Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Right where you are

Part 1.

Probably none of you know this but my mom has been sick for months. She was hospitalized back in May after a mysterious spell of being extremely disoriented. They discovered her kidneys were failing but after a day of intense hydration she was back in the clear. An x-ray of her lungs showed some cloudiness that the doctors interpreted as Pneumonia. They put her on new antibiotics and sent her home. After a week or two an intense cough and fever started. This lasted for weeks with no sign of her recovering. Sometimes she was in bed with a fever for days. I was about to have the baby and had a hard time processing just how sick she was.

After Joe was born, her health declined again. She would sleep almost the entire day, too weak to come down the stairs, too weak to answer texts or phone calls. My dad took her back to the doctor. Her white blood cell count was through the roof, they said. New images of her lungs showed a "mass," they said. The coughing had not gone away. This must be lung cancer, they said.

While waiting for new images and scans, the doctors put her on a new antibiotic and suddenly she improved. Her fevers stopped and her cough abated. It must not be cancer, then! It must be that she really did have pneumonia way back then, and it just got really, really bad. Maybe the "mass" the doctors saw was just what was left of the "cloudiness" seen at her fist hospital stint back in May. Yes, that has to be it! they said.

Two weeks ago she went in for the result of a follow up x-ray when the doctor told her he now sees something new. A nodule, near the "mass" in her lung. "A nodule typically indicates cancer" he said. Back to cancer.

But just today my father picked up and read the results of the high-contrast CT scan she had done last week to explore the new nodule. No mass is identified, no lesion is identified, likely resolving pneumonia. 

Sooooo... not cancer, then?

This has all been so exhausting and all over the place. I feel happily relieved but also sort of unemotional and foggy. I look back at the past few months and remember I had a baby in the middle of this. The kids have had to try and absorb the shock of a sick grandma. My dad has had to sort through the stacks of test results and things doctors said and when. It's been a very strange few months-filled with beautiful new things (JOE!). But along it there has been a thread of fear, sadness, and worry. But also, hope- hope for wellness, yes, but also the reminder that this isn't our home and that death is real and that it's coming and that is oddly, strangely comforting, too. And it makes me hopeful for Heaven.

Will you guys pray for my mom?? Will you pray that we would get a clear picture of what's going on and that she would get better? I love her so much.

Part 2.

In the midst of all the diagnosing and undiagnosing there was a day where things looked pretty bad, and the week had been pretty bad. She was sleeping most of the day and honestly, I could imagine her just slipping away. It was a Saturday and I was looking forward to a night out with Kirby and friends to just get my mind somewhere else. Midday, Hero came down with a mystery stomach bug and became instantly, excessively needy. I couldn't walk into another room without her crying for me to come lay with her. I can't lay with you! I thought. I have a newborn, and all these other kids, and a dirty house, and a dying mother. You are the last on my list, I thought. I wanted my brain free to worry and fret. I wanted to be able to ignore them all and text my brother and eat ice cream out of the freezer and feel sorry for myself. But she wouldn't stop pestering me. It got so bad and she got so weepy that we ended up canceling our plans for the night. It sounds so stupid but I was crushed. I got so angry. I was so mad that in the midst of being postpartum with a sixth baby, my mom was getting diagnosed with lung cancer, my kid was getting sick, and I couldn't even catch a break for 3 hours to open a bottle of wine with friends. It seems so trite and silly now for cancelled plans to have been the impetus for my rage but I wanted to run from my life that afternoon. I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Later that night, as Kirby and I sat on the couch it struck me how obviously on-purpose the day had really been. It became so clear to me that Hero's obnoxious sickie behavior was God shoving my reality in my face and trying to snap me back to it. I had spent the majority of the week in a haze of emotion and worry. I had done my best to ignore my children and ignore my life so that I could wallow as deep as I wanted. And all it did was make me more worried and more sad and more out of touch with reality. I think the day Hero got sick was God shaking my shoulders. This is your life, He said. It doesn't exist in hypotheticals or possible test results or what the doctor might say next Tuesday.

It's right here.
You have to live it.

Motherhood is never, ever easy. It's either hard-hard or good-hard, but not easy. In those days I learned a new lesson- I've got to just keep being good to my family all the time. I've got to shake off selfishness when I feel it and stop feeling sorry for myself when I do- even in the midst of sadness or worry or grief. I've got to be good to them, I've got to love them and give myself to them and give myself up for them. And just like that, peace grows.

