Monday, August 24, 2009

Fortunately gone

For the last few days, I feel a bit like I’m not actually in my own body, instead that I’m watching myself act out a sequence of banal tasks for an unknown puppet master.

On Thursday afternoon, after leaving work, I received the news that I was both expecting and dreading. My mother has stomach cancer. We have no idea how long she’ll live (nor does she and she’s happy with that). The only surgical procedure available is too risky for them to try. We’re unsure as yet if there are treatment options – even if there are, the chances of her agreeing to them are slim.

I coped pretty well with the news, initially.

However, this weekend I went from resigned to relaxed to furious to desolate to upbeat, and many other emotions between these. I am literally all over the place, yet I’m not functioning anywhere. Instead, I’m numbly carrying on, neither noticing nor caring about much of what’s going on in front of me. Understatement of the year so far: it’s not great.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Left to my own devices

At the end of this week and all of next I am going to be the original social firefly (do any of you remember the cutesy sounds of Blast Off Country Style?). Having a number of distractions to take my mind away from the big things that are happning in the background is a comfort, and I think having a reason to leave the flat and be with people may just save me.

Like many outwardly well-organised people, I have to very work hard at keeping things together. I get distracted easily by things and put things off constantly. As a child, I was messy and never finished projects, finding myself distracted all the time by books and imaginary worlds. I recall quite clearly my parents once coming into our living room and waving a hand in front of my face to snap me out of whatever reverie I was stuck in.

Now I'm older, I try a bit harder to be together. I wouldn't say I was whimsical, but I do have a scattergun approach to life and (especially) work. Procrastination plays a huge part and if it weren't for the lists, spreadsheets and hundreds of post-it note reminders, very little would get completed or recalled.

I was about to say that the above was a flaw, but actually, it's not. A flaw would be an addiction to fruit machines, or something worse. Our brains can only contain so much stuff and it's inevitable that some of this should need to be pushed out, at the expense of other things. My once crystal-clear memory is becoming ever more fuzzy. There would have been a time when I would have lamented that, but I'm now much happier to let things go.

More test results are due tomorrow, and life is probably going to barge in once more.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The reflected sound of everything

Well, it's been a strange week. I am feeling a bit numb. Over the next week my Mum faces a CT scan and a second set of tests. Afterwards, we may know what stage things are at.

I was in Devon at the weekend, trying my best to stay composed and to be useful. In the most part, this was a success. Mum was actually way more lively and looked far better than when I last saw her, ironically: the blood transfusion and the copious amounts of vitamin B12 she has been given have certainly helped in the short-term.

There were, and are still, occasions on which I let the sadness get the better of me, but I figure that is allowed. I am still finding reasons to smile (use of the In the Loop-ism "meat in the room", for example) and y'know, things have been worse.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Change and decay in all around I see, part 308

Late on Monday afternoon Sister #4 phoned through with the news that Mum's hospital tests had shown up a serious stomach ulcer. Initial suggestions are that it's either an extremely rare type of ulcer that isn't cancerous, or a more regular type of ulcer that is cancerous.

So, not great news, exactly. More tests are pending. I'm not vastly confident that it isn't cancer. I am off to Devon at the weekend and I am fully aware that it's going to be pretty tough.

I've already enjoyed a grim chuckle, which I suppose is good (?). I spoke to Mum on Monday night and she was saying, "the Doctor said he couldn't guarantee that I was going to make it to your wedding" while in the background my sister was shouting, "HE SAID YOU'RE GOING TO BE FINE!" (I know the latter to be true, because my sister had told me this ten minutes earlier).

I think she's got plenty of life in her yet.