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Today in My History

2000:  The Further Adventures of Thelma and Louise
2001:  A Taste of Home
2002:  A Marvelous Party
2003:  You'll Get a Charge out of This
2004:  Bigger, Not Necessarily Better
2005:  Our Boy is Growing Up

2006: The Holy Grail
2007:  I am Officially Insane
2008: Addicted?  Who US??
2009:  The Thrill of a Letter
2010:  The Persistence of Memory
2011:  It All Depends
2012: The New Normal
Walter White Does MacBeth

Bitter Hack
: 10/12
Grapes of Wrath

Books Read in 2014
"Fade Away"

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The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers

The story of Delicate Pooh

mail to Walt


27 October 2014

I said yesterday that there was more bad news.  This I got a couple of days ago.  I heard from Peach after her visit with the oncologist.   She had a mastectomy a week or so ago and on Monday she had the stitches removed, but she didn't get the full report on her condition until Friday.

It's "aggressive Stage III cancer" and they want her to start chemotherapy this week.

Her mother was the first of my mother's siblings that I was close to who died.  Two of the older ones had died, but I didn't really know them well.  But Marge was like a second mother to me.  She was also a chain smoker and, like most of her siblings, she developed lung cancer.  But she was the first one to die of it (eventually they all did...my mother, in her days of wondering why she's still alive while her siblings are all gone jokes that she sort of regrets never having smoked ... but not really)

Marge was 61 when she died in about 1982.  She had been under treatment for quite some time and Peach remembers the hell her mother went through with chemotherapy.  I know that treatment now is not quite as primitive as it was then, and there are more palliative therapies available than there were in 1982, but still she is terrified, and I can't blame her.

I have offered to fly to Iowa to be with her as she starts her course of treatment.  She says she may want me to come, but is waiting until the family meets with whoever is going to set up the whole program and then decide.  But I may be flying off to Iowa, a state I've never visited before.

With all the chaos of tragedy and sadness that has swirled around us this week, none of it touches me personally, but I still feel like I'm walking through mud, with difficulty thinking straight.

Char and her kids are back in the U.S. now and, as my mother is fond of saying "life goes on," as they set about taking care of Mike's affairs, and Flo's affairs.

I went to Atria yesterday, because I wanted to give the latest news about Peach to my mother personally, not over the phone.  I've said this before and will probably say it again, but one of the most difficult things for me about her dementia is the disconnect with her emotions.  It is so hard for me to deliver sad (or happy, for that matter) news to her and have her have almost no reaction.

Our dialog yesterday went something like:

ME:  "Peach heard that she has stage 3 cancer and will have to start chemotherapy."

HER:  "Oh dear.  Well life goes on, whether you want it to or not." Then she looked over a a cabinet where there was a bouquet of roses that had been given to her this week, and totally dismissing the news about Peach she said, "Look at those flowers.  They are dying.  They were beautiful, but now they're dying."

I'm not sure whether my tears were for Peach or for the fact that my mother and I could not discuss Peach's upcoming chemotherapy treatment and her fears about it.  Once she had digested the news, she was no longer interested.   We sat there for awhile longer, talking about how old she is, how all of her siblings are gone, and how it can't be cold outside (it was) because the leaves on the trees were not moving, so it must be hot and how she didn't watch the World Series because she somehow forgot it was on in between the time I called her and the time she walked back to her chair after hanging up (so I didn't bother to call her yesterday).

It was one of those days where I needed to have my mother to talk to, and couldn't bear to be with this person who looked and sounded like my mother, but who wasn't the mother I needed.  I know it's not her fault and I will be fine when I see her next time, but I cut my visit short, went out to the parking lot, and sat in the car to have a little cry.  (I seem to be having these "little cry" moments this week.)

I'm also upset with Atria.  The housekeeper has been doing a worse and worse job of dusting.  You can write your name on the top of a chest she has--and even my mother notices it from across the room.  ("Do I have a housecleaner?" she asks, not remembering).  I reported it to the front desk and someone came in and dusted the front of the chest, but the dust that has been gathering at the back is so thick it is actually white.  She pays >$4100 month for this place and she deserves better, but then I am loathe to make a fuss because my mother doesn't seem to care and I want to save my ire for things that are more serious so they don't start targeting her for some sort of retribution.

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But then there are pictures like this, which always help

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