My mother in law was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago. I didn’t post about it before, and probably won’t much in the future, because it feels like a private thing. And probably even more so because it is B’s family we’re talking about here.
I will say, to avoid being too overly cryptic (which I hate when reading others’ blog posts) that it was a total surprise. She is 50 years old and in fantastic shape. She eats right and exercises every day. She had no symptoms, it was found via preventative screening. So to say it has been a shock is an understatement. When we found out yesterday that it was more advanced than we thought, and that she would actually need chemo, we were more shocked. She was devastated.
But still. This is the kind of thing she CAN beat. It is the kind of thing she will beat. As cancers go, this one at least gives you a good fighting chance.
I have some experience with cancer because three of my four grandparents died from it. Both grandfathers had lung cancer and my grandmother had lymphoma. But the thing is, I was too young to be very involved or aware. They died when I was 8, 10, and 13. So I wasn’t very aware of the emotional toll it all took on them and the family.
This feels different. This feels… personal. She is my husband’s mother. Next to me, she is the person he loves most in this world. It hurts to see him hurt and scared. And it hurts him to see her going through this.
Which brings me to a question. What do we do? We live a plane ride away. We just spent a week with her and were with her through her surgery… but now that we are home and she is about to start chemo… I am feeling so useless.
I want to DO something to make her feel better. Not that anything we could do would really make her forget about the cancer and the chemo and all that bullshit… but… there must be something?
I feel like I want to send her a gift of some kind, but what kind of gift says: “I’m so sorry you have cancer I hope this makes you feel a little better today”?
We can’t do food baskets because we don’t know how she’ll be eating. I just bought her a bunch of makeup for Christmas so that probably wouldn’t work either. When we saw her last week we got her a gift card for her Kindle so she’d have lots to read during recovery.
I just don’t know. Maybe there is nothing?
If you have any ideas though, let me know. Maybe you know someone with cancer who got a really perfect gift? Any thoughts appreciated.