February 26, 2011

30,000 Feet and Nothing To Do

The person who invented the mammogram machine did not have boobs. Or possibly hated boobs. And also severely underestimated the usefulness of gravity. I am done. I am not having any more mammograms. There, I said it. I will not subject myself or my tits to the horror of this obnoxious and useless procedure. My mother had breast cancer which is why every doctor has gone all bonkers about making sure I get mammograms, however, my mother had an estrogen feeding breast cancer, which is not hereditary, and she found hers herself, it was not detected by a mammogram. Oh, and did I mention that the treatment for that cancer is what caused the cancer that eventually killed her? Oh, and of course, we can’t forget that it was hormone replacement therapy that probably caused the initial cancer that resulted in the radiation treatment, which caused the radiation induced sarcoma that did her in?

And that, my friends, is why I say pooh-pooh to modern day medicine’s version of leeching.
What I think would be really nice is to have a doctor who said I should have my boobs removed and replaced with perky, store-bought ones. And, to have a doctor say I also needed a hysterectomy and while he or she was there, he or she would do a little tummy tuck, too. That would be really nice. Much nicer than once a year putting my already beleaguered breasts into a flattener. That shit hurts.

I am on a plane.

This is not a surprise, is it?

No, it is not.

Planes are where I read, write blog entries, day dream about cosmetic surgery and figure out how I am going to get out of being a road warrior by the time Max is 7. Because that is the oldest he can be for me to keep doing this. Little kid means little problems. Big kid means big problems. And I want to be there for him. I don’t want him to turn 16 and start smoking and doing drugs and blame it on the fact I was never there. Plus, worse than a mammogram, would be dying in a plane crash or getting cancer from the full body X-rays at airports now. That would suck.

What would suck more is something I read in People magazine a couple of hours ago. A man had tongue cancer and had radiation and chemo to treat it. It caused the lining of his esophagus to slough off like snake’s skin and he had to “pull it out of his throat while coughing and vomiting.” I just threw up a little in my mouth and shuddered.

I can agree with my father’s decision to forego chemo 100%. I did not even try to talk him into it. He has inoperable lung cancer and the chemo would be palliative, perhaps gaining him a month or two…a month or two of horror, pain and suffering. He has no symptoms right now, and perhaps, as it gets closer, he may change his mind, thinking 30 more days alive and in pain is perhaps better than 30 fewer days. And I will support him then, too.

He and I are not as close and my mother and I were. I don’t know why. Maybe because my mother and I had the same sense of humor – bitter and dark. I don’t know the reason, but I know I will miss him when he is gone. There will be no one left in this world who loves me more than themselves, no one who can fill me in on the tiny details of my childhood, no one to compare my son to me at the same age, and no one to record our lives’ special events. I doubt anyone will take up doing the filming. We all poke fun of him for recording our every gathering, even saying the children will grow up thinking Grandpa has a tri-pod growing out of his face. But he will leave us with close to 100 DVDs, I think, full of the birthdays and holidays and Sundays at mom’s house for roast, rice and green peas. Or as Nick used to call it, “the brown meat.”

I would give all those DVDs and much, much more to have Mom back and Dad cancer-free, even for just one more Sunday. But I am grateful for the time I had with them both. I could, however, do without the gaping hole in my heart, thank you very much. 


Eliozabeth Ferry Pekins said...

You are wonderful Claire! I love you very much!

judyb said...

Beautiful post. I'm sorry for your losses. And yeah, if you can, get a job where you can spend time with your son, it goes by so fast.