After our great news on Tuesday, I felt like things could calm down for a bit. Until Paul called me on his way home from work that night, sounding quite rattled.
His mom had been taken to the hospital that day by ambulance.
Paul had found out because he'd seen some news story about a new Alzheimer's medication. His dad was diagnosed about two years ago with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. Mild to moderate seems to have progressed to worse, because his dad couldn't really tell Paul what was wrong except that she'd turned yellow or why he was at home instead of at the hospital with her.
Typical behavior from my inlaws --they are famous for, in passing, mentioning that they were in a car accident or one of them had been hospitalized or whatever.
Paul, to his great credit, got on the case immediately and alerted all his brothers (none of whom knew) including his next oldest, who is a doctor and has medical power of attorney.
Turns out she had a biliary tumor, near the pancreas and in the bile duct. When tumors occur there, they are almost always cancerous and can't be removed though surgery (the case with this one). Her doctors told her this Thursday and that she had about 6-7 months to live.
Paul was devastated, of course, and I was pretty upset myself. I make no bones about the fact my inlaws drive me up every available wall, but my MIL is a good woman at heart and doesn't deserve this. Dick Cheney keeps surviving heart attack after heart attack, but my MIL, whose worst sin is being anoyingly passive-aggressive, gets terminal cancer? NOT fair.
And apparently God or whoever agreed with us. Paul went up to visit yesterday, and IN PASSING she mentioned that the biopsy had come back and was noncancerous. Like, "yeah, that whole emotional hell you've been going through all week thinking you were about to lose me? BY THE WAY, I am probably not dying but I'll wait TWO DAYS to tell you that."
I've never been so grateful and so furious at one time.
She's not out of the woods--the fact is there still this thing in there and it needs to go away, but she's likely to be around for awhile. And I still have more teeth-on-edge moments facing me. Paul has finally convinced his brothers of the need to get together and discuss his parents' needs in the future, so we'll see how that goes. Denial runs strong in that family--their motto might as well be "If you ignore it, it's not really happening" -- so that should be fun. His dad is not going to get better and seems to be getting worse, and even if his mom recovers fully she can't continue to take care of a 6-foot-2, 190 lb. man all by herself.
Right now, I am praying for my MIL, for patience, and to do things out of kindness. To keep my short temper and general snottiness at bay and to let my feelings toward my husband I love dearly guide my actions toward the family I do not. If you're a praying sort, toss her and me one, huh?