Walking Toward the Final Shadows

I was going to continue with my posting about my anger with God, however, my husband’s condition has worsened. He is in ICU with a bowel obstruction and he has low O2 saturation. Low O2 sat means that his blood isn’t being oxygenated like it should. The doctors are looking at blood clots in the lungs as one of the reasons for the problem. I am afraid that the problem is the tumors. They have taken up all the available space in his abdomen and there is not room. The tumors are pressing in on all of his organs. He is dying.

I need to write more, but I cannot. I haven’t had much sleep in the last 24 hours…..I need to write so I can sort all of this whirlwind of emotions. They need an outlet or they will be the same as the tumors and displace my sanity. I need to complete my thoughts about the Dangerous Shadows, but, for now, I need sleep. I need to return to the ICU before the doctors make their rounds. I need to be with him. I need to watch him breath. I need him to know that I am there with him and he is not alone.

In spite of my anger with God, I still need My Heavenly Father, the Lover of my soul.

I need God, Abba to hold my hand.

These shadows are so dark. I cannot see my hand in front of my face or feel my heart beat in my chest. I don’t know if I am breathing or not at this moment. I am numb.

In this darkness, I see my husband’s face. It is full of worry and pain. He is wondering if he is approaching the moment when he leaves me and this world or is it the time that we see the Hand of Living God suspend the laws of cancer by His Mighty Hand. My poor husband’s body is being ravaged by pain and he just wants to live. He wants to see the face of his unborn grandson. He wants to look into the child that will bear his name.

Oh, my Lord and Savior, reach forth you Hand in mercy. Please, be our Gentle Shepard and lead us with Your comfort that You speak of in your Psalm. Teach us to trust You more and to hear your voice as our hearts cry out in desperation.

Please,preserve his life, Father. Please, preserve his faith. Please preserve our hope.

In the name and by His authority, Jesus, the Christ I implore You,

Amen.

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Dangerous Shadows, Being Angry At God

I always believed that the God I served was “Too kind to be so cruel”. In my childish way, I always believed that in the end, God would work it out and I would come out on top. And, most of my life, that was the way it was, until I hit the bumps and bruises of the past few years.

I have always had seasons of multiple losses. In 1989, my brother (who was 15 years my senior, yet my closest sibling) was killed in a car racing accident. He was the president of the family company. My mother had cancer, so my father, the vice president of the company, was not able to assume responsibilites of the company. A year earlier, I came on board as the general manager of the company and I stepped in and took over the company. I believed I was providing precious time for my father and mother by keeping my elderly father from these worries. And there were worries and many concerns in keeping the business going after such a key loss.

Eight months later, my mother succumbed to her two year struggle with  cancer, multiple melanoma. She was the glue that held the family together. Without her, the family began to disintergrate and my relationship with my father was one of the causalities. My marriage was next.

Six weeks after my mother’s death, my first husband filed for divorce. The marriage was not a good one. There was adultery, domestic abuse and lack of love, but loosing an 18 year relationship on the heels of loosing my mother was devastating all the same. Three months after the divorce filing, my maternal grandmother passed away. She was 95, but she was the only grandparent that I had a related too.

All of these lost relationships seemed to be a lot, however these losses didn’t encompass the losses of a home, of a confused teenage son and to protect my share of the family business, I sacrificed the majority of my belongings in the divorce. In fact, after 18 years of marriage, I had 18 boxes. One box for every year that I was married. I didn’t have a vehicle, furniture, or pictures etc. I got my clothes, my books and table and 3 chairs….Loss is something that I have known.

On the heels of these losses, I did find a respite. When I was 17, I dated the son of our pastor. I had fallen in love and I knew that he did love me. As time went on, we married others. One day at work, a bearded man came in the door. I did not recognize him. But, the moment he opened his mouth, I knew it was the long lost first love of mine. He was looking for my brother. He had been divorced for the second time and he needed work in this loction to facilitate his visitation with his children. This was no co insidence. Two broken hearts that had once been one seeking to find a way to heal. This is what I saw that eventful day. Two years later, we were married. I had finally married my first love.

