Deep breath. Ok, it’s more than time to share this, but there’s something about writing something like this that is so difficult, even when it’s just recording what is actually going on in real life. This post has been revised over and over again, but here it is…
I feel like I got to witness a true miracle a couple of weeks ago. My brother got married (that’s not the miracle!) and my mom was there to see it happen. This was a big goal for her, as the diagnoses just got worse and worse over the last several months. In January it was that the cancer had spread to her spine, lung, stomach, and returned to her liver. In early May, we found out that she also has a brain tumor. And though she got to go home after less than a week in the hospital, she has really just continued to go downhill.
As an update on her condition: Hospice comes twice a week to monitor her, including pain level and overall health. She is unable to walk due to balance problems and mainly, weakness, and she has double vision most of the time. She is generally groggy and sleepy, but is not always able to nap when she wants to. Morphine is being used to control her pain. The combination of the tumor and her grogginess makes her confused much of the time, and hallucinating on occasion, too (nothing frightening, just things that aren’t there, for instance, thinking that she’s working on a cross-stitch project). My dad and my sister Hayley, along with lots of help from my aunt and many family and friends, are taking exceptional care of her at home.
But here’s the miraculous part of the story. Two weekends ago (May 31-June 1) was apparently particularly bad for my mom. Lots of hallucinations and incoherent speech. We weren’t there that weekend, but everyone in my family said that it was worse than it had been. Then, on Monday morning, the week of the wedding, she woke up less disoriented, and she stayed that way all week. Only twice (in the same afternoon) do I remember her being confused about something, and it was simply her wondering where my dad was (he was working, and she thought he was out at the cabin, or the home of a family member…nothing “out there” really). She spoke coherently the rest of the week, and knew what was going on, what day it was, even talking to her hospice nurse about how she was feeling.
Mom was able to come to the wedding, to pictures beforehand and some after, and then come back for the dinner at the reception. She was strong and awake the whole time (no small feat, since she’s always feeling so tired). Her friends and family just surrounded her with love…everyone was so thankful she was there. She left the reception around 6:30, and then actually got a good night’s sleep that night.
On Sunday morning, a little bit of confusion set in again…not like the week before, but still, it was there. And she was in more pain than she had been all weekend…which fatigue from such a big day the day before, as well as leaving the house so many times (which she hadn’t done in weeks), could have contributed to. Who knows at this point. And when we saw her this last weekend (Father’s Day), she seemed to have deteriorated even further, resembling how she was the weekend before the wedding, and this is the norm now.
Despite all of this, I know that we got what we prayed for, and then some. Mom was at the wedding, and she knew what was going on the whole time, even if she wasn’t able to talk about it much. And I am just so, so grateful for that, and thank all of you out there who have been praying for us.
Jake and Dana are enjoying their honeymoon this week in the Dominican Republic. They return on Sunday, and Zach and I will bring them home from the airport, so that we can see Mom. This is a rough place to be, knowing that the end is near, and there’s nothing we can do about it. I’m trying hard not to get mired down in the “but it’s just not fair” mindset, because guess what? It’s not fair. And we weren’t promised fair.
There are so many Bible verses that I’m trying to keep in mind as we go through this:
* 2 Corinthians 1:3-4…maybe I am (or members of my family are) being prepared for something else by going through this…who knows? All I know is that since I came across this verse several weeks ago, I think of it often.
* 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
* John 16:33
I guess the only way to wrap this up is just to say that we covet your prayers…pray that we’ll be strong enough to make it through, that I’m able to maintain a sense of normalcy for my boys, and that my mom just isn’t in pain.