Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday and the feelings of the day

Normally on Ash Wednesday I work my schedule around going to a service and receiving ashes. I like the symbolism that we come from ashes and we return to ashes. I like to keep myself on track remembering what in life is truly important.

At 7:30 this morning I received a phone call from my sister-in-law Jennifer, the baby of the family. She had a cat scan yesterday and the results were shocking. She had surgery last Fall for a tumor in the nerve over her voice box. It turned out to be cancerous. They thought they had it all but later realized the "stump" of the tumor was still in the voicebox. They decided radiation was necessary and she just endured two long months of it. She was desperately ill and unable to eat because she has lost most of her ability to swallow. About a month ago she had a feeding tube put in. That has helped to control the weightloss which was holding at a mere 90 pounds. She is not a large woman but still. So, the doctors had warned that the cancer might return. Perhaps as early as two years. Yesterday they confirmed that it already has and is now moving up into her skull. I listened to her talk for a long time. Obviously, her main concern is her seven year old daughter. I made some suggestions to help them both through this rough time. She said she is prepared to have more surgeries or do whatever is necessary. This May her daughter, our niece, is going to make her first holy communion. She is very excited about that. We all are. Today I feel numb. I want to do things I am powerless to do. All I can do is try to listen for the most part. It doesn't seem like much though. We are considering going up to Rhode Island for the weekend but waiting to see if that's a good idea for them.

Sometimes little things in life seem important. Then something like this happens and you realize how vulnerable we all are. How precious each day is. I still have hope. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That is my mind set. At times like this the close to three hundred miles between us makes it feel a world apart. I need to hug my unicorn sister. Soon.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

Nelle, I am so sorry for you and your family. I wish I had more to say than you're in my prayers.