Friday, October 23, 2009

The Neverending Story

The squeamish may leave now. Bye, LL Cool Joe, see you next time.

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that my step-mum was going to have surgery due to the slight possibility of cancer in her large intestine. Details are in the previous post, but briefly, the doctors decided to remove one third of her large intestine and biopsy it. I was told that this was going to be done with a laparoscopic procedure, that the risk of infection was minimal, and that after a few weeks for her body to adjust, she could live a perfectly normal life without that 1/3 of her intestine. Kind of like having your tonsils out, or an appendectomy, I guessed. It didn't seem too bad.

I was concerned for my step-mum, and also for my father and my sister. We're pretty close relative to the average family of the type, whether you want to call it "blended", "post-divorce" or "we don't care so much about labels because we love each other". I prefer the latter.

My step-mum has always been incredibly sweet to me. I've known her since I was a kid. I was 13 years old when I was offered the chance to listen to her pregnant belly through a stethescope. I can still remember the sounds of my sister gurgling in the womb, like she was scuba-diving in there.

When I was 22 my primary parents (mum and step-dad) renovated our house. The builders kicked us out of it for 6 weeks so that they could mess around with the utilities without having to worry about our well-being. My sister, who had always wanted a chance to live with her big sister, offered to loan me her room. She slept in our dad's office, just for the sake of having me there. I hope I was worth it.

It was really weird moving into their house. I had never felt much a part of that family before, not back in those days. I felt like an outsider who didn't belong. I was nervous and self-conscious. My father seemed happy to have me there, but what amazed me was how welcoming my step-mum was. She basically told me to consider myself at home, in the warmest possible way. This despite the fact that their house wasn't large, and I was a more or less alien intruder into their living space. Back then, we didn't know each other very well.

Things were very different than at my regular house. For example, at home I was only allowed to have one box of cookies open at a time. In my step-mum's kitchen, there was choice! There was abundance! You could select the type of cookie you were in the mood for, or browse through a wide selection of opened boxes of herbal tea. The decadence of it all made my head spin.

My step-mum has never treated me as less than a fully-fledged family member. Coming from my experience, in which my actual blood family has often made me feel unwanted, I appreciate this more than I can say.

When she went in for her surgery, my father used a blog format to update all their friends and family on her progress. I was shocked by what I read.

The surgery went well, but her recovery was a nightmare. Allergic reactions to her painkillers; excruciating pain; horrible nausea; middle-0f-the-night trips back to the emergeny room; it never seemed to end.

All this week I've kept my eyes fixed on that blog, imagining every horrifying detail. I'm stressed out just from reading about it online. I can't imagine how it was to live it, for my step-mum or for my father and sister who are caring for her. They couldn't seem to catch a break. Every time my father posted that she was doing a little better, there would be another crisis in short order. They've barely slept at all this week.

The suffering that they've been experiencing is beyond imagining. It's been breaking my heart knowing what they've been going through.

But finally, finally things seem to be settling down. My step-mum has had two good nights in a row, safely in her own bed at home. There's a long road ahead, but she'll make it.

7 comments:

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Sending what positive energy I have your families way! Hope she's through the worst of it and on her way to a full recovery.

darcknyt said...

I'll be praying for your stepmother, Spark. I know it will all be all right; she sounds like she's winning the battle now. It's hard to hear about someone you care about going through something horrid.

G said...

Woah...

There isn't much I can add to that comment.

Here's wishing for the absolute best for your stepmother.

DarcsFalcon said...

Oh I'm so sorry to hear about your step-mum! What a hell that must be to live through! Hopefully this well spell continues and she gets totally better soon. I'll keep her and your family in my prayers. *hugs*

Jenski said...

I'm sorry to hear the recovery was so tough for your step-mum, dad, and sister! Glad that she has had a couple of restful and relatively uneventful nights staying in her own home. I'll sent thoughts everyones' way!

powdergirl said...

Oh, your stepmon sounds like a really beautiful person. So much for the myth, huh?

It just sucks that she's having such a hard time with this. Jeez, allergic to her meds?
Thats a cruel trick of fate.

I'm sending good Karma and wishes for some peace from her pain. I sincerely hope the current up-swing continues for her.

Man, why do bad things happen to good people, and your average POS goes through life with a horse shoe up their ass? Don't seem right.

Dianne said...

I love the - don't care about labels because we love each other - part
that's wonderful

I hope the 2 good nights have stretched to more
and I hope the recovery continues

hugs