Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Life Changes

Well, I started out the week announcing that some changes were coming. I had no idea things were happening behind the curtains of life that I wasn't yet aware of. These things have taken a front seat for the moment.

Back in July my mother in law underwent an open lung biopsy. For months she had been having trouble kicking some type of infection, being short of breath and just generally low on energy. The lung biopsy showed she has Usual Interstitial Pneumonia (UIP), and a second opinion by Mayo Clinic confirmed the diagnosis. This disease is in the family of Pulmonary Fibrosis. It is a terrible diagnosis. There really is no other way to say it. At the same time she was recovering from surgery, Dean's dad has been having his own problems that have brought great concern and resulted in an ambulance ride this week. We're still getting test results so I really can't say more than that right now.

We as an extended family, (Dean and I, his brothers and sister and their spouses) have all been making adjustments to our lives as we have come together to help Dean's parents make adjustments to theirs. Fortunately they live close by. It was good timing for the kids to go back to school, and my son Tyler has been helping out around here when needed. We have now all learned how to work three different types of oxygen delivery systems!

It feels like so many things have happened just this week. So many changes, and yet in reality most of those changes have been emotional ones. Our physical life has not changed. Maybe an extra appointment as we all share the time with Dean's parents, getting them to doctor appointments and helping out with small things around their house. I don't want to call it a "responsibility" because that sounds unpleasant. Like it's a chore. Really, for me, while the underlying reason has not been pleasant,  it has been a true joy to spend this time with my mother and father in law. Although Dean and I have been together 10 years, apparently they and I needed some time together and God saw fit to arrange it.

When Dean and I met 10 years ago, I had a list of 5 requirements that had to be met by anyone I was considering dating. One of the items was "Must have good relationships with parents and extended family." Thank you God, for making me take this very important quality into consideration.

On Wednesday evening Dean's entire family sat in the emergency department of a local hospital.
In an exam room lay my father in law who was being closely monitored. Sitting next to him was my mother in law, hooked up to the oxygen we had just learned to operate only an hour before. Just steps away, a tiny conference room had been available to us.  I looked around at the people who took up the other chairs. Dean, his brothers, sister, and us spouses, one of the teenage grandkids. I listened to voices as we discussed hard things. I am a reader of nonverbal communication; body language which conveys so much! In that moment I remembered my list from 10 years before. Right then, I thanked God for delivering me into this amazing group of people who love and care for one another. Who think nothing of dropping their lives to for the sake of family. Yes, there are changes coming. With God's grace and the love we will get through them.


Imogen said...

Sending you all much love and encouragement. I have been experiencing a similar bonding situation with my husband's great aunt (aged in her 90s)
A loving family is a true blessing. Hugs to you all xx

Melissa said...

You are very lucky to have family. Experts are calling your generation the 'sandwich' generation because you are right in the middle of caring for your children and aging parents, at the same time. It's sometimes stressful and a tough spot to be in so try not to be to hard on yourself.

Stephanie said...

My husband's family is a lot like this--always there when someone has trouble and are willing to help out and even travel great distances to do so. I found this out when my FIL had a stroke nearly 3 years ago and his family came in from Hawaii throughout the 4 months of hospital and rehab stays that he needed. I am so grateful to be a part of their family since my own is nothing like that at all.

Thoughts and prayers for your family as you work through all these changes and help Dean's parents work through theirs as well.

mielkay said...

My stepmother passed away Dec 21 2011 from pulmonary fibrosis. Her last 6 months was horrible. Even during her illness her strength & jest for life never waivered as her lungs failed. A few days before Christmas we brought her home on 15 liters of oxygen.

My thoughts and prayers are with your family.