Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bravery, Tenacity, Hope -- Lessons in Being a Patient

I confess...I want to share some healing thoughts and express how much I admire the determination and bravery of two people facing serious medical battles.

According to the doctors, the seizure my Uncle had a few years back was almost a good thing.  At least initially, they didn't think the two were directly related, but it alerted them to a mass in his brain.  He's battled brain cancer for the past three years, including a lot of treatments that leave him foggy and struggling physically.  He recently walked his daughter down the aisle at her lovely wedding.  He was struggling though and the docs debated whether it was worth trying another operation.  They went ahead with it and found the cancer had gotten much worse than they imagined. 

But, still, he's fighting.  They weren't sure he'd return to himself after the recent operation, but he's exceeded every expectation.  He's fighting to walk and to communicate.  He faces a tough battle, but he's working hard and committed to making the best of every moment.  He wants to live every moment of his life.

Another fighter -- I've coined the term "mother-un-law."  While I mostly use it to amuse myself, I think it is more accurate than just saying "my boyfriend's mother" since it isn't like MM and I are in the same level of boyfriend/girlfriend relationship as two sixteen year olds might be.  She introduces me as her future daughter-in-law (which does sometimes lead to an awkward moment of folks congratulating us on a still-to-come event).  MM's mom has battled a range of medical issues for many years and has faced several hospitalizations.  She recently experienced some shortness of breath and other issues that led them to do a cardiac test on Monday.  It showed significant blockages and suddenly it went from a quick in-and-out test to admitting her and planning a triple bypass.

We'd been planning on having her come visit for two weeks near Christmas but she'll face surgery tomorrow (Thurs 12/13), two days in the ICU, two weeks in the hospital, and four weeks or so in a rehab setting.  Of course, it took her by surprise and it took a bit to sink in, but she quickly committed to a great result.  She told the doctor she's going to make it home for Christmas...a goal that is probably tough to meet, but one that shows her tenacity and her commitment to beating yet another health demon.  She's a fighter and, while I'm sure she has moments of fear, she manages to keep a positive outlook.

There's a lot to learn here, a lot to admire.  I've heard more than one doctor say that commitment to healing is a key part of success, especially in very serious cases.  While I do consider myself a fighter, I'm definitely not the most positive person.  Admiration of my Uncle and MM's Mom won't immediately change that, but they are still such great role models.  I know all patients could benefit from just a fraction of their bravery. 

P.S.  Not related at all, and a bit awkward to add, but do remember my first giveaway ends 12/14.  I may be a bit delayed, but the winner should be up by Saturday night if I can't get online on Friday. 

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