See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

See Part 3 here.

See Part 4 here.

See Part 5 here.

See Part 6 here.

See Part 7 here.

See Part 8 here.

See Part 9 here.

See Part 10 here.

See Part 11 here.

See Part 12 here.

See Part 13 here.

See Part 14 here.

See Part 15 here.

See Part 16 here.

See Part 17 here.

See Part 18 here.

See Part 19 here.

See Part 20 here.

Roller Coaster

The first of the new treatments was done, and it was supposed to be two weeks before the next treatment.

Mom got to go home to Yuma a few days later. That time gave a bit of a pleasant rhythm to my life. Those at work were so supportive as I updated them on how things went. The timing of everything put me on a shorter week, and I appreciated that since it gave me time to recover from all the flying.

I called Mom that next Friday. She was alert, talkative and concerned most with how things were going with my girlfriend. That got me to thinking.

The old treatments were usually followed closely by a hospital visit of some kind.  This time was different. Three days had gone by, and nothing seemed to be going wrong.

Another week passed, and each time I spoke with my sister (we don’t talk every day, but we talked a few times), I emphasized that the fact that Mom wasn’t having any complaints was reason for optimism. I certainly thought it was.

Another week went by pretty much the same as before.  I called Mom.  Things seemed to be looking up, and I told my dad the same thing I told my sister.

I’m actually a pragmatic person.  If you were to accuse me of being pessimistic, I don’t know that I could convince you I’m not. What I never want to do, however, is have false hope.

God is the only real hope. Trust in Him and His will is all people need. I believe this whole heartedly. I’m not so perfect as to claim I always remember this.  I fail sometimes, letting the problem create worry when I should have trust.

What happened next was something that made me feel guilty because for all my talk about how she’s made it through a round of treatment without side effects, only days before her second scheduled treatment, Mom started feeling pain.

Then she got angry.

Mom has made it pretty clear how she feels about hospitals. The steroids aren’t helping her mood any, and the overlap became most obvious through this new challenge.

I honestly don’t remember what caused me to call my dad. I think it was a social media post from a family member; I’m just not sure. Regardless, I called my Dad.

“You’re mom’s been something else,” he said.  That roughly translates into a comment that Mom was acting out.

She was in pain. She didn’t want to eat. At some point in this, someone mentioned going to the hospital, and Mom got even more angry.

She flat did not want to go anywhere near a hospital, but she was very clearly in pain. He called a few doctors, and they developed a plan that would get her, “straight in to see someone.”

That’s not how it went at all. My sister headed down to help in any way she could. It was an all out effort to convince or coerce Mom to get treatment.

It didn’t go well.

Mom became enraged. She was mad at everyone. That promise to get her straight in to see anyone resulted in days–literal days–of waiting, during which Mom only got more angry.

Then there’s the person I think of as “New Doctor.” New Doctor was supposed to look at my Mom’s gall stone issue and figure out the cause of this pain.

As Mom continued acting out and getting angry every time they’d take her somewhere. You see, they’d take her down to do a procedure or test, then they’d say, “we’re not doing it.”

On her best day, my Mom wouldn’t have liked that. This wasn’t her best day or even week.

Then comes New Doctor, who felt compelled to tell members of my family that we need to just come to terms with fact that “the tumor has taken over” and “your Mom is already gone.”

This isn’t a member of the cancer team.  This was, as far as I know, literally the doctor who caught this case where they were searching to find out what was causing Mom pain.

New Doctor continues to promote the “realistic” outlook on my mom.

I’m not going to get into how I felt, but in a family already damaged with news and somewhat conflicting information, I felt it was unprofessional and frankly unethical that some doctor in Yuma felt at liberty to comment on a patient who’s file he hadn’t seen.  Why? Well, apparently he’d recently lost loved ones to brain cancer.

I can absolutely sympathize with his feelings. That doesn’t make his conduct professional, and his case with his family isn’t a standard for how any other case should go.

