Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Sad News About Grandma

How to title this post?  The news is not just sad, it's terrible, awful, unbelievable...and yet I can't call it "bad," because in God's plan, all things work together for good.  And she sees herself as being exactly where God wants her.  This is all part of God's plan, she assured us repeatedly before her surgery, and she continues to hold firmly to that faith, when she can grip a thought long enough to share it.

Now we understand why it took such a long time to get the final pathology on her brain tumor.  They wanted to be sure, absolutely certain, that it was indeed the rare type that they feared it was--a Grade 4 oligoastrocytoma.  It's an aggressive and fast-growing cancer, and since they removed it, the latest MRI shows more tumors forming elsewhere in her brain.  They say she has six to twelve months left.

Now Grandma is a strong lady, a force to be reckoned with, and those are just numbers. If anyone is likely to defy those odds, it is she!  But still, those are the statistics.  They seem bleak.

At first they gave us the possibility of radiation and chemo to give her a few extra months, but her quality of life for her remaining time would be so diminished that it hardly seemed worth it.  Since the latest MRI, they don't even recommend the radiation any longer--it would be too destructive to too many areas of her brain.

We are numb and heartbroken, all at once.  We pray for her healing; we hope for a miracle. We ask that others join us in prayer for her complete healing.  But we also accept the probable future.  We are grateful for time to say goodbye.

In a way, we've already lost the Grandma we knew.  She was quick-witted and funny, and she liked an audience.  She could commandeer any conversation she joined, and she always had a story to tell, or something interesting she had read.  She always had a compliment for everyone she met, and she was full of encouraging words and advice for her grandchildren.  (And her daughters-in-law!  None of the mother-in-law jokes applied to my relationship with her; she was nothing but approving, encouraging and thankful for me.)  She was the life of the party, often bursting out into song, especially Broadway show tunes, along with my father-in-law.  (They met when they were both actors in NYC, on- and off-Broadway; my mother-in-law was in Camelot with Julie Andrews.)

Grandma performing at the Light of Christ talent show last November

Since her surgery, Grandma has really struggled.  Her attention span is less than a minute long, so it's hard to carry on a conversation with her.  She forgets what she's doing, mid-bite or mid-step, and has to be prompted what to do next.  Some days she's better than others, but mostly needs help with dressing, eating, going to the bathroom, and getting in and out of bed.  She's very tired and in a lot of pain.  Yet her eyes light up when she gets a visitor.  She recognizes everyone, she perks up and asks a question or comes out with a little joke.  She's a character with the staff at the sub-acute care center where she's staying right now.  For how much longer, we're not sure.  They have to be able to show that she's making progress with her therapy.

So that's one of our prayers right now--that she can make progress..We'd love for her to be able to stay there longer and continue the excellent care she's getting, but we also hope for progress for our own sakes--that we can have Grandma "back" for a little while longer.

Our other prayer request is for my father-in-law.  This is so hard on him, physically and emotionally.  He's so loving and dedicated to her.  He goes home to sleep, but he cares for her all day, and I can see the exhaustion alongside the love in his eyes.

It's hard for us to be so far away.  It's an hour and twenty minutes to go visit them--too far for us to be of any daily help to Grandpa.  But at least close enough that we can do it.  We'll go on Mother's Day, this Sunday, for sure.

Bless them, Lord, and keep them in your care.  Lord, in your mercy, hear the cries of our hearts.  Amen.


Jessica Snell said...

Jeanne, I'm so sorry. God be with you and yours.

Moyra said...

I'm so sorry. It's very hard for each of you.

I will keep on praying for you all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing with us who she is, and who she will be again in Jesus's arms. I will pray for all of you on this hard road.

Papa Bear said...

So thankful for her friendship. She is a wonderful woman, mother, and grandma, and not just to her family, but to the whole church. So sad to hear the news. How can we best encourage her? Cards, letters, pictures?

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...


I'm so sorry to read this. She is a wonderful lady and I hate that she (and everyone who loves her) is having to go through this. Keeping you all in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

We will be praying fervently for Benita as well as Murray and all of you. Could you fb message me her address? I would love to send her a note and perhaps a picture of our family. What a special lady. I remember well how she loved on me--took me out to breakfast one time, when I was so young and struggling with my calling. Thanks for sharing... Love you all.

Sarah H.

Anne Kennedy said...

So sorry to hear this. Praying for you all in the days ahead.

Dee said...

Jeanne. My prayers are with the family as you go through this together. Please let us know how we can help here if you need to travel.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your loving words and prayers.

Sarah and Dan, I will message you with her address. She would love cards and pictures!

Can't wait to see her tomorrow on Mother's Day. She's had some very good days this past week. Thanks so much for your prayers!


Karl and Nancy said...

We love Benita and Murray so much and grieve that they have to go through this trial. We are praying for them daily and know the Lord is holding them both in the palm of His right hand. They have been such dear friends to us over the years and we have missed them terribly since they moved from NY. Wish we lived closer and could help.
They are always in our hearts and minds. Give them both a big hug for us.

Love, Nancy and Karl

Richard C. Leonard, Ph.D. said...

We hope to visit Benita briefly, if possible, at the end of this month while in the area. We still have a few of her poems that we haven't yet published in our magazine, WestWard Quarterly (www.wwquarterly.com). -- Richard Leonard