Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Fiber: My November Cancer Peep

Mom’s Poor Feet

I want to sit down with boxes of the least nutritious breakfast cereals, a bowl, spoon, and a carton of almond milk in front of the TV for an upcoming Cheat Meal. My dad thinks I’m crazy to “waste a Cheat Meal,” but I think he’s crazy for not yearning for Cinnamon Toast Crunch. In my teen years I ate my cereal dry, which I accept is a little crazy, though I still enjoy it.

While receiving cancer treatment 11-12 years ago, dry cereal and pretzels were all I ate. My mom stashed shoulder bags with mini boxes of Kellogg’s and General Mills in the living room. For all 14 cycles of chemo and 6 neutropenia admittances she lugged those heavy bags around for me, her poor feet taking the brunt of the force.

After my cancer surgery my mom carried the cereal bags while pushing me in a wheelchair. The balance required to push and turn, while preventing the cereal from dropping and crumbling, caused lateral tension on my mom’s poor feet. I don’t blame her for running me into walls and doors. She may have even run me over her own poor feet.

While visiting me after my transplant, my mom spent much of her days on a recliner. But the hospital chose a knock-off La-Z-Boy that jerked up and down and was too firm. My mom’s poor feet would have been better off if she ran shoeless on hot coals or splintered particleboard.

When I returned home to recover from my transplant and sat watching NFL Sunday Ticket, screaming at the TV during Redskins games and shrieking with joy while watching all the other games, my mom stared terrified that I’d lost my mind. Nearly in a state of panicked unconsciousness, she stood rocking back and forth on her poor feet in ways humans aren't meant to move.

Diagnosed with an obscene variety of back diseases in a short time period—spondylolisthesis, stenosis, osteoarthritis, and degenerative disk disease—my mom dealt with the pain by compensating and, again, her poor feet took the brunt.

My parents’ kitchen renovation provided for deep cabinets where unopened cereal boxes remained in the back. If my mom suddenly ran out of Cinnamon Toast Crunch then she’d have to stand tall on her poor feet’s toes to reach more.

These compounded effects led to a ligament tear in her poor right foot five years ago and she underwent a faulty operation from a careless surgeon, leading to an extended and arduous recovery. It was inevitable that her poor left foot would also tear a ligament, which occurred months ago and she underwent surgery today to repair it. Fortunately, this time her surgeon is kind and has done everything he can to alleviate her poor feet and back and fears.

So, Mom’s Poor Feet, here’s to a speedy recovery so that you can join me for a breakfast cereal Cheat Meal and even fetch our box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch pushed deep into the cabinet. But instead of mini boxes like a decade ago, we’re going Costco-size.
Author Benjamin Rubenstein as a toddler playing with his mother at his birthday party