Thursday, January 11, 2007

Taking whatever I can get at this point

Cuddles is doing better. She's been more mobile. Stuffing her fat little face. She's not as wobbly. I even came home from work one day to find her up in the recliner. Last night she kept following me around meowing at me until I sat on the couch and gave her some love. It was what we both needed. Cuddles has this sweet habit of reaching out and touching me with her paw. She usually does this when she wants to be petted or wants attention. When you finally do pet her, she'll wrap both paws around your hand and pull you in. A process she repeats whenever you stop scratching. Since Cuddles is improving, I suspect she might have gotten injured when she fell off the back of the couch last week. She probably has some arthritis and she certainly didn't land on her feet. It sucks getting old.

I believe animals have an empathic sense. They seem to know when you are troubled or sad. They steer clear when you're angry. The best medicine for when I'm feeling blue is a purring furball or a concerned cold wet nose pushing at my hand for some physical contact. It got pretty crowded on the couch last night, with the dog curled up in the crook of my legs, Tabitha perched on my hip and Cuddles curled up next to my chest. They knew what I needed.

Moms second mammography turned out OK. The ultrasound showed the the suspicious spot had shrunk. Cancer wouldn't do that in 6 days. The halo surrounding the spot was light, cancer shows dark. Mom also has a bruise in that area. Add those 3 up and the Doc's not worried about it. Mom has a 6 week follow up.

This is good news. Just enough.

Sometimes, I can't help but feel that we are lab rats in some Higher Power's twisted experiment. Some mad scientist wants to see how far we can be pushed before breaking. We're going along in our lives, blissfully ignorant, then BAM! My Dad gets lung cancer. But that's only the beginning. This experiment involves the study of putting us on an emotional roller coaster.

Give some hope with the Non Small Cell Lung Cancer diagnosis. Liver - clear. Abdomen - clear. Let's dash that hope with it spreading to the brain and a Stage IV diagnosis, a death sentence. Give them some time to adjust and brighten their spirits with some positive response to treatment. Let's see how they deal with the pros and cons of chemo.

They seem to be coping. See how they hold on to each glimmer of hope? Let them get through Thanksgiving and then, let's throw them a curve ball on the Dad's birthday. Hit the wife with some heart troubles, nothing life threating, but make it debilitating. A-fib, yea, that'll do. Keep the son's marital woes and the daughter's teen troubles going too. While we're at it, boost the brain mets and dribble out some optimism with the Gamma Knife treatment. Make it a good news/bad news thing.

They're one strong family! They're taking whatever we throw at them. Up the ante with something life threatening to the Mom. Progress the A-fib to Congestive Heart Failure, do it close to Christmas. Push them to the edge, then pull them back. Let the Mother recover.

What a resilient species. Look at how they try to push aside all their problems for this Christmas day. See how they protect the young ones by maintaining the Holiday routines? If you look closely enough though, you can see the anxiety in their faces. They're all thinking the same thing. "Is this our last Christmas as a complete family? What will next Christmas bring?"

The New Year always brings hope and optimism to humans. Hit'em hard with a double whammy. Give the Mother another scare with some cancer of her own, but just make it a scare. Then, kick them right in the face with the lung Cancer again. Bring them back to the beginning. Remind them of their mortality. While we're at it, toss some more adolescent problems, guilt, and financial trials at the daughter.

Their bonds may be strong, and they may cling to hope. But, we will break them.

Maybe it's nothing more than my overactive imagination or a coping mechanism. But seriously, how much can one family take? We are a good family, a normal everyday family. We pay our taxes & always try to do the right thing. We are a hard working, loving, respectful and protective family. We are not perfect. We are human. We have addictions, weaknesses, faults & frailties like everyone else. We are doing the best we can, like the rest of humanity.

My parents have risen above every test and trial that has been thrown in their path.

Despite having an abusive father and a poverty level childhood, my Dad has been nothing but loving, patient & kind, and has worked his ass off to make sure his children never went without. Mom has never wanted anything less than the best for her children and grandchildren. She's our fierce protector, best advocate and most honest critic. She has more faith in our abilities than we do, and drives us to reach beyond our self perceived limits. All this, in spite of a domineering drill Sargent for a father, and a selfish manipulative Mother.

They've stuck it out through raising two children - teenage years and all, bankruptcy & alcohol addiction. For better or worse. My parents are the exception to the rule, in this day and age of divorce and easy outs at the slightest sign of trouble. My parents have honored their commitment to each other through the better and worse. My parents have lived honorable lives, always putting, not only their children's, but also everyone else's needs, before their own. They've worked hard. They've sacrificed dreams to take care of aging parents. They have always done the RIGHT thing.

