Monday, May 4, 2009

April 8, 2009

Hi all.

Mom called tonight and reminded me that I had not been in contact today. Actually, I spent the day sitting with my husband, holding his hand.

Today, his kidneys slowed down and his temp and white blood count went up and the doctors were a-scurrying about, trying to address it. One strategy was NPO When I left tonight, the fever was going down, the kidneys were working and he is hungry and cannot have anything until tomorrow.

I’m a bit fuzzy on where we are with the updates so bear with me. We had a long chat with the doctor. Mike asked him pointed questions about how he will die, (tumor will grow, will fill up his torso, will sap nutrients from other vital organs) what it will be like, will he be in unmanageable pain (no, says doctor).

Just as further surgery will do Mike no good, so are the prospects of palliative care. The doctor, when cornered, said that a year is a reasonable time frame. However, it will be wise to connect with hospice when we get back to Kokomo. And, this hospital has a team of social workers etc who will help us with this.

Hospice is for the last 6 months of life. I believe if I could get the doctor drunk and corner him, he has a shorter time frame in mind. But if he tells Mike that he has months, Mike might just shut down. If Mike thinks in terms of a year, then in those months, we will be living and doing. We all know stories about people who hang on beyond the expected passage.

The doctor indicated that at this point, care would be a compromise between quality and quantity. Tonight is not the time for a vote but I’m betting my hub will go for quality. I support whatever decision he makes in this regard.

Some other questions and answers. I asked the doctor, after saying that if I asked this question of a poet or theologian, I would get their answer but I wanted a medical answer. “Why him?” Mike fits no profile of this disease. He waxed metaphysical anyway. “My best answer is that life is not fair.” And he related some other stories, like the young father with 2 children who had pancreatic cancer and passed away the other day.

“Is there any connection between Mike’s ulcerative colitis 25 years ago and this.” He said that in the literature (this is a smart dude) there was indication that gall bladder cancer can bring on colon cancer but there was no date to indicate that it works the other way.

“How long has this tumor been growing?” Much qualification about growing cancer in a lab and “3 or 4 years, probably.”

“Is this something that my children should be concerned about?” (Genes and all) No.


Our focus right now is to get Mike healed from this surgery and then home. We are surrounded by friends and family and we know you are praying for us and we know you would do anything for us. Right now, I can’t process needs. But I will and you will hear from me. You could drop Mike a note or call.

Right now, this evening, we are in the pit of despair, Mike more than me. Although I’m the one with all the Emily Dickinson poems floating through the head. Why, God? This should not happen to great men who are great fathers, grandfathers, friends, who have a great marriage and the potential for so much good in the world. If I were running the world (a common problem I have is when I try to function in an advisory capacity with the Father…He doesn’t need my help), THIS would strike the mass murderer, the wife beater, the crack pusher. Of course, yes I know God, they might not be as ready to run to your arms as is my Mike.

We are weeping. We are hugging. We are telling each other how sorry we are for each other. These are the steps we must take. In a few days, we will start looking toward our next time frame and making the most of it. I did tell the hub that something I would like him to do is to pen (record) something for our grandsons. They will really never get to know him, what a great man he is, and he can leave them a legacy of wisdom. We will get this done. I imagine that we will think up a few more targets for his memoir.

Now look, guys. I may be slow with further updates. I imagine we will not be thinking of checking out until the weekend, maybe Monday. There are some physical bench marks that Mike must reach. Besides the fever (chills, body aches), his rather ugly, large incision is causing him pain. They are addressing it.

So, yes, pray for us. We know you are joining with us in this. And there are other things WE KNOW. This is the best for both Mike and me (and all of you, and God’s kingdom). We are His children. He loves us more than we could ever love each other. He knows our pain. He shares our pain. He has given us this great love and He knows what it means to be separated from it.

We will rest in this. We will worship Him as He takes our hands and walks with us through this dark valley.

Ok, sermon over. Good night.


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