My mother is deep in the claws of the medical establishment now. I spent the afternoon meeting with a surgeon - and my mom, of course - and the news is just not so good, but on the other hand, it's not so bad, because nothing is conclusive and nothing can or will be known until next Tuesday, when this nice doctor, who looked a little like my cousin P and was wearing a yellow Ralph Lauren shirt and cowboy boots, takes out several large chunks of my mother's colon. That's when we find out if it's spread past the colon: if it has, well, that's the worst case scenario. If it hasn't, then it's just major abdominal surgery and a week or more in the hospital, which is not a cakewalk by any means but is still way, way, WAY fucking better than the alternative at the other end of the scale. I envision this scale as a slider, like the volume control on Winamp or WMP, and at the left is the best case scenario and at the right is the worst (evil is always at the right end of the scale, you know.)
The slider moved more to the right today. There's another mass in there and one of her kidneys is doing something strange, although that may be normal, because the surgeon seemed to downplay it. You would think that if one of your kidneys suddenly decided to pick up stakes and migrate to a whole new place in your body, turning itself upside down in the process, that it would be worrisome, but he kind of laughed it off. I have no idea. Perhaps kidneys do this all the time? I'm still not entirely clear on where the colon is, let alone the kidneys, although I'm fairly sure that they're all in the middle section and not, as far as I know, in your ankles. It worried my mother though, and who can blame her? If internal organs start making those kinds of decisions, who knows where it will end? With your lungs in your ass, no doubt, and your liver taking up residence in your elbow.
So we go back to this doctor on Wednesday for a pre op physical and more tests, there are always more tests. And then we go to Meet The Anesthesiologist, which seems a bit odd, but what the hell. The way they talked about it, it almost sounds like there will be wine and cheese, but somehow I doubt it. My mom is on some heavy duty antibiotics already, and she can't drink with them. The obligatory Scotch & Ensure jokes were made. She also can't take any kind of pain medication, which is more of a problem, since she's in some fairly bad, fairly constant pain at this point. And then she has to go on clear liquids for two days and all the rest of the pre operation ritual; it is tough and fucking miserable.
It is all fucking miserable, and the waiting rooms have nothing to read but Parenting and American Baby magazine, which both my mother and I are light years past, and 2 year old copies of Town and Country, and some hideous magazine for execuchicks called Pink. And something called Organic Life, which explained how the stuffing in my sofa is toxic and killing us all and I should immediately replace it with an all organic sofa made by happy elves in an enchanted forest, which will only set me back five grand. Sweet weeping Jesus on a pogostick. The world is a funny place.
I'm adding something now, a few hours later - if any of this sounds flip, or callous, or any of that, well, fuck you, I'm dancing as fast as I can. I'm actually devastated and kind of freaking out. All I can do is try my hardest to laugh, and you know, colon cancer, that's some funny shit. Funny as hell. Funny as pain. Funny as death. I know on a rational level that it's way too early to flip out, but on a sub rational level, on the mammal brain level, rest assured that I am freaking in every way possible. I'm praying. I ask that you do too.