Friday, July 16, 2004

The throes of cancer

As I mentioned yesterday, it's been a pretty rough week.  We found out that Misty's mom's hysterectomy was unsuccessful in ridding her of cancer.  She's still got cancer in her cervix, and her doctor described it as the most agressive form.  More frightening, we were told that if chemotherapy didn't work or if the cancer cells were destroyed only to regrow within the next five years, her cancer would be considered fatal.

Briefly, Misty's mom suggested not even bothering with chemo.  That, of course, didn't sit well with those of us who want her to live.  Misty was angry.  She told her mom that there was no discussion, she was simply going to do it whether she wanted to or not.   Later on while I sat talking to my mother-in-law, I told her that she couldn't do that to Misty.   If she were to die having never tried chemo, Misty would never forgive herself for not pushing her to do it.  She agreed that she'd undergo the treatments for the sake of Misty and Emily.
Her chemo began Monday.  The first session hasn't made her feel too bad, she says.  She's got between five and seven more sessions, one every three weeks.

Tuesday, I took her to the American Cancer Society to pick out a wig for when her hair starts to fall out.  It looks pretty natural — it just looks like she got her hair done.  When we came home, she put her wig on Emily's head, which everyone thought was a riot.

Right now, Misty's mom is staying at our house.  She's capable of living on her own just fine, but in the event that she did need anything, she'd be 45 minutes away from us if she were to go back to her apartment.  Also, facing the reality that she may not have a mother much longer, Misty wants to be able to spend as much time around her as possible.  I figure that's not a bad thing, whether or not she makes it through this disease.

However, we won't be able to house her indefinately.  Having already spent the past month staying either with us or with her sister, Misty's mom feels like she's imposing.  And, of course, a long-term houseguest does make your privacy seem invaded.  Not only that, but she's bored — she's stuck on the first floor of our house, so pretty much all she has to do during the day is read.  We're working on finding her a place to live that's closer to us.  Hopefully that would create a pleasant medium between two extremes.

The whole situation is incredibly stressful.  And I don't pretend that my stress level even comes close to Misty's.  After all, it's her mother.  We're both physically and emotionally drained.  Free time has gone from being a precious commodity with an infant to being nonexistant now.  But each day we push through the stress and do the things that have to get done — whether we have time to do them or not.  Hopefully soon, as this new way living becomes routine, it will get easier.

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