Thursday 26 August 2010

On Second Thought...

Well, maybe it's not fair. Life may be great but it isn't always fair. Let me tell you a story about someone I know.

Without sounding too cliche, my Auntie Jacquie is truly one of the most wonderful people you could ever meet. She is a remarkable person with a highly infectious laugh. She has gotten by through life by sharing much love, generosity and kindness with others. There is not one thing bad that I can even associate with her and again, I truly mean that. She has always been close with my Mom and my family. She has stood in the sidelines as another one of our cheerleaders and she has been one of our 'go to' pillars of support. Whenever we needed a ride she was there. Whenever we were down, she was there with her infamous Caesar salad to cheer us up. Whatever we needed, big or small, she was there. She was there without us even having to ask.

When my Mom was diagnosed with cancer, my Auntie Jacquie (A. J. as she is so affectionately called) came over every day. Even on those days that my Mom said to go away, she was there to make sure she didn't need anything. She took off work on stress leave and took care of my Mom. She was not only my Mom's comfort, she was ours too. She shuttled my Mom back and forth between her appointments. She took care of her when she was ill. She came over with any kind of beverage that she could find when my Mom needed to drink something after her many rounds of chemo and nothing appealed to her. She was there to pick my Mom up and make her walk down the street, even in her pajamas, just so she could get a little exercise.

And now...

Just a little over a year now, our A. J. was starting to feel shaking and numbness in her legs. She went for some scans, the doctors said things in her brain looked ok. It must be something else. She continued to feel the unnerving sensations till she woke in the middle of the night with absolutely no feeling or movement in her left side. She was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a brain tumor. The doctors operated on her brain and removed what they could. Most likely, she will not walk again they said. Most likely, this tumor will take over and she may have up to a year to survive.

At the same time, her 25 year old son Sheldon was in another hospital with what was believed to be a very curable form of lymphoma. They were wrong and Sheldon was operated on for over 12 hours. He had a stomach/esophageal sarcoma of some rare sort.

Sheldon and his mom were operated on at the same time. A few weeks later, they were able to be in the same hospital. Sheldon died two months later.

Somehow, A. J. has managed to carry on. She has managed to stay positive, interested in others and she has kept her strength. She is unable to walk and she remains in either a chair or her bed. She needs to rely on someone for everything that she needs. Her life was turned upside down and backwards. A few months later, she lost her mother. A month later, my Mom died; her sister and her best friend. Somehow, she has still managed to carry on. She worked on completing her goal of walking again. She walked 80 steps. She has moved and has been using her arm.

Till now,

Now we are back in the slumps of the dumps. All progress has been regressed. She has been losing feeling and movement in her left hand and her shoulder. Her arm drops and it is dead weight that causes an awful lot of pain that coincides with the pain and nausea of her chemo meds.

Now we are back to the fearful anxious mode we were hoping to have a reprieve from. Our hairs stand straight up but we slump from the stress and the sorrow of it all. How terribly sad I feel for my Auntie Jacquie. How hard this road has been for her, how much more for her bear?

Tuesday 3 August 2010