decisions of life and death, as witnessed by the squirrel

“I may not have gone where I intended to go,
but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

Douglas Adams

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(gray squirrel / Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2016)

If you’ve ever driven down a road, suddenly spotting a grey mass sitting in the middle of the road…
as you approach said mass, at a nice clip of speed…you quickly, and a bit sickeningly,
realize that the gray mass quickly coming into focus…is a frantic squirrel…
who now sits directly in your immediate field of vision and in the direct path
of your 50 mph plus some odd ton vehicle…
closing in for an immediate and deadly impact.

The squirrel seems stuck in time, shifting left then shifting right…
with this surreal dance of death going on a million times,
within what seems to be an eternity but in actuality is…
a mere few seconds…

If life is good–the squirrel makes the right 11th hour decision by darting
miraculously out of your path by the very hair of his tail.

If life is not good–it is a bad day for the squirrel as you feel badly for that slight bump you feel under your wheels….

I am that squirrel.

The car barreling down on me is dad with cancer…
add to that my on-going searing back and hip pain coupled by the myriad of tests
I’m squeezing in in-between trips to Dads.

The Radiologist oncologist told us today that radiation would be every day for 7 consecutive weeks—everyday I’d commute to and from Atlanta as dad would be zapped.

Not to cure him mind you…just to hopefully keep the tumor at bay….
but for how long, no one can say.

His primary care doctor says he is simply too weak and frail to endure such.
The side effects of radiation in the elderly is weakness, diarrhea and burning…
that is in the best of cases…

He’s already weak, already battles colitis and is not very well overall mentally or physically…
yet that did not seem to deter the doctor today who seemed
more concerned with his ever ringing phone…
as he would step out of the room for 20 minutes here and 10 more minutes there…

He told Dad that if he did nothing it wouldn’t be pretty with pain and misery…
which scared dad into wanting to begin zapping right then and there.
I explained to the doctor that we, as a family, would need to talk about all of this
and discuss this with Dad’s primary care doctor—
at which he seemed a bit incensed that I too didn’t agree to begin immediately.

To be honest, I felt overtly pressured.
He didn’t seem to consider that dad is weak and frail or that he is struggling with his cognizant abilities…
It was more like checking off a list…then wham bam you’re good to go, lets sign you up now…

I called a dear friend who had been one of dad’s nurses over the past year for her input.
I called back to dad’s primary care doctor for his opinion.
I called my husband
I called my cousin.
I called my aunt…
and I cried the entire rush hour traffic ride home…

Everyone who knows dad knows treatment is not the correct route.
But dad is scared.
And dad is very much like a little child.
And the cancer doctors are chomping at the bit…

So this squirrel is at a loss.

I may dip in and out of blogland here and there.
The first time in 3 years.
But I’m feeling my energy, creativity, my very life, ebbing away….
Depression is closing in fast…
it’s wicked hot breath has been on the back of my neck now for months.

Decisions have to be made…
and sickeningly, like the squashed squirrel, the buck stops here.
For I am now the parent of the parent who can no longer make those calls himself.
What is the right decision???
What is the right call???
Quality of life…
length of life…
yet at what state??
How much longer either way?
Aggressive cancer…
Fast growing…

I danced this dance with Mother 30 years ago…
I never would have envisioned walking down this road again…

I pray for a revelation or a Divine intervention—
One that directs our path without regrets, without second guessing…
That the road we go, is to be the right road…the only road…

I’ll be in and out as my strength and mindset allows…

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.
I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord,
“and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Jeremiah 29:11-14

Good and bad

Good judgment comes from experience,
and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

Will Rogers

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(twin fawns / Julie Cook / 2016)

Aren’t they precious?
Twin little fawns…
just so sweet…

Yet…

When they get a little older,
they will eat all of my flowers and plants…

So they are both good and bad…

Much like today…

both good and bad….

The good news is that the Oncologist told us the battery of tests and scans show
no cancer in Dad’s lung’s or bones…just in the muscle of the bladder wall…

But there is a relatively large ascending aortic aneurysm…which is bad…
very very bad….

The good news is that he thinks a regime of chemo and radiation
may be successful on the cancer…

But we should now go see a Thoracic specialist…
I’m sorry…
I forgot,
how many doctors does that make we need to see?

The good news is that I took an arsenal of prescribed pills last night hoping
to be able to drive to Atlanta today without withering in pain…

I did indeed drive, with the pain being more tolerable…
but the pills made me feel as if I was going to
either pass out or throw up…or drop my head hoping for lala land….

And that mind you…. is with just one pill,
I have to work up to 3 a day…
Hummmmmmm…..

The good news is we head to the radiologist on Monday
The bad news is we head to the radiologist on Monday

The good news is that this Oncologist thinks a combined treatment could have some success…
The bad news is that dad is wended just walking from the bathroom to the den,
having to sit down before passing out, and that is hoping he doesn’t fall en route.

Hence why he now travels outside of the house via wheelchair….

The bad news is that Dad is feeble and frail—
As the question begs…
Can he tolerate what now awaits come Monday…

The good news being…
we will just wait wait and see…

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and make you strong,
firm and steadfast.
To him be the power for ever and ever.
Amen.

(1 Peter 5:10-11)