It has been a sad and weird week, with, of course, moments of enjoyment, fun, and happiness sprinkled through because life is lovely like that.
I had a spectacular visit with mom last week. We shopped. We both got new piercings in a spur of the moment decision. We ate. It was terrific.
On Tuesday of that week, we learned she would have to go in and see her oncologist about next steps regarding her cancer returning. I couldn’t help but cry a little at the prospect of her having to start treatment again, and I told her I was having a hard time keeping my shit together, and she comforted me.
The treatment is relatively new and fairly effective for women like my mom who have a BRCA mutation causing the cancer and the cancer responds well to chemo, meaning the doctors continually keep the cancer at bay even if they can’t get rid of it completely. It’s an oral medication she can take at home. A lot of pills to take everyday, but the hospital views this as a better option than coming in once a month and being tethered to chemo machines.
My mom is skeptical of new treatments. The prospect of unknown side effects and unknown effectiveness stresses her out. When she got the details of the treatment and where the pills would come from, she started questioning whether her insurance would cover it.
This week we learned that her co-pay for this new medication would be $2000 a month. And she’s supposed to take this medicine for the rest of her life, assuming it works. She told them there is no way she can afford such a bill, so the hospital is trying to work out financial assistance. In the meantime, she’s not getting treatment and is stressing about the money. She would prefer to just do the old infusion chemo that is covered and forget about this new medication. Fingers crossed that if it’s not worked out by the end of this week, she’ll call them on Monday and say Drop It. Hook me back up to the chemo machines. Can patients dictate such things? I hope so.
Then my mother-in-law landed in the hospital with a subdermal hematoma from a fall she took over the weekend. She is okay and back home, but my husband is there trying to help them figure out next steps. She and my father-in-law are in their late 80s/early 90s and have lived independently until now. We’re trying to determine if that can continue and what to do next if not. Perhaps they can live with us if we get our new house?
And then, the house. I love this house but an issue with the septic has come up, and we cannot decide whether we should move forward and hope that the problem doesn’t occur again (and plan for if it does) or should we back out. I desperately, desperately don’t want to back out. But I also don’t want to be foolish about taking on a potentially expensive problem. The sellers are compensating generously, but not for the full issue (understandably since they’ve lived there only a year and were likely not the ones who caused this problem, but likely didn’t do their due diligence last year when the bought the house). I just want to buy the house with confidence. I have an email into one of the professionals the sellers spoke to to see how accurate their portrayal of the issue is.
So I have been walking around this week with a big, black, thunderous cloud hanging over my head. I’ve had loud, choking, cathartic crying spells while driving from one place to another. The kind where I wake up with my eyes swollen and a headache lingering behind my swollen eyes.
Yesterday, I felt particularly lousy both physically and mentally. It doesn’t help to live in a space that feels congested and claustrophobic.
I recently had a great mind/body session with a good friend who practices mind/body healing. At my request, we spoke about prayer and I told her how I have this inclination to pray for things to be different than they are when I know there is no changing reality. She referred to this as beseeching prayer and said her practice encourages people to say affirming prayers. She also made a point that I really appreciated. She said if I have the instinct to pray, I shouldn’t bat that instinct away as a childish or useless thing (which is what I do). She suggested listening to that instinct and that small piece of advice was quite eye-opening for me. So last night, before going to bed, I said aloud a prayer that was not quite beseeching but a bit more than an affirming prayer, and I put it into the universe and I felt a bit better.
And this morning I feel much, much better and must admit that some of this emotional turmoil is likely hormonal, too.
Now for the weird. Though, I don’t know that weird is the right word. It’s also sad, but weird in the way it forces me to look back on my experience and remember it with one door closed now.
Over the weekend, my mom reminded me about a crush I had on a young punk who lived out near where we lived. He may have been my first crush, but I’m not positive because I crushed on all my older brother’s friends. But at the ages of 9/10/11, I was crazy about this guy. And he was a trouble maker. My parents did not like him. Did Not Like Him. We all lived in the country and he would walk from his house to visit me and my aunt. Seeing him making his way to us through the familiar wooded paths that led to my aunt’s house or my grandma’s house would enthrall me. He was, of course, mostly indifferent to me. We were friends but he was not interested in any sort of meaningful way, which, thank goodness because I was a child and so was he, really. He was only a year or two older.
The epicenter of all conversations with my mom involving this guy tend to go back to her favorite lamp that he broke. He and I were at my house, by ourselves (this, likely, was not permitted by my parents, but they were at work) and we had a pillow fight in the living room and with one swift movement with a pillow, he knocked over the amber glass lamp cover and broke it. Quickly and conveniently he said, Well, I guess I should be going. So I got in all the trouble that day and it is a memory seared in both mine and my mom’s memory.
Once we both started high school, we fell out of touch. I think he went to the vocational school and eventually I left my hometown to do other things.
A few years ago, I saw he was on Facebook but I didn’t reach out to him because we were never really friends. He was just a crush I had in my youth.
Today, I was thinking about a mutual friend of ours which led me to search for this guy again on Facebook to see what he’s up to now. Facebook-stalking at it’s finest, I suppose. The first post was from our mutual friend who wished him a “Happy Birthday in Heaven.” I scanned through other posts and learned he died last September at the age of 42. He was in hospice care at the end, though I’m not sure what illness took his life.
And it is so strange to know this person, who played such a momentous and formative role in my childhood—it’s hard to overstate my feelings, childish though they were, and the isolation of living in a rural area that probably made those feelings/interactions take on more importance than they deserve—is no longer of this earth. It feels odd to look back and see this door shut completely on a portion of my experience. It was basically closed all these years, but now it has clicked shut with unexpected finality.