Yesterday Dr. Burris came to over to sit with Cynthia, and to help us explain what all this–being at home, receiving hospice care–means. Ever since the news that the cancer had metastasized to her brain, we’ve all been anticipating the moment when things would turn a corner for the better. She’s said many times in the past few weeks that she just wants all of the pieces to stick back together, to be able to connect thoughts, to be more like herself again. Part of that has included waiting for March 2nd, when we were scheduled to return to Sarah Cannon for scans, to see the effect that the radiation had on the lesions. We asked for Dr. Burris to help make sense of why that was not happening, because we simply didn’t know how to start that conversation.
Afterwards my dad said that it was like she had already worked out how she wanted Skip to let her know. She asked him if the time-table had started yet. He said yes, and she understood. Throughout her treatment at Sarah Cannon, she has asked him that question at every appointment, spelling out that if things ever reached this point, she wanted to know—to not be kept in the dark. (The answer to questions like these doesn’t ever look or sound the way it does in the movies—there’s not a stern man in a lab coat sitting across a desk saying “this many months left” and “get your affairs in order.” Real life is more intimate, more subtle.) My mom and Dr. Burris planned a code for this situation over the course of the last few years without even knowing it, and we are so glad that they did.
We’ve spent this rainy Sunday processing all of this—taking the time to sit together, to cry, to get frustrated, to be sad, and to eat whatever the heck we want. (The diabetic diet is off the table—we are removing all restrictions and relying on the insulin and tapering off the steroids to control her blood sugar.) This is new territory, and we are trying to figure out the steps. Today she asked that we just be together, without any visitors. Tomorrow may be different. I will let you know as we work out how she wants each day to go. (She’s the boss.)
We ask that you continue to pray for peace. In her first post on this blog, days after her diagnosis, she asked first that you “pray that my family and I will not be afraid but will rest in God’s mercy and grace.” She has said again and again that she is not afraid, and we aren’t either.