Today was not a good day. I got the kind of news that no one wants to hear.
My grandmother (Nana to us grandkids) has a mass in her colon.
The doctor thinks it’s cancer. We’ll find out for sure on Monday. Someone please tell me that the doctors are wrong about this at least 95% of the time.
All we know right now is that it’s ulcerated, and it is what has been causing her anemia over the last week or so. My aunt is staying with her until Tuesday, and I’ll be going up there Monday to stay until Wednesday or Thursday. After that, my aunt will come back and we’ll all figure out the next steps.
It all still feels like it’s not real right now. Like this is something I’ve written in a book, or a dream I just haven’t woken up from yet. I can’t reconcile my healthier-than-a-horse-for-always Nana with the idea of cancer. There’s just no place within my petite energizer-bunny of a grandmother for the dark shapeless reaper that is cancer.
It’s just not possible.
Cancer doesn’t belong in this world. It certainly doesn’t belong in mine. It’s taken too much- a grandfather, a college friend, parents and grandparents of friends, a beloved childhood pet, and the brightest ray of sunshine to ever walk through my Sunday School classroom door. It can’t take my Nana- I won’t allow it.
I’ve been consumed with selfish thoughts like these all day. Thoughts of if it is cancer, how will it affect me? What it will be like to be that close to cancer yet again, to know the change it means for my family’s medical history, to experience the terror of watching yet another person struggle with a disease that will ultimately do whatever the hell it pleases? Only rarely have thoughts about my brothers, and my mother and my aunt, or even Nana herself crept into my mind. It’s not socially acceptable, but it’s the truth of today.
It’s like that airplane safety talk, where the flight attendant instructs you to secure your own mask before assisting others with theirs. I have to secure my own feelings before I can help my family with theirs. At some point, we’ll all be able to take comfort in the knowledge that oxygen is flowing even if the bag doesn’t inflate, and that none of us is facing the unknown terror alone. (That metaphor may have gotten away from me at the end, but in my defense I’m not thinking entirely rationally right now. I promise, airplane metaphor over now.)
So I’m pushing the reset button for tomorrow, and hoping it erases today. Hoping it makes the truth change, the pain never set in, and reality tilt back onto its axis. If you’re so inclined, I ask for prayers or good thoughts for my Nana. It’s going to be a long weekend until Monday.