04 August 2012

Growing, traveling, crying

Eloi is two months old tomorrow. I continue to be amazed by how much he sleeps and how calm he is. Which is not to say he doesn’t have his moments, or that handling two kids has magically become easy (I'm sure I will write soon more about how it is NOT easy). But it certainly helps. He is now smiling intentionally from time to time, and it’s such a delight. He has big eyes and cowlicks that meet in the middle and make his downy blonde hair stand up in a mohawk. I can lay him down in the crib and he’ll hang out for a while then…just fall asleep. This morning he woke up long before I was ready to get up, so I kept sleeping and he just laid there and gurgled for an hour. This kid!

The boys and I have been in Barcelona (well, there and between my in-laws’ house) for a little over two weeks now. The Mister flew down with us, stayed for the weekend, and then flew back to Belgium. The purpose of this temporary separation is for him to get a lot of work done on his dissertation, while I hang out here and have more of a summer. Couldn’t do it without my parents-in-law, who have been taking care of Gabriel pretty exclusively, leaving me free to handle the baby. Gabriel, of course, is delighted, and is running around king of the castle, his Catalan developing by leaps and bounds.

But—and I don’t know how to transition to this easily—the main thing that has been occupying my thoughts and energies these days is sad, scary news.

My mom has lung cancer.

Even typing that sentence makes me tremble a bit, because I really don’t want it to be true, and because it sounds so horrible. Something that happens to other people.

She had been sick with chest colds/pneumonia too many times over the last months (including while she was in Belgium with us), with a lingering cough, and the doctors suggested a scan. And the scan showed a mass in/on her lung, and a series of biopsies and further scans confirmed that it is small cell lung cancer, which is very bad, and a kind of cancer usually found in smokers. Only 2% of the people who have it are nonsmokers like her.

This means that treatment possibilities are good, however, and she’s in overall good health, and there is no metastasis. But my overwhelming sadness when we got the definitive news had to do with treatment: I don’t want her to have to go through the pain, the exhaustion, the utter wretchedness of cancer treatments in their various forms. I couldn’t, can’t, even let myself think the worst thought, an outcome that doesn’t end in a cure, the one that to think of even for a second makes my stomach lurch in horror and my eyes well with tears.

We will be traveling to the US to help in September, when I’m more needed (mom has actually been feeling really good since she got over the bout of pneumonia), but it’s hard not to be there right now. My siblings immediately all came together to help and just to be together, and I wanted to be with them. It’s hard to rely on the normally sufficient means of communication like email and skype and phone calls for the information that we need and the reassurance and togetherness we all crave.

I’m not sure how much I’ll write about it here, because it feels selfish to write about how I’m feeling sad or down or dealing with it when SHE’s the one who has to deal with the Big Thing. I also have been avoiding writing about this because saying makes it feel more true. But then again, writing is how I process, so maybe it’s a good idea to write about it.