For as long as I can remember, I've known that Mamau has had Hepatitis C and that it was affecting her health. I knew that it was passed to her through a blood transfusion from one of her earlier bypass heart surgeries and that it was because they didn't know enough to test blood for it. Until last night, I didn't realize that "they" (medical science) didn't know to check blood for Hep C for blood transfusions until 1992. When I was middle school or perhaps about to enter high school, I vaguely remember my parents whispering to one another about her health becoming steadily worse. Then we moved to Vegas, of course there was a new baby and her health seemed to improve radically. I hadn't really thought of it much since then.
Mamau had a biopsy performed and went in for the test results on Thursday morning. I called to check up and see what they said, but never heard back from her. Finally, I was able to reach her Thursday night. In Hep. C there are 4 phases of the disease and they are measured by the scarring and condition of the patient's liver. The forth phase is obviously the last and final phase which leads to liver failure. Mamau was informed that this is where she is at now - at most, with an experimental treatment she might get five more years. The treatment however, is especially risky for her because it could cause a massive heart attack so she meets with her cardiologist next week to discuss this option - especially since she's had multiple bypass surgeries, a stint, and uses Nitro to control her heart as it is.
The message that David shares with us in Psalm 39 is suddenly much more real to me right now and yet, I don't even want to think about the eternal because I can't get my mind out of the temporal right now. About my Papau and my Aunt - how are they taking and dealing with the news? And now when Mamau passes away - no longer an "if" in my mind but now slowly becoming a real "when", how on Earth will my children deal with it? How can they grow up and not have memories of her? How can I squeeze in every possible minute with her so my kids can have that time with her and so I can have that time with her? She explained that the treatment, should she decide to try it, will leave her sick like a chemo patient, so she won't be able to be around any of the grandkids for up to a year (the max amount of time the treatments will run for, or 6 weeks the least amount of time they will run for). And I don't want her to risk the treatment because it's such a gamble, it'll leave her sick and will waste the time she has left sick in bed instead of with her family.
And admist our conversations with my questions and trying to stay calm and strong, she bears her testimony to me about trusting Heavenly Father. As if to remind me that there was something eternal I had been meaning to discuss with her. Yet, I feel so reluctant now to share this with them when I feel they are burdened enough as it is. At the same time, I see them clinging more now to the church than ever and with eternity fastly approaching, I'm scared to death for them even more.
In Max Lucado's book, "3:16 Numbers of Hope" he reminds us how the Iseralites turned to a golden calf to worship because they needed a god they could touch and how as Christians today we think to ourselves how foolish they were. He shows us how as Christians, we haven't changed much - instead of a golden calf there are eating binges or shopping sprees and we are running from a God of comfort and help. I never felt that this was more true than I do now. I know this is all in God's hands - but on one hand I simply want whatever time is left with Mamau to be good and for everyone to be happy. On the other, I love her dearly and I really do want her to put her trust in Jesus - not in a "religion" or denomination. I want her to have real and everlasting peace. I never consciously thought she would live forever, but I never thought she'd die. She's my Mamau - she can't die. She'll be around to nag my babies at their weddings about proper edict. That's who she is. That's Mamau.
And suddenly, she won't be. Beth Moore's study deals with loosing heros by highlighting a passage from Isaiah.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. (Isaiah 6:1 NIV)
Perhaps this is what Jesus meant in the Bee-Attitudes of Matt 5:4 of those who mourn are comforted, because they draw unto God? Perhaps our family will draw closer to God through this. For Isaiah, it was when his boyhood hero Uzziah died that he had an encounter with God. I know all things are in accordance with God's Will - but I'm still having a hard time accepting all of that.