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Friday, January 31, 2014

Take A Deep Breath and Carry On!

Oh, wow!! What an awful time for the Rutherford family, I have been unable to post to my blog since September.  Its just been a whirlwind of one thing after another.  

My Amazing Mom in Law, Claribel was placed in the hospital with pneumonia, so I went to New Braunfels to see if I could help.  Little did I know that it was the beginning of the most tumultuous time in my life.  I arrived the day after she was admitted and she was supposed to be released that Friday to go to a rehab to help regain her strength.  

Also at the same time, my also amazing Father in Law, Gene, was recovering from an outpatient surgery at home.  Little did I know that there was so much more going on.  they are 83 years of age and have always been in pretty good health.  I don't want to go into all the details, but, suffice to say, living so far away from them, we were not aware of the issues that both of them were facing.  

Anyway, I stayed there through Thanksgiving, and came back for about a week after Gene had a setback.  Finally, I felt confident enough to go home so I could be with my family that I had so sorely missed.  Thank goodness for their Son, Rick, and his family who have done an amazing job in the face of all the issues. God knows it has been a hard time for everyone. 

As I called my husband to let him know that my daughter, Marinda and I were on our way home, I could tell that something was wrong.  He was in the hospital himself.  I rushed home to him thinking that it would be one of our run of the mill hospital visits due to his many health problems and that we would be home within the week.  

Unfortunately, 8 months earlier, during a heart scan, they found a mass on his pancreas, thankfully at that time, it was found to be benign, but now it was causing him problems because of the growth rate of the mass and the pressure it was placing on surrounding areas.  

To make a long story short, first they were sure it was cancer, but could find no cancer cells, then they were confident it was benign, then they felt it was malignant again, this went back and forth all through December until the present and it has been a tremendous emotional roller coaster that took its toll on all involved.  

In the end, they decided to do a whipple procedure, which is a very complicated and dangerous surgery to hopefully remove the mass, but due to the involvement of the mass with the surrounding veins, removal was not possible, so they did what they call a modified whipple, or a biliary bypass, where they remove the bile duct from the pancreas and reroute it directly into the bowel.  This will eliminate the jaundice that he was suffering from the tumor blocking the duct, but, in the process they found a smaller tumor in the tail of the pancreas, again, all signs pointed to malignancy. If you are not familiar with pancreatic cancer, most of the time it is not found until it is too late and the person usually has a very short time to live.

If I understand correctly, benign tumors maintain a smooth round or elliptical shape and do not invade or attach to other areas, they may grow and press on other areas, but, they are not invasive.  Malignant tumors grow and as they grow, they attach and invade the surrounding tissue and attach to veins and that's when cancer metastasizes because it can travel through the veins that it has attached to and spread to other areas of the body.  Hence, the belief that Robert's was malignant, they were absolutely sure.  So, It's just weird that his is acting like a malignancy, but, there is no pathology to support it. 

To quote the Dr's, as closely as I can recall, "Well, Mr. and Mrs. Rutherford, Had we found cancer cells, he would definitely have cancer and we would start with Chemo Radiation therapy, but, we have not been able to find any cancer cells, so, we will need to  monitor him from now on"  Me: "Oh my goodness, so he doesn't have cancer and it is just benign tumors, that's great!"  Dr: Well, unfortunately, we cannot say for sure that it is not cancer, we have just not been able to find it, either, because it isn't cancer or it's just too early in the process." 

And they are right, In his case, they were found early and it was just accidental, so, he is very, very lucky. The upside is that they have yet to find any cancer cells, so they cannot diagnose cancer, the downside is that even with all the biopsies and tests, since it was caught so early, they cannot rule out that it could still be cancer and that it is just so small, they have been unable to capture any of the cancer cells, so, he has to have imaging done on a regular basis to watch for any changes.   We still have to wait for the final biopsy report, but, I believe that right now, his tumors are benign and I am enjoying every moment that we have together, because there's nothing like the thought of losing someone forever to make you appreciate the time you have together.  (Not that he still doesn't drive me crazy!! Cuz he has an amazing talent for that. LOL!)

So now, you see the emotional toll that this would take on anyone.  So the only option we have is to live each day like he doesn't have cancer and hope that he doesn't and make sure that we stay on top of it just in case.  But no matter what, he's going to be around for a lot longer than we were lead to believe in the beginning, thank goodness.  I believe that God has given Robert another chance and hopefully, he will take full advantage of it.  I think that he really felt like he had to really scare the heck out of him this time because he has had too many close calls and that his survival could only be attributed to divine intervention.  ( read my earlier post: Divine Intervention)  I have witnessed these interventions first hand, and there is only one explanation, God himself stepped in and for whatever reason, keeps giving Robert another chance.

In the midst of all of this, my Mother in Law, who I loved dearly and really thought would recover and be able to come home, passed away 2 days before Robert's surgery. He and I were devastated as was the rest of the family and so many of their friends to whom she meant so much.  I miss her so much and my heart aches when I think about this great loss.  She was a fireball and so fun to be around. Robert was crushed because he was unable to attend her funeral, he has still not talked much about it, his heart is broken and I'm sure, even though it couldn't be helped, feelings of guilt. 

 His Dad, who has always been a strong, proud, stoic man, is still dealing with medical issues and is still as of today in and out of the hospital and in a rehabilitation facility to help him to get his strength back.  Claribel's loss was just too much for him and he is struggling with everything.  God Bless him. 

If I could, I would kindly ask that whoever may read or be reading this, say a prayer for all the Rutherford family in this very trying time and I would like to thank each and every one of you for your thoughts and prayers.

You know, none of us know when it will be our time, we could walk out the door and anything could happen, anytime, anywhere, but, I thank God that he has given us more time and I know that every moment of every day, you have to be happy, don't sweat the small stuff, and be thankful for all you have and quit worrying about what you want and don't have. Life is too short.

Okay, so much for making a long story short, but, if you only knew all of the details, it would fill a book. Suffice to say, that I have always been able to face life head on with a smile and a giggle no matter what, but, there were several times, that I thought I may have lost that ability, thankfully, I believe it is so much a part of my makeup, that I've found that my ability to laugh and be strong in the face of overwhelming circumstances will never be lost. Thank you  lord for that.  

Well, more later, be well, be happy, and remember a smile goes a long way in any situation.  Love to all!!

Oh, by the way, I'm redoing my Sewing Studio, and rearranging my art studio, I can't wait to get back to work.  I have never been much of a drawing type of person, but in the midst of taking care of my in laws, I discovered how much I rely on my art to keep me in grounded.  I'll post a few of my sketches here soon, but, here is one of them. I drew this one between Thanksgiving and the New year. 

I never said I was good!!
I know, I know, He's a sad little Santa bird!!

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