And it begins: the side effects have hit mum in full force and she is struggling. The vomiting, the body aches, the headaches, the loss of hair. It’s all happening and it’s killing me. Bit by bit my heart is breaking as I watch this treatment take over my mum’s body. I’ve repeatedly asked myself if we’re doing the right thing with the chemo and then I remind myself that we need to do it to help prevent it from coming back. I also keep reminding myself that we are not fighting off cancer, we are just trying to prevent it from coming back. And that helps for a little while until mum starts moaning in pain or vomiting or crying. I walked past her room and heard mumbling, so I stood by the door and leaned in to hear what she was saying: “Jesus help me, please Jesus help me”. Over and over she prayed that and sometimes she would cry it out. And as she lay in bed in pain, I stood at the door and wept silently while praying for her to feel better because that was all I could do.
I know it’s only been a month since she started chemo, and we should be staying positive because this is just a preventative, but goodness me it’s hard at the moment. And we have another 5 months to go. I can’t imagine the pain she is going through at the moment, all I know is it’s horrible because my mum is strong and can handle most things. I can’t imagine mentally what she is going through, that’s something only she and God know. All I know is that I wish I could make it stop. I wish I could take it away from her. I would gladly take her place and spare her the pain, but I can’t and that’s what kills me the most; I can’t fix this. I can’t make this better and I desperately want to make it better. I’ve been massaging her legs and her body, making her tea and food, standing over her and praying, anything to just make it a little better. I’ve even started giving her the injections she needs to have after chemo, and that’s difficult because despite my many tattoos, I hate needles!
But if you haven’t guessed, I am a control freak. Part of it comes from a desire to help people and part of it comes from a place of thinking I can, and need, to fix everything. It’s not my best feature. In the past, when something happened that was out of my control, something big that I just couldn’t control, my standard response to it would be to pray, give thanks to God for getting us through it (because He always does), and get my hair done; cut, colour, new style, you name it. And I would do that because it was something I had control over. It gave me something to focus on and kept me from going nuts trying to control something I had no control over. I still pray and give thanks to God but as I’ve recently shaved my head, the hair default is out. So my new defaults are going to the gym, eating and writing. Not necessarily in that order. Sometimes I leave the gym and writing out and just eat. I’m mindful that I may turn into the Michellin Man if I’m not careful with my eating (remember the fat tyre dude that was the promo for Michellin tyres? Yea, him). Considering the gym is where I vent my frustration, I’m also mindful that if I spend too much time at the gym I might get too bulky and start looking like a bloke, especially with my shaved head. (For those that see me regularly, you may have noticed the large hoop earrings that I constantly wear now? Well, now you know why, because I don’t want people that are walking behind me to think I’m a short guy!)
But there is a silver lining in this and it’s the fact that we know what’s coming our way each week. We know what to expect. And we know that it’s only for a few more months, not forever. All this will become our ‘ normal ’. It won’t hurt any less to watch, but I will be more prepared with each chemo treatment. All this will soon become our ‘normal’. Mum will be more prepared as well, which I’m hoping will make it easier for her to get mentally prepared. And despite my heartache, one thing I am certain of is that we will get through this. By the grace of God we will get through this. I’m doing my best to let go of what I can’t control and just trust that God will not let us down. He hasn’t yet. I’m trusting the doctors will give her the best treatment needed, which they have. And I’m trusting my friends to lift me up when I’m feeling weak, which they have been doing since this all started. For a control freak like me, that’s as good as it’s going to get.