Just a little history for those who don't know... my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April of 2007. The cancer was in late stage 3 when it was discovered and we were given very little hope. We grieved, and we prayed like we have never prayed before. We were living in Kentucky at the time, and decided to move back to Florida in order to be closer to my mom and to help out with day to day needs that my parents had. After 8 rounds of extremely difficult chemo, mom's cancer counts were back in the normal "no cancer" zone. We praised God like never before. And she was cancer free for a while, but then it came back...
Since then, the cancer has gone away and come back several times. Last Christmas, she was very sick and we though her battle was nearly over. We began praying that she would get to meet Isaac. I feel so blessed that she has been able to know my sweet boy and see me as a mom. I'm still praying for miraculous healing, and that she gets to meet all of my kids! Her cancer counts over the last 6 months remained low enough that she did not need any treatment. She was finally able to gain some independence again and just enjoy life with her family and friends in a pretty normal way.
Then a few weeks ago, she began to experience dizziness, headaches, and balance problems. The tests revealed our greatest fear. Her cancer had spread to her brain--and it was all over. Last Friday, she finished a 3 week regimen of daily radiation on her brain and the doctors decided to admit her to the hospital because she was experiencing excruciating pain. It was determined that she needed to have a pump implanted so that she could have constant access to her pain meds. Throughout this hospital stay, her doctors also recommended that we transition her to Hospice so that she could have home nursing care and more access to pain relief. "Hospice" was a difficult word for me to hear. We have been assured that she can continue treatment at Moffitt for her cancer while using hospice care, but it's hard not to think of it as the end of the fight.
I'm definitely dealing with lots of emotions and have many things on my mind that are not easy to explain...these are some things I'm learning and thinking lately.
- God is big enough to handle our questions, our emotions, and our fears.
- Sometimes my fears and sadness are so heavy that I find it hard to breathe.
- There are other times when God gives me peace, and I'm learning that's in those times, I don't need to walk around with a sullen face and a sad disposition--I need to be thankful for the times of peace and joy and enjoy them as a gift.
- Isaac has kept me busy--this has provided a much needed distraction from the heaviness of this time.
- I have watched God use these circumstances to transform my dad into the most tender, patient, and humble person I know.
- I find myself constantly going back to the Psalms during my quiet times. David's emotions are a comfort to me. He writes about the sorrows, the joys, the struggles, and the victories of life in such a real way. This book constantly leads me back to the heart and love of God.
- Thanksgiving without my mom (she was still in the hospital) felt so strange.
- I'm thankful for my husband who is learning how to comfort me. Sometimes with laughter and sometimes with tenderness.
- It's hard to tell the difference between the ideas of acceptance and giving up.
- Something about putting up my Christmas tree always makes me very introspective. It's like a mixture of joy, melancholy, nostalgia, and sweetness. The emotions seem more intense this year.