Scooting Around With Cancer

Mom wearing her Minnie Mouse Ears

Mom wearing her Minnie Mouse Ears

In reading A Tale for Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, I was moved by the narrators desires to share stories about her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who is more than one hundred years old.  While my mother is neither Buddhist or even close to a hundred years old, the book has inspired me to share stories of her life too (and possibly later on of my grandparents – we’ll see!).

My mom had a particularly tough time physically and emotionally during her breast cancer treatments.  Full of ups and downs, her treatments were taking their toll on her typically lively spirit.  She had been particularly looking forward to an upcoming Breast Cancer Walk.  My sister was on the race planning committee so my mom had extra determination to participate this year and she had asked me to join her.

Her fortunes continued to slide when the weekend before the race she fell and broke her ankle and was unable to participate in the cancer walk. Because of the pain, she had to get a scooter to help her wheel around the house.  This was especially frustrating for her as the scooter impacted the mobility of a woman who derives her joy by providing abundant hospitality.

Previous to her fall, I had given her some Minnie Mouse ears because one her cancer medications was derived from mouse genes (Herceptin for those curious – it literally saved her life).  As she was scooting around the kitchen trying to make lunch, I noticed the scooter had this squeaking noise whenever she would wheel by. I pointed out to her that with the squeaking, it sounded like she was really was turning into that mouse!

My mother, at her wits end with disappointment about the race and frustration about her situation, realized the humor and busted out into a much needed uncontrollable laughter. She found the Minnie Mouse ears I had given her and, for the rest of the day, wore them while pretending to be that mouse.

My mom has sense long recovered from both the break and cancer but I still tease her from time to time about the time she turned into a mouse.

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