Thursday, September 02, 2010

lung cancer is a son of a bitch.

I used to think that the worst kind of pain was heart break. And for sure, heart break is terrible. But in time, you can recover from heart break. You can heal and find new love.

In actuality, the worst pain in the world is watching someone you love suffer. Double that if there is nothing you can do to help relieve that person’s pain. My mother-in-law Lorraine,  Max and Cam's Nana, has inoperable lung cancer. And it sucks. She fought it off 3 years ago, going through an excruciatingly painful surgery to have half of her lung removed. Now the cancer has come back, and we have no idea how much time we have left with her.

We do our best to stay positive, maintain hope, tell jokes, give lots of hugs, and make sure to remember to always say “I love you”. It’s all so bittersweet because with each passing day we know that our time with her is finite.

We want to cram as much stuff in right now while she is still feeling up to it. Swimming and pictures and celebrations. Vacations and favourite meals and whatever her heart desires - we want to do it all.

I think the hardest part for us is managing the heaviness we feel in knowing we will eventually lose her. She's still here with us, so we need to make sure we make the most of every day, that we focus on the living. It is so hard to push down the lump in your throat when you wonder will this be the last time we celebrate this holiday with her? Will she be feeling well enough to participate in Christmas? Will she be here to give me gardening advice next spring? Will she see her son Chris get married?

Of course you want to believe she will be. But you know deep down there is a real possibility that she won't.

There is also guilt. Sure we all feel sad, we are grieving at even the thought of losing her. But she is the one who is experiencing both the physical and emotional pain of working through this process. Nobody wants to say it, the "d" word. So instead of acknowledging that she is coughing more and more, we say "oh, you have this cold too? It's terrible!  I'm snoring like a bear at night - how about you?". You ignore the fact that she is losing weight, that it's harder for her to catch her breath, and that she is moving slower by each day. She is still here. She is still living. That's worth something. It has to be where we put our focus.

Lung cancer is a son of a bitch. She never even smoked.


  1. hugs. and more hugs. i'm here!


  2. Anonymous8:22 p.m.

    No Nonsense Nana - we love you.

    Ian and Elizabeth

  3. thank you dalia and mb :-) feeling everyone's love!