I had a visit from an "old friend" this week. The wall of shock and numbness that went up around me the night Eddie died has returned. It came a little more slowly this time, but it's here now just the same. In my first blog I said my story began on March 16, 2009, but I actually had another story that began six weeks earlier. In February 2009 my mother went into the hospital for what we thought was going to be an emergency appendectomy. However it turned out to be much more than that ... she had her appendix, a mass, and a portion of her colon removed, and she was diagnosed with cancer. The surgeon at the time felt like he got most of the cancer, but the oncologist still recommended chemotherapy in case there were any remaining cancer cells. Once my mother recovered from the surgery itself, she went for a second opinion concerning the chemo. The second doctor agreed that she should undergo treatment to be on the safe side. My mother wasn't really in favor of having chemo, but she hadn't made a definite decision about it when everything else started happening. Once Eddie died, she forgot about taking care of herself and took care of Trey and me instead. After we began to recover from the initial impact of what had happened, we tried to get her to go back to taking care of herself. By this point though she was feeling good physically, so she was convinced there was no need for treatment. She never even went back to the doctor for a check up once her follow-up visits for the surgery were completed.
For the next two years my mother devoted herself to caring for others. She continued to help Trey and I heal. She took care of Emily before and after her preschool hours, as well as during holidays and the summer. Even though they've been divorced for over 30 years she still kept a close check on my father who suffered a stroke several years ago. This past March her 96 year old mother came to live with her. None of us knew until this past week that she had started to feel bad again. After several days of running a high fever, having an upset stomach, and feeling a lump in her abdomen she finally gave in and went to the doctor, who sent her for a CT scan. I was with her this week when she got the results of the scan. As I heard the doctor saying "The cancer has returned, it's spread through your abdomen and is also in your liver" I felt that wall going up around me again, just as it had the night the deputy told me my husband was dead. I was hearing the words, but I wasn't believing or accepting them.
We were sent directly to the hospital because my mother was dehydrated and still not able to eat. For the past three days we've basically waited in limbo. First we waited on the surgeon, only to finally hear he wasn't even coming because he had determined surgery wasn't an option. Today we waited on the oncologist, who finally showed up at 9:00 PM. He gave a little more hope than the other doctors and promised to return tomorrow to discuss her options in more detail. He believes she can benefit from chemo, if she's willing to undergo the treatments. Now I'll wait for my mother to make up her mind what she wants to do. I know all of this is happening, but just as it was two years ago, I feel like I'm watching it happen to someone else. I know the wall will eventually disappear, but for now I'm glad it's back.
"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4