Saturday, November 26, 2005


My mother has an anaplastic ogliodendroglioma. That is brain cancer to you and me, kids. The general prognosis is about 2-6 years, but that includes a fairly substantial amount of time in a nursing home as the brain tumors grow and put pressure on her brain and spinal cord. She will slowly lose her faculties and ability to care for herself. In October, she made a decision to try chemotherapy, even though the doctors advised a course of chemo with radiation. I support whatever she wants to do. She said "I don't want to be bald and stupid when I have to make my appointment with my death-with-dignity doctor." I hate that she is going through this and is going to be sick sometime soon. She is literally my best friend and I am 3000 miles away. How do people deal with this? Who can function as the person who gave them life is dying on the other side of the country?

I had a hard time as a teenager, as many of us do, but overall my parents have been amazingly supportive throughout my life. I have been a good deal of trouble at certain points and, even though if I were a parent, I think I would have made differen choices, they have done everything they can to help me. It is killing me to see and hear them suffering this way. My father wants to be Superman, and thinks her can save my mom somehow. He won't talk to anyone, and only told me that much becaquse I got all up in his grill for 2 hours the last time I was in OR. Aside from the fear and loss and anger, he has a whole other fucking mess to address. He is a very religious Catholic and attends Church every week. He knows that at some point he will most likely have to help my mom commit suicide but the Church doctrine forbides this even in circumstances like the one at hand. Dad will not talk to a priest or any other churchly type and will not talk to anyone else either. What do I do? I am not pretending that I have the answers, but I do know that stuffing all of this emotion will cause him to have more TIAs (transient ischemic attacks or mini strokes) and will kill him too.

There was a point, less than 10 years ago, when I felt that I didn't really know waht death was. There was almost noone whom I was was close to who had died, or even had big health problems. Now, it seems like everyone does. I feel so helpless. Is this what growing up is really like?