It’s dark out. And cold. Everything is packed and ready; it has been for days. The only thing left to do is pile in the car and start driving.
Rewind: The last two months have been a whirl wind of doctor visits and a long hand of the waiting game. It’s not a very fun game to play and I don’t recommend it. But sometimes, it’s the only thing left to do. I had the smallest glimpse down a road I know I definitely don’t want to travel. The “C” word…you know, cancer.
What was once thought to be a small freckle in my mom’s left eye turned out to be a cancerous tumor. An ocular melanoma caused from a life time of being a gorgeous fair skinned redhead. Treatment for eye tumors used to be removal of the eye entirely. But thanks to modern medicine, proton radiation acceleration is now the treatment of choice. I still think my mom could have rocked a bedazzled eye patch. I feel like I've become an overnight expert on all things ocular cancer, which had its pros and cons…sometimes ignorance truly is bliss and other times knowledge is power. Long story short(er-ish), melanomas have a nasty habit of spreading to the liver and/or brain, and without divulging my mom’s entire medical history, those are two locations we’d rather it not travel. After referral of a referral of a referral to specialist doctors, my mom has a clean bill of health (aside from the initial cancerous tumor in the eye).
Fast-forward: Proton radiation acceleration is a relatively new science when it comes to tumor treatment. Because it’s just making its appearance on the scene, there are only nine centers in the world that offer this treatment, San Francisco being one of them. My mom and pop have been getting ready to head to the world’s leading proton radiation center, and Bird and I were invited to tag along for the trip (Brent flies into San Fran on Thursday night for the weekend).
The past week has been especially hard, for me anyways. I can’t even begin to imagine my mom’s feelings. I’ve never met a strong person than her. Every step of the way, she’s been positive. Not just positive that she’ll be cancer free, or healed, or even for life to return to normal, but positive in the sense that no matter what happens, no matter what the outcome is, everything will be fine. We will remain happy regardless of the diagnosis. I can’t fathom the words for my feelings had the results been anything but positive. In the end, she will loose her eyesight, which I consider a win when life all together was an option. But I know one thing is for sure; my mom would have remained strong…and then we could be strong with her.
I’ve never prayed so hard, so fervently, so…selfishly, as if making sure God knew that I just wasn’t ready for a life without my moms. He knew.
Pause: I-80 is one heck of a long road. Lilly is asleep in the back seat, while her Nana strokes her forehead and studies the paper road map. Pop is driving, cautious of passing trucks and enough “driving room”. And all this time gives me the a ridiculous amount of time to think, which inevitably ends up with typing, which then twists itself into a blog of some sort. Earlier this morning from the back seat, I watched my mom diligently feed my pop a piece of breakfast bread. Sweet words exchanged as they were both grateful he didn’t have to take his hands off of the wheel. High school sweethearts still so dedicated to caring for one another. My mom has repeatedly said how much she appreciates everything pop has done throughout this ordeal, and from my pop; a small grunt in reply. And for those of you who know my pop, a grunt is worth a thousand words…and this time it was a thousand words of gratefulness that his love will be okay. To watch that small exchange of bread meant the world to me. I can’t wait to watch a thousand more.
So, here we come California, to add one more success story to the trial we call cancer.