Thursday, January 15, 2009

Momma Said:
By Vicki Rogers (my momma)

Recently the word “change” has become not only a part of our daily vocabulary but part of our psyche of hope. In my own family, mother and I are caught up in a struggle of change. She was, all within 3 months, diagnosed with bladder cancer and has since undergone surgery to remove her bladder. She is now wearing a bag to collect her urine. That change was our hope, hers and her daughters, to keep her alive. However, this change, at first, was so foreign to her that she could not bare to look at what she perceives as mutilation. Even to aid in learning the procedures involved to facilitate her own recovery makes her cringe. The once vibrant and vivacious “mother” that I had come accustomed to loving with tolerance has changed into a voluminous mass of cantankerous, self-pitying flesh that is instrumental in pissing us off instead of learning a new way to pee. In the mean time, I too am learning about a new way to pee. A year ago, I began experiencing massive headaches whenever I took a piss. I had to physically prepare myself pre-piss for the post-piss pain. For months this went on because no one knew what the hell was wrong with me. Finally, I was diagnosed and a surgical remedy was prescribed. The remedy has turned out to be a widening of the Urethra which, oddly enough, sounds somewhat like a construction project that would take place on your city streets instead of one’s internal plumbing highway. My new semi-annual readjustment to my plumbing is my pathway to hope that those horrific headaches never return. And, I have to change my way of peeing just like my mom; but she has the bag and I now have a tube…which gets inserted …into a hole. Once again I have to prepare myself for the piss: currently, I have to take medication that turns my urine red/orange and so as not to stain the tile on my bathroom floor (which I put in myself, thank you very much!) I retreat to the tub to catch the urine as it erupts like lava out of the not-so-slender plastic catheter tube when it reaches its magma chamber that is my bladder. My aim still needs work. To make matters worse, my boyfriend has to help me find the hole with a mirror! When I take my nightly trip into the bathtub to empty my bladder with my catheter tube, I think of my mother empting her external bladder as well. At least mom’s bag is located above the belly button. Even if for now she refuses to look at it, she will always be able to find the hole it attaches to by herself.

Anyway, I wrote her this song (sung to the Brownie Girl Scout "Smile" song):

I have a little bag that goes everywhere with me.
I have a little bag that catches all my pee.
Sometimes it’s not so tidy when it springs a leak.
But I tell myself it’s not so bad even though it makes me freak.
I have a little bag that goes everywhere with me.
I have a little bag that let’s me know I’m cancer free.

I haven’t shared it with her yet but I sing it in the bathtub while my lava flows.

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