I never stopped to realise what cancer would do to my parents. I’ve always thought about treatments, how to take the least amount of drugs as possible (it’s easy if you put up with pain and nausea!), be on time for appts, pay medical bills on time, try to feel better, keep the fridge stocked, etc. I was on my way to chemo on Monday morning, talking to mum on the phone, when I realised how horrible it must be for them. “Well, don’t you have any news?” she asked me irritably. “Mum, I’ll let you know how things are going when I hear news. No news is good news,” I answered.
They pester me about taking oral chemo and steroids on time. (Guilty! I don’t always do that.) They ask what the doctors say. (I keep my parents purposefully out of the loop with my oncologist so I can decide what and when to tell them good or bad news – they have other things to worry about at the moment.) They ask how I’m feeling *all* the time, and I say I’m fine. (Fine is a four-letter word in cancerland, akin to another f-word we know, and 99% of the time it’s a lie. I’m never fine.) They act like parents, and I never understood that until now. They love me and worry about me, all the time (much to my chagrin), and even though I’m almost a quarter-century old, they still see me as their baby girl.
But, I’m an adult, and stubborn, and as much as I love them, I just don’t want their help. “We’ll come up and take care of you,” Mum threatens on a regular basis. “Like f*ck you will! Over my dead body!” Dad started to ask me what my oncologist’s name was again so he could call and see for himself. I told him that my doctor wouldn’t tell him anything anyways – I gave him specific instructions to talk to no one unless it was another medical professional dealing with my health in the immediate vicinity (to cover the “tell the parents nothing” clause). Do I seem paranoid?
I don’t know how they put up with me, to be honest. I don’t tell them things (on purpose!), and make it seem like I’m doing much better than I am so they don’t worry. I tell them it’s easy, piece of cake, and I’ll be over it soon. They’re impatient and want to know why the cancer isn’t in remission yet – I told them it takes time, and when my body is ready, then I’ll be in remission. I try to be patient, but I usually fail. Do I make any sense?
There aren’t any other college students at OSU going through this right now, and if they were, they’d probably have their parents nearby since they live in-state. But, I decided to stay here, while my parents are in California. And, you know what? I’m happy this way. If they were here, or I were at home, I’d kill myself. I wouldn’t even need the cancer to do that for me *snorts*.