It's odd how when a doctor tells you a loved one is in remission, in this day & age, you just take that to mean that everything is going to be ok. That's how we felt back in December. That everything was going to be ok.
Um. Not so much. Last month, during my mom-in-law's 6 month check up, they found 3 new masses. She was admitted to the hospital yesterday to begin a new course of chemo, then they will extract t-cells to re-implant after a 2nd heavy dose of chemotherapy. She is only 60 years old.
She never smoked, although her first husband smoked. She never drank much, although I've seen her have a wine cooler or two at a bbq. She never did recreational drugs, although she has been on various other medications her entire adult life for various emotional issues. In short, she didn't engage in any of the normal risk factors that have been shown to lead to cancer.
Yet she is fighting a particular nasty type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma anyway. And it irks me.
She's a nice lady. I really do like my mom-in-law for the most part. She lives 4 hours away, but she took me in and treated me like family from the first time my husband took me to meet his family. She's had a rough life at times, and doesn't deserve to be in a fight like this. For her very life. But she is.
And I'm at a loss because I can't just walk away from my job and go take care of her. That's my first reaction. I want to be there in Amarillo. I want to be able to bring her whatever they'll allow her to drink, and hold that goofy little plastic pan they give you to hurl in, and just listen to her talk (because, good Lord love, that woman does love to talk!).
But today is my son's birthday. He turned 14. His party is Thursday - he has waited all year to go see the new Harry Potter movie with his friends, and I can't take that from him. But I am seriously considering taking off work early on Wednesday and driving to Amarillo, even if it's just for a few hours. I don't like her being there alone. Her "friend" can't be there everyday, as he has to work. Her mother is in a nursing home, and I'm not really sure if she really knows how ill her daughter is. Her brothers - well, let's just say they are not there for her. All she really has is us.
I don't know what her prognosis is. The doctors were very vague with my husband and his mother, other than to tell her this t-cell thing has a 35% chance of working.
35%. That's a 65% chance it won't. Having the cancer come back so quickly after her 1st round of treatment is bad. I'm afraid - for her, for my husband. That my kids won't get to know her anymore.
Cancer sucketh. Much.
Add to that - my husband's great-uncle, who is also the godfather of my children, has leukemia. He & his wife, after months of fighting it, have finally called hospice. They took him home. And I don't know how much longer he has. He is another member of M's family that I love dearly. I am so blessed to have married a man with a family who was willing to accept and love me from the minute I met them. I know not everyone has that. The bad side of that is knowing that you might lose them soon - it's an ache I fight every day.
I read the blogs of several young women - women who are just starting their lives, with small children, women whose faith in God astounds me on a daily basis. Heather. Kelli. Amy. I marvel at how they hang onto God's strength - how they use their illness as a way to minister to everyone around them. I wonder if I would have that strength if it were me. Or would I rail against fate, screaming "Why me? ! Why me?!"
I wish I had a point. I wish I had some profound finish. All I have is heartache and dread. And a request. A request that anyone who reads this consider adding my mom-in-law and my great-uncle-in-law to their prayers. Pray for healing, pray for peace, pray for strength. And pray that I'll find some way to be a help to my husband and his family in the days and months (God willing) ahead.
Because right now I feel pretty helpless.