Skip to content

Memory #6

June 7, 2012

English: pink ribbon

I had to go to an appointment today to get my boobagram. It brought back a flood of memories. I had a regular mammogram a year ago this month and the doctor’s office called me and told me there was a shadow on my mammogram and they wanted me to go for follow-up tests at the hospital. I went for the follow-up tests where they did more mammograms and ultrasound tests. The nurse spent over an hour examining one breast with the ultrasound machine and then the doctor came in and spent a long time looking at my boob too. Not a word was said so I knew something was not good. After the exam was finished, the doctor told me even before the biopsy that she was certain I had breast cancer and that I would need surgery. You know what that means….boob amputation.

It is a long story and I will sure I will write more about it but for now, I will make it short and jump to the memory that upset me today. I should tell you though that today, on my first mammogram since last year, I am cancer free and all is well. I had the surgery and the cancer had not spread and I did not have to have chemo or radiation. I take an estrogen inhibitor, which is not such a mild drug actually, but all is well. What bothered me today was a flood of memories about my Mother. No one in my family visited me before my surgery or while I was in the hospital. My Mother and my brother did come to see me a few days after my surgery. I was home but I was very weak. I had a tube coming from my chest and I had 45-50 metal staples in my chest. I really was not in pain but I was weak. I was on pain medicine of course. My husband’s sister had come from across the state to stay with me and care for me. Also, my husband took time off from work and he was so attentive and wonderful. He even helped with the drainage tube from my chest, which is a creepy thing. So my brother and Mother visited me.

What happened? I showed them the half of my chest where the staples and the drainage tube were. It was ghastly to say the least. The incision was about 15 inches long from the middle of my chest to far under my arm. My Mother wanted to see because I don’t think she really believed I had undergone surgery. My brother went pale when he saw the place. My Mother, oh my God, my Mother…she got the weirdest big smile on her face when she saw the incision, the staples and the tube. It was the oddest thing. She was smiling like she just won the Miss America contest. The happiness was dripping from her expression. Of course, no one saw this but me. Naturally.

I am still speechless. Who smiles at such a sight? What kind of Mother smiles at her daughter’s agony? Oh but it gets worse. I was weak as I mentioned. My voice reflected that. I was barely able to talk above a whisper for a week or two. I don’t know why that happened. Maybe it was from the tube they put down my throat during the surgery. Most people are weak and soft-spoken after surgery I think. Everyone I have ever seen after surgery is like that. Anyway, I was talking to my Mother and my brother during their visit and my Mother said to me that I needed to talk louder so my brother could hear me. I am usually slow-witted but even I recognized, in that moment, that my Mother was off. My Mother has always put my brother’s needs and wants above anything or anyone, but here I was so weak and yet she expected me to overcome this for his convenience. With great clarity, I simply told her that I had just had major surgery and I was not able to speak louder. She seemed shocked.

Some memories are more visual and this is certainly such a memory. I will never forget that awful smile on her face. This particular memory actually makes me feel sick to my stomach.

I mighty add that I don’t think my Mother came to see me out of any great concern. My breast cancer got her a lot of mileage with her friends and family. She got to play the poor Mother of a daughter with breast cancer. It just wouldn’t look good if she didn’t visit me. She sort of had to visit so she could keep up the appearance that she cared.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: