Archive for the ‘Halfway home’ Category

Halfway home


I started this as a travel blog, and haven’t written in three months since I’m not travelling. But I’m still sucking the marrow from life every single day, so am reviving my writing while I’m in Seattle.

My mom is halfway through her chemotherapy and has completed six out of 12 treatments. I’ve spent more time in medical facilities the past four months then over the past 41 years. Hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms; visits with oncologists, nurses, acupuncturists, doctors, financial counselors and social workers. Navigating the health care system is a part-time job, and I’m so happy to be home to help my mom with her journey.

The doctors are amazed by how well she’s handling the chemotherapy with minimal side effects. After her first treatment, my mom tells me she wants to get a prescription for medical marijuana. We visit the oncologist, and at the end of the visit, the doctor asks if we have any further questions. My mom suddenly gets shy, so I broach the topic of medical marijuana. The doctor is happy to help us, and my mom whips out a medical release form. I’m shocked since we don’t even have a printer at home. When the doctor steps out of the room, I ask my mom about the form. She tells me she has already contacted and visited a local non-profit dispensary that she found from an advertisement in the Stranger (Seattle’s alternative weekly newspaper). The doctor and I are smiling at my mother’s resourcefulness.

A few weeks later, I enter my mom’s room and am bowled over by the smell of marijuana. While I was spending the weekend at the beach with friends, she was stocking up on supplies – including one small plant! The supreme irony is I’m a recovering drug addict/alcoholic and have been sober for 24 years. And now my mom wants to grow pot in the house! Fortunately, she doesn’t smoke pot and prefers to ingest via brownies and pills. Her brownie supply runs low, so I accompany her to the marijuana dispensary and again am overwhelmed by the odor. This time, we get some marijuana-infused butter and the next day I’m baking her magical chocolate chip cookies. My mom has sacrificed so much for me and I’ve always felt indebted to her. As I’m baking the cookies, I am laughing out loud and starting to feel like we are finally even!

Last month, I set up a small business and started non-profit consulting. I haven’t worked in 14 months and relished every moment. Never felt bored, unproductive or experienced low-self esteem. My main client is a Native American non-profit and it’s a mutual love fest. It feels great to provide expertise, but I’m drawing a limit at half-time work. I still need time to help my mom and enjoy my fabulous life.

People always ask me if I miss travelling or wonder if I still like Seattle. I love Vietnam, but it will be there in the fall when I’m ready to return. For now, I am savoring every day in Seattle and the benefits of living in the United States. Thanks to the magic of lab tests, I’ve just discovered I have giardia. A parasite has been living in my intestines since Africa, wreaking havoc until I obtained health insurance and visited my doctor. I knew there was something with a tail and a face inside of me (okay, they don’t have a face but there is a tail!).

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