I have tried to update here a few times but just couldn't get the words out. So here's one more attempt...
On Wednesday, a neurosurgeon at UAB removed a baseball sized tumor from my mother's brain. He feels that it is cancerous, that it was an aggressive tumor, and that it had probably only been there a matter of weeks. Because if its size, it had pressed into the brain and shifted it over to the other side. Her brain had swollen a lot, and all of this combined is what left her looking and sounding like she had suffered a stroke. She lost most of the use of her left side, and her speech remains slurred and mouth a little droopy. She looks like she's been in fight... her left eye is badly blackened from the fall she took Monday morning, and then there's the obvious bandage over her surgical area on the right side of her head. She will be moved to a rehab facility in Montgomery on Monday to get some help regaining all her motor skills. We won't know how much will return until they start working with her. Of course, with an aggressive tumor, there's a risk of it growing back quickly. We are still waiting on the path report to come in and to talk with my mother's oncologist about her treatment options. So there are a lot of things still up in the air.
I have learned in the last couple of months through the reading of a book that patients and family members dealing with chronic/terminal illness all go through similar waves of emotion. I don't use the word stages because you weave in and out of them, going back and forth between several in a week's time or even throughout the course of a day instead of conquering one and moving to the next in any subsequent order. When I read this in black and white, I found such relief. For months, I thought to myself, "Why am I mourning her before she's even gone? Why do I feel so sad one minute, angry the next, peaceful a few hours later?" I thought I was crazy. I thought that the internal battle within me, one in which I had to convince myself to stay in the very moment I stood in, was not normal. So it was such a relief to see that what I experienced was completely normal.
Patients and family float in between the following stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I may be in one stage today, and every single member of my family might claim a different one. That's what complicates things so drastically, but being aware that dealing with this awful disease is ever changing for all of us helps me be more patient with myself and everyone around me. We are all fighting a battle within to make sense of what's going on around us.
So, me... I am hovering in the sadness right now. I hesitate to call it depression because it's not quite that. To me, there's a big difference between sadness and depression. With sadness, there's still hope; depression knows no hope. My sadness mainly stems from watching my sweet mama go through so much. Watching her experience so much pain. And the mama in me wants to take over and take care of not only her but my daddy and my brothers as well. I want to put everyone under my mama wings and protect them. But I can't...
I am finding that every single step... like, literal physical step... these days takes the strength of God. I am nothing without Him. I would be stricken to my bed in a fetal position after this week if not for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. And I am now discovering there is no strength outside of Him. I hate it that it takes the crap of life to draw me closer to Him, but at least there is a benefit. I can see no other good coming from it outside of that dependence on Him.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you forever. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:3-4
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6