I'm trying hard to remember that lesson these days as we hear more results and experience more rollercoasters. If there is anything simple about this job it's that the job description is a basic, one-liner that never, ever changes. Love them all the time.

Ok.

46 comments:

  1. Praying for all the mothers everywhere.

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  2. I would give you a hug if not for the not knowing you part. Or the where are you even part. A cold and lame e-hug will have to do. Thank you for articulating the words that capture what many of us are feeling.

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  3. This is really beautiful, and yes, hard-hard or good-hard. Love that! You'll be in my prayers!

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  4. When my first child was about 15 months old I was diagnosed with a super rare bone tumor in my lower left leg. It was a gigantic tumor. I had it removed and it kept coming back over and over again. It was aggressive, destructive and painful. I spent six years of my life fighting these tumors. After my first surgery I spent six months in my bed unable to walk and after the later surgeries it was more like 6-10 weeks in bed each time. About 2 years into it, they metastasized to my lungs. Now my daughter is almost 11 and I have two sons ages 3 and 1 and another baby on the way in January. Even though I'm through it, I have pain everyday. I limp and my leg is scarred and deformed from being scraped down and rebuilt countless times. I still have nodules in my lungs. About 36 of them. I spent a lot of years of my life wanting more children more than I wanted to breathe air and now that I have them, I still have times when I get upset with them because I'm in pain or because I want to be left alone to feel sorry for myself. I totally get that inclination and I do think that God uses my children to draw me out of that darkness sometimes. I will absolutely pray for your mother and I encourage advocacy on her behalf. There's nothing I can emphasize more than that when it comes to chronic illness. Advocating for yourself or having someone to advocate for you is vitally important. Some hospitals even have patient advocates on staff as a free service to patients. Illnesses aren't always what they seem and sometimes doctors get diagnoses wrong. Never accept a diagnosis without questions, honest discussion and fearlessness. I know this is a lot and I'm sorry, but dealing with chronic illness is something I'm passionate about. I will be praying for your mom and you too! Lots of love to you guys.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this with us - while my situation isn't the same, I certainly needed to hear the 'stop being selfish' part very much today. Many prayers for you and your family!

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  6. The best blog post I ever read. You get it! So smart for such a young woman. Your mom should be very proud of you. I will keep you and your mom in my prayers. I how she is back to her old self very soon. A young mom needs her mom.

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  7. The best blog post I ever read. You get it! So smart for such a young woman. Your mom should be very proud of you. I will keep you and your mom in my prayers. I how she is back to her old self very soon. A young mom needs her mom.

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  8. Prayers for your mom and your whole family. God gives us just what we need, even if its what we think we really don't want, huh? :)

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  9. I was really touched by your post. My mom is also very sick (Stage IV salivary gland cancer), and will probably pass in a matter of months. As a mom of two little ones (a preschooler and a newborn), I'm still trying to find balance between grieving and being the best parent I can. Some days are harder than others. Thanks for your words. :)

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  10. You write so beautifully Blythe. With so much truth. I really hope your mom is going to be alright. Saying prayers for her - and you.

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  11. I'm so sorry for what your mother and you and your family are going through. But thank you for sharing this beautiful post with us -- it's a good reminder to those of us who are sunk in the daily work of caring for our children. I'll pray for your mom.

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  12. Prayers for your mother, your family, and you.

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  13. Rosary for your mom tonight. She will be in my prayers. So tough :(

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  14. Isn't it amazing how we can turn turn turn away from God over and over again, and still, like a selfish lover He seeks us? It amazes me every time.

    Praying for you and your mama.

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  15. Replies
    1. Sorry, just to clarify, not about your mom but the message.:)

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  16. Praying for your mom! Thanks for this beautiful reminder.

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  17. Love you and your mom. We'll keep praying.

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  18. "It's either hard-hard or good-hard, but not easy." That's the truth about motherhood. Blythe, to me you may just be a sweet lady who blogs that I will never meet. But I will pray for your mom this morning. Thank you for sharing these things!

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  19. Prayers for your Mom. I can totally relate to the crushed feeling when a kids gets sick.

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  20. I will pray. And also, thanks for part 2. It seems like my brain space should get to belong to me, but it doesn't. I have to give all when it's needed.

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  21. This is so beautiful and a great reminder. Prayers for your sweet mom?

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  22. This is stunning. I'm so grateful for you and this life and your sharing it with us. Praying for your mom and you!