So, I have to ask: What is the reason they are being put through this living hell? They've done nothing to deserve this shit. I don't want to hear that crap about bad things happening to good people. What's the point of living an honorable life, if we are only to be shortchanged (read: Fucked over) at the time when we are supposed to be enjoying our retirement and the fruits of all our hard work?

My ex-husband has made a lifetime out of beating the system and taking the easy way out. He hasn't done his part to support or parentally raise the son he had to have. He's not only harmed, but has irreparably damaged the life he helped to create. This son-of-a-bitch will live to the ripe old age of 90 while my SuperDad won't. Where's the justice in a selfish, miserable SOB living a long and mostly healthy life and an honest decent giving human being having his life robbed by disease? Where's the punishment in giving a convicted criminal, food, housing and entertainment (TV etc...) while honest, law abiding people foot the bill and die younger than the felons they support?

Some believe we are given one life upon this Earth. How we live that life determines where we will spend eternity. Heaven or Hell. How can we be sure, since no one has ever returned from eternity to tell us it is so. Some say, what comes around goes around and bad people get what they deserve. Is there any proof? Am I to take it on faith that my ex will get his just deserts, while my son suffers the consequences of an inadequate father. My son deserves more than that. My parents deserve better than being totally fucked over, at a time when they should be bearing the fruits of their sacrifices and hard work.


James Cooper said...

Animals definitely have a deeper emphatic sense than most humans. My old beagle used to know just how to react when I was feeling down, or angry, or simply happy. He read me like an open book and just knew what he should then do. Little guy helped ease a lot of my rougher days.

Your description of your ordeals as this sort of trial to test your family's limits reminds me of the book I'm currently reading, Ender's Game. Totally different subject matter, kid genius being pushed to save the world, but just the same these powers beyond him are doing whatever they can to make him break all the while hoping, needing him not to. Sometimes he breaks a little, but then his need to hold it together and support from his friends prevents him from completely breaking down. Of course, yours is the all the more compelling, frightening, and inspiring because it's true.

Hang in there Sharfa, show those invisible powers that you and your family are stronger than they are, and take support from all your friends, offline and on.

Suldog said...

I have my own feeling concerning such trials, Sharfa. I don't know if I expressed this here before. If so, my apologies for repeating myself.

I'm a Christian. Now, I don't know what you specifically believe/don't believe in, but no proselytizing coming up here; just my belief and maybe it will be some help.

As a Christian, I believe in life after death.

As a result of many experiences in life, I believe that for every high we experience, there will (sooner or later) come a low. The reverse is also true. For every low, a high.

We ride this roller coaster of emotion throughout our lives, constantly hiting new peaks and valleys. However, for every low, there will once again be a ride up the hill - a high, a good time coming.

I have no answer concerning the "why" of the situation. That would seem to be God's business and He hasn't seen fit to divulge His reasons. However, I know that there will always be a good time following a bad time, and this includes following death (the ultimate "bad time".)

All - good and bad - is transitory. It is just a matter of how much time is involved.

Enjoy the good while it's here. Take heart during the bad by knowing that it will not last.

I hope this isn't puerile to you. It's what I truly believe in my heart of hearts.

God bless.

KFarmer said...

Sweetie, I have to run right now but I'll be back to comment. Mean while, sending more love love your way-

Chunks said...

A friend of mine who just lost his wife told me, when I asked him how he managed to get through it, "It's life. Sometimes it sucks but it is what it is. You have to deal with it." Sometimes there is no explanation.

Oh and there is nothing sweeter than a puppy licking your tears away during a crying jag.

KFarmer said...

After reading your words and then the beautifully written responses, I feel hope stiring in my heart. Sarfa, darling, (that's what we say in the South to our cherished ones)you have so many who care for you, please take some measure of peace and comfort in that if nothing else.

The hits just seem to keep on coming right? That's the way is goes sometimes. But I know you are a lady in every shape, sence and form of the word and will get through all this too- Steel Magnolia's; that's what we call them down here. You are one too.

KFarmer said...

To add- I see good hearted, hard working folks get the shaft all the time and wonder at the injustice of it all too. It injures my sense of fair play. I'll look up and ask why? Why this person? If and when I ever get an answer, I'll be sure to tell you. On this side or the next-