Monday, August 4, 2014

Another day with his mom

We are about the same age, but she has cancer and I don't.  If the chemotherapy that Bill and I have been giving her this past year doesn't work, she won't live to see her son turn 4 yrs old.  Gordon is her 2  (almost 3 yo) son.  I have been caring for his mom, since Bill went on home assignment.  We had started a chemotherapy regimen for the cancer that she has in her bone.  She had her right leg amputated above her knee last fall, and has been getting chemotherapy ever since.

Most patients with her kind of cancer, never get to surgery.  The family usually refuses to allow an amputation until the cancer has spread, which at that time it is too late.  The thought of having to survive here without a leg is too much for the people in the Highlands of PNG to comprehend.  They survive on subsistence farming.  They eat the food they grow in their gardens, if they can't garden, they don't eat.  If they can't go out and collect firewood, they can't make a fire to cook their food.  If they can't walk to the river, they can't go and get water, can't wash their kaukau (their staple food) and can't do their laundry.  If you can't walk - it is hard to survive, especially for a woman.

Thankfully, her family agreed to the surgery, and it seems, just in time.  Her chest xray, has shown a little nodule in her lung, suggesting it might have spread, but we have been hopeful that we caught it in time.  She has completed 23 weeks of chemotherapy thus far, and her lung nodule hasn't progressed.  She has become quite adept to walking with crutches, but recently has been fitted for a prosthetic leg, which she is still waiting for and is excited about getting.

She has told me about Gordon many times as I have treated her.  One time, I gave her a stuffed animal to give to him, which she thanked me profusely for.  Today though, I finally got to meet Gordon, who is obviously the joy of his mom's life.  He didn't seem as happy to see me as his mother was, I scared him, which is quite common for many kids when they come to see the doctor.  But I was sure thankful that he got to spend another day with his mom, which is a blessing.  I pray that Gordon will spend many more days with his mother, but that is out of my hands.  Only the Lord knows how long his mom will be here.  I pray that we did the surgery in time and that the medicine is keeping the cancer at bay, so he can spend many more days with his mom and she can teach him all sorts of things.  For now, I just pray that each day they have together ends in joy, and that the time for them to be apart is not anytime soon.  

Ecc 3 - There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. . .