On My Own Again

6 Sep


After seven weeks of having my mom live with me and take care of me post-surgery and during my first round of chemo, I dropped her off at the airport to send her back to San Antonio. It was hard to believe she had been in Geneva for that long — in the beginning it was weird to have her there in my world, and then it was weird to have her gone. No more late-night giggling, squeezing past two beds stuck in a six-foot-wide room, yummy homemade meals, or lost slippers. No more expeditions to find “kosher pork chops”…

It was gross and grey and rainy outside, and I tried desperately to keep my mind off my mom’s departure.  So what did I do?

Well, first I tried to distract myself.  I went through all my school folders and tossed a bazillion files into the recycling bin. (The Swiss are really big on recycling – in some cantons, recycling pickup is free, but you have to pay a fee for every bag of trash you throw out.)  Then I read the New York Times and the Jerusalem Post. After that I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and ate it, even though the bread was rough and hurt my chemo-sensitive mouth.  Then I took a trip to the grocery store to replace a mug that Mom had broken and buy a box of lemon cookies.

Then I cried in my room as I ate the entirety of the box of lemon cookies.  It was probably one of my lowest points post-diagnosis.

And after that, I freaked out.  I was scared to have to manage the chemo and its side effects by myself.  The day after my mom left, I ran a fever for the first time, and all sorts of other little problems started popping up with my eyesight and my blood pressure.  Thankfully, my oncologist (a man whose office was liberally sprinkled with his daughter’s crayon drawings) was understanding when I made several panicked visits to his office that first week, and my friend was not upset that I missed her thesis defense.

It’s frightening to have cancer and be on your own!


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