Monday, January 18, 2010

Mystery of Death, Miracle of Birth

We got back home from our quick weekend trip to Cincinnati yesterday around 3:30 in the afternoon.  We had pouring rain pretty much the whole way home, but we still made very good time.  We had my little Fergie with us, so we had to stop one time at a rest stop.  It sure saves a lot of time when you drive the approximately 360 miles without stopping for an hour and a half at Cracker Barrel.  My legs just get so restless.  I was able to knit for six straight hours, though.

We got into my brother's house on Friday evening around 6:00.  My sister in law had her card club get together so Chuck (my brother), my Bob and I ordered take out Chinese.  That seems to be our Friday night ritual as of late.  Chuck and Jill have such a beautiful home and a very comfortable guest room.

Picture of Chuck and Jill at Christmas

Saturday morning we drove to the other side of Cincinnati to spend the day with Bob's mother.  For those that aren't up to date, Mother Millie has pancreatic cancer and about a month ago she was given 3 to 6 months by her doctor.  We are going to try to make this trip to Cincinnati about once a month to be able to spend as much time with her as we can.  It's a very sad thing to watch and she is very sad and depressed.  She's losing her hair with the chemotherapy treatments and is in a lot of pain.  The pain seems to be under control right now with pain medication.  She says the once a week chemo sessions are very difficult and make her very sick.  We were told recently by Bob's sister that two more tumors have been discovered.  So here's my question:  Is chemotherapy worth it?  I have no experience with cancer and admittedly know nothing about effects and results of chemotherapy.  All I know is that anyone I've ever know with cancer seems to get really sick from the chemo. and I have never known anyone personally that has beat this thing.  I hear of cancer survivors, but are there survivors from pancreatic cancer?  I just have all these unanswerable questions about this disease.  Why do some people get it and others don't?  Why does it happen?  What causes it?  My MIL has always eaten well, exercised a lot and was usually very upbeat.  Now granted, she drank probably more than she should have and had some very rough times in her life, but does this cause cancer?  It's such a mystery to me.

We took her for groceries and we just sat in her living room and talked.  Then we took her to dinner at a very nice restaurant where her oldest daughter, Debbie, is a waitress.  Debbie was working that night so she waited on us.  We were also joined by Bob's brother, Debbie's husband, and a very good friend of ours, Mike.  Mike was the best man and one and only witness on our wedding day 30 years ago. 

Mother Millie and Mike

Millie was getting very tired during dinner, but she ate well and was glad to be with family and friends.  I overheard her say to Mike, "Please pray for a miracle for me".  It's so sad.  But she really did better than I expected of her that day and she looked so cute with her little black hat on.

We took her home so she could get to bed, then Bob and I went back to my brother's house for the night.  After a nice breakfast with Chuck and Jill at a cute little restaurant called "The Breakfast Club", we headed back home. 

Our Sunday evening ended on a fun and positive note.  My son and his family were waiting for us at our house.  We knew they were coming.  It was their 6th anniversay yesterday and they drove the hour to our house to go out to dinner.  We had kept in touch and told them to bring the boys to us as we would be home by 4:00.  So we had a nice visit with Austin, Melissa and the boys, then the boys stayed with us while their mom and dad went to dinner. 

Austin and Melissa in front of my Valentine tree.

Melissa had her first sonogram today and we were hoping to maybe find out if we have a boy or girl on the way.  It's still a little too early, though, so we don't know yet.  The sonogram did show that the baby is healthy and growing well.  That's all that matters.

I continue to be amazed at the miracle of birth and the mystery of death up close and personal.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about Mother Millie's cancer. It's an awful illness. Seems like lately I've known so many people with cancer. Most of the people I know that have been diagnosed lately all had symptoms for a long time before going to the doctor. So sad.

Sometimes I think that no matter how well we take care of ourselves there are so many things in our lives we can't control like air quality, preservatives and dyes in food, even exposure to hair sprays. We can't live in a bubble.

Congratulations on the new baby coming soon.

DJan said...

This is a packed with information post, Nina! My grandmother had lymphoma at the age of 78 and they gave her what they called "palliative" chemo (that she wouldn't be able to recover but it would make her feel better) but she DID recover and lived a pain free life for another three years. Then it came back. Pancreatic cancer is different, I think smokers get it often (did she smoke?) and rarely recover for any length of time. But it should be what SHE wants to do. I'm praying for a miracle for her...

Theresa said...

Oh Nina, My heart hurts for all of you. Your Mother-in-Law is so cute. I am sorry that she is in such pain. I don't understand why some get cancer and some don't. I just continue to pray and that's the only answer I have to that question. That's what I will do for you and your family! It takes a lot of strength to watch someone you love going thru such a rough time.

Then there is the miracle of birth:) I am so happy for all of you. What a handsome couple they are. Happy to hear that the baby is healthy.

Love to you dear Nina! Hang in there and yell if you need to talk:)

Rae said...

You have a lot of legitimate questions. I always wonder why some get cancer and others don't. It doesn't seem fair.
As an oncology nurse who gave chemo treatments for 10 years I know the answers to most of your questions. Yes- drinking is a big factor in causing pancreatic cancer.
Now days most people Do NOT get sick from chemo. There are drugs to prevent that. Either she must not be getting the right combination of drugs or else her disease is too progressed. Pancreatic cancer is a very difficult one to treat and usually no cure is possible. It is a very aggressive disease. Sometimes it is best just to stop chemo -especially if the tumors continue to grow. It is a hard decision to make. You are doing your best by being there for her and being so supportive.

kimbuktu said...

I lost an aunt to pancreatic cancer. I don't know of anyone personally that has been miraculously healed, but I do know God can heal anything, so I pray for a miracle for your mother-in-law.

Thank you for your sad, but lovely post.

Cottage Rose said...

I am so very sorry for your sweet MIL illness... it is so hard to understand things in this world... It is sill so hard to understand the sudden loss of our Daughter April and her unborn baby,,, we questioned every waking minute... but the Lord has seen us through the grief,,, My Prayers will be with you MIL and the family... God Bless you all..... I wish I had some words of comfort or encouragement,,, just my Prayers... It is hard but somethings the Lord just does not show us,, and some he does..... How wonderful that you were able to spend time with your family love the photos....

Grandma Lizzie's House said...

It's always so hard to see a loved one suffer. I guess it's human nature to ask why. I just have to trust in God and remember he has his hand in all of our lives. My prayers are with your family.

Lily Robinson said...

Well, here I am... up to the Gs! Still lots of reading to catch up on.

I have known where chemo is great, and then there's the other cases...

I have had relatives that gained several more years with their loved ones because of chemo. When my mom's twin's cancer came back the last time, I wondered why they continued the chemo. It was obvious to me that her days were drawing to a close. She had beautiful times during her remission, but the last round of chemo was only buying her days. It clearly wasn't worth it. She suffered so much from it, with no payback.

When to stop chemo is a very individual decision. I will pray for a miracle for Millie. But I hope that if she decides to stop the chemo that everyone will support her decision.

I will pray for you too.


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