So Much

Jean

So Much

Jean
tulip-690320_640I haven't been on the site as much recently although I think I've quickly read most of the posts, but haven't had been able to comment, although it seems the posts always stimulate so many thoughts.

I thank Denise and all the bloggers and people who share such personal moments and wisdom. @worriedwife, @janshriver and @Hussy come to mind immediately--all seasoned caregivers -- I so appreciate your contributions to this site. I've been too overwhelmed to comment or post.

Our neighbor (65), a really great guy, died (from lung cancer) last Saturday and my former mother-in-law (for 18 years from first marriage/kid's grandmother) died on Sunday at age 87.

I braved the wake as those folks were my family for lots of years. I heard I was in the slideshow as well as some of the numerous birthday cakes I decorated. I didn't stick around to watch it, it was very long and people were blocking it anyway although, I really would have enjoyed seeing those photos. I talked to nine of the 10 siblings (minus my ex--he conveniently disappeared). Most of them I had not seen since my divorce although a few had friended me on facebook. I won't go into the whys of no contact, but I always felt bad about not seeing many of them including my mother-in-law. I remember when I got divorced, one aunt said, you are still part of this family, don't be a stranger. That just wasn't possible.

I recently wrote about my best friend/soulmate who has lung cancer. She missed her scheduled appointment for a second opinion because she was so sick and was in the hospital for the better part of two weeks in total--discharged then back scenario which seems to happen too often based on reading blogs here! She is doing better now with a drain to empty fluid around her lungs daily and she finally made it to University of Chicago for the second opinion. The doctor ordered lots more tests as he was shocked to have only one report from pathology. So finally she is getting a PET scan, MRI of her brain and mammogram. This doctor wasn't so sure it started in her lungs. So now the wait again for all the tests and results.

I'm working on patience--and not hovering. I find myself second guessing what to say/not to say to her. I made a comment the other day--one of those typical comments about I know she will beat this. Then I stepped back and said, 'well, I don't know that, you might not' and she said 'yes', and seemed to welcome giving voice to the thought everyone is having. I told her to please know she can discuss anything she wants with me and I'd hope she'd understand me stumbling in this new territory. We've always been honest with each other. That is so important now more than ever.

It's a tough act to balance the reality of the situation and continue the positive, upbeat attitude that helps promote fighting any disease.

Between wakes and my friend I'm keeping myself busy. Finally got rid of the hospital bed in MIL's room. (My MIL was my caree for 10 years.) It really surprised me--I started crying as the guys for Habitat for Humanity started dismantling it to haul it away. The year mark of her death is in a couple weeks. My goal is to have that room painted and put back together as my office/guest room by that date. I have the door and frame sanding done--removed all those mars from the wheel chair. Walls are scrubbed and ready for a fresh coat of much needed paint. And when I'm not working on the room, I'm obsessed with learning new Zentangle patterns!

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LilMagill

Jean, thanks for checking in. I'm so sorry for these losses you've experienced along with the potential loss of your friend. It sounds like you found the right words to talk to her about her illness.

Hussy

Jean \r\n\r\nI’m so sorry about the loss of your neighbor and your former mother-in-law. No explanations necessary about the no contact policy. There were members of my ex’s family that I might have stayed in touch with, but it was pretty much an all or nothing deal. Like you said, it just wasn’t possible. \r\n\r\nI’m glad your dear friend is getting her second opinion at the U of C. They are a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, so she’s in good hands. \r\n\r\nYes, it is indeed challenging to walk that fine line between reality and hope. It’s been 19 months since my husband’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and walking that fine line remains a challenge. So don’t be hard on yourself for “stumbling in this new territory.” Trust your instincts (it sounds like you already are) and you’ll do just fine.\r\n\r\nI agree with Denise that truth paves the way for hope. Once you get uncertainty out of the way – to the extent that one ever can – you’re free to concentrate on possibilities. The day my husband was diagnosed was by no means a happy day, but we left the treatment center with a diagnosis and a plan of attack. That day we stopped running in place. We couldn’t go back but we could – and did – move forward. \r\n \r\nIf only it were as easy to sand and repaint our psyches as it is door frames and walls….\r\n\r\nI’m glad you checked in with us.

Denise

I totally agree with <a href='http://www.caregiving.com/members/janshriver/' rel=\"nofollow\">@janshriver</a>.\r\n\r\nI think it was terrific you attended your former MIL's service. The awkwardness of it could have kept you home. And, yet you went and made yourself present to those who lost a mom. That's wonderful.\r\n\r\nI love your conversation with your friend. Your honesty with her about her reality as well as your honesty about navigating this new terrain is terrific. As you already know with your friend, your most treasured conversations come when you both talk the truths. In order to speak the truth, you have to risk vulnerability. The connections made when two people risk vulnerability are truly our life's miracles.\r\n\r\nI've found that the hope lies in the truth. So, as you both gather more information about her condition and her prognosis, you can focus on what's possible within that truth. Meaning, if she receives the tough news that the cancer has spread to her lungs, she can make choices that allow her to make the most of each day. You can be a part of that by listening as she shares her wishes and working with her to make those wishes happen.\r\n\r\nIn other words, I think are doing great. \r\n\r\n:)

jan

Thank you for posting today, Jean. I admire your continual ability to move ahead and stay focused and available for others. Any one of the things you were going through lately could have been a reason to give up, not participate, not help, not feel. I don't want to, I don't know how, I don't care to, I can't, I'm not able right now. But that isn't you, and you are moving on. Your dear friend and everyone around you are benefiting from your courage and strength.

lookingheavenward

You have been through so much as of late -hugs to you.