The happiness was tempered by the pains of the past. Yet, we found happiness together in the next ten years. Things really began to compound after 2001. My father died and my business interests and inheritance was lost. I was told later that my father was very angry at me and he didn’t want me to inherit anything.

In 2002, my husband and I believed that we were called into the ministry and we were asked by a friend of ours to come and help in the community of the pastor friend’s church. We knew that we would have to be self supporting, but we believed that we were embarking on the road to fulfill our destiny. Almost simultaneously when we agreed to come and help in the ministry, my husband’s youngest daughter, whose mother has bi polar disorder, called us from the Sheriff’s department. The bi polar mother allowed a 23 year old man to move in with them. The mother charged the man $800/month to live there and this included having sex with my husband’s 16 year old daughter. We learned that this was not statuatory rape because the law recognized parental consent and it was given in exchange for the “rent”. When the bi polar mom became angry with this young violent man, she threw out his belonging. Later that day, he returned around midnight and shot up their home.

When we received the phone call and realized that they needed a place to hide, we moved them into the community where we were going to pastor. This was for their safety. One month after the move and before we could move to their location, the mother went into a major manic episode and began “trolling” the Internet again. (I call this trolling. It is like a prostitue walking the street because it results in unknown men coming into the home and leaving after having sex. This is the behavior that started the violence in the first place. The 23 year old man that the mother allowed to move was found on the Internet. I should also say that we, my husband and I were helpless to stop this behavior because he was the non-custodial parent. The court system is biased toward the custodial parent especially if it the mother). We believed we were saving their lives from the violence that they brought on themselves. Our mistake was in trying to play God. The price we paid for our ignorance was the loss of any present relationship with this daughter. Even now after she has been informed of her father’s cancer, she refuses to have any contact with him. This weighs very heavy on his mind. Of course they left the small community before we did and we have no idea where any one is living at present.

I must stop here…..it hurts so much to recall these things. I will post more in a couple of day….

Living In the Shadows of Grief

     Today, on Fox News, I viewed a video of Rick Warren, the author of a Purpose Driven Life, answering a question from Alan Combs regarding counseling people who had lost their homes in the wild fires of California.

     Warren had previously written something about the The Seven Steps of Grief  or something along those lines. Warren made the comment that you have to talk it out. He said that you have to talk to your Heavenly Father in prayer about the losses and then you need to talk to others about it. He said that if you don’t talk it out, your body will take the grief inward and it will work itself out in the body.

     That isn’t a news flash, but it made me stop and think about things a minute. The loss of a home and everything that embodies a lifetime is similar to death. The destruction of pictures, family heirlooms, and other favorite things erase a life as if it never existed. Yet, this loss can be regained. Never to the same level or a total replacement of objects, but insurance monies will be distributed, people will help in sharing of photos and the heirlooms will be lost but are retained in memory. The grief can be a scar, but the injury is recoverable.

     The losses in my life are not recoverable. The losses to death are not able to be minimized. The loss of a future is totally not recoverable. How do you overcome this kind of grief and how can this loss from fire be compared to the loss from cancer?

     It is the losses that mount up to a height that overwhelms a soul and can overcome the living. That is the issue that I want to consider. Personally, I know that my body is taking the grief inside of itself. I see it in the aging that is on my face. I feel it inside my body. I am not dealing with the impending loss of love, my husband. The idea of loosing him after waiting over 25 years to make a life with him adds an element to the grief. I believe is the element of anger.

     Anger toward the feeling of injustice is something that I won’t allow to surface in my mind very often. The anger is toward God. Why towards God? Because, I believe that my God has control over everything that emerges in my life. One of the principles in the Purpose Driven Life is that God knows you and your life from before your birth. The scriptures tells us that God knew David while he was being formed in his mother’s womb.

