The four weeks waiting for my mom's test results were torture. I tried not to talk about it and attempted to occupy myself with anything else. Two weeks before the results came in, my brother came to visit from New York. It was a nice distraction for all of us. My brother and I talked about the benefits that could come from knowing the results. If the test was positive, at least we could justify her actions and try to be able to separate our mom from the disease. We could also start to get her the help that she needs. If it was negative, we would be shocked. In moments of downtime I played out the fantasy negative results in my head. I imagined the doctor smiling and saying "good news!" And in this fantasy, I would jump up and hug my mom and, again, we could forget that this ever happened.
I feel like I should explain that when we were growing up, my mom was the most loving, creative, caring mother. She stayed at home with us instead of working and brought us to museums and art classes and anything else we ever wanted to try. She was your typical Jewish mother in that everything we did was "the best" and "incredible" -- even if it was only average. And when I became a bitchy teenager and hated her, she dealt with my bullshit. She grew vegetables in our garden in the backyard and loved dogs and hikes. She did an amazing job as a mother. I think that's very important to understand if you're reading this.
The other important part to this story is that my brother has grown up to be the most intelligent, adventurous and kindhearted person I've ever met. He has backpacked across Europe and climbed Mount Fuji. He had an enormous desire to learn and does so effortlessly. He double majored in English and Cognitive Science and minored in Japanese. At the same time he was Editor-in-Chief of his college humor magazine, had a band, and wrote a novel as his senior thesis. When he speaks or tells a story, he picks his words so perfectly in a way only a real writer could. Maybe someday he'll write about this, but in the meantime, you will have to read my little blog.
The strange thing about the waiting process is that I didn't think about the possibility of my own diagnosis. I'm not trying to say that I'm selfless or a martyr, but I think it was just too much for me to handle. In fact, it wasn't until about a week prior to learning the results that I really thought about the fact that we were both at risk. My brother called one night in hysterics about the fact that our lives as we knew it may be over and we may never get to do all of the things we had always want to do with our lives. My heart broke. The last thing I ever want is for my brother to feel sad or scared or hurt. All I wanted to do was protect him and I couldn't.
We said all we could have said on the phone and counted down the days until everything would change.