Topic: Thoughts about this experience
I wasn't quite sure where to post this. I write this to you as my mom's battle is coming to an end. When this all began on December 10th, 2007, I was a completely different person. Hearing the news that my mom had cancer, when we were told all she needed was her gallbladder removed, made me literally fall to the floor. I was sick for weeks, exhausted, terrified, my faith shaken. Everything about those days was dark - the weather, the situation, the hospital rooms, my thoughts, mood... everything. We watched as she went through chemo, three chemo-embolizations, the incessant vomiting, losing her hair, her appetite. After mets to the bone, a broken arm, radiation, and just recently hemorraghing from esophogeal varices. Her fight has been valiant, her humor and faith radiant. Never once a complaint came from her mouth. She is now in a Hospice Care Center near death and we are all changed forever.
I write this to encourage you all - patients suffering the same effects from this disease, spouses to those affected, caregivers, children, grandchildren, friends. My mom is winning - she is so comfortable. She is resting with a room full of family around her, smiling when we speak to her and even kissing my dad when he is near her. She is dealing with the effects of the encephalopathy - confused at times and very near death. But it is not tragic, not scary and not the dark situation that had engulfed us all at the beginning of this journey. I have been given the grace to see so many things through her suffering that I never imagined would bring me to this sense of peace, complete trust and faith that God loves her and is holding her so close in His loving arms.
During her stay in Hospice, we have been touched and blessed by so many. There is a book that was given to me by one of the nurses after talking to her about the unbelievable atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The book is called "A travel guide to Heaven" written by Anthony Destefano. It is so comforting and eye-opening - I recommend to all.
Our experience with Hospice has been nothing but positive. My mom is in absolutely no pain, she is comfortable and when she becomes agitated she is given Ativan which has helped her tremendously to relax. The nurses are caring and attentive and the doctor couldn't be more compassionate and honest.
The most comforting truth I have come to accept and understand is that this is not the end for my mom. Not even close. I was raised a Christian and have always believed that those who accept Jesus Christ will go to Heaven when they die. But I never really fully understood, or thought out exactly what would happen. To know that my mom will go on and be in such a glorious place and that one day I will physically be able to hug her again, laugh with her again, eat with her again... when I fully comprehend that, this isn't so tragic anymore. I will miss her while I have to battle my way through until that time, but I know that anything that I want to say to her, or ask her about, or make her laugh with, I will be able to do one day. And I'll be able to understand why this happened to her. Her suffering is so brief and the reward so great when I truly grasp what is happening.
I by no means discount the horrors of this disease and all suffering that seems to come to everyone in one form or another. But to know there is a God who loves us, comforts us, and will one day raise us from the dust gives me the ability to see through the darkness and still look up and rejoice that this too shall pass. There are many good days to come and many reunions to attend - here or there.
Blessings and peace to all of you.