Have you ever felt that you’ve reached your limit? I’m not talking about the times when we say that we’ve had enough. I’m talking about the times when you really feel that just one more thing will push you over the edge. I’m talking about the place where if you let go of the tight grip that you have on yourself, you may never find your way back again. I’ve been teetering on that edge these last two weeks.
This past week Sunday, my mom brought my Dad home from the hospital with Hospice care. Probably one of the hardest decisions our family has ever made. Between my mom, myself and my sister, we have been caring for him at home. These are his wishes. So far, we are doing okay. It’s hard on my mom, I know. There are times I can’t be there for her, but she has been coping. She’s small, but that woman is tough. And she’s only 78.
My father is a man’s man. He’s that guy that doesn’t say a lot about how he is feeling inside. He is very stoic. I’m sure that frustrates some people, but for me, it’s admirable. Every once in awhile he will tell a story of his time serving in the Korean war. I didn’t even know until several years ago, that he has a Purple Heart from the war. He has been battling diabetes and congestive heart failure for years now. I don’t often hear him complain.
Then we throw into the mix scan week for Jillian. As hard as I try not to worry, the fear grips my heart. It’s those heart skipping moments during the day when I’m focused on something else and I’m reminded of what lies right around the corner. The tentacles of fear wrap around me, and I fight to shake it off. I fight hard. And I pray, a TON.
We had our scans on Tuesday, and the appointment Wednesday with her doctor to go over the results. We sit in the waiting room waiting for Jillian’s name to be called. We rarely get in to see the doctor at the scheduled appointment time, so waiting is what we do. The nurse comes into the room with her clipboard and calls someone else’s name. Ugh. Skipped heartbeat. Finally our name is called, and we go into the Dr’s examination room. And we wait. And my heart is pounding, my mouth is dry. I play a game with myself by trying to read the PA or the Dr when they finally come in the room. If they come in smiling, that means good news. If they come in and ask too many questions about how Jillian is feeling, that means it’s bad news. I’m rarely right.
The news we received yesterday was mixed. Two of the tumors in Jillian’s brain show changes. We aren’t sure if its swelling due to the radiation, or if its progression. We will know this weekend what our next steps will be. Surgery to remove one of the tumors, more SRS on the tumors, or chemotherapy.
So, we pack up our belongings, check out of the office, and head out the door. And I’m in one piece, I haven’t fallen into the abyss. I’m ok, Jillian is ok. We heard some news that wasn’t exactly what we wanted to hear, but we heard good news too. No new tumors anywhere on her body. For me, it felt like a lightness inside myself. I think it’s God. I’ve apologized to Him for teetering so close to the edge, and allowing that darkness to be bigger than it needed to be. I’ll do better next time.
I’m reminded of a sweet memory I have. Monday was my dad’s 83rd birthday. I was kneeling on the floor by my dad’s bedside. I was holding his hand, that big, callused hand, and he was gently rubbing his thumb across my palm. And he was reassuring ME. Without words, but with a simple touch. I will never forget that tender moment I was given. I know I’ll have many more.
So, in conclusion, mama bear is fine. A little battered around the edges perhaps, but starting to get crabby again against this nasty black beast.