March 11, 2013

still confused

The following is not FACTUALLY accurate. Details have been changed, things deleted, stuff made up, all to protect identity. But it is 100% absolutely true.

     Despite being slight of frame and short, he was a spunky old man in his 60s.  He was alone at the doctor's visit where he was receiving the results of a recent CT scan after getting radiation.  Stage IV lung cancer was his diagnosis.  Four years ago.  Metastases to the liver, to the adrenals, to the brain not once, but twice.  Multiple rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery.  And still alive and kicking.  He admitted being very nervous about getting the results, even to the extent of feeling low all weekend long.  I told him, if he feels low for a day or two, he has every right to feel that way.  He smiled sheepishly at the reassurance.  The results were good.  The new tumors shrunk substantially.  He'd live to fight some more and his eyes misted up.  He felt embarrased at it.  Again, I reassured him, he has every right to feel overwhelmed by the emotion.  He picked up his cane, stood up as erect as he could muster, and proudly strode out of the room.

     And inside my own head and heart, an argument was going on.  Why did this man get to be so lucky?  All I wanted was 4-5 years for my brother to allow him to see his kids graduate high school.  But he didn't even make it two.  But this man, who is far sicker, more frail gets to keep going after four years.  Why?  I have no answer other than simply it is what it is.  I also felt compassion at his struggle and wished him well.  I will not begrudge another's good fortune.  I had thought I was further along in my grief process at this stage but, apparently not.  Things were just as confusing to me a year ago as they are now. 

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