A cry for help

I have been a bit lacking in my blogging over the last few days. The truth is that there is one post that I really want/need to write, in fact I have written it several times only to delete it. Talking about myself and my own minor medical problems isn’t much of an issue for me, but when I try to talk about other people (medical problems or not) I am always left wondering how much I should say, how I should say it, how sensitive or technical I should write it, etc. I am just gonna try to throw this down off the cuff, as such it will likely be deleted before it makes it from my mind to your eyes, but I just have to try. There will be no links. If it actually makes it all the way to posting I will likely go back and add them later.

My Mother in Law has been having problems with her hip for at least a year. She has been to several local doctors who all diagnosed it as osteoarthritis. She has been taking over the counter supplements to battle the problem, but it wasn’t getting any better, in fact it was getting worse. Over the last week or so she wasn’t even able to hold her head upright for more than a few seconds without enormous amonts of pain. Just how bad it had become came to light just this Monday, after a chiropractor, of all people, ordered an X-ray. She left the chiropractor’s office in an ambulance. It was bad.

Thankfully she was taken to the emergency room at St. Joseph’s Hospital (far and away the best in the state), where my Father in Law, my wife, my Brother in law and his girlfriend, two of her (the mother in law’s) best friends and myself waited anxiously for any news. The first that I heard, prior to getting to the hospital, was that she had a broken neck. If only it had been something so minor…

The Hospital went on to do a bunch of tests on her, MRI, CT Scan, multiple X-rays, something is horribly wrong with her spine. Her neck needed to be stabilized, and I thought that she was going to be going into surgery for that right away. Alas, they can’t just start cutting on her until they know exactly what the source of the problem is, else they could do more harm than good. So it was that they just doped her to high heaven and held her in intensive care unit at the Barrow neurological Institute to await results of a biopsy. That was all on Monday.

Details were hazy on Tuesday, everyone was a bit too emotional to retain and repeat facts. Moving on.

Wednesday brought the news that no one ever wants to hear. A single word that can devastate any family: Cancer. Not just a little bit of cancer, she has it in lots of places. There is cancer in her neck, which is obviously the most important one, cancer in one of her breasts, cancer in one of her hips, a ‘shadow’ of cancer in one of her lungs, and another ‘shadow’ of it on one of her legs. I honestly just don’t know what to think. The oncologist is waiting for the results of the biopsy before starting treatment, I suppose that is a good call. But if you have cancer in five distinctly different regions of your body, isn’t that the point where you can rule out the cancer being benign?

The only good thing to take from the Oncologist is that he thinks that the ‘shadows’ of cancer are not really that big of a deal. Detecting those early enough might make it so that they can be treated before she loses the ability to breathe and the such. The neck is the worst problem right now, as the cancerous cells are the only thing keeping her spine in line. Were the cancer to respond a bit too well to the treatment (I assume radiation), a simple turn of her head could severe her spinal chord. She is in a bionic neck brace to prevent anything like that from happening.

The Oncologist thinks that she will actually be able to leave the hospital at some point, yet have to come back (daily? weekly?) for treatment. I think that is a pretty good sign. At the same time I am thinking that the human body is about an intricate a device as you will ever find; what works for one might not work for another. I hope and pray (I don’t really have a religion but I am praying anyway) that she is going to be okay. At the same time I know that you don’t really get over cancer, at least not when it is infecting your actual bones -you can only take out so many bones-.

Posts may begin to dwindle even more around here as I try to help my wife deal with what is happening to her Mother. I know there is nothing that I can personally do (like donate a kidney or something), but I have to do my best to make sure my wife is not an emotional wreck the whole time. That is a pretty tough task when the wife just keeps asking the same question, “She’s going to be okay, right?”, and there is no way to answer that question.

If you are reading this (regardless of religion), can you go ahead and just wish/hope/pray that she gets better. She is only 52, and she is a wonderful artist. She needs a few more decades down here…

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