It's not happy time.
My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer nearly 9 years ago and went through aggressive chemotherapy and mastectomy. She beat cancer. Still, there's always the collective intake of breath every time she has a health issue, wondering if it has returned.
It has returned. Yesterday she had surgery to fuse discs in her spine and to add a plate. She was in the operating room for over 3 hours and it went well. A tumor is around the spine (not in the bone). Today, in fact right now she is in surgery again and having the tissue removed.
Still, I have societal expectations to meet. No time to be upset and throw a pity party. I hate cancer. I love my mom. But I did what is expected of me. Got up, showered and dressed, took kids to school - okay, I'm totally lying about taking kids to school. Scott did because I'm perpetually late - drove to work. I listen to news radio on the way so I can get the news somehow. Naturally, September 11th is on everybody's mind. My fragile state was brought further to the surface but I punched it down like bread dough on hot day. Took the air right out of it. Pasted a smile on my face and walked into work. First thing the secretary asks me, "How's your mom?" I swallowed, blinked, stuttered and then burst into tears, running into the bathroom.
I'm such a girl.
I had a meeting first thing with colleagues and a brand spanking new school based therapist who doesn't know me at all. I sat down and placed a Kleenex box in front of me. She tried to make conversation but faltered when she saw my eyes and noticed the Kleenex. Should she ask? Should she pretend she doesn't notice? Poor kid. Finally, I let her off the hook. "I have a condition where I spontaneously burst into tears."