The rain is pitter-pattering on the roof. I can hear it soaking my broken-down boxes that I should have gone and burned a few weeks ago. I have a few minutes before I have to go get Raylee out of her crib. It’s pretty quiet, but that leaves me to about 132 things running through my head all at once. Things I need to do, people I need to see, family I need to pray for.
The heater comes on and drowns out the voices in my head. I should go get Raylee.
I get a text that the meeting I was supposed to have this morning needs to get switched to Monday. No big deal. We might not even need to meet turns out. Scratch that. We DON’T need to have that meeting. It was supposed to be for a styled shoot I was trying to get together in 2 weeks, and the shoot was 3 hours away. I couldn’t find anyone that could watch Raylee for me. In my mind I can hear my grandma “Misty, sometimes you have to sacrifice when you have kids.” I hear you, grandma. I seem to be spreading myself too thin this month anyways. Trying to shoot my last wedding of the season, working in family photos sessions here and there, even a Newborn session for a last year bride and groom. All while I’m leaving to AZ for Showit United in just a few weeks. Too much.
And then here I am sitting here, worried about my life, when the real issue of the day has been lingering in the back of my head. I keep putting it there because I think I’m still in shock. I don’t know how I should feel, what I should say, nothing.
About 12 years ago or so my mother-in-law was diagnosed with a highly aggressive brain tumor. They gave her months to live. Fast-forward a few months and a few different doctors, and they decided it wasn’t that specific tumor and she had a better prognosis. She went through chemo and radiation, and things were looking really good. She went in for a MRI this May and things still looked good. By August, there was a 1 inch mass in the same area as the first. They needed to do surgery to remove the tumor. And fast. The appointments were made, questions by all of us were answered, and the plan was that she would be back to normalcy two days after the surgery, just like last time.
Things didn’t go as we hoped.
After surgery, things were looking promising, but by the second day she had lost her ability to talk, there was paralysis on the left side of her body, and the EEG was picking up about 7 seizures an hour on her brain. They put her on a few seizure medicines, and that helped. As days went by, things continued to improve. The seizures slowed, but she still had to be on at least 2 of the seizure meds. She was able to walk, the left side of her body was starting to work better, and her speech was coming back slowly but surely. We went to see her a few times, and it was amazing too see the progress she made from the first time we saw her just days post-op to a few days before she was released. Things were looking great!
She was release to come home yesterday, and they were finally home for the first time in weeks. I knew she was happy to come home, and we made sure to go visit. I was hoping that we would be there before they got home, but they were too fast for me and Raylee. As soon as I got there, I couldn’t help but realize the feeling there was off. I knew that they were going to be meeting with the oncologist that morning to find out what the tumor WAS exactly. I gave her a hug, and just knew something was up.
We found out that they diagnosed it as the type of cancer they initially diagnosed it as the first time around.
A million thoughts ran through my head, but the most important question sprang to mind. “How long?”
I never asked. Not while we were over there, not while it was so new. I didn’t want to cry and knew that asking ANYTHING would result in waterworks on my part. So I started asking about treatment and what the plan was. She’ll go in for an MRI soon and they’ll see how fast and how much it has grown. Then go from there. Ideally, she will have radiation, but since she had so much the first go-around, there’s additional risks. “It may come down to doing radiation to help fight it, or just saying she lived a good life,” my father-in-law told me.
I’ve had grandparents die. I’ve had close friends gone to soon. I’ve been down that road many times, and that feeling came rushing back to me like it had never left. Heart break. Parts of me feel selfish for even feeling it. She’s not gone. She’s still very much here, but knowing that fate never makes it any easier. We left the house to go back home because Raylee was being unruly and I knew it wasn’t helping anything. We said goodbye, I loaded Raylee into my hubby’s truck, and then I drove my car home.
As I was driving home, it finally hit me. I had to pull over because it HIT me. The ‘almost panic-attack’ when you forget how to breathe. When the worst thoughts run through your mind. There it is again, heart break.
My heart is broken. I know that life isn’t fair and no one makes it out alive, but that reality is a hard pill to swallow when it really happens. And when it happens all too soon.
That woman in the middle is the one that helps tie this family together. She’s a rock, and about as stubborn as they come, but she’s amazing. She’s a fighter, and is SO strong it continues to amaze me. She’s still here, and we’ll continue to celebrate that. She’s literally a walking miracle, and i’m grateful for her more and more each day! I pray for her (and the rest of my family) daily that we’ll continue to have the strength to persevere and to get through this together. I know it hasn’t been easy for her, or for any of us, to have to go through this AGAIN.
Life is a fragile thing. A string that can be cut in a split second. We’ll continue to live, and love like tomorrow won’t come, but eventually it does for all of us. And then the feeling comes back, just like it never left. Heart Break.