Wednesday, July 20, 2005


It's been five days since my last post. Five busier than normal summer days. As I am studying for an exam for work, the next 10 days will be swamped as well, so my postings may ease off a bit. For not only is the exam foremost on my mind, but several things seem to be happening at once as well: the last week of baseball season for my son; helping close friends of ours move this weekend across town; and awaiting a call from my sister-in-law tonight to learn the results of the two MRIs she has undergone over the past 48 hours. She has been experiencing numbness at various parts of her body, and there is a real chance that she may have MS. I'll not go into detail here as things are still sketchy, but I see the strain in my wife's face grow stronger. She and Lisa were never very close until recently as both women went through miscarriages and pregnancies and childbirth together. They are closer than ever now. And the shock of this has still not completely registered.

One of my favorite authors is Peter Kreeft, a professor and Catholic scholar who has written more than a few books that I own. I discovered his website today in which some of his sketchings/writings are placed, and one entitled "Close Encounter With the Angel of Death" really hit home. Lisa, my sis-in-law, is an accountant who obsesses over facts and statistics as I do. Kreeft speaks to this a bit in this article that chronicles the diagnosis and treatment of his 5-year-old daughter's brain tumor.
Strange how the mind fixates on physical details in order to handle the unhandleable. When we can't handle truth we handle facts. We miniaturize; we find some small objective correlative to associate with the unhandleably enormous subjective feeling. In this case it is the chair I was sitting in when the doctor came out of the CAT-scan room with the results of the computerized head X rays, while my wife was still in the X-ray room with my daughter. I will always remember the exact spot each chair leg occupied in the room. I will also remember the look on the doctor's faceā€”an embarrassed look, a look not at me but vaguely around me. as if looking for help. It was as if he, not I, were the sufferer, or as if he were responsible for the bad news, the "blame the messenger" syndrome. But I could not blame the messenger; he seemed no more comfortable delivering the message than I in receiving it.

Large brain tumor. What does that mean? Well, of course, this is not final or official; you will have to talk to Doctor so and so, I'm only a resident. Tell me everything you know; I have to know. It is cancerous? We can't be sure until we go in. Can it be removed? We don't know; even if it isn't malignant, it could be in the brain stem, inoperable. Facts, please, statistics. (When we can't take truth, we feed on facts.) Well, if it's inoperable, the life expectancy is from nine months to two to five years. And those years would be a gradual deterioration? Yes; but pain killers could make it painless . . . such a beautiful child-.., what a shame.

It's now 11:30am Central Time. Lisa had an appointment this morning at 10:30 to learn the results. This could be a long day, and the start of a journey that will lead us somewhere new...somewhere we do not wish to go. Somewhere that requires a strong hand to lead us through.


Post a Comment

<< Home