Best-Laid Plans II

October 10, 2008

Mom has cancer.

I found out late last night. I opened my e-mail to several messages sent from family members. None went into detail but the urgency was clear. Call now. Something's up.

Over a scratchy wi-fi connection I spoke briefly with Mom. She herself had received the news a couple days prior at a routine physical examination. Sound quality was poor. I called minutes before she had to leave for another appointment at the hospital. Our conversation was brief.

This morning I spoke with two siblings: Jen and Greg. Both were able to offer more details. It sounds like the cancer is in an advanced state. Single digits--years--and low percentages--survivors--were mentioned.

I'm trying to figure what to do now. My first impulse was to head back immediately. I contemplated leaving on whatever flight I could get on, leaving before tomorrow's wedding.

"No, it's bad... but she's not dying this month," Greg told me. "However, the coming months will be very hard. She'll be consulting doctors next week to schedule programs for chemotherapy and radiation treatment."

"Chemotherapy and radiation treatment are two separate things?", was my unspoken thought. I had dozens of other questions.

The only decision I've been able to make is that I will indeed attend the wedding tomorrow evening here in Hong Kong. After that, I'm not sure.

I do know that I will return to Seattle soon. I will return sometime this month. I will stay there for a long period.

Before, my direction had been toward Southeast Asia. I already have a ticket: a flight from Macao to Bangkok. I planned to visit the temples of Angkor in Cambodia.

Now I'm not sure whether I should make that trip--or whether I really want to.

I'll discuss things further with Mom herself and decide what to do.