Our journey begins, like most, with the dreaded visit to the ER. Karen and I already know how this works, as we’ve had previous experience with everyone of our parents. This time, it literally has taken numbness in my mother’s face for her to want to get some help. Of course, as it goes with my folks, this is the first we’re hearing of these symptoms and as usual, we’re surprised that they’re willing to ignore, fairly obvious signs of trouble before doing something about them.
I take my parents to the hospital, Karen goes home to pack our ‘go bags’, knowing full well, that dinner has just been taken off the table and at minimum, we won’t be home until very late in the morning, the following day.
We wait the usual 6-8 for the test results to come back and we get the news: brain cancer. What started 5 years ago as a small polyp is now going to claim my mom’s life… The diagnosis isn’t surprising under the circumstances, but it’s still a gut punch. My Dad sits across from us and I can tell that this will be the hardest thing he’s had to take on.
I don’t know if you can prepare for news like that, or what is coming next. I vaguely remember the specifics of what the doctor is saying, but he offers us two choices; comfort or treatment. To my mom, there is only one road, and that is comfort. We are now enlisted to help manage my mom’s passing with the least amount of pain possible.
I leave the hospital around 2:15 am, so I can function at work, and she’s admitted to the hospital around 3:20 am. Karen stays with mom, until she’s placed in her own room, and then heads home. We’ll chat in the morning and start to put plans in motion.
Life is different now, and I hope I have enough love and patience to see me through this. I’ve never been good under stress so my goal is to manage the overwhelming wave of emotions that have started. I’m thankful I have Karen, because she rises to any challenge, effortlessly and without question. There’s comfort in knowing that we’re in this together and somehow we’ll find our way through this.