Ana’s surgery to remove the pelvic tumor will happen next Wednesday on 8/20. I got a call yesterday from Dr. Middlesworth’s office and I guess he wants to move it up because the mass got larger (again). I don’t know what time it will be yet (they always call us the day before because the OR schedule is a moving target).
I have mixed feelings about this surgery. On one hand, I’m glad that the tumor will be removed next week. Ana’s been getting stomach pain which we’re pretty sure isn’t the tumor (I spoke with Dr. Yamashiro about it on Friday and he examined her), but the way it comes and goes worries me. Also, having the surgery sooner means that Ana will likely be fully recovered by the first day of school. She missed the entire first month of sixth grade. I’d hate for her to have to go through that again in eighth grade.
On the other hand, I’m feeling a bit beaten down by the prospect of another surgery. It will be Ana’s eighth time under general anesthesia. I’ve never even broken a bone. I keep remembering the words of a nurse who was at the Kingston E.R. when Ana’s tumor was originally discovered TWO years ago. I’d just told Ana she had a tumor and would need to be transferred to Westchester. I’d stepped out of the room and stood in the hall, looking at the exit without really seeing it – trying (and failing) not to cry like some fucking cliche from an episode of House and she was there beside me. She gave me her chair. She put an arm around me and told me it would be a long road ahead of us. She didn’t try to lie. She never once said everything will be okay. I wondered then how long the road would be.
This summer I stopped wondering. It’s been a terrible summer. Boring, pointless, overshadowed by that damn road which had a beginning, but doesn’t seem to have an end. I’ve been trying so hard to release my expectations of what the future will bring – for Ana, for me, for all of the assumptions about every aspect of my life – and Ana’s – and I’ve failed over and over again.
It’s been a summer of failure. And now it’s August and I can’t honestly say I’ve gotten a damn thing accomplished. Writing the book doesn’t count. It doesn’t take supreme discipline for me to write. It takes supreme discipline for me NOT to. Yesterday I sat outside with a sketchbook determined to draw whatever I found – mostly the trees in my yard.
I used to draw all the time. I was even a little good at it. But I stopped because my drawings never lived up to my expectations. It was always easier for me to write. So I sat outside with the girls drawing beside me and tried to force my brain not to worry about producing the masterpiece that I saw in my mind’s eye, but failed to produce in my sketchbook. I went through three or four drawings getting more and more frustrated – feeling that old feeling of failure and impatience which had always killed the joy of drawing for me. I finally stopped and watched the girls draw for a while longer before going inside.
I’ll post one of my drawings anyway – even though it’s ALL WRONG. Just like everything else about this summer.