Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grace in the midst of chaos.

Nine months is the time it takes for gestation, the time it takes to grow a new life, to give birth.I count back from now,the month of May....Which would be September, and that's when what most folks would say a rain/reign of challenges began.
First,(and continuing the metaphor, literally here) the lovely baby that was expected on Nov.4th(which happens to be my own birthday), was induced into birth, because my talented,and gorgeous sis-in-law was suddenly in pain,and her doctors feared something might "go wrong", if the baby(Beautiful Morgan Catherine) was not delivered (10 weeks early!)immediately.Only three days days later, we received news that Toni(that sister-in-law) had been put through several tests, when it was discovered she had cancer.Two days after that, we learned it was "Advanced, Stage 4, Gastro-intestinal Cancer of Unknown Origin."
Toni passed way, after a valiant attempt to beat advanced Stage 4 Cancer, approximately three weeks after her baby was born.Which left Arthur, my husband's younger brother, as a (devastated) single Dad.Shortly after this, Arthur and my husband's own own Dad's cancer, returned(years ago, he had prostate cancer, which was defeated....but it returned).The two brothers grieved quietly, but they grieved, and still grieve, over what treatments may (or may not)ever work for their Dad, my father-in-law.
Next, my husband began to have odd pains all over his body, which turned out to be non-acute appendicitis.He was given an "option" to have his appendix removed, but because it was "inexplicably large"(a 13 instead of a normal6), he opted for removal...and it's a good thing, since when it was removed, it was noticeably "fiberous". So, a biopsy was done. Biopsy results? A "Carcinoid Tumor".... so rare, it affects less than 1% of the world population.We were told it was early stage, possibly Stage I, and since it's rarely found until very late(deadly) stage, because there are NO early symptoms, "he was lucky" to have had appendicitis, or we'd never have known about it. So, this meant a second surgery for Hansoo, but one that would remove the cancer. All the while, we were juggling our grief(over the loss of Toni), our exhaustion (doctor's appointments, operations, and spending (happy) time with new Daddy, Arthur, and everyone's little miracle, Morgan)and our now-regular apprehension(fear of even a cold or flu, because either would make caring for each other, impossible).
So when Monday night's routine trip to a local grocery store, for my beloved in-laws turned into a twisted metal wreck of a Lexus SUV, as a Chevy truck struck them broadside("t-bone" fashion), then flipped over them, traveling at a high rate of speed as they attempted a left-hand turn, I held my breath as I rode in a friend's car to the hospital, following Hansoo, just minutes after he received a call from our local hospital's Emergency Room, that his parents had been admitted.
His Dad:
Broken ribs, mild concussion, bruise.
His Mother, seated in front passenger-side, was not as fortunate:
numerous broken bones
spine:fractured discs
spine:compressed discs
broken right shoulder
broken right arm(multiple)
hairline fracture, neck
bruises
lacerations
His Dad is back here, at home with us.His Mom, "Omma K." as I call her, is undergoing a life-saving blood-transfusion to strengthen her for her upcoming surgery.She'll be back home soon, but there will be weeks of rehabilitation therapy, physical therapy. And months and months of healing.
The loving Roman Catholic nun, Mother Theresa, famously said "I know God only gives me what he knows I can handle.....I just wish He didn't trust me so much."
It would be easy to say It is too much, all of these trials, all these tragedies, so close together, or I can't handle this; it is too hard.
But I am reminded it's been nine months, and like the baby, Morgan Catherine, our long-gone sis-in-law Toni gave birth to, perhaps these nine months are preparing us/me for a time of new life, new purpose.It's a way to re-frame the seeming chaos, and embrace what I'll call challenges, rather than call them difficulties, or tragedies.
When challenges emerge, we must grow to meet them.
I'm lighting a candle--a scented one, tonight.Savoring the sweet aroma, with the deep breaths I can easily take, even as "Omma K." struggles to take the deep breaths so necessary for her to strenthen her lungs, and for her to avoid the all-too-common hospital-pneumonia.
I am grateful, even now, for family, and, for God. Especially now.
Peace, kids.

11 comments:

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

i really don't know how to begin to respond to this - other than to say keep faith and hope.

My thoughts go with you

Collin Kelley said...

So sorry to hear about all of this, Lisa. Keeping you, Hansoo and all of your family in my thoughts.

Lisa Allender said...

Pixies--Thank you, sweetie.You reading and commenting is connection/communion, which is what we look for most, in times like these. :)
Collin--Thank you, honey. :D

nancollard said...

Hi Sweetie. It would be okay with us if you spoke weakness,or fear, or fatigue, truly. We must allow people to feel at liberty to do that without them worrying they are "downers". Friends know our good sides and that we are also deep and profound, etc, etc. But it's still so good to hear you in a place of power and opportunity. Even if the only opportunity is love. Its enough. Meeting you recently already did something profound for my life,in the 6degree genre, remember? Lol, I doubt you can right now...but you did, so I have a special smile about your backdoor-hospital blessing-encounters. We're so new...so I am immeasurably happy to find I am meeting you with your husband safe and sound and his parents, as well. Because, Arthur and Morgan surely needs you both. And Lisa, while this could sound insensitive right now...you're learning my motto..."my aim is true"....My belief is...bad energy really does come in threes. So, truly, you may exhale and not borrow any worry trouble. You already feel it, by what you said. You're all on the way up now. Peace,girl, peace... a new friend of mine always says *-* There's some laugh energy for you! Love, Nan

Lisa Allender said...

Nan-- hi there thank you for all the positive energy, Nan... Btw, do we share a 6degree thang?? Again, thank you for thekindness and comfort. :)

Christine said...

I'm glad you have writing in your life to express your family's trials. I'm so sorry about your in-laws' accident! Wishing them a speedy recovery. Maybe when everyone has healed you can all have a family vacation/ retreat together. Wishing you all the best.

Lisa Allender said...

Christine--Thank you so much. Peace yo.And yeah...the retreat sounds like a great idea...

Estelle Ford-Williamson said...

Powerful posts, these several I've finally been able to read--you go from global concerns to the personal in such a thoughtful way. The hospital scenes remind me of many years ago when my mum-in-law (stiff upper lip British, she refused a robber her purse and was stomped awfully)was hospitalized, traumatizing the family. Days later(or was it weeks?)as she sat on the edge of the hospital bed anticipating rehabilitation services, I just reached over and hugged that dazed, delicate woman. In a family of healers, no one had done that yet,at least that I'd seen, so shocked was the whole group. I realized then that was my role, to offer emotional aid. Women are the glue (men can be also, no doubt about it), and you will find yourself helping in myriad ways that will add up to you and your tremendous spirit of caring. And your family will be the richer and healthier for it! Peace, Lisa!

Lisa Allender said...

Estelle-- thank you so much for your insights. It means a great deal to me, hearing such praise from such a wonderful author as you. And of course, having you as a friend and source of kindness, well, life is wonderful, Estelle. Peace, man. ;)

Sherry Taylor said...

Lisa, you have gratitude in the midst of tragedy and that will see you through all things. My hopes and prayers for thier recovery are being sent, and I'm thinking of you and Hansoo often, wishing you both all you need to endure this chapter of your lives. XXOO

Lisa Allender said...

Sherry hi there! How incredibly kind you are. Btw, today was a pretty good day. Omma K. Is able to sit up with less pain... Within weeks, I believe she'll be walking. :)