Archive for September, 2012

Another Uplifting Post About Bone Cancer

September 10, 2012

Like Ella said, there is laughter during sad times. Fall on the floor pee your pants a little bit laughter. Cackles and belly laughs. During the weekends, when all three of my sisters are here, we look at old photographs and tease each other mercilessly. Lydia and I are terrible together. We tag team our victims and assault them with below the belt hits. We spent most of Saturday showing our brother in law pictures of us as kids in bathing suits and asking him why he wouldn’t shave his John Waters pedophile mustache and did he want to share with us anything about his experience being an altar boy.

The babies bob around and my Mom takes millions of videos. We are enjoying and celebrating every day and my Mom is almost 100% back to normal and going OCD in the kitchen, cleaning it from top to bottom and windexing the kitchen counters every night.  I chase her around like a toddler trying to get her to stop and take a break. Every time I turn around she is doing something super important, like scrubbing the back door or wiping off the top of the fridge. Except for the moments in the morning, when I count out pills and squirt liquid oxy into her mouth or change her pain patches, it’s easy to forget that she is sick.

I’m so angry I could hop out of the car and beat the shit out of the person who honks at us when my Mom takes too long to pull into the suicide lane. I’m calm on the outside, but I could scratch the eyes out of anyone who even looks at her wrong. I want to freeze this moment in time and never leave. I think if I pray to a god I don’t believe in, or scream at the top of my lungs that my Mom does not deserve this, a miracle will happen.

But most of the time, it’s just beautiful moments that fall together organically, exquisite and simple and full of joy. 

Luckily, my step-dad is a doctor, so we don’t have to worry about dealing with the hot mess of figuring out what’s going on and what our best options are. But no one bothered to tell them that the blood she gets in her transfusions  is not covered, so they got a huge bill they weren’t expecting. We are organizing a blood drive so in the future they won’t have that problem, but when I told David he was livid. He started talking about lawyers and appealing it and googling health forums. It was so naively cute and French. Here in America we just shrug and say how thankful we are that our $3000 a month premium covers most of it.

Before the treatment made her so sick, there was no talk about life expectancy. But even if she didn’t have a blood disorder with an 11th chromosome deletion, something so rare that there isn’t much research on it, it’s not a long time. My little Countess Bathory/vampire can only drink other peoples blood for so long. The clocks in the house tick tick tick incessantly counting down the moments we have left. The world feels different now.

I’m glad I had that terrifying cave adventure. That feels like a cake walk compared to this. And I got through it. I had no choice. And I will get through this.

The fear and pain and anger and sadness brew inside my chest and make it hard to breathe. The first week the tears just dripped and dropped like sweat so much I hardly noticed them. Every good moment was bittersweet.

And my sweet husband feels so far away. I always get a bad feeling when I leave Paris. Like I won’t be able to come back. Like I will wake up and realize it was all a dream. I’m not lonely but I miss him and it makes me appreciate him now more than ever. He has never once asked me when I am coming home. He calms me down and watches me ugly cry over gchat. He puts the camera on Maza so he can pet her and make her purr and tease me about how happy his cat is without me there and how he told her all about how I’ve been taking my Mom’s dog to the dog park twice a day and now she will never sleep on my side of the bed.

Mostly I just feel lucky. Really, really lucky.

And to end this on a high note, here is a video of Max explaining what a floop is. I think she might grow up to be a comedian, just like her Daddy.

A floop is when you fart and a little bit of poop comes out

And here is a song I found on Left Bank Manc

Until we get back to our regularly scheduled program at ? Arrondissment, this will tide you over. It’s a hilarious account of an au pair in Paris with a curious case of Money Pores. I think most twenty somethings have it.



September 1, 2012

I’m homesick. I’m sick of being here.

I’m not really into seeing my friends either, since the more I explain why I’m here, the more real it becomes. But I’m restless. That’s the thing about being an expat. You don’t fit in the foreign city you adopt, and eventually you don’t fit in the home town you left. But I love my Mom’s house. Even though she moved in right before I left for France, and it’s an hour away from Sacramento, it still feels like home to me.

Press play on all three videos. This is what it sounds like in my head right now.

I haven’t really left the house in two weeks except to go to the dog park, the hospital or to get groceries. I have hardly talked to my husband, much less anyone else.
My Mom is doing better but not well enough for me to go home for ten days while my friend visits, so while she is in Paris, David is coming here. I feel bad, but she’s a smart girl and she has her boyfriend with her, and she knows how to get around in unfamiliar cities.
We tore out the front yard completely, and are going to start again with all new plants. We had a house full of college kids here yesterday helping us. The yard has been driving my mom crazy since she moved in, so seeing it getting done is making her happy. So maybe instead of a Paris blog about renovating an apartment in the 15th arrondissement, this might be a gardening blog in Stanislaus County for a while. I can only hope.