As explained previously, on a Very Special Entry -- we don’t actually celebrate the [ahem] winter holidays, here @ Shoe Central. Short version: No panicked shopping, dealing with family angst, or blinky-light-induced insomnia. And this is fine by us.
However this year our previously merry eating, drinking etc were overshadowed by a bit of the old ‘…for tomorrow you may…’, on account of Shoemom having found a lump in her right breast about a month prior, and due for the appointment with the specialist the first Tuesday of the new year.
Which, as you can imagine, made the resolutions really, severely uncomplicated. All I want for 2011 is my mother not to have breast cancer.
…well, that got shot all to hell in a hurry.
It’s in the early stages, I hasten to add; just caught in time to avoid becoming a nightmare, actually. The surgery is apparently routine (well, as routine as removing a breast can ever be) and the prognosis is excellent. She is on the whole relaxed and optimistic about it all; except – characteristically -- when she thinks of the effect on her daughters.
So the last thing I want to do is disrespect anyone currently trapped in the nightmare stage, or their loved ones.
I would only note -- as a matter of perhaps mere personal interest -- that the first thing to go in these situations is cynicism, no matter how carefully cultivated. The bubble-gum pink that previously set your teeth on edge is now your favourite colour in the whole wide world. You want everyone to be aware of it, of the problem it symbolises, how desperately a solution is needed. Everyone. You in fact have wild fantasies about running through the streets smashing pink stickers into chests.
It becomes your obligation to produce the best-selling memoir: Shoemom’s Story. Tastefully bound in pink and white, with maybe just a hint of gilding. You are completely shameless about the gilding… probably because it beats wondering what being executor of a will actually entails. Or realizing that the family drama that was just leveling off is about to explode in whole new and exciting directions.
You resort to sick jokes in order to maintain normalcy. At a high point of the aforementioned drama, Shoesis tried to get Mom to the wedding by demanding “You never know, she could turn out to have a tumour the next day and you’d be sorry!” Yesterday, discussing how to spread the news: “How about -- Hey, kiddo, remember that tumour? Yeah…tell me, hypothetically, would that mean I get to see the grandkids more?”
…OK, maybe you had to be there. That’s another thing I’ve learned, that you cannot ever precisely plan for the moment when your mother asks, “Um… I’m not actually gonna die or anything, right?”
No. No, she is not. She has the surgery in February. Meanwhile…
...Look, you can skip the cutesy pink appliances, just be aware, OK?
Get to know your body so intimately that the least change is screamingly obvious. Get the regular appointment, get the mammograms done, Pap smears, whatever’s needful. Realise that the elderly relatives who ‘don’t trust those $@#^%$ doctors!” aren’t cute and charming; they’re playing Russian roulette with your love. Make the appointments for them, if necessary. Sedate ‘em. Hell, call me and I’ll personally come over and shove them into the boob-squeezing machine free of charge, I’m in exactly the right mood.
Above all… pray, for all those suffering and all the survivors, to the God of both truth and compassion. And if you want to direct a few good thoughts in Shoemom’s way specifically, I wouldn’t object at all.
- feels like: indescribable