The Big C

I remember it like it was yesterday. Maybe because as I write this it actually was yesterday, but I have a feeling that the moment will be as livid in my mind as ever even years from now.

I tried calling the house phone but no go, call me the text message said. I wasn’t surprised as our phone runs on VOIP and our cable had been cutting out a lot because of the storms and for the past few days it had taken to not allowing incoming calls but we could make outgoing calls. My cell phone got just enough signal for text messages but not calls, so I made sure that everyone in my family knew to text me if anything came up, especially in regards to my mom who had been in the hospital for two weeks.

I called my sister.

The biopsy was back.

I hadn’t been too worried as her other biopsy and tests all came back carcinoid syndrome and not actual cancer. But this one came back different.

My mom has stage IV small-cell lung cancer.

My mom has a cancer that has a 2% survival rate and it was caught very late.

My mom, the woman who has already been a medical miracle once, is no longer immortal. She never was, she just seemed that way in our eyes.

The doctors started throwing around terms that made my stomach gurgle and churn. ‘Home care’ and ‘Quality of life’ and ‘terminal’ were spoken as if they were just words and not a heavy anchor around our hearts and necks.

Part of me wonders what if my sister and dad hadn’t forced her to go to the hospital on the 14th? Mom had been a bit hazy lately, but she had bronchitis that just wouldn’t go away. She and I both got it after our trip to Chicago back in April. She had a bit of a cold while we were there and I knew I’d get it too, but afterward we were both miserable with bronchitis like never before. She’d been to the doctor. They told her she had asthma. Meanwhile she had a mix of pneumonia and lung cancer that had gone undetected.

I can’t even think right now. My brain is fighting me, part of it wanting to be logical and detached, but most of me wanting to be an emotional wreck right now. I guess that’s normal, though. We all have to come to grips with this. We all have to be ready to fight.