You may remember that my Dad died January 1, 2006. My sister, Christy, had basically been his care giver for several months and maybe I should say years. She managed to do this while holding down her nursing job and her own business as well. That is a long story, but let me just say, my sister has a place in heaven. She is one of the most giving people that you would ever meet.
About 2-3 weeks after Dad died, Gene, my sister’s hubby, was diagnosed with stomach and lung cancer and cancer in his spine. The prognosis was not good. The Drs basically said it would be a loosing battle. But, Gene started the chemo and after several months with several set backs, he finally completed his last round about a month ago. During all of this, he suffered a mild stroke, ended up with a blood clot in his arm which required surgery (which had to be put off because they needed to build him up due to the chemo, so chemo had to be put on hold a while. It was a real struggle for him to even get through the chemo because so many other health things kept “getting in the way”).
Christy and Gene have an excellent support system; their church and friends and people that they don’t even know have prayed, called, helped out. Christy took a leave of absence from her job so she could be with Gene while he was in the hospital (which was a very long time, off and on). She use to be an Oncology nurse, so she was on top of things with his treatments, etc.
There just hasn’t been a break for Christy in a very long time, so they were so very thrilled when the chemo was over, Gene had survived and won the battle. Christy had planned victory party the end of this month and had made plans to participate in the Kalamazoo “Light up the Night” cancer walk. She and Gene had been taking walks up and down their long driveway and he seemed to be coming along, even getting some color back and his moustache was starting to come back in.
She had noticed that he was having memory problems, some speech issues and Gene had been complaining about his back hurting so badly he could hardly stand it. I’m leaving out a lot of things that happened because so MUCH has gone wrong for Gene and I can’t even begin to remember all of the setbacks but the back pain was so intense that he started having difficulty walking and standing.
More scans were ordered and there was deterioration in his spine and a mass in his brain. They met with a new Dr who wanted to do both surgeries at the same time. Gene was having so much pain that this past Sunday, they did surgery on his back to correct that problem. Wednesday night they were going to do a spinal and a bone marrow to try to find out about the mass in his brain. When I finally was able to get in touch with Christy yesterday afternoon, they had taken Gene into surgery at 3:30 p.m. and expected this brain surgery/biopsy to take about 4 hours. They do have to cut into the cranium to do it. If it is cancer, the treatment will be radiation.
It is about 7 a.m. as I am writing this and I haven’t heard from her yet. She has the phone shut off in Gene’s room and of course, it might not be possible to reach her by cell phone but I’m going to try later if I don’t hear anything. I am really not expecting good news.
There are a lot of things in life that don’t seem fair and a lot of things that are not fair, but for them to go through all of this, to beat the other 3 cancers and to end up here, that is NOT fair. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, but when something like this comes along….I just don’t know. And I can tell that Christy is about done in. For the first time since this all started, when I talked with her yesterday, she sounded more like a scared wife than a nurse. I know she has had to keep up a brave front for Gene and she thinks she has to do that for everyone else too.
I know you don’t know my sister and her hubby, but if you wouldn’t mind saying a little prayer, it couldn’t hurt.
Our New Normal
4 weeks ago