Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another Cancer Diagnosis

Some of the recent hospitalizations have involved my mother-in-law (MIL). She had had a very sore hip for awhile and thought that she had either over used it on a hike in N.H. woods or that she might be developing arthritis in it like her mom. Unfortunately, x-rays, then MRI's, then a biopsy confirmed that neither was the case. What they did confirm is that she has multiple myeloma and that her hip and thigh bones had disintegrated so much from the disease that she would need to immediately use a walker, as any pressure on the bones from simple things like walking could cause them to collapse. She was scheduled for surgery to insert a titanium rod into her leg last Friday and is scheduled to begin several month long treatments for the cancer once the leg heals a bit.

As hubby has barely ever had to deal with illness with any of his family members, and especially not his mom, he has been shaken-up with this news. With us being a thousand miles away, it is also difficult, as we get news second hand and we can't be there in person to support our loved ones in this trying time. My husband is like most men and wants to "fix everything" and this is something he can not fix and does not even know how he should approach it.

I've already had to remind him that it is OK if his mom is not happy, if she is upset, angry, sad or all three together during this process. He started to say that he thought she should keep a positive attitude the entire time, but then realized that the would be unreasonable. Her whole life has now changed, everything she had planned for work, retirement, etc. and it can be overwhelming. She's trying to stay positive for her daughters, who are falling apart with the news of her turn in health, and she needs someone to turn to that will "allow" her to cry and be miserable if that is all the energy she has to be for that day. In fact, I called her and told her that I could be that person for her, as my family has dealt with cancer many times over, with both positive and negative outcomes, so I understand the reality of treatment and the stress that it entails.

Our summer vacation plans have changed with this news; we're trying to organize a trip back home to visit with her. We've not told J the whole story as of yet, since we don't have all the facts and can't answer his possible questions. Plus, he went away to summer camp this week and we did not want him to be thinking about his Grandma the entire time he was there. So, he knows that she had surgery for her leg, but he does not know the reason behind it. Just telling him about the surgery was rough, as he felt quite a bit of sympathy for his grandma and couldn't believe that she had to go through that. He is very close with her, and we don't know how to break the news of the cancer diagnosis to him, as he will worry incessantly about her, but we also don't want to lie to him, since he can tell that we are both a little more frazzled these past two weeks than normal.

Friday, June 08, 2012

When it rains it pours

It has been a rough couple of weeks at our house. Within the last two weeks we've had many family/close friends become ill. I counted 7 hospital stays, two surgeries, two life changing diagnosis, and one severe case of plantar fasciaitis. There is another surgey scheduled for today, and I have to admit that the stress of worrying is really taking a toll on our family. Being thousands of miles away from those you love in their times of need is tough. We're trying to be supportive, but when you have many questions about the medical care it can be draining for those sharing the news. Hopeful, things will turn around and family/friends will heal.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Last week of school

J just finished his last week of middle school, and what an eventful week it was for him. J got into a fist fight, asked out a girl for the very first time, had in school detention on the next to last day of school, and went to apply for a job. The fight was one that had been building all year. A boy in his science class had been picking on him for awhile, this day he was throwing balls of paper at Jo's head. J asked him to stop, bully boy said "What are you going to do to stop me?", J got up and punched him. I cannot say I blame him, as this same child stole J's pencil bag earlier in the year, which contained his glasses and computer jump drive. It was only with the teacher's help that he got it back after a week of trying on his own. No, I don't blame him at all - in fact, his father and I agreed not to punish him because we both probably would have done the same thing if we were in his shoes. The girl he asked out said "no", which did not surprise me as she comes from a strict family who do not believe in letting their 14 year old daughter date. I was just glad that J had the courage to ask. I did not even know that J was applying for a job. He had asked to go to the local ice cream shop by himself, which was fine by me as long as he had a phone on him so he could call me once he got there and once he left. He called to tell me he was leaving and it was taking a very long time for him to get home. I was beginning to get worried and this mama bear was contemplating calling the police when J walked into the house. Come to find out, it took him so long because he was inquiring about job opportunities. Seeing that J is only 13, he was turned down, but you have to admire his grit.