Thursday, December 03, 2009

Highs and Lows

I haven't written about my brother-in-law Mark for a while. We were told he had but two months left to live...that was back in September. Mark decided at that time to try one more round of chemotherapy and radiation, but it was to no avail.

This morning hospice has finally been contacted.

Bernie's mom Barbara is up in Fresno with Mark and his wife Kathie. Mark is in the hospital as there was surgery performed to remove a tumor that had developed on his arm. Two weeks ago the tumor was the size of a pea; when it was removed on Tuesday it had grown to the size of a small lemon.

We learned that Mark had cancer early last February. Despite undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation the aggressive cancer has nevertheless grown and spread.

Today Mark and the family will need to decide whether to discontinue feedings, and thereby expect him to live but two more weeks, or to continue feeding him, which in turn will also mean feeding the rapidly growing cancer that has likely invaded his stomach...resulting in more pain, but also more time here on earth.

Mark has said he is not ready to die quite yet so the decision is very difficult.

Today is Barbara's 57 wedding anniversary. Bernie's Dad at home in San Diego today, so not only are Barbara and Hal apart on this anniversary, Barbara is meeting with hospice to set in place the final plans for her youngest son's life.

I can't imagine a worse way to celebrate an anniversary.

Bernie and I will be in San Diego this weekend helping Laura with some repairs on her new home. We'll play with her kittens, see Hal and my folks, and experience highs and lows of joy and sadness together.

Please pray for Mark and the family. Mark usually was one to arrive late to family celebrations such as Christmas. I'm wondering if this year he will simply arrive at the eternal Christmas celebration early.

It will be a wonderful thing to think that someday in heaven he will be the one who got there early, and will be the one who is saying to us

"You finally made it!"

instead of the other way around.


Janel said...

So sorry to hear of the highs and lows. I'll be praying for you and family. {hugs}

Lovella ♥ said...

Jill. . .I send my hearts deepest love to you and Bernie today. I feel so badly for you .. and especially for Mark and Kathie and perhaps even more so for your parents. I know they always say nothing is harder than letting a child leave ahead of you. What a tremendous blessing to know he has hope after his suffering is over.

Having lost a brother to cancer .. .I know how hard it is. No matter what time of year it is hard but between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems the hardest.

Judy said... sorry for you and your family. Ny thoughts and prayers are with you.

Kathy said...

I've been thinking of Mark since your comment on my blog. It's heart-wrenching knowing he'd rather stay longer. The will to live is so strong. I will be praying for your family - for peace. Perhaps Mark will be home for Christmas. When he gets there, he'll love it. It's the leaving and the grieving that's hard.

Vicki said...

What a terrible thing this is to have to go through...and especially at this time of year when we want to be celebrating the birth of our Savior. The decisions that must be made are not easy. Hugs to you all. May God's peace be with each of you.

L&D said...

Oh Jill. As much as this is a terrible time of year for sorrow, it can also be a reminder that death is not to be feared because of that little baby Jesus. Praying Mark will sense His peace & comfort and no pain.

Julie said...

I'm so sorry Jill... death at Christmas is always more painful or seems that way. We lost someone close to us Sat. morning. So emotionally, I feel for Mark and his family. I can't imagine walking that road with your child and making life and death decisions for them. May there be God's wisdom to make the right decisions and may God's comfort be there for the family. Sending my love and warm hugs.