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  23. Prayers for you mom. This reminds me so much of my grandfather's illness years ago... "He has pneumonia. Oh, there's a mass, must be cancer. Wait, it went away, guess it wasn't cancer after all." And on and on. So hard to deal with.

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  24. Prayers for your mom and family. Thank you for your honesty!

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  25. Prayers for your mom and family. Thank you for your honesty!

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  26. Praying and praying for you and yours. So, so hard even when the vocation is clear.

    And what a gorgeous picture!

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  27. Will definitely pray for your mom!! Thank you for this beautifully written post!

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  28. This is why I read your blog and why it is--hands down--my favorite site on the Internet. YOU ARE SO AUTHENTIC!! You weren't too prideful or vain to share those feelings of wanting to escape and of not wanting to "be mom" when Hero needed you. That was so refreshing to read because I am extremely ashamed of myself when I feel that way about my kids, and then I am overcome with mom guilt for a long time afterwards. To read that you have those feelings, too, and even in a way, I felt like you were in my head because it's mostly when I want to feel sorry for myself and/or escape my life/problems that the kids' needs really seem to irritate me, ya know. But you didn't stop there. I love your writing because you're not just self-deprecating, you share your struggles but there is a reason, a higher purpose and by being so vulnerable open and with your human short-comings, I love when and how you share the lesson and truths that God lead you to discover.
    Thank you so much for that! You rock Blythe. You are so real but enlightening, too. This post made me cry because of all the heart-strings it pulled inside me. The overcoming inner selfishness and just always loving our kids has really encouraged&challenged me, and also My mom has been sick, in and out of the hospital for over 10 years. Scary, near death moments, and then also doctors-scratching-their-heads moments. I will pray for your mom. Please pray for mine, too. Again, Keep doing what you do and writing with your authentic-ness.

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  29. Prayers for your mom and family. I am a new mom and the vulnerable and heartbreaking feeling is something I didn't expect to be so strong. Some days I just want to hide from life and all things scary.

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  30. This post was such a blessing-thank you. And will absolutely include your mother in my intentions. You're the best!

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  31. Thanks so much for this one. Motherhood has been .... really rough lately. I hear you loud and clear and really resonated with it.

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  32. You do beat all, Blythe. Praying for love, strength, and healing for your Mom and whole family.

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  33. So beautifully written (and lived), thank you Blythe. Your candor is rare, but clearly welcomed. I'm thinking of your mother and your family, sending all the healthy energy I can muster. xx

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  34. This is...beautiful. First-time-commenter here, but I couldn't not tell you how much this touched me (sitting on the couch next to my husband). Your words about motherhood, the one-liner, loving them all the time...rang true. Tears to my eyes. Thank you! Sending prayers for your mom.

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  35. Oh my - first of all, praying for your mother and hugs to all of you. Less than two weeks ago I found out my mom has breast cancer (on top of my own health going out of whack and dealing with financial issues). Anyway, still dealing with the shock, but the good news is the tumor is much smaller than we thought and she's having surgery next week (further treatment TBD). Not knowing can be so scary, and the world felt very unreal and still gets to me. You're right though, it is not for us to worry about, but to be present and help others. Prayers <3 <3

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  36. I've been following your blog for a while now. I don't even remember what led me your way in the first place. And I think this might be my first comment. This post is so raw and lovely. Your transparency is endearing and powerful. May the Lord continue to walk with your mom and reveal what's going on with her. May He comfort you all...and bring peace to your daughter/mama heart. :)

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  37. الشرق الاوسط شركة نقل العفش بالدمام متخصصه فى نقل اثاث وعفش بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والقطيف والاحساء كما انها متخصصه فى النظافة وتنظيف المنازل ونظافة بالدمام والشقق والبيوت والفلل والكنب بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش الجبيل
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
    شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف
    شركة نقل اثاث بالاحساء
    شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
    شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
    شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
    شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر
    شركة غسيل كنب بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف كنب بالدمام

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  38. افضل شركة تنظيف خزانات ومنازل وشقق بالمدينة المنورة شركة غسيل خزانات ومكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة ونقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة
    شركة غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة

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  39. فرسان النيل هى الاولى فى نقل العفش بالدمام هي شركة نقل عفش بالخبر وشركة نقل عفش بالجبيل والدمام وشركة نقل عفش بالقطيف والدمام وشركة نقل عفش بالاحساء وشركة نقل عفش بقيق وراس التنورة
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف بالجبيل
    شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل
    شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف

    ReplyDelete
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