Monday, July 27, 2009

How Quickly Things Get Worse

In my last post, I wrote that my mother-in-law's cancer had returned to her liver. Thursday morning we received some even worse news, which explains my lack of posting since then.

Not only is her cancer back, but it has infused her liver. In other words, there is no place in her liver where there is NOT any cancer. Which means it is inoperable. Radiation does not work on liver cancer. As a matter of fact, chemo rarely works on liver cancer. What this leaves us with is, basically, not much.

When Vickie was first diagnosed with breast cancer nearly 3 years ago, she asked about clinical trials. They told her that only two kinds of people were sent to clinical trials for cancer drugs - those who can't afford treatment and those they can do nothing else for. As they left the oncologist's office that day, Vickie joked to my FIL, "If an oncologist tells you he's looking for a clinical trial to put you in, you'd better be sizing up the coffin." Thursday, the doctor told her that they were looking into a clinical trial for her.

Right after lunch on Thursday, we told the girls the latest news. Of course, they already knew that her cancer was back, but they didn't understand the gravity of the recurrence. I think they just assumed she'd get treatment like the last time, and be OK. Well, we laid it all out for them. That has been the hardest thing we've ever done as parents to date. They adore Kelly's mom, and sobbed like I have never seen them cry before.

Thursday afternoon we met Kelly's brother's family for dinner to discuss things and just be together as a family. The hostess asked us as she was seating us, "Are you celebrating anything this evening?" We all just looked at each other. Kelly's brother answered, "Not really."

Friday morning we got up and drove to Dallas to spend the weekend with my in-laws. Surprisingly enough, it was an enjoyable weekend. Though there were plenty of tears, especially Friday evening, we laughed together, cooked together, laughed at the kids and the dog. Kelly's brother, Tony, has started a new photography business. He brought all his fancy-shmancy equipment with him, and we spent a good deal of Saturday taking pictures: Granny with all the grandkids, with her sons, with my FIL, with the dog, family pictures, etc.

I think one of the things that helped is that all the grandkids knew what was going on. We didn't hide anything, so that let us be able to talk about everything in front of anyone in the room. There was no "elephant in the living room" and thus no tension because of it. The kids asked questions when they came up, we discussed the treatment possibilities, we spoke about her not making it.

Hopefully we'll find out soon whether Vickie fully qualifies for the clinical trial. We hope that she does because this medicine combination is given in pill form and there are no really awful side-effects, like hair loss and nausea. This would mean that she wouldn't have to decide between quality of life and length of life.

My in-laws are being such amazing examples to everyone throughout this of how God works these things in the lives of believers. They are relying on Him and resting in His sovereignty. This doesn't mean there are no tears or heartache. But they are true examples of a verse they have taken as there own in the last several months.

Though He slay me,
I will hope in Him

Job 13:15a


Abigail said...

You all are in our prayers!

Granny said...

We are so sorry...but it seems to me that as parents you and Kelly are doing all the right things to live through (and not just around) the pain and the joy of family. This will be an integral part of the life story that God is writing in the girls' lives...

Prayers for all of you.