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Sitting on a Balcony…

It’s tough, sitting outside on the balcony of the home where a person with serious and active cancer lives. Especially when it’s your Mom.

I’m sitting here, in a typical Ottawa summer night weather (although it’s officially October now), just thinking about things, and digesting what happened today. We got some harsh news. Not the worst news we were expecting, but some pretty bad news none the less.

And I’m sitting here, not thinking about myself. Not even feeling sorry about the situation (I do, but that’s not what I’m thinking about). Nope. I’m trying to perceive what it’s like from the viewpoint of that wonderful woman who is sleeping not 10 yards away from me.

And I cannot imagine it.

There’s courage. And then there’s courage. I saw it today. It wasn’t in me either. It was in her. Myself? After getting the talk from the doctor, I had to go take a walk. I used as an excuse the car… must go to the car to check something, get the ticket, something like that. I used as an excuse “Dad, you may want to talk to Mom for a bit…”. But it was a lie. I had to go off on my own for a bit so I could cry.

I have to be strong for my Mom, I know that, and that’s one reason why I went off and cried on my own. I didn’t want her to see that. But now, she’s probably reading this, and knows anyway.

I have to be positive for my Mom, and I’m trying to do that. Maybe it helps, maybe it shows, I dunno. But I’m going on the premise it is.

I’m trying to be “light and normal” about the situation. Not talking to her about the cancer, but talking about just everyday life things. That’s probably more for me and my lack of courage to face the situation, but I like to convince myself that it’s for her benefit, to show her “hey, things are good, normal, fine, life is going on, etc etc”.

Thursday evening I get back on the plane, heading back to Vancouver, and in some ways, I’m looking forward to it, and in some ways, I’m not. I’m looking forward to finally being able to “release” everything that’s built up in me. I don’t cry often, but I think I’ll head to the lavatory and have a good long one. I need that. But I’m leaving my Mom.

The last time I left her (May, when I was here for my brother’s wedding), she still looked okay, but tired all the time, and ramping up for her first chemo.

This time around, she’s down to skin and bones, very weak, platelet count so low that she risks dying if she suffers a cut.

What’s in store next time I’m here?

My hope is that she gets her platelet count up high enough that they operate, cut out the aggressive, growing stuff, (they cannot get it all out – it’s in the pelvis, and inoperable), and that she starts to recover some weight, muscle mass, and conditioning. So that by the time I get here around Christmas, she’ll be “better”.

But she’ll never be healed. Unless some miracle cancer cure is found soon.

It’s tough, sitting here on the balcony. I’m the one who’s trying to provide strength, but it’s ironic. As I sit here, I find I’m actually drawing some strength from her courage and will.




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