     I remember discovering this principle when I was a young adult. I didn’t have to have someone write a book for my discovery of this idea. I read the Bible and I made this conclusion, ” God, my Heavenly Father, knew that I would be born into the family that I have. He knew that my sister, who has Down’s Syndrome, would be coming into this world after my debut. He knew that I would have to live with unintentional neglect by my parents. He knew every issue that would come forth from this situation in my family and all of the good and not so good effects that it would have on forming my personality.

    Later, I realized that having my sister born with Down’s Syndrome would be a tool to reshape a father who loved on conditional terms. He judged everyone in comparison to himself and his work ethic. He valued no one who was not like himself. With the birth of my sister, he had a choice. He either would love her without her ability to perform, or he would reject her and walk away from all of us. He tried the later option first, but my sister had her way of creeping into his heart. For the first time in his life, he loved without expecting performance from a person.  Did it make a difference in my life? I am sure that it did. My father was a hard task master and his approval was never fully realized by any us other children. But, I am sure that it was better because my sister came into our lives. I believe that it would have been a much harder life had he not be in touch with someone like my sister.

     Embracing this principle that God knows the milestones that come in and out of your life, I look to my present situation and ask, “Why” I have a lot of “Whys” in my life. Why are these things occurring in my life?

     I will list my Whys      Why is it that:

  • my older sister has MS
  • my younger sister has Down’s Syndrome
  • my son has a brain injury, not just one, but two (my son was injured while in the Marine Corp. A year after his discharge, he was hit by a car. His diagnosis is traumatic brain injury x 2. He suffers from terrible headaches that are manifested in 3 different kinds of brain pain and he experiences these headaches 6 times or more a day )
  • the failure of my three businesses
  • the loss of my home and loss of my inheritance
  • my husband’s parents, both, are afflicted with dementia
  • my husband’s brother also has cancer
  • my husband’s brother lost his church due to lies and deception of his wife
  • the loss of contact with my husband’s youngest daughter due to the mental illness of bi polar disorder and I am blamed for the destruction of the relationship. With this loss, my husband has two granddaughters that he has never met. It isn’t like he will ever see or know these children
  • the loss of my oldest friend, a 26 year relationship, due to lies and deception

     All of these whys are stresses that my body internalizes because there is no answer from Heaven. To talk to anyone about all of this is overwhelming. Someone who has never felt the loss of a family member to death or a loss of a job, a home, a friend…..how can they empathize or understand?

     And people want to believe that their loss from fire is a travesty. It is. No doubt that it feels like the end of the world to them. Compare these losses to the losses of relationships.  In light of the loss of relationships, the loss of homes and things becomes like loosing tooth picks or splinters. If these people who lost their homes to fire emerge from the smoke and ashes with their relationships intact, they have gained from their losses and they come forth with life. They survived intact.

     I don’t know how to gain through my losses. I don’t know if it is possible to learn anything other than knowing the pain of loss. I know that this scenario is over the top for the average person, so I keep it to myself. I suppose the reason for not talking about it to others is why I began this blog. With a blog I can share these losses yet I know that I am throwing the whys out into cyberspace. I know that there are millions of people out there. Yet I realize that there is the possibility that no one will ever read these words. I also realize that the same possibility exists that someone will read these words. Am I trolling for sympathy? I don’t know. My self analyzing becomes a burden sometimes. I don’t understand it but writing this blog has a healing effect of some sort. 

     I didn’t hear the other six of the seven steps for dealing with grief…..I doubt if they can encompass my griefs and loss……or maybe, I am trapped in my own self pity…….I can’t help to wonder if I will survive??? Stats suggest that I won’t survive and if I do, I will be unwell, or morbid…..Wow, this is really getting dark…..but that is the level of light when someone lives in the shadows of grief…….

Adding To The Shadows Part 2

The following is an excerpt from a paper that I collaberated with my daughter in law for one of her college Sociology classes. She deserves the credit for writing the paper. I contributed to content from the experience with my husband. It should be noted that my son, the husband of the author, is a traumatic head injury x2 victim. He was injured while serving in the US Marine Corp.

Why does a free society allow insurance providers to dictate patient health care as deemed medically necessary by the attending physician?

