Cancer is a sneaky bastard. It lurks, waits and then strikes when you least expect it. Not once, not twice but all the time. Even when you know that parasite is playing house in someone’s body, it can still take you by surprise. It forces you to revalue your life. Especially when the strongest person in your world stands before you. Weak. Trembling. Pale. Mouth covered in sick. Hairless.
And that’s when I realise: I can’t do anything to make her feel better. A sense of lost rips apart my heart and I try hard, really hard, not to cry it out in emotional pain. My view of life has been tested before but my automatic view of the role I play in relation to my mum, has forever changed. She used to be the one to comfort me and be strong but now the roles have been swapped. The young woman from last June is forever gone.
It’s been another rough week and an outsider wouldn’t have been able to notice how much things have changed since I’ve been back from Rome. Past the walls of our home, I try not to talk about my mum. People ask about her but I return their questions with ambiguous answers. I don’t want to tell the truth because the truth is ugly.
The truth is: my mum slept for five days after her hospitalisation, barely able to wake up long enough to eat.
The truth is: my mum can’t eat anymore because her oesophagus has been temporarily damaged by the radiation.
The truth is: my mum cries when she tries to eat because it hurts so much.
The truth is: my mum gags the moment that little bit of food touches her stomach, as if something’s burning deep inside. Which it most likely is.
The truth is: my mum can barely (and not even that at most time) hold back her medicine to protect her oesophagus and stomach.
The truth is: right before I typed all of this, I was in the bathroom with my mum grasping the sink as if her life depended on it. She gagged and threw up all her dinner in a time range of ten minutes. And she stood there, so weak and sad and sick that all I could do, was hand her that glass of water to rinse her mouth and rub her back. All I could do, was help her to the shower and get rid of that dirty, empty feeling.
She’s lost over 7 kg in the past week and all I can think of is that tomorrow will be another day and it will happen all over again. The chemo is working. The radiation, although done now, is still doing its job. It’s the reason why she feels miserable. It’s the reason why she can’t eat.
Her final chemo session is nearing but I truly hope that she can start to eat soon. Although her blood values were good on Monday (6,000) I fear that if she can’t have a good week before her next session, it might be postponed.
The end is near but it feels farther away than ever.