The cancer has spread to her bones and several major organs now. We asked the doctor not to tell her, but we can’t do anything against his moral obligation to inform the patient. Either way, she doesn’t know how serious it is, whether it’s from shock and denial, or memory loss.
But she’s awake, and aware, and feeling no pain, which is good enough for me. The most we can do now is to try to make the rest of her life as enjoyable as possible.
She thinks she’s going to be fine. Keeps telling me that she’ll take me to a nearby park when she’s better. As much as it hurts me to know this won’t be possible anymore, it’s relieving to know she’s so oblivious. We don’t let ourselves cry around her, for fear that she may realize how bad it is.
Her face is more sallow, her fingers and legs emaciated, but she still has her thick, black hair1. Aside from a distended stomach, it’s hard to tell that she has such a grim prognosis.
But by far the hardest part is having to coddle her like a child to take her medication. Telling her she’s a good girl if she swallows her pills and rewarding her with ice-cream. That we’re only strict because we care about her. It tears me in half when she gives such a painful look of distaste with every pill we hand her, 18 a day.
She used to be so strong. Now we have to be strong for her.
- “I used to have even more”, she tells me. [↩]