It’s a “heavy” post, and I’m trying to be gentle and concise...
I met with my hospice people today.
We went over my symptoms from the last two weeks.
The Bottom Line:
-They feel quite certain that all of the symptoms I am experiencing are because of a bowel obstruction. Bowel obstructions are the leading cause of actual “death” in women with ovarian cancer. HERE is a link to brief information on bowel obstructions.
-I have lost five pounds since December 17th, which makes me now only 112 pounds. This is, as the math people out there know, a large percentage of my body weight. My body is already using its reserves, even with all of the Ensure it is getting...
-We have a care plan in place, and I have family and friends in place, to take care of my needs between now and when I go Home. For this, I feel abundantly blessed and loved and incredibly thankful.
***A cool story about God’s involvement in the details:
I need some stuff from the store.
I decided to call a friend to see if she could go to the store for me.
Within an hour, before I got anywhere close to calling her, she called me.
We haven’t talked for a month or so, so this was pretty amazing.
Said friend is going to get my stuff for me tomorrow.
How cool is that?
The Long Version:
In addition to the above...
-This bowel obstruction stuff was described to me as real, end stage, disease process.
-It may be intermittent for a while and the symptoms may come and go.
-Based on how fast all of the superficial cancer is growing in my upper body, it’s likely that the internal cancer in my abdomen is also growing fast.
-Based on that, and the fact that as the tumors in my abdomen grow they will shift things around, push on things, squash things etc, I should expect my symptoms to be unpredictable—right now my major symptoms are pain, nausea, and substantial digestive crud.
-Right now, this moment, I feel okay. Earlier today, I felt terrible. This symptom stuff is highly variable.
-Based on all of the above, I am reminding myself of what I know to be true of God so I don’t slip into fear and terror of what a bowel obstruction could do, and I am exhilarated by knowing that there is an end somewhere in partial sight—it feels kind of like seeing the sun glowing through haze on an overcast day... I can’t wait until it comes radiating through and burns all of the haze and clouds away, forever.
-I am also reminding myself that my hospice team will make sure I suffer as little as possible.
-I am also reminding myself that there are many people praying for me, that He is hearing you/them, and that He doesn’t turn a deaf ear to our pleas.
-Our care plan is for me to be at my home for as long as I can be here comfortably, and then when my symptoms become more severe, I’ll go into the hospice home where I will get care twenty-four hours a day, anytime I need it.
-Most people, by the time they would go into the hospice home with symptoms like I will probably have, don’t have any desire to eat.
-I have already chosen not to have IV fluids or IV nutrition: I want to go Home ASAP.
-Hospice will make sure that I am comfortable.
-Most people who are not eating or drinking die within two weeks.
-For me, it may be longer because I am young and my heart is strong.
-For me, it may be shorter (hopefully it will be shorter) because I am already losing weight and weakening, and my system is very compromised.
Meanwhile, when I first heard “bowel obstruction” this morning it hit me like a freight train because of what I know about them, because I thought God’s promise of mercy precluded a bowel obstruction, and simply because even though the thought had occurred to me several times in the last few weeks, two medical professionals were quite sure that I’m beginning one.
Then, and I don’t pretend to understand this completely, I was given peace as I thought about all of the ways God could show mercy, even with a bowel obstruction. I haven’t had time to really reflect on this but,
1. He could show me mercy by making this all happen rapidly and not allowing the dying process to get long and drawn out.
2. He could/and has already show/shown me mercy through the medical care He has provided that has helped ease my symptoms.
3. He could do something miraculous, such as letting a clot loose somewhere to give me an easy, instant “death.”
So I’m feeling relatively centered and peaceful at this point. I am still feeling somewhat jarred by the information but it’s settling in and being processed.
If you are praying for me, I can’t express how much I continue to need, feel, and appreciate your prayers. I felt them Sunday night after I posted my last post—in an obvious, peace-filling, mind-calming, body-helping way.
Thank you so very, very much.
On another note, a picture from my Thoughts and Stuff post came back to me today:
“As I’ve watched my life and the path God has brought me down, which has always seemed unusual to me, this cancer thing makes perfect sense as an end goal for this section of my life—the part I’m living here on earth, right now.
Sometimes I sit back and think about the things in my life that have made the least sense, the things that were the most excruciatingly painful, and they all fit together like pieces in a puzzle. This cancer thing is just the final piece. If I view my life outside the framework of this life, and instead view it within the framework of eternity, the puzzle looks perfect. Crazy sounding? Yes. But true. “
It occurred to me that here I am, exactly a year later, almost seeing Jesus finish my life puzzle. Here I am, watching as He puts this last piece of my life in its place. It’s amazing.
IN His grip, Martha
I almost forgot, I’ve had this song echoing through my head for several days now. God keeps playing it for me to remind me of what is true and to comfort me.
Stick with it for the first few seconds, while the previous song ends. Also, bear in mind that it's live performance. It is a beautiful and comforting song.