Life is not fair.
This is not news to anyone. Just when things seem to be somewhat “normal,” the poverbial shit hits the fan. Here’s the bottom line: Nana’s sick. Nana’s really sick. Somewhere around two months ago my wife got a call from her mother. She explained that she had been having some recent abdominal pain and was going to get checked out. A couple of weeks went by without too much real concern, until we got word that her MRI came back and it wasn’t good. First they suspected chirrosis of the liver. No. Then after more tests, it was determined that she has stage 3 ovarian cancer. Jump forward less than a week or so, and she was undergoing major surgery. It lasted some 4+ hours, and when it was over the surgeon had removed both ovaries, a large portion of her colon, appendix, total hysterectomy. I think I might be not listing everything, but you get the idea. The cancer was wrapped around her colon, and the tumor was about the size of a grapefruit.
This was a Friday. Kathy was out there the following Thursday – and would’ve been out there a lot sooner, but life and money didn’t allow the timing to work. Ann was still in the hospital by the time Kathy got out there. Her total stay ended up at about 2 weeks – a lot more than expected. Kathy’s total stay was from a Thursday to the following Wednesday. All but two nights she spent sleeping at the hospital on one of those little chair-things. Not comfortable. Here’s the bottom line: Ann’s sick. Very sick. She’s facing intense chemotherapy and her future is uncertain. The surgeon said that after chemo, she’s got an 80% chance of remission. This is hard to believe for us. We are very aware of the severeness of this whole thing, and think that the Dr’s might be blowing sunshine up our asses.
I’ve never seen Kathy so vulnerable, emotional, and scared. It’s breaking my heart, too. All I want to do is fix her pain, and I know there’s absolutely nothing I can do. Nothing. This entire family is not ready for the brutality, the pain, and the horrible times that are ahead. I do. I know the pain. I know the loss. I know the helpless and hoplessness of watching a parent wasting away. It’s going to be even more difficult because of our distance away. Everytime we’re able to get Kathy (or hopefully all of us) down to see the Barnes’ – it’s a given that Ann will be looking very different each time. Hair loss. Weight loss. It’s all going to be so terribly hard to deal with.
In my opinion, the worst thing about having a loved one fighting a disease, is the cruel nature of time. When dad was slowly succumbing to ALS for four extremely brutal years, one of my most constant thoughts was how no matter how much I wanted it to, time continued to tick away. I remember thinking, “…if I could just stop or slow down the days/hours/minutes, maybe I can find some sort of peace that will help me cope with this reality.” I dreamt about this. I rationalized, bargained, wished, begged for the ablity to simply slow or “pause” life (whatever that means). Then one day I realized that this was me being selfish, and it hurt to acknowledge that fact.