I got a text message from my son this week asking us to pray for him, his fiance, and her family. His fiance’s mother was recently diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer that had spread to her bones. She has had a month of radiation and a couple of weeks of chemotherapy, but she is not tolerating the treatment well (she has lost 28 pounds in a month and was already very small). So the doctors are recommending that they stop treatment and consider hospice. Her only child, my son’s fiance, has been holding up extremely well during all this, taking on the burden of support and caregiver for her mother. Still, it finally got to her when she was asked about a “do not resuscitate” order.
My son and this young woman have been dating for about six years, so I’ve grown very fond of her, and when he shared this information, it hurt my heart to think of her upcoming loss and what her mother must also be considering. Next weekend my step-son (Lynn’s biological son) is getting married. I wonder whether my son and his fiance will now rush to get married while her mother can still participate in the wedding. It would be a very simple affair; I’m sure since time will not allow for planning, but I can imagine the desire of the daughter to have her mother there and the desire of the mother to see her daughter married. Suddenly plans change when your focus is narrowed in on time and what’s of utmost importance.
I’m fortunate that Lynn is currently doing well. He’s stronger and better able to move than he was at this time last year, which is a blessing; however, his ability to do things for himself is no better and maybe a little more limited. But still, he is doing better, so I’m not focusing on avoiding readmission to the hospital or making plans for greater support. However, I know that one day, that will occur…just not now.
Sometimes looking at the long road ahead and the expectation that as he needs more support, I’ll be getting older and less able physically to provide the care he needs becomes overwhelming. On the one hand, I hope that he won’t linger in a state of total dependence on anyone while he lies in bed unable to move or do anything on his own. I know he had rather die than end up like that so if that point occurs, I hope he dies quickly. But I hope that is a very long way off because even though it takes so much out of me to care for him as I do, I had rather have him as he is now than not at all. We still share so much and still find joy in our lives and I hope that the blessing of together continues for a long time to come.
So when faced with the awareness of how fleeting life can be, I realize once again that there are much worse things than having MS. What he has is a nuisance but he still has life and joy and hope and that makes MS just A thing, not a thing.