     This paper focuses on quality, timeliness, and efficiency of medical care based on the allowable limits that insurance providers impose upon individual healthcare. This topic needs to be researched due to the fact of the rising costs of medical insurance which in turn causes individuals and companies to purchase less than adequate policies. This gives authority to the insurance companies to decide what medical tests, procedures, and doctors that a patient can select and it includes medically necessary pharmaceuticals. This takes personal empowerment from the patients and professional provider and gives the final decisions that were once made by the physicians and places it on  an impersonal enitity such as an insurance provider that does not have adequate medical training, empathy or understanding of patient needs.

     ………we are operating from the perspective that medically necessary healthcare is limited by concrete and immovable requirements as deemed by medical insurance carriers. …… The following passage is from the American Medical Association. This information reflects a case study in which the insurance provider of this patient limited or prevented adequate medical care.

     “Allison is the resident taking care of Renee and is concerned that Renee is not doing well enough to be discharged. Allison would like to keep Renee in the hospital another day to ensure that she remains afebrile on oral antibiotics and that she is able to go 4 hours between treatments. The HMO, however, refuses to authorize additional inpatient care. The HMO has authorized payment for a home nebulizer for Renee, and the administrator for the plan feels that someone of Renee’s age with her history should not require additional inpatient care.” (American Medical Association, 2007).

     There are many resources and personal accounts of individual freedoms being compromised by insurance providers dictating less than adequate or medically necessary healthcare. The following an excerpt is from an online blog of several individuals discussing inadequate healthcare treatment.

     “Insurance companies and pharmaceuticals have barged in and made their camp with our trusted physicians. We are losing out on recommended tests and proper physicals as well as unbiased decisions on prescriptions! Have you been refused tests you know you should be getting? Open up! Don’t stand for it! ( I especially talk for women, as they will be refused the same tests a man gets automatically saying-*it happens to women*, it’s this, or it’s that, and refuse a MRI, or other important testing!-it’s total Bul ****-with a capitol on the *bull*) Are we going to quietly allow these corporations to dictate our healthcare?” (E-thepeople.org, 2003).

References:       American Medical Association, (2007) HMO-Dicated Patient Discharge           Retrived 09-24-2007 @ http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/12045.html    E-thepeople.org, (2003). Who is governing Insurance Companies’ Rights to dictate Healthcare. Retrieved 09-24-2007 @ htt/://www.e-thepeople.org/article/31509/view?viewtype=best&skip=10

………Conclusion: Are we as a society going to accept healthcare designed by impersonal insurance dictations or are we going to find the solution by raising our voice? This problem impacts innumberable families on a daily basis because at the end of the day, it is the quality of life that truly matters.

     The subject for the paper was what freedoms have we lost that we once took for granted. The healthcare paper was in response to my daughter in law’s recent days fighting with the insurance company for coverage of a medication for vomiting. My son has intractable migraine like headaches. Some days, he has as many as six/day. Not all headaches cause nausea and vomiting, but those that do exasperate his headache pain to the point that it is unbearable. When that takes place, my son has to be loaded up in the car and driven 20-30 minutes to the local hospital for treatment of IM medications. This 30 minute car ride is where my son screams in pain until he reaches ER.

     The medication that he needs is Zofran sublingual. This medication is the only one that can prevent the kind of episode that I described and the medication is also called “Gold” because of the cost. If my son had cancer, like my husband, the insurance company would have no trouble approving it because it is necessary to control the nausea and vomiting that results from chemotherapy. But, because my son has traumatic brain injury, the insurance company, in their great wisdom, withholds its approval because there are other anti-emetic drugs. They want to ignore that my son has taken all of the alternative anti vomiting drugs and they do not work for him. The Zofran does work.

     As my daughter in law argued with the insurance company, the realization came that 25 years ago, the doctor would have ordered the medication, the insurance company would have paid for it and that would have been that. Since the days of HMO and managed care, the insurance companies have become little gods and approve or deny a persons care.

