Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Having a Moan

I generally don't like venting on my blog. Especially in the IFsphere where so many other people are going through their own personal hells, but as things are at the moment, it is my one and only outlet, so vent I must.

Mr. Devil Duck's family is close. Very close. So close that his brother still lives at home and all 5 of us work from the family home running two different companies. We live in eachother's pockets. So when, round about December last year, we noticed that all was not right with my mother-in-law, we were all pretty worried. She was exhibiting symptoms that might be consistant with a breakdown or a small stroke. Lapses of attention, concentration and conversational strangeness. We finally made her see a doctor in January.

Round about February , we found out that she was very ill. At first, she was diagnosed with Sporadic CJD, (not the Mad Cow kind) which is pretty much a very, very rare short term death sentence, sending us all into a spiral of complete dispair. I find it interesting that, as humans, the first reaction to bad news is never what you would expect. My first feeling was of overwhelming guilt for every harsh word we'd ever spoken (we get along very well, but we've butted heads occasionally) and for my body's inability to produce a grandchild that she could meet. Strangely enough, my second thought was, "I have no idea how to cook a Sunday roast like she does. I have to learn. RIGHT NOW!" Grief is rarely ever rational.

But it became apparent soon enough that, in fact, the doctors had no IDEA what what wrong with her. Her symptoms didn't really fit the profile of CJD. She went through a battery of tests including 7 MRIs and psychometric testing. We've been told, over the past few months that it IS CJD, that it ISN'T CJD, that it MIGHT be CJD and quite frankly we're all completely exhausted.

As a last attempt to discover the cause of the problem, she went in two weeks ago for a brain biopsy.

People have been drilling holes in their heads as long as we've been people. Early cavemen practiced trephanning as a shamanistic practice and as pain relief, but drilling a hole in your skull obviously comes with a few drawbacks, so we were fairly nervous about the procedure.

She came out of the surgery okay. She was up and walking around the ward the day after the surgery, and while she was suffering with some pretty severe headaches and some confusion, she seemed to be fairly lucid and well.

However, since she's been home, the confusion has trebled. She finds it impossible to understand instructions on the first, second or third go. (like, "you need to go take a shower" or "can you hand me that glass?") Today is worse than it's ever been and has literally been an excercise in frustration for everyone in the house. Mr. DD is super with her, trying to make her laugh and excercising infinite patience with her nonsensical tangents. She's taken to talking almost constantly, which is stressful for everyone, because very little of what she says makes any sense at all, leaving us trying to think of something to answer her with. I don't want to make it sound like we resent her or something, it's just terribly, terribly frustrating to see someone deteriorate this way.

Part of the newfound drive to TTC with a vengance is due to all of this. It will be another 4 weeks yet before we get the results of the biopsy, but we are all bracing ourselves for the worst. I hate trying to start a pregnancy under these particular conditions due to my two previous miscarriages. I feel so strongly that this next pregnancy MUST work, both for my sake AND for my mother-in-law's sake, while she still knows who we are, I'm afraid of my stress levels shooting through the roof and sabotaging the whole thing.

Sorry to dump, but it's been a very bad day.


Molly said...

Oh, dear.

How awful for your family.

Of course, you don't need to be told that "just relaxing" will not make much of a difference, but I can see where the stress would make everything about the situation difficult ("My mum is so confused and everything is so stressful," "Yeah, I know. It's awful. Well, we need to have sex right now, luv.")

Hope the biopsy results can provide you with some answers.

rockmama-in-waiting said...

thanks, Molly. :)

yeah, I know that being stressed isn't necessarily going to do anything one way or the other in regards to pregnancy. I had just hoped to have a more relaxing go of it this time around. Luckily, my husband is just as anxious for a baby as me, so he's totally supportive! I'm just really determined that his mum should get to see her grandchild while she still understands who we are.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I just found you via someone else's blogroll (Thalia, I think).

My mother recently was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the FIRST thing that went through my head was intense guilt over not having been able to produce a grandchild (2+ years TTC, now on IVF#2). Luckily, her treatment seems to be working, but I feel the same sense of stress/urgency that you are about getting it done. Sigh.

Good luck!

Meg said...

Hi Rockmama, I stumbled in here via Thalia's blog. I really just wanted to say: good stuff, eh? It looks GORGEOUS, and I will so be back.

Cheers to you.