In Sickness and In Health
My Nana (Dad's mom) had surgery on her pancreas this week. Ben and I wanted to be there, but most of my family was already there and we decided to wait until today to visit. This afternoon we made the trek out to Royal Oak Beaumont to visit her.
Royal Oak Beaumont is a hospital that’s so big it should have it’s own zip code. Seriously. You park in a parking structure without a couple thousand other cars and walk about six miles to get wherever you’re going, relying on the complicated maze of signs to navigate your way to the actual floor and room number you need to reach. When my youngest brother Jonathan was there, he spent most of his first three months of life on the third floor of the South Tower; but Nana was ensconced up on the fifth floor of the South Tower, so I didn’t know how to get there any more than Ben did.
We got there just in time to greet Nana and start telling her about the gifts we opened before her surgeon came in to have a little talk with her. The lab work had come back from the tests done on the part of her pancreas they’d removed.
“The report says they found cancer,” he said.
Nana has insisted for three months that she has pancreatic cancer. Multiple tests haven’t shown any evidence of cancer; and indeed, what they found were scattered cells not yet collected enough to become a tumor.
The words “pancreatic” and “cancer” combined are one of Nana’s worst nightmares. It grieved me that she had to hear it. I’m so glad we were there with her when she heard it, though, because otherwise she would’ve been alone. She was very upset that we had to be exposed to such a thing while we’re “just newlyweds” and I wasn’t sure how to convince her that just because we’re newly married doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be exposed to normal life. There are things that are part of normal life: some are weddings, some are births, some are sicknesses, some are death. To face any one or possibility of one is simply…what people do every day.
I love Nana dearly. In many ways, she’s probably the person I’m the most like in natural personality. I hope she has many more years to live. I want her to see our children and be at more weddings and see Jonathan finally start talking and celebrate her 95th birthday. But if not all those things are possible, I am never going to regret being there with her in the moment she reached out and took my hand while the doctor was talking to her; and I would always regret that I was too busy being a newlywed to be with her in that moment if we had not gone.
I just hope I can convince her of that.
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Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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