Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oy. Oy, vey.

No, I don't practice Judaism nor do I speak Yiddish. But sometimes, one MUST borrow phrases, because nothing else will fit the situation. Like when the Seahawks crush the New Orleans Saints during a playoff game. The only appropriate thing to say is "Holy Mary, Mother of God."

It's the only thing that fits.

In this case, it's "oy, vey."

Yesterday, I dropped a quick email to my ex's parents. I'd spoken to his mother a few weeks before about a shoulder surgery needed by her husband, my ex's stepfather. [The ex's birth father died over a decade ago. Cancer. It was awful.] Anyway, she and her husband were planning on spending a few months on Vancouver Island before visiting family in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and returning for an extending visit to Germany. I did feel that kind of happy jealousy one feels for the good fortune of others. She'd finally retired and now it was time to enjoy! Yay!!!

So my email was along those lines. How did the surgery go? Were they enjoying Vancouver Island and all its beauties? No big whoop. And last evening, my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number [nor did my phone] but I thought the area code looked familiar. It was the ex. [I didn't even recognize his voice.] He said that his mom asked him to call, that she just didn't want to tell the story again.

Yes, my heart clutched, too.

Pancreatic cancer.

She's opted not to have chemo or radiation. She is taking a medication that has been shown to shrink tumors. She's also going to have a liver biopsy, because you know how those internal organs like to stick together on things like cancer.'s not the best diagnosis in the world. According to Wikipedia [and take that with all the salt you want] fewer than 5% of all patients diagnosed with pancreatic are still living five years after diagnosis.

Median survival from diagnosis is around 3 to 6 months; 5-year survival is less than 5%. With 37,170 cases diagnosed in the United States in 2007, and 33,700 deaths, pancreatic cancer has one of the highest fatality rates of all cancers, and is the fourth-highest cancer killer in the United States among both men and women.

But there's hope, right? There's always hope. In this case, I have very specific hopes.

I hope my ex's mom lives every remaining minute of her life, whether that's two days, two weeks or two decades.
I hope she spends time with her children and her grandchildren, her siblings, her cousins and most of all her husband, who first wife also passed away in heartbreaking circumstances.
I hope the spouses of her children are able to show her love and support their partners through all of this.
I hope my ex's wife keeps him from succumbing to his addiction again.
I hope my ex's mom loves and is loved to the utmost of her capacity and is surrounded by that love whenever she leaves this world.

Oy, vey.



  1. Crap.
    I'm grateful that pancreatic cancer has taken some beginning steps away from 'automatic death sentence' that it used to have. It does allow one to pretend that the really bad statistics on survival are somewhat out-of-date.

  2. So sorry dear. Its not about the stats. She could quite easily outlast every prediction. But the hope would be she just enjoy the hell out of every minute she has left. Which is the way we ALL should be living, actually. I try to remember that when I'm getting all worked up over something fairly minor. Life/love for the day we have. Thats ALL we have.