Thursday, December 26, 2013

Obligatory Christmas Post

Nothing this Christmas has worked out the way I envisioned it back in October when I first started thinking about it…The worst part, & where all my negativity stems from, is we have a major family health crisis come up just a week before Christmas that has sent me into a tailspin…I’m still reeling. Don’t worry, Elena & I are just fine & in perfect health…this all concerns a member of my extended family.

She hadn’t been feeling well for some time but nothing specific. She was deeply exhausted all the time, she was having odd discomfort in her head, not headaches per se, but an achiness that made her vision feel off…recently she started experiencing serious vertigo…all little things that, by themselves, seemed harmless…but hindsight being 20/20 all make so much sense now.

December 17th, after a long day’s work, she was settling down for the evening when she started to feel very weird…all of a sudden her mouth & tongue started to twitch & spasm uncontrollably…she was frightened & called out to her friend who was staying with her…the friend called 911 & they were thinking maybe she was having a mini stroke. She was rushed to the hospital, a CAT scan done immediately then they sent her straight for a chest x-ray. I’m not sure if it was before or after a Doctor had been in to talk to her, but she had another episode of twitching & spasms & they were identified as seizures, not a stroke.

The night of the 17th, I had been exhausted…for the life of me, I can’t remember why now…but I had gone to bed with Elena at 7pm…when I woke for work at 4:30am, I got the messages. I rushed right over to the hospital. I didn’t know what to expect but was not prepared for what I heard.

She was awake when I arrived, about 5:30am, she gave me her account of what had happened then she told me what the Doctor had told her…brain tumor, chest x-ray showing a mass on her lungs…more tests needed to identify the primary sight & what is on her lungs…

A biopsy of her liver was done on the 20th…on the 23rd, while I was with her, she had another seizure…it was very scary to witness.

The morning of the 24th, I was getting Elena & I ready as we were planning on visiting her to have our  little Christmas together…she texts me at 7:45am that she’s just been told that they are taking her to the cancer hospital in my town for a 9am appointment. That’s the only information we’re given. I assure her I will meet her there at 9am…my Mom steps up, as usual, & takes care of Elena plus offers to drive me & drop me off so I don’t have to find parking…Elena, on the other hand, doesn’t understand why she is now not allowed to come with me to visit her…how do you explain this type of thing to a two year old? She cries all the way there while I apologize over & over again…what else can I do?

We are brought in to a see a Radiology Oncologist…he looks to be no older than 28, which makes me feel very old. He is very nice but doesn’t sugar coat anything. He shoots straight & though it is hard to hear, we appreciate his candidness.

She is full of cancer…there’s a lot of it…in her lungs, liver & of course the brain tumor. There is no cure, but they will treat her as she tolerates to keep her with us as long as they can while maintaining her quality of life. She is too unwell to consider chemo at this time & since all her symptoms stem from the brain tumor, they’ll treat that…with radiation, which has its own risks…it will cause the tumor to swell before it gets better…this could mean more seizures…and…

I am being purposefully vague to try & protect her identity but she is a family member & I am her next of kin. Her care falls to me. I am sick at the thought of what she has to face…I am scared to be the one to have to face it with her. I am scared to think about any of it…it’s all so overwhelming…

Elena…she is just too young to understand…but she does understand that I am not here when I should be, that when I am here, she doesn’t have my full attention while I return emails & send texts & take phone calls…she’s acting out & it’s killing me that a lot of what precious time we do have together is spent with me giving her timeouts & her having tantrums. I am not being the mother I want to be…the mother she deserves…
I did stay home with her on Christmas Day & we had our family dinner & I gave her my (mostly) undivided attention…it was a really good day…a Christmas we’ll remember…but not for the reasons I had wanted…


  1. I am so sorry to read about your family member's illness. My thoughts are with you and her to give you strength to face the coming weeks ahead. Hugs

  2. I'm so sorry to hear this, it is hard to watch someone you love struggle.

  3. I can't even begin to imagine what you are going through. I have a million thoughts in my head but all I can say is I'm sorry. Maybe with Elena you could change her misbehaviour into something fun. SR acts up when I am busy w J. I find that the consequences get everyone upset. But when I change it to a game, "instead of hitting, show Mommy how you can jump across the room" you might have more happy time together. This is all so overwhelming reading about it. I can't imagine what it's like to be going through it.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about your family member - both for how hard it has to be for her, as well as how hard it's going to be on you and Elena as you help her. Sending you strength and love.

  5. How devastating. I'm so sorry. Be patient with yourself, and know that Elena is going to be just fine even if you have a rough patch...thinking of you and sending hugs.


  6. Oh goodness I'm so very sorry. For you, Elena, your family member and your family. You know what though? I think it's beautiful for Elena to see what a kind, caring, generous mommy she has. I know you don't want her to see/feel your sadness and/or stress, but be sure to tell her you're taking care of someone else you love so very much. I think it's so healthy for our kids to see us loving other people besides them. They need to know we have other relationships and that we love and are loved. Prayers going up for all of you and many hugs coming your way from me and Tate.

  7. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. It is difficult any time of the year but doubly difficult around the holidays. It's so good of you to help care for your family member and be there by her side. I hope the treatments give her some peace and comfort. Thinking of you.

  8. I am so sorry to hear this news - now I understand the challenge you mentioned in the 2013 review post. You will be amazed at the strength you have when you need it - though maybe you won't realise until after

    Much love to you x

  9. Just seeing this post. I'm so sorry you and your family is dealing with this. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  10. I'm so sorry to hear of this bad news!

    My dad died of a brain tumor so if you have questions and I can help, please let me know.

    Sending hugs.


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