Saturday, March 19, 2016

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I left early that morning to drive three hours to  Kansas City to be with my mother for her oncology consult discussing the results of the biopsy and CT scan.  After the biopsy, the nurse informed us that the tumors were highly suspicious.  Hearing that a new tumor had grown in a matter of a week and the biopsy looked highly suspicious really set the stage for the tone and manner of this day.  We all knew what was coming it was just a matter of the logistics involved.  What stage is she at?  How much time do we have?  Who will move home to help care for her?  These, and along with many other questions of the same nature, filled my three hour drive down in the conversations between my siblings and I.

I met her and my uncle (who is a physician) at noon mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel.  I slipped in behind her as mass had already started.  I could see her nervousness and her hands were shaking.  After communion, she sat by me, leaned over and said, "Why did you drive down?"  I told her, "Because I want to see the miracle today."

We left straight from mass and headed to the KU cancer center.  The nurse brought us to a room and took her blood pressure which was way too high.  The nurse acknowledged her nervousness and said they must repeat until it goes down.  They transferred us to the conference room for the consult.  My mom turned to me and said, "I don't like this room.  I always get bad news in this room."  In the cancer world, everything becomes like that.  You associate everything with something.

Dr. McGuirk walked in and we exchanged small talk. He asked me about my family and other bits about my siblings.   I thought it a bit odd as literally my heart could be seen pounding through my shirt.  My uncle had come from Kentucky to help us understand the medical side of her prognosis and to offer his advice on the next step for her.  He is just so wonderful like that.  Dr. McGuirk continued to talk and then turned to my mother and said,

"Damaris, it looks like you have a lot to live for. I HAVE GREAT NEWS FOR YOU.  It is NOT cancer.  The tumors are benign and your CT scan was clear."

What????? How can this be????

I jumped up and grabbed her neck to hug her and did all the inappropriate crying you can imagine.  I looked at my uncle and he was just as stunned.  We were all stunned.  For weeks our minds were heading in a complete different direction, and now he is telling us she is COMPLETELY CANCER FREE.

Dr. McGuirk kept talking but I was fumbling with my phone trying to text all my siblings who were waiting on the other end about to pass out from anticipation.  It was the best text I have ever, ever, ever sent.  My sister said she took a picture of it.  It was unreal. 

How can this be?????  For two weeks, our minds were wrapped around the news that her cancer was already back and spreading.

NOW, you are telling me that this is NOT CANCER!!!!!

He explained the tumors as being part of her new lymph system since her bone marrow transplant.  Her system is learning how to work again and likened it to a coffee filter that was clogged a bit.  He put a strong emphasis on the need to ALWAYS biopsy as you just never know.

We left there and drove straight over to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne church to make a visit and thank Him for his mercies.

I drove back to Lincoln and she drove to Beloit.  I called her several times and asked, "What just happened?  How is this possible?  What just happened?"

It was an absolutely unbelievable day.  Like none I have ever experienced.  We are still reliving it everyday since.  It was that shocking.

The doctors aren't claiming it a miracle, but for our family IT WAS.  It was miraculous.  Indeed, the amount of prayers and sacrifices offered on her behalf played a roll in this unbelievable day.

She will have a scan in 3 months again, and then will be followed with a yearly exam if nothing arises in between.

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you for our continued prayers.

I have to post this video to describe what this day was like.   I told a friend it was like a Hail Mary pass being tossed in the air to win the game and it is caught and YOU WIN!!! Seriously.  Unbelievable.  I basically was #12 Ron Kellogg the quarterback running around like an idiot!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

God's Providential Delay

From my daily devotional this morning:

 "God in His healing mercy often requires PATIENCE from us, but we creatures of time want our comfort right away.  We would steal his lordship of time.  The Father is wise, and knows not only what to give but when to give.

It is a common theme in Shakespeare, PROVIDENTIAL delay.

He knows what will bring us the most joy, in the fullness of time."

I last wrote about my mother's scan showing a new tumor.  They planned to rescan that following week, but she developed pneumonia so everything was pushed back until this week.  They rescanned this past Monday and biopsy on Tuesday.  The biopsy showed two new tumors instead of the original one discovered a couple weeks ago.  We have all held out hope so much that the tumor was just scar tissue, but knowing that a new tumor has already grown pretty much rules that out.  We meet for the biopsy/scan report on March 9th.

My dearest, most wonderful friend in all of the world. How can we be here?  I have cried my eyes swollen so many countless nights.  I have thrown every last bit at God asking Him to please spare your life.

Shortly after this news, I began to count the costs.  I have every temptation to type out every cross that has come our way this year right here, right now.  But, I won't and can't.  It is not about me, it is about Christ.  I had forgotten that and I added it all up for my grand total of suffering this year.  It became about me.  It is all about HIM.  I had taken my eyes off the one I love most and looked at myself and began to drown like Peter.

You asked those dearest my heart this year.  I know we are made for heaven, but our time seems to have been cut short.  I have so many questions I need to ask her.  I want her to see our children grow.  I want her to see the fruits of her prayer and sacrifices manifested in her children, grandchildren, and all those she has prayed for.

But, that might not be God's will for her here.  The hardest part of accepting that which you fear most is knowing how to live day to day.  I place my life in your hands, but how do I radiate your joy to the world? 

I came downstairs this morning and just watched her.  She was sipping coffee listening to Lillie play the piano.  I was frozen. 

We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking together.  I finally tucked her in and looked back to see her smiling at me.  It couldn't help but blurt out, "I am going to miss you so very much." When someone you love is sick, you eagerly push all your feelings aside to be positive and soley focused on their emotions that any pain that you encounter is shoved aside because it pails in comparison to their pain.  I couldn't help but say it. 

This picture popped up on my facebook feed as a memory from two years ago.  She was in the hospital at the time for pneumonia.  This was before cancer.  This picture came the day after her scan.  I couldn't help but think how fitting to show her with that big heart.  She loves so deeply, specifically her children.  She has fought, battled, and waged war for our souls.  What a heavenly mother we were given to be so focused on getting us to such wonderfulness. 
My brother sent this video to all of us today and I thought it explained my good mother so well.
It is well worth the 6 minutes of your life to understand our mission here on earth specifically towards our loved ones.