Tuesday, January 03, 2012


What would you do if faced with your own mortality?

See, I'm such an editor, that statement by itself bugs me, since we all know that one day we're going to leave this Earth.....but unless faced with the question somehow, we blithely go about our business, tra-la-la, for the most part, not "living each day as if it were your last" because that's just too damn exhausting to even think about.....

I know, far too deep a topic for right after New Years. But unfortunately, some family news has my brain wheels turning hard.

My FIL's doctors have given him bad news with regard to his cancer. They've given him choices A, B, and C. Choice A means the same or worse pain than he's already been experiencing, with no guarantees. Choice B could mean less discomfort, but also a lot less chance of it actually working. Choice C angers the crap out of me: hospice.

I know I'm not living it. I know it's his decision. I pray they at least get a second opinion before deciding anything.

But my gods! Those are the choices!? After only 7 months of fighting this thing!

I don't want to hear some oncologist tell me that we're lucky to have gotten that. We're talking about a medical group that claimed they couldn't pinpoint where the cancer originated, and then proceeded to switch his chemo to something that was supposedly more focused on his cancer. That alone is frustrating in its ambiguity, but I fear that the fact that we catch everything at third and fourth hand (because of our physical distance from the situation) means that we're not getting the full scoop. It's not that they're keeping stuff from us; it's just that they (the inlaws) don't have the language for what's going on. I could tell from the start that the new chemo wasn't doing anything except destroying his lymphatic system (yea, yea, I know I'm not a doctor...shut up!), but by not being there to call the docs on that fact, get further explanations for their reasoning, we're kind of cast adrift, on the sidelines looking in. Very frustrating.

With Dad, there were no choices. Or if there were, he'd already made them for us. I don't really know if the docs wanted to operate again on his bum aorta or if he was too far gone to risk their surgical stats. I tend to blame him, for his fear of dying on the table, but more likely, the docs wouldn't even have taken the chance...and then he went so fast.....

But with Dad J., there are choices. And I need to reconcile myself with the idea that what I would choose won't necessarily be what he chooses. And I need to help my beautiful husband, the man's son, come to the same realizations eventually.

I'm very lucky. I've never experienced physical pain, not really. The closest I've come to take-your-breath-away pain is when my knee locks, and that's infrequent. Everything else I experience is just nagging or chronic. So I can't relate to Dad J. in that respect, when the choices are the fog of morphine or the sharpness of true pain.....

I'm scared that he's tired of fighting. I pray that's not the case.

And because we are terribly self-centered humans, these thoughts bring me inward, to my own life, the life I share with L, and how badly I want things to be different. We are so stuck here. I don't just want to move to Spartanburg because we're in such a rut here and I hate Florida. I want to move there because it's closer to family and closer to an area of the country where I desperately want to live, a place with a more temperate climate, some hills, and away from the awfulness of a big city. I want to live simpler, make more things by hand, and live in a house with a yard. And what's it gonna take to move us forward? What if we were faced with those choices?

First image from here. Rest from here.

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