Thursday, November 3, 2011

In the Shadow...

This is my Dad, sleeping in the waiting room of Parkland hospital, after working all night. He refused to go home and sat with me in the hospital till 2 pm.

It was three weeks ago, when Mom had a partial nephrectomy. She has T1A chromophobe RCC.
I learned a lot about kidney cancers, stages, treatments in the last few months. We were not going to know what kind she has or what exact stage till biopsy was taken during surgery. Until that moment you live in the shadow of what could be.  Now we know, but the fight is not over.

Before it was spending time on cancer survivor forums, online support groups and reading about possibilities in both languages.

My Mom is a real trooper. She took it as well, as anyone could. Not to say that she did not experience every emotion possible. We all did. She remained calm and strong. She considers herself very fortunate, because cancer was found accidentally and fairly early.  For some reason neither anger or denial ever happened.

Now I have to remember to put in my medical forms "history of kidney cancer". I have to do a scan myself.  Right now we ride on the wave of relief, until it gets close to her 4 month mark. She gets another scan then. It will be the most stressful time, wondering if it came back or not.

I was in the hospital every day. So was Dad. I let him sleep after a night shift and then bring him to the hospital to see her. Then we brought her to my place. Dad took time off.

I watched him take care of her and saw a side I knew was there, but was seeing it so clearly for the first time. He is a very strong and powerful man with mighty hands that can crush metal. He was gentle, holding her up, brushing away her hair,moving her in the bed. He made soups from scratch and woke up to every noise. He went to the pharmacy and to the store and on a late night ice cream run. He spoon fed Mom, and cheered her on her first independent trip to the bathroom. He held me tight, like I was five again, and told me that everything will be okay again. I re-discovered my Dad.

Mom had no fear, except right before they wheeled her away for epidural, she grabbed our hands and said:" I hope to see you on the other side". She meant other side of the surgery. Indian anesthesiologist was so moved, he came out to talk with me after her surgery and visited with us warmly every day. When the surgery was done, he woke her up using Ipad to translate and text-to-speach in Russian.

They let me in the recovery room, so I could translate for the nurse. The nurse was very pleasant she gave a damn. I held Mom's hand and she was still groggy, but she smiled at me in her oxygen mask. I told her "you made it". She nodded and drifted away with a slight smile. Nurse told me that epidural line with morphine will stay in for a couple days. Mom  was really appreciative of that later.

Last weeks have been exhausting both emotionally and physically. I exhausted my vacation and sick leave. And now my life had a Cancer Chapter in it.

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