom. She had told me to call her before I left town to elope with Guy. She had received her second chemo treatment that Friday, so I knew she wasn't planning on going anywhere.

So why did I get the answering machine?

I left a message, thinking that maybe they were napping. No one called back. First thing on Monday morning, when it is late enough Pacific time to call, I dial.

Answering machine again.

I turn to Guy and say, "Mom is in the hospital. Something has gone wrong, and she is in the hospital." Another man would have told me not to worry and that there was no way to know that. Guy said, "You are probably right. There isn't anything you can do about it now, but if we need to go to CA instead of on our honeymoon, we'll work it out." God, I love that man.

My brother has not heard from them either. I wake him up I think, and he tells me to go ahead and get married and not worry about it. He will find out what is going on and let me know.

Don't worry about it.

That is completely ridiculous I think. I'm on my way to Montreat, North Carolina to marry the man of my dreams in the most beautiful town in the world, by my favorite minister (second to Mom), by a, I kid you not, babbling brook. It could not have been more perfect, and yet I'm supposed to not worry about it.

There is something that my parents are quite confused about, and it is that even though I worry about them, I am still able to function in my everyday life. Even though eloping with no family present was not at all how I wanted to get married, I made do, and pretty damn well, thank you. Yes, I want them safe, healthy, here, and happy. In the event that I can't have all that right now, I'll take what happiness I can get.

The happiness I have now is my new family. Aside from being the new bride of the most wonderful man in the world, I'm also a new stepmother. Lovely is now officially my stepdaughter. I tried to work the dogs into the equation as well, but nobody is buying the whole stepdog thing.

There is always some amount of happiness. And I truly believe, from the course of my life in the past few years that there will always be that amount of sadness too. You can't choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you react to them I think.

I am scared to death for my mother. She is still in the hospital. Daddy is staying at the house by himself. I'm happy about neither, and can control neither at the same time. I could though, go ahead and take care of marrying the man of my dreams. A long term investment if you will.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

My mother and I are both making new life long commitments. Mine is to the love of my life. Hers is to chemotherapy. I hope her new commitment is not going to replace the one she made to my father.

When she told me that she would be on chemotherapy "indefinitely," I thought to myself, "You mean until you die." I don't know why I have to be so morbid some days. It is hard to find hope in this situation though. She will be on chemotherapy until she dies. Not until her cancer goes away, but until it kills her.

I see this as the opportunity for her to drag her feet on moving again. Even though she told me last week that she was going to submit her resignation to the church, she has not, and has no date in mind for doing it. There is this issue of the other pastor needing knee surgery.

I'm sorry. Did she say knee surgery?

Can I just state for the record that I honestly don't care one bit about the overweight senior pastor's knees? Why is that my family is affected by the fact that he is an idiot and has waited until it is a dire situation for him to have knee surgery? Did they all forget that my mother has cancer and my father can't remember what day it is or tie his own shoes? Buy the fat guy a scooter and get on with it.

It is so past time for her to have secured help for my father. When she and I talk now, it is all about her, her treatment, her job, and the decisions that weigh her down. Can I really accuse my own mother of being selfish when she is trying to face terminal cancer? Maybe I shouldn't, but I do. I think she is being extremely selfish by not having resigned yet and especially for continuing to leave him at home unsupervised.

Neither of them have much longer in the grand scheme of things. As I get ready to commit myself to the man I love and respect, I can't help but feel slightly bitter towards her. I would drop anything and everything to take care of him. At this moment in time, she has forgotten her commitment to my father. He needs her. He needs her to help him and to be with him. He needs her to quit working and move him closer to his family. He doesn't need her to talk about it, plan it, re-plan it, or even think much about it at this point. He just needs her to do it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My mother will start again tomorrow. Chemo. 8:00 AM Pacific time.

She will be on a 3 week cycle. Week one, she will have two drugs, taxotere and gemzar. Week two, she will just have the gemzar. Week three, she gets to recover some.

And then she will start again.

Neither of these drugs list ovarian cancer on their website as something they treat. Both state that they can be used for metastatic breast cancer. I don't understand that, but I guess that's alright.

There will be no surgery. She was given the false hope of actual tumors that could be removed with surgery. That turns out to not be true. She thinks I've given up on her just because I never believed the surgery option. That is also not true.

My daddy is supposed to have a cat scan on Friday as well. I don't know how they will arrange transportation for both of them, but they have not asked me to come.

Momma insists that there is something else wrong with my father besides Parkinson's. I disagree. His weight has dropped to 127 pounds. He is 6'1". I can barely understand him on the phone anymore because he does not have adequate control of his facial muscles. She has disregarded the diagnosis of Parkinson's with Lewy Body disorder, so I'm not sure of what else she is looking for. It's quite enough.

I don't know which disease is more cruel. If I had to choose, I would say that it's the Parkinson's. Cancer comes and goes until one day, you know it is going to kill you. There are means to fight it and ways to stave it off. It will most likely kill you one day, but there is at least "the good fight." Parkinson's has eaten way tiny pieces of my daddy until there is nothing left but this shell of a man who used to be my foundation. There is no fight. There are drugs that "slow the progression." Unfortunately, if you are diagnosed so late like I believe Daddy was, there is no slowing things down.

And once again, I am left sitting here wondering, "Which one is going to go first?"

I pray that it is Daddy.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Start again tomorrow. This was something that my grandfather always said to me. He used to be the one I would call when I had a bad day. By the time I was done unloading my horrid tales, we would both be laughing because really, they were never that bad. I miss him.

I'm starting over. A week from Monday, I will marry the man of my dreams. It has taken time, pain, destruction, and rebuilding to get there, but we have almost made it.

In Montreat, Presbyterians fill the town. Not to mention, it is the most beautiful place on earth. It's the perfect place for a wedding. Ironically enough, the minister who will marry us has already done this for me once. I suppose you have to have a strange sense of humor, but it really is funny. I'm finally going to be married in the mountains by a stream and get to wear my Birkenstocks doing it. Life is good sometimes.

Start again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

I'm going to keep on trying. There is no reason why we shouldn't make the best of the lives we've been given.