Marlene's Story
Marlene's Story

Marlene is sitting with four of her adult children and three of her teenage grandchildren. Cecelia (the daughter who lives with Marlene on the reservation) talking to the rest of the family: We went to the doctors today again and he told us that mom really does need to have surgery. She may also need to have radiation or chemo. They are going to schedule her surgery sometime next week.


Earl (son): Does the doctor know about your diabetes? Do you have to do something special because of your diabetes?

Cecelia: I forgot to tell the cancer doctor about her diabetes. I just thought they would know.

Sharon (daughter, a nurse): No, the cancer doctor probably doesnt know anything about her diabetes. We need to tell him because she needs to not get any infections. Also, some of the drugs that shell be on affect her circulation. Diabetes also affects her circulation.

Cecelia: Well, I think you should come with us for the next appointment so that you and the doctor can talk about how to help mom.

Marlene: Yeah, I would like you to come too. He used a lot of those medical words and I didnt understand a lot of what he was saying.

Paul (son): Thats a good idea. Can you get off work?

Sharon: I dont know, but I guess Ill have to. Mom, do you understand what type of surgery he is going to do?

Marlene: No, I was so tired by the time we got there. It took five hours to get there and I just was tired. He seemed real nice, but I just didnt understand what he was saying. I just wanted to take a nap.

Rick (son-in-law): but mom, I thought you were going to spend the night with Stacey half-way instead of doing the whole drive in one day?

Cecelia: Yeah, we were, but Staceys kids had the flu so we didnt want mom to get sick from them.

Marlene: Yeah, but I wanted to stop anyway.

Sharon: Well, were going to have to get all of the family to make certain theyre not sick when theyre around you for a while. I can get some masks from the pharmacy that we can wear if we think we may be coming down with something. Mom, what type of surgery are they going to do on you?

Marlene (shrugs): I dont know. I think hes going to cut off one of my breasts.

Cecelia: Yeah, and he may need to cut off the other one. He says he wont know until he does the surgery.

Marlene: Yeah, here all this time Ive been worried about losing toes from diabetes and instead the cancers taking my breast.

Kathy (daughter): So how long are you going to be in the hospital? Is there someplace close to the hospital we can stay too?

Sharon: The tribe has an agreement with that hospital and a hotel down the road from it. The tribe lets family stay in that hotel that is paid for by the tribe. But we need to talk to the tribal health center to get it all set up. How many should we have go? Cecelia, youll be going, right?

Cecelia: Yeah, I want to be there.

Marlene: I need Cecelia. Id like to have you Sharon too so that you can talk to the doctor and explain what he is saying to me. He talks too fast and uses too many big words. Maybe one or two of you boys too. You can help pray and if I need help getting up or down, okay?

Rick and Earl: Dont worry mom, well be there.

Earl: I'll drive us all down in the big Ford. Then well all be together.

Marlene: okay.




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