Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My mother is now art.

This is not my mother. This is a random photo from a google image search. But this is how they do whole brain radiation, which my mother had. They mold a plastic mesh mash to your face and use it to bold you to a table to hold you still, and then zap you with radiation from all sorts of different angles. The thinking, as I understand it, is that by coming at the tumors from all sides they will hit each known tumor with a lot of radiation without having to send such a powerful beam through any healthy brain tissue, but they'll get the whole brain with enough radiation to take care of any loose cancer cells that may be loitering in there.
My mother gave me her mask.  I asked her if they'd let her keep it and mentioned that it'd be a slightly more personal momento when all this is over than a generic colored ribbon car magnet, so she asked for it and gave it to me. But what do you do with an irradiated mask of your mother's face?
I screwed it into the wall in my hallway.  We don't have any "art" on our walls.  We have family photos (a lot of family photos), and one large piece of white cardboard Tommy colored a rainbow onto, but no actual official art.  And now I have my mother's three dimensional plastic mesh head silhouette sticking out of the wall.  It's kinda cool, but it's also kind of macabre.  Because even if she lives to 100 and dies in a home full of other old ladies, I will still be able to squint at this thing and see my mother's face, at least in profile.  Someday it will be all I have, the only way to see her in 3D. This thing they used to bolt her head down with and shoot laser beams through.  Creepy, yet too personal to throw away.

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