First, let me apologize for putting up a post about depression and then leaving for a few weeks. Not cool. I apologize, but then again every thing went a little crazy a few weeks ago . . . It started with a call from my mother and ended with me sitting jet lagged in front of a computer in South Carolina.
About 3 1/2 weeks ago, on a normal Sunday afternoon, my mom called. This was not too strange, as we often chat on Sundays. She told me that she had gone to the gym the previous week and had hurt herself.
"Man my abs and stomach area hurt so bad, I could not get out of bed the next morning."
"Good for you mom! That is a good workout."
"Not really. I went to the doctor thinking it might be a ruptured cyst. She sent me for an ultrasound and I am going to in for the results tomorrow."
"That does not sound so bad, Mom."
"Well our conversation went like this . . .
The Doctor: We found something on the ultrasound.
Mom: What is it?
The Doctor: I am not sure, but I do not think it is life threatening. I want you to come in soon. Is Monday morning okay?
Note to doctors everywhere: Never tell someone that you "think it is not life threatening" on a Friday afternoon and then make an appointment for Monday. This does not make for the happiest of weekends.
The next day my mom called me back. The doctor thinks it is a tumor. On her ovary. A 10 cm tumor. My mom was, understandably, a little freaked out and had in her hand a referral for a surgeon that specializes in gynecology and oncology. She went there on a Friday.
That doctor was very optimistic. There was nothing on the ultrasound besides the one "growth" but we would never know until it came out and so that needed to happen and soon.
The Monday before Thanksgiving (this was last week, ya'll!) my mom called me with her surgery date: Monday, November 30. After much discussion, the German and I agreed that I would fly out to SC. Not only did I want to take care of my mom and hold her hand, there were other things that needed to be done, which I could help with. Last Wednesday I bought a ticket. On Thursday I fed the masses with a 12 pound turkey. On Saturday I taught all day and administered an examination. On Sunday, I took the Dude to my in-laws, kissed my boys goodbye and flew to the US.
That brings us to two days ago. Dad-squared and I sat and sat in the waiting room. When I get nervous, I clean. So I kept wandering around the waiting room putting away magazines and throwing away empty coffee cups. It drew stares.
A few hours later the doctor came down. It was the first time I met him. He looks just like Steve Colbert and he gave me some of the best news of my life.
"It's not cancer," he said with a wide grin. "But it also was not on her ovary."
Um, say what?
Upon entering the abdominal area the doctor found a perfectly healthy ovary. Looking to the side he saw the tumor growing on the inside of the abdominal wall. He gave us pictures, ya'll! Pictures! I think it looked like a testicle, a ball hanging in a sack. (For those worried, I did get permission from my mom to use that description!) after taking it out both he and the pathologist agreed that it was a fibroid tumor. Smiles all around.
My mom stayed in the hospital overnight and after sneaking her out for a cigarette, I was able to take her home yesterday. I will be here the rest of the week taking care of my family, a roll that I never expected, but happily assume.
The doctors have no idea why these kinds of things develop. Our theory is that my mom was abducted and impregnated by aliens.
This entire incident has brought up feelings and anxieties that most ex-pats face. Who will take care of my parents when they get sick? My parents did so much for me as a child, especially my mom. It not only my duty to take care of them, it is an instinct, a pull that I feel. Just as I want to sooth and reassure my son, I want to give my parents the same care when the time comes . . . so when I go home, I may have to start converting the basement into an apartment, because you never know what the future will bring.
Until then I am going to enjoy my parents, curl into bed with my mom, watch really bad TV and drink tea. We always joked that my mom had balls of steel, given all of the things that she has experienced and accomplished in life. I just hope that we have not removed the source of all her superpowers.
Oh, and the pictures . . . this year's Christmas card, baby!