A little over a month ago, my mom went in for what was supposed to be a routine gallbladder surgery. Unfortunately, her surgery was anything but routine. Instead of removing her gallbladder we were told that there was a tumor completely surrounding the gallbladder, and it had already spread to her liver.
And in the 30 seconds it took for my sister to tell me the news over the phone, all my plans for this coming year changed. My mom has gallbladder cancer. A rare cancer that affects mostly women and is usually always caught by accident.
Thankfully, my husband didn’t even blink when I told him I had to fly the 3,000 miles to visit my mom. I spent almost 3 weeks with my mom meeting her doctor and attending her chemotherapy before returning to South Carolina to get caught up on everything here at my own home. The kids did a fantastic job of staying on top of their school work. The fridge was another story, but I can’t have everything.
Now I know the difficulty of living away from an ill parent. Stinking military life. I have complained a lot in the past about different areas of our military life. Everything from deployments to moving made the cut. This is a new kind of difficulty. One that I thought would pass me by since my mom is still fairly young.
It is very difficult being caught between two worlds. I am sure that it is not just military families that have to deal with this, but I am blaming the military anyway. I have to find something to be angry at. It is impossible to be in both places at once, and it is very trying to have your heart torn between opposite sides of the United States.
I have exciting things happening this year. My oldest graduates from high school. He is attending a small, liberal arts college in Minnesota. Classes start in August. My daughter turns 16 this month. I need her to start driving since my current commissary goer is leaving me in August. Freckle Face is just my wonderful Freckle Face. My heart is here.
We have learned that it doesn’t matter who you are, you have to fight for your care. My mom spent the past week in the hospital. We learned that if you want to know anything, you have to be “that” patient. No one wants to have to push for what should be done automatically, but you do. I want to be the one that is pushing. I want to get there and take care of my mom. My dad, my brother, and my sister are there, but I want to be there. I need to be there. My heart is there.
My mom is home now. I am thankful for that. No one wants to sit in the hospital for very long. That is where people get sick. It took everything I had not to hop back on a plane and fly back there, but I didn’t. I can’t fly out to Washington every time there is a bump in the road. Oh, but I want to.
And this is where I am. Torn between two places. It is amazing how your perspective changes in the midst of cancer. What becomes important. My faith and my family. These are eternal. For now, I am going to focus on those two things. And I will praise God even when I don’t feel like it because He blesses us even now. Though it doesn’t seem possible, His blessings rain down in showers. I know that He is with us. I wish you all a blessed Easter season!
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)