This blog is about mothers in medicine, but most centrally it is about mothers. I considered many times over the past few weeks telling KC that I was going to resign from writing. But, I would stop myself because I so love this community of women. I felt I didn't have much to give. I'm drowning a bit right now. To catch you up, I've started a new, amazing, super supportive fellowship. I feel like I have my life back after 7 years of residency servitude. I've passed the first part of my boards. I have some exciting job prospects that may be materializing soon. My daughter is in a wonderful school and thriving, and my husband just landed his dream job. I get to hang out with my siblings on a regular basis. I'm writing grants with my baby sis (so amazing). But most importantly, and most poignantly, my mom has treatment resistant aggressive metastatic breast cancer. On the bright side I get to see her nearly everyday, her doctors are my colleagues and we have far from exhausted every option. But on the other side - I feel like I am drowning.
My mind is constantly thinking about my mom. I constantly fight to push some medical knowledge out of my head while using other parts of my medical knowledge to help. I feel quite ineffective at this. I strive to bring her grandbaby to her side every day because my baby girl is a beacon of joy in the midst of this. To busy myself I cook and clean and organize - thankful for my siblings and my dad as we all share these tasks together. I yearn to just lay in bed and talk to my mom for hours, but I am so unstill.
At work I try to bury my constant thoughts so that I can excel, so that they see me as an asset. Most days it seems to work okay, other days - like the day we realized it had spread to the liver on therapy - its hard for me to stand.
There is a centrality of mothers in a childs life. This is the beauty of this blog and certain groups on facebook. We realize that we have two awesomely important jobs. Well now my mind is on the one who was so central in my life and how I can't envision a life without her.
So, I don't have lots of MiM specific insight or questions. Just that this blog is about mothers. So, I thought I'd talk about mine.
My mom quit her Economics PhD program when I was a baby. My dad had to travel for work, so she chose her family. She was a stay at home mom until I was about 12. Then she started doing economics work for the state and selling real-estate. It wasn't until I had my own child that I realize that she must never have slept or ate when we were little! 3 active kids in a million activities and she essentially worked two jobs. Despite that she seemed just as present then as when she stayed at home. She has always found a way to always make us feel that she is right there. I never really had teenage angst with my mom. She has always been my best friend and my cheerleader. She never made me feel like I was anything short of the best and she is crazy proud of any and everything we do. She told so many of her physicians that I was a surgeon that I'm pretty sure they flagged her chart. She rescued me from my post partum depression. She is the one who made it okay for me to get help. She taught me that I could do anything, that I could be fierce and accomplished and made me feel like I deserve it.
So now, I can't bear the thought that my sweet baby girl (who wants to do everything with grandma) might forget her. If I'm ever blessed to have another child I can't bear the thought of that child never meeting her. My siblings are younger, they have weddings and pregnancies in future that she will likely never see. I always thought that choosing oncology as a career was my calling, because with cancer people have time to prepare, unlike the immediate finality of trauma for example. But, now that we're in the middle of this "time to prepare," I can tell you it sucks. It is hard to make the most of it/treasure every minute/make happy laughing videos and everything you see on Hallmark movies. My mom is tired and worn down from chemo right now. She needs rest and pain medication - not a montage. What we really want is the time before this all started.
Thats all for now. Make life count.