My mom is in The Bind. This took me by suprise– I didn’t think she would be in this situation so soon, but here we are.
Cancer sometimes wins though sheer endurance- a marathon victory rather than the 500 meter dash. The body can only handle a certain amount of chemotherapy. If the cancer can hang on, eventually the bone marrow becomes depleted, and the patient can’t recieve any more life-saving treatment.
Nearly 4 weeks after her last round of chemo, my mom hasn’t recovered her counts sufficiently for more chemotherapy, and she isn’t producing the stem cells that must be harvested prior to autologous bone marrow transplant. Her lymphoma is now obstructing her kidneys and she is hospitalized with renal failure. What she needs is more treatment– but her body can’t handle that yet.
As I write this in the Phoenix airport on my way to be with her during this precarious time, I do feel some clarity and some hope. There is evidence that her blood counts are recovering. She might be able to get chemo soon afterall. There is still hope that we may be able to collect stem cells this week. Perhaps a new chemo will work on her cancer in a way that the previous treatments have not. All is not lost.
In The Bind, there is a fine balance between hope and despair, and I tip between the two on a hourly basis. But I’m trying to cultivate a sense of calmness before my family begins a journey of difficult choices and hard decisions.
I’ve played many roles during my mom’s illness: nurse, counselor, medical interpreter, and reporter. But I’m trying to honor my most important one: daughter. I want to be the best daughter I can possibly be, and soak in every minute of this precious time with my mom.