    As my daughter in law continued to debate and argue the issue, I thought about the intangible aspects that these publicly traded companies can never value. They can never understand the terror that my grandsons endure as they are all in the car racing into the night with their beloved father screaming at the top of his lungs for 30 minutes until they get to the ER. If this Fortune 500 hundred company could see the horrified wide eyes of these two beautiful children, would they be so insistant in denying approval of this drug. What is the cost of “Gold” if it prevents my grandsons the emotional trauma that they will have to overcome in their adult years because they have a family with a 100% service connected disabled and unemployable veteran in their family? How can you give a monetary value to the nightmare that they have already lived through in their young lives????

     Just as my husband waits to see if we can get assistance for the cost of the Xeloda, which will determine if he stays here through the holidays or not, the question begs to be asked, who is in control over his body? Is he, or is it companies who control medicines? Right now, it is not my husband.

      Just something else that adds to our Shadows as we walk toward the sunset…….

    

                                     

Adding To The Shadows

It was no surprise when my husband’s surgeon called today. We didn’t believe that another surgery was a possibility, or at least I didn’t believe. But I think that it was a silent hope of my husband’s.

Surgery truly is the only medical treatment for the rare cancer that he has. The last stats that I read were that his cancer occurs in the general population at a rate of 1 in 280,000. That is why there is no specific chemotherapy that addresses apendiceal cancer. It’s occurrence is so infrequent that research is focused on the more common cancers.

The last stat that I read regarding research on metastatic cancer is that only 2% of the 35 Billion dollars raised and spent on cancer research was directed at metastatic cancers. Metastatic cancer is the cancer that kills, yet only 2% of the monies find their way into research into this deadly and inevitable cancer.

It has been thirty-five years since President Nixon declared war on cancer and 35 billion dollars has been thrown or blown towards this disease. And just exactly how much more is known about the actual mechanics of this dreaded disease? Not much……What is wrong with this picture?

Cancer treatment is a huge industry in and of itself. If you look around, you will see construction taking place at many large and intermediate hospitals around the country. What is driving this boom? Cancer. Cancer treatment centers are going up everywhere. It looks like the consensus regarding the demise of my generation will be cancer. The projected rate of cancer in my generation is one in three. The millions of dollars consumed in this building frenzy must be justified by the statistics or they wouldn’t be sinking this kind of money into these facilities. Even IU Med has expanded and it’s addition is dedicated to the treatment of cancer. Leaves you wondering if they are really looking for a cure. They have to pay off this investment and if you find a cure, there are going to be a lot of useless and empty new additions to hospitals .

Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Empty cancer centers because there is a cure for this menace that robs life. Yes, it would be marvelous if you are on the outside of the hospital looking in, but if you are the administrator of one of these gigantic medical centers you would be worried as to how to pay for it all. Or, if you were the pharmaceutical company that was developing new drugs for the side effects of present day treatment, what would happen to the price of your publicly traded stocks? It raises the question, are they really looking for a cure?

The cost for the Xeloda for one month is over $2000.00. Unless we obtain assistance from the manufacturer of the drug, my husband will not be able to take the treatment. I wonder if anyone would be upset that a man would be deprived of this treatment should he not be able to pay for it? I think that most would stop for half a second and say, “That is terrible!!!” but continue on secretly thanking God or their lucky stars that they aren’t in that set of circumstance. Wake up!!!! The medical industry is counting on you being in that set of circumstances. That is the way that they are going to repay the loans for all of these new facilities. They are counting on you contracting cancer!!!

I suppose I am musing on the dark side of the subject. It is a deep shadow and there isn’t much light at the end of my husband’s life. I know that we aren’t alone, so why does it feel like it?

Isn’t it enough that he isn’t going to see his grandson’s next birthday? Why is it necessary to increase the burden of this horrible disease by compounding the cost of everything connected to it? Case on point is the cost of one of his treatments. When he had veins that could be accessed for the IV, the treatment cost us $140.00 per visit. After his veins collapsed, his portacath was the only way he could continue to receive the treatment. The cost of the treatment using the portacath, $2300.00 per visit. It is the same treatment. The only difference is the method of administration. The explanation is that it requires a RN to access the port and that level of skill costs more to cover costs, however I doubt seriously that the nurses are seeing  any increase in their salary or that the space and facility is any more than when he received it through his veins. How is this justifiable?

