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October 21st, 2021 – Post #21
It’s sometimes hard to know what to say on these updates, because there can be the tendency to swing between everything being roses, which is unrealistic, and coming across like a Ronnie Raincloud. And then, there is the issue of sticking something already painful up on the internet and risking receiving that one comment (out of one hundred other encouraging ones) that feels more like a correction – and makes me want to keep my mouth closed.
Hating to Surrender
A few years ago, I remember playing checkers with a rather wise seven-year-old. He had quite a cache of kings compared to my one and only. Desperate to outrun him, and keep from getting surrounded, my monarch headed for the edge of the board. Etched in my mind is the moment my oponent stated plainly, “Jody, I don’t think you want to get yourself backed into a corner like that.”
I spent the next several minutes maneuvering between the only two spots accessible to me. Completely caught, there wasn’t anything else I could do. I knew there was almost no way I could win, but something in me hated to surrender. There was a tiny glimmer of hope my rival would get distracted, and then I’d slip passed him, but it was highly unlikely. I didn’t want to keep going back and forth like that, but I didn’t want to accept defeat either.
In trying to figure out what to say here, that story came to mind. It seems like a disservice to those who love my mom not to be open and honest about the reality of her position right now. She is backed into a corner. Yes, there are some things she can do to maneuver back and forth for a while, but in the long run it is very unlikely that she is going to get better.
Should My Mom Have a Whipple Surgery?
My mom met with the oncologist today to discuss last week’s CT scans. The tumor has shrunk a small amount, but there is still possible involvement with the main portal vein, which complicates things. The doctor suggests my mom go through two more cycles of chemo (three weeks on, one week off), if she can tolerate it; then have another scan to decide how to proceed from there.
According to him, the only medical option for “a cure” is The Whipple surgery. Because of my mom’s age, the surgeon would want her portal vein to be less compromised than it is now.
More chemo, and then radiation, might reduce the tumor enough to make surgery an option, but her overall health has to be factored in. This is a major surgery – rife with possible complications, and she is already extremely weak and fatigued.
So, I guess “the rose” is the tumor has shrunk some, but there is still quite a bit of “rain” right now and more “clouds” coming.
As I was thinking about what to say in this, and thinking of how weak my mom has become, I was reminded of a time last year when I was discouraged from health problems and didn’t have the strength to tackle my To Do List. I laid down, feeling like the day was a waste, and that I ought to at least be dusting. Watching the ceiling fan swirl dust through the air as the sunlight streaked in, I started piecing together this poem and hope it can somehow bring some sunshine in the midst of this rather gloomy forecast:
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, But Both To So Much More”
Today I watched a light show
There was glitter everywhere
Sparkles spinning round the room
As they scattered through the air
What looked like fireworks floating
Perhaps tiny bits of gold
Was something rather worthless
No one ever bought nor sold
For it was but dust, but dust
Tiny cast offs in the air
Yet a beam of glorious light
Is what made me stop and stare
On a bed of languishing
With discouragement to bear
‘Twas then my Savior showed me
A sweet answer to my prayer
For my hands are full of dust
All that’s left of what I’ve done
What I sought so hard to hide
Is now dancing in the sun
A picture of His promise
I’ve heard many times before
For dust is what we’re made of
But He always makes us more
Though dust is so unwanted
Bought by neither you nor I
To Him it is so precious
And the reason that He died
It was a good reminder
Of the offer from His Word
That when we give Him ashes
Then a miracle occurs
I’ll trade you for your ashes
And give beauty you will see
Just give me what you’ve ruined
And I’ll show you My Glory– Jody Susan
*To read more on my mom’s cancer journey from the beginning, or share it, please click below: