Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Note On A Calm Sunday Morning

    It's been quite a frantic 2 months around our house. My mother's diagnosis of cancer sent everyone to battle stations. For me it brought back memories of my own fight with the disease 23 years ago, but more than that it was the first indication that age was catching up with my parents. My mom's cancer is fortunately treatable but dealing with all the things that come along with such a diagnosis has been difficult for her. The frequent doctors visits, blood tests, lots of terms she's unfamiliar with and a growing sense of vulnerability. My dad is worried about her - they've been together lots of years which he proudly asserts to every nurse and doctor he meets. It's an impressive sum of time. But she's the one actually going through this process, and she's the one that needs attention. It's been hard to get her to take help from people, hell it's hard to even get her to take a nap! A friend told me the other day, "we're all children twice" and in accompanying them on these various errands, sometimes it's like escorting a couple of rowdy 8 year olds.  8 year olds who can also drive and order a cocktail.

   My mother's main concern has been with her hair and starting chemo. We went wig shopping last week which in her case was akin to prepping Lady Gaga for the "Born This Way World Tour." You see my mom has always been the hip mom, much hipper than I was. If there is a trend, she's on it, a fashion, she has it, music, she's already heard it. She always has to be in the swim of things and has been very worried about losing her hair once she started chemo. All I can say is God Bless the American Cancer Society and their wig salon!! I described her and her tastes ahead of time and when we got there Betty, one of the volunteers, had several selections ready for her.  Of course she was immediately drawn to a Beyonce-like human hair wig with long extensions, nothing like she's ever worn in her life.

   I thought to myself, "Oh shit!  Now I'm going to be escorting a 5 foot tall Italian version of Beyonce to chemo appointments!" I blamed myself, I was the one who told her "If there ever was a time to cut loose this is it! Have fun with this!" I said. I learned fast that Fran is not the sort of person one needs to give that advice to. Everybody held their breath, She passed on the long  "Put A Ring On It" hair.

   I think she probably figured if she came out wearing that she'd give my father a stroke, but she sure  liked the looks of it. She tried on a few wigs on and quickly found one that looked just like her own hair. They talked to her about the Look Good Feel Better program helping women coping with cancer with hair and make-up tips. My mother informed them that she'd been drawing her eyebrows on since she'd plucked them all out as a 14 year old trying to look like Bette Davis. One of the volunteers mentioned that she might like to teach a class. She thought about that. I'm not sure where that's going yet. If she does, there are going to be an awful lot of cancer survivors up here looking like Vegas showgirls.

   The biggest scariest thing for her was her first chemo. The first time is scary for everybody. I picked her up to take her to the doctor. In the car she volunteered she wasn't wearing a bra. She figured that it was against the rules. "No," I told her. "You just like to Freebird it! Admit it"

   Chemo was a lot easier than she thought. She's getting a very mild drug, well tolerated. And now even two days afterward, she feels good. Even better, she's not scared anymore. So, for the first time in 2 months things are a bit peaceful around here. Everybody seems to be coping well with the new schedule. Though driving back from the doctor the other day my mother was deep in thought. "What's up I asked?"
   "Maybe I should have gotten that Beyonce wig"


  1. Thanks, but it seems like everybody I know is doing something like this, sometimes, with teenagers thrown in the mix!! I'm hoping they perfect service robots?monkeys before I'm their age

  2. Sorry to hear about your mom's diagnosis, but so great that she is doing well! The wig shopping sounds like it was a riot!

  3. A 5 foot Italian Beyonce - love the image - what a sparkplug - she cracks me up - what a sense of humor!

  4. Your mom is so strong, but best wishes to her for continued recovery.

  5. This post brings back memories. I know first had about the wig shopping and all that goes with a Mom going through Chemo. My mom was a dark skinned Italian woman. Get something different, something you always wanted... She went with red, and brown, and her natural color. All trendy styles. They made her happy. She even participated in live modeling event for women with cancer. To this day I have the clothes she modeled.

    Your story will be an inspiration to many and the support you are providing, priceless!!!

    Blessings to and your family!

  6. 8 year olds who can drive and order a cocktail… I love it!

    Seriously, though, all best wishes at this difficult time. I'm sure you'll all pull through with flying colors!

  7. I'm glad she is adjusting to the chemo and there is a rhythm to your life again even if it is a different one. Your mom sounds like a real character. I bet you have an arsenal of great stories to tell about her.



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