Posts tagged ‘Health’

Cancer is a surreal creature.  It is sort of like a bus ride, and it doesn’t matter how or why you end up on the bus.  Once you are there, you are along for the ride until the end, no matter what that end might be.  Some days the ride is smooth, the weather is clear and you might even enjoy the scenery out the windows.  Other days, the bus seems to hit every pothole in the road, everything is stormy, and you don’t even want to open your eyes to look around.

We went to the doctor today.  On our last visit, he was all doom and gloom, talking about how much time my mother-in-law might have left, and how she would have to make a decision about whether or not she would want to resume chemotherapy treatments.  We spent five weeks agonizing over what to do, even through my father-in-law’s death, knowing that today would come and the answer would be expected.  Despite all the time and effort we put into preparing for that moment, none of us were ready for what happened next.

The doc came in, took one look at my mother-in-law, and began marvelling about how well she looks and how strong she looks and how well she is recovering from her broken hip.  He then went on to say how much he wants her to resume her treatments, even though he wasn’t going to do anything today due to a minor bacterial infection she currently has.  We asked about not doing treatment anymore, and he responded that not doing treatment wasn’t even an option at this time.  Same thing when we asked about getting Hospice involved.

Ironically, the doctor never seemed to notice how relieved my mother-in-law was when he told her she would not be getting a treatment today.  She hasn’t gotten to the place where she can come right out and admit it, but she spent most of the summer telling anyone that would listen how she hoped they wouldn’t make her do any more treatments.  The problem is that, on the one hand, she doesn’t want to die (who does?) but on the other, she doesn’t want to deal with all the side effects from the chemo again.  For the time being, it seems as though the decision is being taken out of her hands, which is probably the most relief of all for her.  Not having to decide is the most desirable choice for her.

So, for now, we will stay on the bus and keep looking out the windows.  Odds are that we will see some dark clouds ahead and the road will get rough again, but for right now it’s blue skies and easy going.  No matter what the journey brings, for now, we will continue the ride.

When you are a parent of a child with severe food allergies, you constantly walk along a cliff, looking down, watching every step, trying to make sure you don’t plunge off the edge.  Most of the time, through diligence, patience, and a lot of home cooking, you can stroll along with a wide comfort zone between you and the abyss.  Sometimes, though, circumstances push you closer and closer to the edge, to the point that, with every step, gravel and small rocks slip from beneath your feet and tumble down while you flail desperately to keep from following.  You know that if you do fall, there is a pretty good chance that you will be able to grab that rope called “Epinephrine Auto-Injector”, and it will help prevent certain doom, but it is always a last resort.

For the most part, we have done OK, but this morning we were reminded of just how precarious our journey is.  When my son woke up, he had the tell-tale polka-dot rash spreading out from his neck and down across his torso, front and back.  Thank you, cross-contamination.  We got take-away for dinner last night from a trusted location (one that we have researched and know the menu and ingredients and what is safe and what is not).  My son enjoyed his meal, but had an uncomfortable overnight, and woke this morning with the rash.  Our best guess is that someone had cheese on their gloves when they grabbed his chicken, or somehow a drop of ice cream somehow got onto his food.  No matter, it happened, and there was nothing we could do about it.  Allergy-inducing proteins are invisible.  They don’t come in bright colors or carry signs to alert you of their presence.  They just lurk in the shadows, waiting to pounce, given the opportunity.

I didn’t choose this journey, but it is mine, along with my husband and my child.  We look to each other on a daily basis to check our footing, and reach out to catch each other when one of us starts to slip.  It is never pleasant, never easy, and never-ending.  Thankfully, it has been a while since we have had to use our auto-injector, but I have to erase my mental chalkboard of “Days Without an Allergic Reaction” and reset it to 0.    While our trek continues, just once, I would like to be able to stop and enjoy the view from Life on the Edge.

Friends, all is right with the world . . . just finished opening Christmas presents with Brandon. He is home and working on readjusting to life outside the hospital. He is very weak and still tires very easily, but HE IS HOME! It might sound a little crazy, but after the roller coaster of the past two weeks, it is so comforting to be just sitting and being peaceful and chatting and laughing with Brandon. Just letting the calm wash over me . . . Thank you so much for all your love, prayers, and support over the past two weeks. I don’t know that we could have done it without you! Thank You!!!

Just got home from the hospital and visiting Brandon. He is doing OK, but he will not be able to come home in time for Christmas. I had a conversation tonight with Brandon’s nurse, and the chief problem right now is Brandon’s oxygen levels. Normally, O2 levels are around 98 – 100. Brandon is nowhere near that currently. He is maintaining an O2 in the mid 90’s, but needs supplemental oxygen to keep it there. When he is up and active, his levels drop even further, down below 90, even with the oxygen. Until he is at a place where he is at 95 or better, without needing any oxygen, he will not be able to come home. He has some breathing exercises he is doing to help strengthen his lungs and help them expand and take in more air, and he is getting breathing treatments several times a day, but, big picture, without enough oxygen in the bloodstream, there are a lot bigger problems that could occur systemically. So, until he no longer needs the oxygen, he will have to stay in the hospital.

On a separate note, I think he is just now beginning to wrap his head around what has happened in the past two weeks, and what the long-term effects of this ordeal might be. The idea of being physically challenged by a body that could betray him at any time is a little daunting, and he is having a little difficulty picturing where he is going from here. He wants more than anything to be out of the hospital, but feels a bit lost as to how his life is going to change when that happens. Just like coming off life support, it is going to be a matter of baby steps . . . .

Until he is able to come home, cards, phone calls, & visits are welcome. E-cards can be sent using the link below. Address them to C. Brandon Forbis, room 5120. The phone number for his room is 655-4588 or you can call his cell phone. Visiting hours are from 11 – 8 daily, but until he gets a little stronger, we would ask that visitors limit their visits to 30 minutes. Thank you again for all your prayers! They are working! Keep them coming!

Well, we’re moving on up . . . to the 5th floor! Just got a call from the hospital and Brandon is being transferred out of ICU up to the 5th floor. It is sort of a step-down unit – he will still be remotely monitored at the nurse’s station for heart and oxygen, etc., but with a little less one-on-one attention. His new room number is 5120 and it is still in the same building, just one floor up. From the sound of it, he may be sharing a room, so we are going to have to keep the partying to a minimum. He is still getting very tired very easily, so I told him to take a nap as soon as he got settled in his new digs. Hopefully, we are still on target to come home on Saturday . . .