My sister was distraught, and my dad had, had it. He basically used phone calls to wrangle the Phoenix doctors and the Yuma doctors together.

Meanwhile, at least three days had passed with no one actually doing anything. Turns out, we had to wait to get our mother’s body to a place where it could handle the tests and procedures the Yuma doctors wanted to do.  That explains it, but that explanation came days after this started.

By that point, Mom had started to physically resist. I wasn’t there. I must acknowledge that my information comes from my family, but apparently the only time they saw nurses was when they wanted to yell at my family for being short with my mom.

“Don’t you know she’s dying,” one nurse told my sister.

By this point, Dad and my sister worked out some sort of rotation to ensure at least one of them would be in the hospital.

The date of the second treatment came and went because they couldn’t do another treatment if my mom was feeling pain or not physically well.

That left my family with little support, an outraged woman fighting cancer, and the closest doctor just wanted us to “accept this was happening.”

I wish New Doctor had worked as hard to actually find the new issue as he did to try and insert his non-medically-based opinion into my family’s thought process.

To be clear, I’m not stating he’s not a doctor, but he’s not an oncologist. He was the doctor called to handled a digestive or gall-bladder issue. This leads me to feel it’s completely unprofessional to give any sort of advice or direction regarding a case he wasn’t studying and hadn’t been involved with until this point.

Unprofessional conduct and perhaps well-meaning but absolutely hurtful comments were the only interruptions to what I think ended up being about three days of waiting to actually do anything productive.

All after my mom was promised she’d be in and out.

 


Questions and Revelations

 

What’s being done about New Doctor?

I don’t have all the details. My father intended to file a report through the official channels. I’m not sure if it happened or not.

A year ago, This blog would have been formatted very differently. I would have gotten that doctor’s name. I would have posted these events on the hospital’s web page, social media and any other format I could.

I would have been vengeful.

But that’s not the correct response.

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing,” 1 Peter 3:9.

“Do not say, ‘I will avenge this evil!’ Wait on the Lord, and He will deliver you,” Proverbs 20:22.

“When they heaped abuse on Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats, but entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly,” 1 Peter 2:23.

I like reading those passages in that order. It feels like it brings everything full circle.

So with that I ask that you not seek to judge or lash out against New Doctor. Yes, I’m informing you of what happened. I did this not so you could help me gang up on and lash out against a man who I honestly believe meant well.  Rather, I had to help you see how much these actions hurt my heart, so that you could see that what I seek isn’t vengeance, but peace.

Not long ago, I would have wanted retaliation. I would have wanted hundreds of comments on how “wrong” this is.

But if we focus, if I focus, on the wrongs done to us, it only serves to deflect our own wrongs, and this is a serious issue in the world today.

We want others to be more wrong than us. We want this more than we want to be right ourselves. We’d rather rationalize our own sinful desires by making them seem comparatively smaller than those of others. We want to speak about “this” sin with wrath and anger, but we have little-to-no desire to look at the sin in our own lives.

So if I feel like someone sins against me or hurts me, it’s is my Christian duty to forgive.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,” Matthew 6:14.

I wouldn’t begrudge my father reporting something. If we respond with love, that love will be known.

So reporting action that needs to be corrected is fine if correcting the action is the goal.

So please don’t bombard this post with comments about “how you would” or “New Doctor should (insert unpleasant life event).”

Rather read this and consider a transgression you recently suffered. Maybe your neighbor stole your lawnmower. Maybe a loved one forgot something important.  Maybe your boss yelled at you unjustly.

Fill the world with love. Endure suffering. Forgive. I’m not directing you or anyone to sign up to be abused without cause.  I’m simply hoping you understand that when  you do suffer, you focus on God, forgiveness, grace and mercy, so that even if the one hurting you continues, God Himself will grant those things to you.

If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading

Matt

10 thoughts on “Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 21

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