We were on pins and needles for most of the today because the doctor called yesterday to say the results of her mom’s tests (the ones that say whether the cancer has spread to other parts of her body) were in, and that they should come in today to meet with the doctor. So Chieko and her father went in to the hospital this evening, and came back with some positive, if not ideal, news. The cancer has not spread, but the doctor is recommending that she undergo chemotherapy to try and ward off any potential trouble. In his words, via my wife, he said that if it was his mother he would want her to have the chemo. She will getting the chemotherapy for a year, twice month, so it’s a pretty low dose that shouldn’t leave her bald or vomiting.
What I find interesting/surprising/horrifying about this event was the fact that Chieko’s mom was not part of this disclosure. In fact, as far as I know, she still doesn’t know the results of her tests. In Japan, with a potentially fatal illness, the patient is not initially told of their diagnosis. First the immediate family is debriefed, and they then decide whether or not to tell the sick family member. At the end of the meeting the doctor asked if he should tell Cheiko’s mom her condition tomorrow (they said yes). The idea is to not stress out or depress the patient, but for some reason this seems absurd to me. Does this ever happen in America? It seems like in the US it would be law suit material, but what isn’t. I’m not sure where the line is drawn, because Chieko’s mom was told about her original stomach cancer, but the hospital applied this technique when dealing with the secondary test results.
At any rate, there is relief in the Iguchi household tonight, and I hope this will be the end of posts involving Chieko’s mom and that horrible disease.
I woke up this morning feeling like I was 80 years old, or like I was my current 30 years old and someone had beaten the shit out of me yesterday. My body was and is sore, in new and exciting places compared to the pain I endure during the watermelon harvest. I don’t know why I keep returning to this idealized vision of farming that I have, but I always do, and it’s always shattered the day I wake up after my first day of farming. Perhaps I’m more suited to gardening, which has a much slower pace with the added bonus that I don’t have to do it if I don’t feel like it.
But I do love working outside and being somewhat competent helping out around here, even if the communication between Chieko’s parents and me isn’t the smoothest thing on the planet. And while I’m working and moving around I feel good; it’s when I stop that every muscle in my body seizes up and I struggle to get up off the floor (furniture would be appreciated). A lot of times I think how happy I am to be doing physical work, sweating like a pig, and having a very unique Japanese experience, and I do feel genuinely happy to be helping Chieko’s family. Just so you know, all of my bitching and moaning is completely tongue in cheek, but the pain, oh the pain, is very real. So much for going to the gym all the time and being ‘in shape.’
Today, fortunately, featured only an hour of rice bagging, and then Chieko’s dad and I when out to harvest three smallish rice paddies. There was far less standing around today though, since I was prepping the paddies so that the Athlete Pro could sufficiently navigate the tight corners. This entailed me hunching over like a 90 year old Japanese woman with my blade of thunder and hacking out a few rows of rice around the corners, thus giving the machine a little more room to maneuver. In between, I ferried truckloads of rice back to the house and unloaded them.
Here’s me being old.
Despite having more to do today, there was still some down time for me to make faces and wield my scary blade into the truck mirror.
Chieko’s aunt and uncle arrived this afternoon from Tochigi, about three hours away, to help out over the next few days. Since Chieko’s mom has been in the hospital, a rotating group of people have been coming to help out around the house and in the fields. It has generally taken two or three people to make up for her.
We’re planning on heading back to Kanazawa tomorrow afternoon at some point, probably after a bit more rice bagging in the morning. I have to start up work again on Monday, but Chieko will be home on maternity leave (as I’ve mentioned). It certainly doesn’t feel like a Friday night, but enjoy your weekend.