Contrary to what it may sound like, I am not in favor of nationalized health care. My first husband is British and I know a little about socialized medicine. Trust me, the average American would not stand for the long waits and the lack of choice that accompanies having the government pay for care. The quality of medical care suffers as well because the doctors are just “skilled labor” and they would never make enough to pay off their student loans on the salary of a doctor under this regime. I suppose I am advocating that the healthcare industry police itself and establish a system that isn’t inflated to cover the low negocitated rates that they have with medicare or large insurance company. As to anything more, I don’t have a clue. It all costs, but the disparity between the cost of these treatments is really hard to justify.

I suppose I am venting over the fact that I see cancer as Big Business to an industry that holds people’s lives in their hands. It is already to a stage that doctors have to jump through many large hoops to get insurance companies to pay for treatments or drugs that their patients need or would have a benefit. Why would we want to give away the last thing over which we have control, our own health, to a political mess like government? Why should our personal physicians be constrained from doing or prescribing the things that we would benefit from the most because managed care dictates to the contrary? We may have freedom of speech, but it is becoming questionable if we have freedom of medical treatment. The counter to that statement is that if you have the money, you can buy whatever treatment you want. That is true even in the socialized medicine countries and that is why they come to America for treatment. So, it goes. The issue of money and the “haves” and “have nots”. It is our misfortune to be in the “have not” category.

The shadows are deepening for my husband’s survival. And I believe that they are also lengthening for all of us who are approaching the “golden years”. All of these concerns should be on our minds because medical care or the lack of it will add to our own Shadows in the Valley.

Don’t mind me. I am just venting at the shadows……..

Beginning of the End

     I am sorry, but I cannot continue with the series as I once thought. Somehow, I thought that it would be good for me to write about the journey and it would give me perspective on cancer and living. In reality, it hurts to much to recall the journey that I am trying to write about. It hurts to remember the hope that came the day of the surgery when the surgeon said that everything could not have gone more beautifully. It hurts to much to remember the sheer elation that I felt when I heard the surgeon say that he was cancer free. And that my husband would measure survival in decades. It hurts to much to remember that I believed that we received a miracle. Unless a decade is comprised of two years, we haven’t had a miracle or a decade. The reality of the present and the memories of the past are so great in disappointment that my heart cannot continue to remember. I know that the surgeon tried and he did his best. It isn’t enough. Everything that we have done and everything that my husband has endured is not enough to keep him here on this earth. It isn’t enough.

     I hurts too much to remember that after the surgery, we looked to the future for the first time in months. We moved to the family farm with the hope and belief that we were going to live our golden years. It meant that we were about 20 years premature, but we were going to watch the sunsets and enjoy beginning again. 

     For four months, the tumors were in remission and we looked ahead instead of behind us. But then there was the day that he noticed the hard quarter size place on his suture line. In the late summer, the surgeon said that it was a stitch that failed to dissolve or an adhesion. He wasn’t worried. It began as the size of a quarter. In two months, it was the size of an orange. By the time we could get into see the surgeon in January of this year, it was the size of a grapefruit. I knew it wasn’t good when the surgeon sent us directly to IU Med oncology. I knew that the hope that surgery gave us was gone.

      And now, the tumors are everywhere. They totally fill the abdomen and the room that was achieved from removal of the spleen, the bowel and everywhere that was occupied by the original tumorsi s lost. The tumors and their size are filling every space and crushing every organ that is in his abdomen. I guess we are waiting for them to squeeze the kidneys or liver into shut down.    My husband has taken the integrative treatment, the chemotherapy, changed his diet and he has done everything that can be done. Nothing has stopped or deterred this menace. It is like an advancing horde that knows no barrier or respects no one or nothing.

