What should we tell Mum? How much truth is too much? I made a quick decision. "We'll tell her the facts we know. We will not mention the word 'Cancer' until we know for sure."
Two qualities define my family more than any other. We are Worriers and we are Fixers. Problems at work or at church used to eat at my Dad, and he was always looking for ways to help make them better. Mum is the same way with her kids and my sisters and I inherited the Don Quixote gene from both of them. None of us seem to be able to leave bad enough alone.
So I knew that if we told Mum that I might have Cancer, two things would happen. First she would stop sleeping. Then she would haul her septuagenarian self out to the car and drive alone for the nine hours that it takes to get from her neck of the Pennsyltucky woods to mine. I didn't want her doing either of those things if all I had was a benign bulge.
We followed that strategy right up until my surgery. My first groggy question in the recovery room was, "Is it Cancer?" Up until then, every time we spoke I would tell Mum what the Doc had found and what they intended to do next. I could hear the fear in her voice, and I'm sure she could hear it in mine. We learned later that she thought we had known all along, but kept the truth from her. She called me in the ICU the morning after my surgery and I told her what they found. She was in Kentucky the next afternoon. I'm not sure how Mrs P and I could have made it through the days since then without her.
Mum has been with us for every doctor appointment since then. She was in the exam room for that horrible meeting when, Dr. K told us about what my radiation would be like. She was in the waiting room when I went in to the treatment room expecting to lose a loose tooth and came out with an appointment to have them all extracted. She was even sitting next to me the morning the hospital called to tell me that our insurance company had decided that my Cancer was a pre-existing condition and that they would not pay for my radiation and chemo.
She is stronger than I will ever be, and I spent three weeks "protecting" her from the truth. Maybe I wanted to be in control of at least a small part of my situation. Or maybe I was protecting both of us from having to face the possibility. "It isn't real if you don't say it out loud." What actually happened was that I gave her all that time to worry. Helplessly. I realize now how cruel my kindness had been. I gave her no opportunity to help, so all she could do was fear and pray. The people who love us deserve better than that.
So now Mum is in the Bluegrass for the duration. She can't cure Cancer, but she can puree a mean bowl of chicken chowder. Mrs P comes home to a clean house every day. I have company when I want it and a silent companion when I need one. And when the sun is shining, you can find us out on the porch reading, laughing, and playing with Jake the seventy-pound-puppy.
Don't tell Mama, but I'd be lost without her. On second thought, go on and tell her. Mum always knows anyway.
mrs p Cancer running lifting weights LIVESTRONG at the YMCA treadmill weight nutrition depression God Living Strong at the Y injury YMCA dogs mom walking radiation Weight Lifting cardio friends program theatre body fat long slow run love One for the Five aches elliptical race resistance bands stretching 5K Acting Jeff Galloway chemo doctor family mental health Church Pittsburgh Marathon bluegrass fundraising inspiration patience personal trainer recovery Flying Pig Marathon Jesus Johns Striders Race Report Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon bipolar frustration kentucky knees measurements morning promatx yoga Christmas Marathon Pennsy's Greatest Hits cats clothes heart rate hope lance armstrong life molly poetry rest side effects steelers swimming 10K Actors' Guild of Lexington Blog CT Scan Coach Carrie PET Scan cross training exercise fear feeling good groin healing ice cream livestrong nausea powerlifting run/walk/run stair climber surgery Cancer Fighter Cold Gear Hills Iron Horse Half-marathon Job LSR Mum Nike+ Shamrock Shuffle 3K achilles advent arboretum bmi bodyweight exercises changes charity circuit training cycling dad deadlift diabetes encouragement experts give up goals horses interval training jake kettlebells lean body mass new rules of lifting pacing personal best plateau prayer recumbent bike research shoes sleep strength teeth therapist toe video Blood Easter Endurance Funeral Garmin 405 Homecoming House Insurance Juicing Keeneland Legacy Night PR Pennsyltucky Pittsburgh Relapse Run This Town TRX Training Values aflac arnold ben-gay bench press chafing christian compression shorts dentist dreams faith fat fatigue foreclosure good day half marathon hospitality javarunner john's run/walk shop lou schuler new year nurse pains peg tube powercage progressive resistance. racing rain rapture reboot runners world squat sun block supplements team pennsy tired weather will rogers work #3rightThings 9-11 ACSM AIDS Aquaphor Blessings Bluegrass 10K CSN Cancer Boy Cedar Hill Charles Dickens Class of 82 Classes Colby Road College Compassion Courage Crowdrise Cystoscopy Dee Diet EFM Epiphany Fall Fartlek Fat Man Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Frankfort Gadgets Gramma Grampa Gratitude Grete Waitz Guest HITT HIV Hell Holding Hands Holy Saturday Homer Horse Capital Marathon IVP Ice bath Jacuzzi James Taylor Jesus wept Joe Cross John Izzo Joy KY LaDonna Leg Day Lent Lessons Lexington Little Pennsy Mental hospital Midsummer Night's Run Mindfulness MobileFit Negative Splits Old Frankfort Pike Pilates Podrunner Pre-race Priorities RICE Railrunner 10 Miler Random thoughts Resurrection Reunion Run Bob Run Run Report Run Review Run for the Gold 3K Running Form Running for Sabrina STUPID Shakespeare Skip Brown Speed Spinning Summer Of Speed Sunrise Supersets Tao Te Ching Thank You The Wall Three Right Things Toxic Passenger UK UK basketball Urine Urologist Victory Walk of Shame Warrior Westminster Whole Foods Wind Words Zumba ace bandages addicted agony alwyn cosgrove america anger antibiotic anxiety awake back baseball blood clots blood pressure body glide bonhoeffer books brad calories chinup colonoscopy consistency crazy cycles dentures dip dr. google dumbbells elevation facebook failure farts feet fight for life fitness forgiveness frankenpennsy fun getting started glucosamine glutes goal gremlin grenz grumpy hair hamstrings hiccups high school hot ice incarnation indian food jogging john lennon joint legacy trail liniment lunges machines maker's mark mapmyrun.com medicine ball meds mercy motivation motley fool music nature neighborhood new balance nike noah numbers pennsyltuckian periodization persistence phlebitis postmodern prison professional boundaries progress psychiatrist pullups pushups quads ramble rememberance renewal road running ronnie coleman rowing safety sauna scan-ziety sexy shopping shorts shower sick sleepless snow socks spandex star trek statistics steam room steroids stiff strained muscle strap strength training supination support surgeon survive swackett swiss balls table technology tempo terry bradshaw testicular torsion text thai food that's fit the five thighs walk breaks warm up water fitness water jogging weak wedding ring wellness wife winter workout writing yardwork