My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

20 July 2008


Last night I had a really good visit with my grandma, or G-ma, as we like to call her. She is a great woman, and spending time with her is always a treat. It is especially a treat right now because she is sick, and has been for some time. A week ago her doctors and my grandpa, her husband of nearly 61 years, made the tough decision to put her on hospice care. For so long we have been willing her to get better, making her eat to help her put meat on her frail 95-pound frame, making her exercise to keep her strength up, trying to get her to come to family events to keep her spirits up. But all that has done is leave us all frustrated and Grandma depressed when she continues to fail.

And so the hospice decision has actually been met with some relief by all. Yes, it has ushered in a stage of grief and sadness that up until now we have all chosen to deny. But even as we are overcome with waves of sadness, admission is so much healthier for the soul than denial. And how sweet it is to have time with her still, time to talk and reminisce and soak in her words of wisdom.

G-ma is 81 years old. In her life time she has traveled to every continent (except Antarctica, but only because there are no people there). She was once a trained singer, and blessed the church for many years with her beautiful voice. She has influenced thousands upon thousands with Bible studies she wrote in the 70s and are still used regularly today in churches around the world. She has been a loved and treasured pastor's wife, caring for her husband's flock right alongside him. Together they literally built Granada Heights Friends Church from the ground up, brick by brick, person by person.

She would tell you the most important thing she's done in life is raise four daughters, the oldest of which is my mother. They are great women all, and that is a testament to my grandparents like none other. They all married solid Christian men, and those four marriages gave my grandparents 15 grandkids. All are followers of Christ. Ten of those grandkids have married solid Christian men and women, while 5 have yet to choose.

One of my favorite memories of my grandparents is the dinners they used to host at their house every Wednesday night for the grandkids. We had Bible studies and youth group events at the church on Wednesdays, so G-ma and Grandpa would have us over for dinner beforehand. It started out just me and my cousin Ben, as a way to relieve my mom of a lot of driving ... but before long every grandkid within driving distance was making it to their house on Wednesday nights, whether or not they had a thing at the church. These dinners went on for years. As we all got past high school those regular nights at Grandma and Grandpa's started to wane. But we've had countless reunions since then. Those times were too fun not to relive on a regular basis.

Last night it was myself and my cousins Amber and Josh who spent the evening with G-ma while Grandpa attended a wedding. Though Amber, Josh and I all come from different families, we had a great time catching up while G-ma napped, then spending time with her while we waited for Grandpa's return (which was two hours late and started to have us worry ... you'd think a man his age would know better). We talked about us, G-ma's favorite topic, and also talked about some of the trips she's taken, the mission fields she and my grandpa helped found. It was a sweet time of just being with her.

I don't want to lie and say its not hard to be over there. G-ma is very weepy and starts crying at all things even remotely sentimental, or almost any time she starts reminiscing. She is obviously very weak and needs help getting off the couch, and watching over as she and her walker make their way to another room. She takes a little morphine in the evenings for pain and a sleeping pill to help her sleep the night. Every meal is accompanied by a menagerie of various pills and she's still going to dialysis three times a week. She's lost so much weight she is unrecognizable if you haven't seen her in a while. There is no forgetting that she is sick.

My grandma will be the first to tell you that her family is her favorite thing in the world. I feel so proud and privileged to be part of her pride and joy, and I know spending time with her is what she longs for most these days. And so, even though it can be difficult, I go. Now is the time. And sometimes, like last night, it feels almost like old times.


Knitting Keep Me sane said...

I feel for you. It is so hard when soeone so close and loved is leaving you slowly.

I lost my grandfather after a long illness. And his last words were I a going home we all cried out os sadness and out of knowing he was going to be with the lord. I lost my grandmother his wife a week later I say of a broken heart. I a putting you in y daily prayers your. and I hope the lord guides you as you go through this time. Treasure all the your grandmother has tought you and remember her love. I can still be comforted by thinking how much my gradparents loved and supported all 11 of her grandchildren. And how much she would have done the same for her great grandchildren.

Your In my Prayers,

Sarah Godshall

You were my secret pal in the dishcloth swap

Patsy said...

Good post.