     Yesterday, we saw the oncologist.  There is one type of chemo that my husband has declined to consider until now. He has steered away from this therapy because of the history of stroke in his family. One of the risks of this drug is vascular complications and that includes stroke. So now, we are at the zero hour and we have this as the last recourse. I hate the feeling of desperation that comes when the options are whittled down to none. But, as our oncologist said yesterday, the only treatment that was available was for a cancer that he does not have. He does not have colorectal cancer, but that regime is all that they have to work with for his rare, terminal and advanced cancer.

     That has left us with taking a treatment that puts him at risk for a possible condition that can diminish his life quality or an abrupt ending of his mobility. But, what are the risks verses the outcome of death? Now, the risk is the minor concern. The major concern now is the cost of the treatment. As we began looking into this treatment, we don’t know if we can cover the co-payments of the medicine. I don’t think that we make enough money on a monthly basis to cover the co payment  medication, so the nurses are trying to get the medicine covered through some sort of assistance through the manufacturer of the medication. If they cannot get the assistance, the journey is over and he will not be able to take the chemotherapy.

      That is why I can’t go on with the reminiscing of this journey. Remembering the relief, the hope and the past causes too much pain as I realize that we are just months away from the end. Even with the new chemo, it is only a stop-gap measure. We may or may not see this year out and the new year in.  It hurts too much to remember the journey and the hope that I felt  now because the present tells us that it has all been done in futility. Everything has been done for nothing. Or, almost nothing. He has lived two more years than he would have had the surgery not taken place.

     Futility isn’t something with which I do well. I really don’t like loosing at anything and in the past 5 years,  that is what I have done,  loose. Loosing at life, is so unacceptable to me that I am failing in all areas of life. I am unable to focus on the basics of daily living, and the sad part of it all, I know it.  I am in suspended animation. I am not living. I don’t recognize this as living. I am so lost in this game called Life. And the really sad part of it all, is that it isn’t about me. It is about him and my call in life to help him leave this world. My selfishness is too great. I can’t think about much of anything other than he is leaving me. It may be against his will, but it doesn’t change the fact. He is leaving me. He is going somewhere that I can’t go. And it torments me.

       I may be able to tell the rest of the story of the Journey into the Shadows, but right now, the Shadows are deepening and I must concentrate on looking into this dark night and not behind to yesterday when the shadows were only gray.

      I don’t know the outcome of the next chemotherapy, other than the oncologist told him that there is nothing that is going to stop this approaching walk into the sunset of life. I saw his face and it is clear that he is not ready to face this. I know that I am not ready. We are loosing hope. Nothing can live without hope.

     I believe I saw how he will be ready. Yesterday, he had such terrible pain and pressure that he began to cry. Of course, I pulled out every painkiller that I had and like a witches brew, I concocted the most powerful and fastest acting response that my nursing background could muster. Pain is the enemy and I can fight it. I could see the fear in his eyes and I felt the helplessness inside of me. I know that this kind of distress is where his daily life is headed and I don’t want to watch his pain and my helplessness.

     Within 15 minutes, his pain was receding, but I saw how his resolve to not leave me will be eroded. It will be the pain that causes his grip on life to be loosened. It will be pain that will pry away his will to live. It will do it one finger at a time. It will also be what causes me to surrender him to the inevitable. I can’t endure his pain. I will let go so that he can be without the pain.

       Yesterday was a dress rehearsal, and today, is another day. I don’t know what is in store, I just know, I can’t go back to yesterday’s journey. I can’t remember the hope that was so alive and well in me then.  It hurts too badly and the days ahead will have enough of pain. Whether it is the physical pain or the emotional pain. It will have enough.

      Today, I have to live through it. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never be, so it is today. “As long as it is called ‘Today’…….” I want to believe that as long as it is called Today, there is hope. But my grip on hope is being pryed away, one finger at a time by his pain.

     Is my God too kind to be so cruel? I always believed so. It is my faith that is shaky and that is truly frightening. Without my faith,I have no hope. Having no hope is the beginning of the end for me.

     I am hoping that tomorrow brings hope. Somehow, I must find hope.