Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: Where is this road taking me?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Where is this road taking me?

After one of the hardest years of my life, I thought the road was finally straightening out, but just like that it took another twist. Where are we headed now?

I don't know of anything that makes you feel more like a powerless backseat passenger of life's journey than dealing with the prolonged illness of a loved one. That's exactly the road I've been traveling with my mom for the past year.

You might say she's had one the worst years of her life, or the best, depending on how you choose to look at things. It's been a solid string of events that, one after another, it was a miracle she even survived. For that, we are immensely grateful.

When things went downhill

This time last fall, my mom started to feel bad, and it kept getting worse. Her blood pressure kept climbing, no matter what her doctors did to adjust her medication. Finally, after changing her cardiologist, a blockage was discovered in a renal artery, but not before her blood pressure had reached such high and sustained levels that she had multiple small strokes and ended up hospitalized right before Christmas.

Surgery was scheduled for her kidney, and one problem was fixed. But open heart surgery was on the horizon. Less than two months down the road, she was under the knife again. Within just a couple of weeks after the bypass, it was clear she was not out of the woods.

Another surgery to correct more arterial blockages followed, after weeks of excruciating pain. Apparently when you unkink a hose up the line, any blockages downstream scream out in agony from the new pressure.

Things were looking up

The third round of vascular surgery stopped the pain, and soon my mom appeared to be truly on the road to recovery. We said so many prayers of thanksgiving, knowing beyond a doubt that she had narrowly escaped death on multiple occasions this year.

It looked like clear road ahead. We started our new school year and got a few chapters into Algebra 2 and Geometry, signed my youngest up for co-op and started preparing for driver's ed with the twins. Things were going smoothly enough we even scheduled my older daughter's tonsillectomy, for just about the time the water park closed for the summer. I even started to revive my blog.

My mom, at age 70, was getting better, albeit slowly, and we all started to feel like we could take a deep breath and put this difficult season behind us. But the late summer cold she caught kept holding on, with a cough that refused to go away and shortness of breath that seemed to be a harbinger of trouble to come.

A new setback

An x-ray, scheduled to rule out pneumonia, caught something suspicious in one of her lungs. A CT scan confirmed that the shadow was something real. The doctor recommended a PET scan, to determine whether the spot might be something to really worry about.

It's not necessarily cancer. It could be something benign. Maybe infection.

The PET scan came back and the spot was lit up. A biopsy is the next step. They have to go in to find out what it is. No one can say what comes next. We can't see down the road very far this time, not even a week.

Erasing our plans

I'd tentatively planned our schedule through the second week of October. In pencil, of course! My twins were scheduled to take the PSAT for practice, and I knew just about how much work we could get done between early August and the test, after which I planned to take a fall break if no one caught Strep or anything in between.

I sat down with my Unplanner, after spending the day with my mom, at the doctor's office and answering phone calls and filling out online forms from the cancer treatment center. The biopsy will be done next week. She'll be meeting with about 827 other people in the day or two before that. They said she would be at the center for 3 to 5 days straight. We could spend the night if we want.

Co-op is next week. So is my younger daughter's birthday. I was just getting started on a blog challenge. I'd just started outlining my next book. I'm busy now.

There will be cake and presents on Monday. Everything else, I'll be playing by ear. I don't know where this road is taking me... or more importantly, my mom.

She's been through so much in the past year, and God has seen her through each and every event, sometimes in ways that seemed nothing short of miraculous. We're all praying for another miracle here. Please don't let it be cancer, or if it is, please let it be easy to treat.

Please help pray us down the road a little further. It's hard trying to be strong this long, and to be completely honest, even though my heart is grateful for all that has gone our way, I am finding it difficult to chase away thoughts that this just isn't fair. I want my mom to get well. Really well. And stay with me for many more years.

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