Michael Lucas Mourns His Mother

There’s little sunshine in Michael Lucas‘ world at the moment.

As some of you may know, the porn producer’s mother, Yelena Treyvas, recently succumbed to cancer. She was a mere 59-years old.

While some of us haven’t always agreed with Lucas’ political agenda, nobody takes joy in such a loss. Or one shouldn’t, at least.

Lucas certainly ain’t celebrating these days, but the Russian-born 36-year old did find some time to put pen to virtual paper and write up an extensive reflection on his heart-wrenching experience.

Read what went down, how he feels about American doctors’ “heartless” bedside manner and why he can’t sleep at night. After the jump, of course…

It has been 17 days days since my mother passed away.

We were extremely close; the circumstances of her passing were harrowing.

Yelena Treyvas, left this life at age 59. Shortly after turning 50, while still in Russia, she had several surgeries on benign growths. One day, just three months after I brought my family to the U.S., I was on Fire Island when my mother called, sobbing; I could not understand what she was saying. Taking the phone, my father explained that she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer.

I was on the first boat to the mainland.

Beyond the love we had for each other, my mother and I were best friends. She confided to me about her illness; I aimed to be the strongest possible support. There were times when she would call me as many as twenty times per day, seeking assurance that the cancer could be eradicated. With love in my heart, I helped her maintain a positive outlook.

I had to suppress my own doubts and fears to remain strong for my family. My maternal grandmother and my father often were reduced to crying. As my mother’s condition worsened, as she grew desperate, it became increasingly difficult for me to fight against my internal grief and anxiety to keep strong for her.

She underwent several operations and many rounds of chemotherapy as well as radiation over the course of four years – then in 2006, doctors said the cancer had metastasized to her lungs. “There is nothing we can do.”

American doctors might be expert with the technicalities of medicine but they can be downright heartless in communicating with patients. Neither my mother nor anybody else in my family asked my mother’s doctors to tell us how many months they believed she had to live. Yet they deliver that verdict whether or not you want them to. Instead of leading patients to live as fully as they can for whatever time they have, they mislead them into believing that they must die in hopelessness.

After receiving the Sloan-Kettering doctors’ verdict, my mother took to her bed, remaining there for two weeks. The doctors had very successfully robbed her of all hope, though she was still alive. And unfortunately, she later fell prey to all manner of charlatan – alternate medicine, healers and other unscientific, unscrupulous leeches who know that in such a situation, they can take the patient for any amount of money they have. Though educated and very intelligent, my mother chose to believe that herbs and potions could help her. Together with my father, she made many long trips to see a Brazilian healer. When she became too fragile to take long trips, she started consulting with a Vietnamese herb charlatan in San Francisco. Without ever meeting her, communicating over the phone, he prescribed herbs, at unconscionable prices.

My mother reached a point where she could no longer walk. And unable to speak out loud, she could only whisper. I was tormented within myself by the thought that I should make her go to the hospital, while knowing she was so adamantly against that. After all the years of grueling treatments culminating in a death verdict, my mother refused to see doctors. At the mere suggestion of having a scan, she would panic. She took some sort of comfort from believing the charlatan who told her that her back pain was from rheumatism, that asthma caused the congestion in her throat and that her rapid weight loss was from the chemotherapy treatments.

The day before she died, I was visiting her after having a dispiriting argument with my boyfriend. Before I left, she whispered “There is no shine in your eyes; I hope you will be okay.”

Over the past several months, I always kept my phone on, thinking my father might be trying to call me. But the night before the morning my mother passed away, somebody was pranking me, repeatedly calling and just hanging up. So at 6a.m., I turned my phone off. Awaking at 8:30, I immediately turned on my phone, and just as immediately a call came through from my father. Through his crying I understood that my mother had died. I jumped in a cab, listening to my father’s four earlier messages asking for help and saying that my mother was dying. I am haunted with a sick feeling over having turned my phone off.

My grandmother was already at my parents’ house when I arrived. The dog, seeming to know something terrible was going on, was pacing like a wolf. I headed straight for the bedroom. I wish I could erase the disturbing memory of my mother lying in the bed, her head thrown back, her mouth open, her face pale white and her lips blue.

Hugging her, I heard a noise issuing from her throat. I dialed 911; they said an ambulance would arrive in one minute, and instructed me to do CPR. I tried, but got no reaction from my mother.

In quick succession, the fire department, the police and paramedics arrived. They had me leave the room. Two minutes later, they told us that my mother had been dead for the past hour. The noise I heard coming from my mother’s throat is, horrifyingly enough, normal; from what I gathered, it has to do with the internal organs dying within the body.

I had to endure questioning and paperwork before the emergency people left. Walking back into the room, I took my mother’s hands, still warm, and cried inconsolably, as I have never cried before. Suddenly, her face relaxed; an expression of intense pain was replaced by a look of radiant peace.

Two men from the funeral home came to take her to the morgue. After asking them to wait, I told my father to go say goodbye to his wife of 40 years, and then I took my grandmother to say goodbye to her daughter. The two men coldly told us to wait in another room. They put my mother into a zippered bag and then wheeled her away. I was in disbelief over their brusque, disrespectful manners in moving the body through the narrow corridors and then into the elevator.

The three of us sat with our extreme grief in the apartment, surrounded by my mother’s belongings, her herbs, her slippers, water still in her cup. In the following days, I was busy talking to her friends and arranging for the funeral, but most importantly I was there to support my father and grandmother. They were lost. Again, I had to steel my composure to stay strong for them. I feel so responsible for being a support to them that even at the service, I did not allow myself to cry. Believe me, I wanted to. My boyfriend cried while hugging my grandmother, just as he had cried when my grandfather passed away.

Not one for organized religion, I would not especially have wanted a rabbi at the funeral. But I wound up understanding why my father invited one; he sang a profoundly affecting prayer; everybody was very moved.

The next day, I took my father to the airport. He was taking my mother to be buried in Moscow. I stayed here with my grandmother, as at 87 she can not fly that far. I took their dog home with me for a week. My boyfriend left on a business trip. At first, I put my mother’s picture on the bed table, but her soft gaze in the photo made me suffer yet more in insomniac hours, so I hid it. Alone with my mother’s dog, I endured such negative emotions that for the first time, I decided to see a psychologist. He told me it would be OK to cry, it would be OK not to work for a while. Thanks to his steadying influence, I could put my mother’s picture back in view where it belongs, and cry.

I am now trying to work, to spend time with my boyfriend, and to e-mail all the wonderful people who sent cards, flowers, and messages expressing sympathy and a desire to help. I look forward to many happy times with my friends; I do not want to burden anybody with my sorrow. She died. I will go on living… who knows what is better…