Lamentations

by Bernard Brandt

It is has been several months since I have written for my weblog. This has been because, as the poet has said, “Life is what happens when you’ve made other plans.”

For me, it began in the fall of last year, when my wife was experiencing a numbness and slight paralysis in her tongue. We went to her doctor, to be informed that what she had was hypoglossal nerve palsy. As this could be a symptom of anything from Parkinson’s Disease to ALS to a particularly nasty set of cancers, we and her doctors spent some time ruling out things.

So, we went through the whole battery of tests, to find that none of them was working. Our family doctor, unfortunately, was spending far more time typing up his required medical records than in examining my wife, and so we waited until February of this year to have one of the referring doctors suggest that an MRI of her spine be done. This revealed extensive, third stage metastatic cancer of the upper spine and lower lumbar spine.

And so, my wife went through several months of radiation to her upper and lower spine, completed in late March, together with two separate courses of chemotherapy. She was in great and increasing pain while all of this was taking place, requiring morphia. But neither the chemo nor the radiation did anything to decrease either the pain in her back, or her increasing inability to walk.

On my birthday, I woke to find that she was in such pain that she begged me to call 911 to take her to the nearest hospital. That, alas, turned out to be a place, not far from Hell, which I shall only call “Little Company of MONEY”. We were brought there because that was the closest place the ambulance would take us. I will only say of it that in the three weeks that we were there, mainly because they were over-medicating my wife with painkillers, I learned new meaning to the phrase, “iatrogenic disease”.

By early May, thank God, she was out of hospital, but she had been so weakened by her stay, and had lost so much weight, that I was afraid that she was in a downward spiral. Furthermore, since that time, she has been housebound, unable to walk down the three steps past our front door which would enable her to go outside. I have also been pretty much her sole caretaker during all this time.

Fortunately, her weight loss has stabilized to the point that while she is still losing weight, that loss has been decreased to two pounds a week. But she has a continuous tremor in her lips and in her lower legs, which is disquieting, especially in light of the type of cancer that she has. While I could go into detail as regards what that means, I’d really rather not just now.

Please pray for my wife.

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