Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Learning the hard way

Before my mom was diagnosed with cancer I read several novels about people living with various forms of it. Despite how eloquently an author can describe life with cancer, part of me was naturally detached. I just couldn’t grasp people who could spout off six syllable medicine names or tell you the most scenic route to different wings of the hospital. Part of me didn’t want to understand. If you weren’t a doctor but were still in the know, it meant you learned the hard way.

Considering my mom seemed perfectly healthy just a few short months ago, it’s surreal to me that she now possesses such knowledge. She’s had so many veins tapped she can tell you where the best flow comes from or when a vein has gone hard. She can tell you about the costs of blood transfusions and extra night gowns. She now knows, first hand, what bile looks like outside of the body. Yep, she definitely acquired all of this knowledge the hard way.

Fortunately this is only part of the story. I started interviewing my mom so that I could hear the words of a journey that’s hard to understand. I’ll post her answers to some of my questions over the next few days, but I want to start where she left off. It seems that the more you come to know of the bad, the better you can understand the good. She said:

Today I woke up and stepped outside and just the first breath of fresh air that filled my lungs almost made me cry it felt so good and tasted so delicious. Some little things have become so magnified and delightful. It's kind of hard to explain. I guess I'm learning to stop and smell the flowers.

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