I know that I've been MIA for quite some time. I promise that things will resume normalcy again. I have been debating whether or not I was going to write about what's been going on and I've decided that it can't hurt. Perhaps it will help me to deal with the current situation that I and my family regrettably find ourselves in.
As you may or may not know, my mother in law has cancer and has been fighting the battle for over two years now. There have been ups and downs, good days and bad. For a while it looked as though things were in an upswing with no signs of the cancer returning after a couple of surgeries. Unfortunately, the cancer returned and more growths were found. More chemo-therapy. More radiation. She got weaker, she'd get a little better and then something new would crop up.
As you know, back in August I had an incident in which I was very nearly shot in head when a gunfight broke out across the street from my condo and a bullet came through my living room wall mere inches from my head. After that, the Mrs. and I packed up and we moved up to New Hampshire and converted her parent's basement into an in-law apartment. I never would have imagined what a blessing in disguise that move was.
October saw my mother in law getting worse. A new symptom appeared: A mysterious pain in her side cropped up after her last round of radiation. Doctors were unable to explain it, and we were put into a holding pattern, waiting for a PET scan to see if there were more growths that were forming outside of the radiation zones. For weeks she put on her bravest face and went about each day as best she could, while in constant pain.
The pain would seem to get worse and then better and then back to worse than ever. No medications seemed to be able to touch the pain. Some of the pain meds made her ill, some gave her strange side effects and it became a nightmare for her to try to new medications. It was so frustrating as pill after pill failed to make her feel better. She would grow more and more tired as the days and weeks wore on.
Two and a half weeks ago, she was rushed to the Emergency Room with chest pain radiating into her arm. After hours in the hospital they concluded that it was not cardiac. There was, indeed another growth inside her ribs yet outside her lungs. The chest pain dissipated after a few hours, but the arm pain remained. She stayed in the ICU for four days while doctors tried to figure out what was going on.
When she came home from the hospital, she was noticeably drained. She spent most of her time in bed, only emerging every now and then to sit on the loveseat in the living room for about 20 minutes before going back into the bedroom. The arm pain continued for a few days and then went back into her chest and her back. Then the pain started to manifest itself into her jaw. Pain so intense that all she could to was shake violently and moan. Visiting nurses, calls to the doctor....nothing helped. She got weaker. She got nauseous on a regular basis. She hadn't eaten in four days. Here speech was mumbled and garbled. She started to have hallucinations. "It's because of the cancer" was the answer we would constantly receive.
Last week she was again rushed to the emergency room at four in the morning. We believed she was having a stroke. She was unable to move the left side of her body. She was unable to talk and there was a very noticeable facial droop. All sure-fire signs of a stroke. Not to mention the fact the she suffered a stroke two years before as well.
Once at the hospital, it was determined that her kidneys were failing and she was septic. She has a blood infection. She was intubated and sedated and has been ever since. She is unable to breath on her own. She is unable to regulate her own blood pressure. She is being kept alive on a mixture of medicine and machinery. I will be perfectly honest with you, I don't believe that she is going to wake up. She is so very sick and her body has already endured so very much. To see her lying in that bed is heartbreaking. The doctors told us that she is so very sick that the cancer is the least of our worries. There are a whole barrage of tests that they need to run, but they cannot because she is so weak. They don't even know the extent of what is happening inside of her. And so we languish in this state of purgatory. It's a waiting game.
Even more heartbreaking is watching my wife and my father in law try to cope with this. I love them both so very much and it absolutely kills me that not only can I do nothing to help his wife/her mother, but there is nothing that I can do to help them and make them feel better. I must simply watch them suffer. For me that is the worst part. Please don't misunderstand. I love my mother in law as if she was my own mother. I would give anything to make her better. I am thankful however that in her sedated state, she is out of pain and she is unaware of what is happening. She is sleeping and I like to think that she's having the most beautiful dreams. In the waking world however, my wife and father in law are full of pain and sorrow. I put my arms around them and I do everything I can to comfort them. But at the end of the day, I cannot take their pain away.
I am truly sorry to have dumped this on you all. I hold so much inside and I needed to get this out. If you have read this entire post, I thank you for allowing me to expunge some of my pain into the ether so to speak. I really needed to get this out of my system.
I will leave you with this: Hug and kiss your loved ones. Every single day. Never go to bed angry. Tell your friends and family that you love them every chance you get. Life is precious and you never know when your final conversation with anyone could be. Cliched? Yeah, I guess so....but it's cliched because it's true.
Whatever you celebrate, I hope that it is merry and bright and I wish you the best this holiday season.
And fear not! Midnight Cinephile will return with a vengeance!
I love you all.