The Waiting Room When I was seventeen and in my senior year at high school, my mom had surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor. After the tumor was discovered, I prayed and cried myself to sleep every night. That spring I learned a little about death and about how I wanted to live my life.
The doctors had decided that my mom needed to undergo intense radiation therapy which consisted of twenty minutes of radiation directed at the cancerous area, five days a week for six weeks. My mom could not drive during that period of time.
Back then my parents had just enough money to get by on. Although they had health insurance, they were still responsible for a large deductible. My mom was on disability and only received sixty percent of her normal salary. My dad worked long hours to try to support the family. It was not possible for my dad to take time off work to get my mom to and from her appointments. With the help of friends and family who rallied for our cause, the school district allowed me to home study for part of the last semester of school. This enabled me to take my mom to her scheduled appointments.
The drive to the first appointment seemed to take forever. There was a distance between my mom and me. Although we both faked smiles and laughter as we cracked jokes about memory loss and hair loss, we knew the jokes were only to cover the seriousness of the disease.
As we entered the radiation department waiting room I shivered. The room was cold and square with chairs lining each wall in muted tones of blue and mauve. Everyone in the room turned to look and smile. As soon as we sat down, my mom was asked why she was there. It was almost as if we were the new recruits in a cancer support group.
My mom told her story about how she had been diagnosed with breast cancer four years earlier and been treated with chemotherapy. She then proceeded to tell them about her brain tumor and how after having it removed they discovered that it was malignant. She...
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