Saturday, February 7, 2009

mama mia!

A few of you know that my dear mom, the fiercest of warriors, survivor of calamities untold, and the most loving grandmother on earth, has been nursing her left side for a couple months now. Mom is waaay not given to complaining, especially not about pain. Social injustice, yes, pain no. So it took her a while to mention that she had some inflammation and that her mobility had become limited. Mom's quite healthy, and exceedingly active, so I knew, despite her reticence, that we needed to act. The first battery of tests revealed, of course, nothing. The secondary round proved to be a bit more ominous, which I found out one fateful, heart-crushing Saturday night two weeks ago. Mom had alluded to some bad news in a text, and ultimately, after swearing me to secrecy from (every person I know, by name), from God, from myself, and anyone else she could think of, she called and explained that she received some cat scan results that pointed to ovarian cancer. I slid down the wall, holding the phone with fingers that had long gone numb, barely breathing, certain my heart would stop before she was finished reading the results. As we learned last year with my tumor, ovarian cancer has virtually no survival rate, and I just kept thinking Mom is so healthy, so young (59), so needed, so cherished, so irreplaceable, how anything happening to her would be the defining moment in my children's lives, and how would I ever get them through that? Not to mention, she is my mom. B was on her way to pick me up for our re-class celebration, and I told my mom she would surely know something was up, since I was ghost white, unable to speak, shaking. Hell, B can tell if I find a dollar on the ground, she would definitely know something was terribly amiss. Mom said I could mention "worrisome" and "test results" to B only. I offered to cancel my plans to go be with her, but the whole point of her secrecy was that she didn't want to be consoled, she didn't want sad faces, she didn't want it to be real.

So B scooped me up, immediately knew what was wrong, and assured me everything would be okay. We sped to her house to get shit-faced drunk, which I highly recommend as a temporary fix-a-flat during a cancer scare. The next day I felt slightly less stunned, and I tagged along with B and Gab shopping for treasures for their Valentines party. It was a semi-successful diversion, but I just kept thinking about Mom. Meanwhile, I was totally off-kilter all day. Forgetting things, argumentative, squirming. I knew I was making Gab feel awkward but I wasn't at liberty to explain. God it was awful. I was so scared, my blood was ice cold.

So I harboured this secret for four days, until Tuesday night when my mom texted me that her doctor declared this a misdiagnosis. This was nearly as unfathomable as the idea of cancer. My heart raced around the street a few times, and my jaw started chattering. Her doctor suspects that the actual problem is something called a dermoid. As elated as I was, I knew that any malady that ends in -moid cannot be a dignified thing. Boy was I right. I began getting texts from Mom, who was researching online, and true to form, she had me laughing almost immediately, which is no small feat when you think you're going to lose your ma.

6:00: Dermoids 98% benign but can have teeth in them! Ick! Also long luxurient hair. One site seemed to say we are born with them. So maybe that's where my long luxurient hair ended Thanks for loving me.

6:05: And man, if the teeth are good maybe I can have them implanted where they belong.

6:15: Ok I don't want the extra sweat glands that could be there but were misplaced at birth, and I could have used the extra nerves at times...however I'm starting to really feel's my hair!!

6:17: Well-formed teeth!

6:26: The little devils can have "horny masses" but mostly those are on the skin. Had enough? But it would add to your blog! (I mentioned I had to blog this.)

7:43: do you or don't you want to know mostly they're just fatty masses?

What a revolting consolation right? Teeth? Hair? It reminds me of the "tween" in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. So I asked Mom if the dermoid is like, my aunt, and if so, will she be good at Scrabble like the rest of us Wilhelms? What's the proper habitat for a dermoid? Do they like sun? Will Aunt Derm fit in the old frog aquarium we have? Is she artistic like you Ma? Chances are, Aunt Derm won't be coming home with us, which is probably for the best, as calcified tumor-like things aren't particularly appetizing, you know? And my mom is extraordinarily creative, but somehow I don't see her taking the same pride in pointing to the aquarium saying, "I grew that!"

So she's okay, my heart slowed down, and I am forever indebted to Aunt Derm for saving my mom's life.


Anonymous said...

A dermoid cyst! How exciting!

I had a friend who had one of these excised and it did have teeth bits (or were they bone?) and HAIR. yep. RED HAIR. Creeepy!

I'm sorry you guys get thrown the C word so much. It's not fair. Totally NOT. xoxo


Anonymous said...

oh, my friend kept hers. She had an in with the surgeon.

it was lovingly placed in a jar (filled with some nasty preservative) and displayed for all to see. "This is about as close to a child as I'm ever going to produce..." she would tell us all.


gail said...

i'm so glad your mom does not have a life threatening illness....but teeth and hair? ewwww! better gross than malignant. love the pic of her too!

Hennifer said...

how frightening! I can't even fathom what you must have been going through. I'm glad you have such a great relationship with your mom.

I hope everything goes well with solving her maladies.

Jess said...

omigod you are sweet and funny, thank you for loving me so much.


B Kinch said...

How much hair are we talking here? Luxuriant hair? I want a dermoid.