Last week an MRI showed that Monika’s kidney cancer had metastasized into her brain.  Few people in this condition apparently survive more than six months. Monika quickly made the decision to abandon the cancer treatment which has made her feel cold and sick most of the time and to enter a hospice program.  She retains a commitment, however, to trying to beat the usual odds.

As in earlier stages of this “journey,” the outpouring of support from family and friends has been deeply moving.  Monika’s youngest son Dave came down within days, and built the ramp shown above from the garage into the laundry/mudroom, so that Monika would not have to negotiate the steps there.   Next week our sons and their families (and three dogs) will converge to celebrate Monika’s birthday.

The amazing thing is that just four days after getting the diagnosis of brain cancer, Monika feels better than ever.  Having quit her cancer medication, she feels hugely better physically.  She is amazingly calm and accepting about this terrible turn of events; her bravery and spirit are truly impressive (I’m afraid I’m not quite as brave or calm about this as she).  She feels totally comfortable in her decision to go into hospice.  She is radiant.  In addition to all the support from family, she has been deeply moved by the way the local community is mobilizing to provide both of us with support of all sorts.  She has touched many hearts and now those are touching hers.  So strange as it may seem, and as bittersweet as it is, she appears to be feeling better and happier and more at peace than ever.

This morning, Monika hosted her weekly Grace prayer shawl knitting group at our home.  In the afternoon we enjoyed the fall foliage along the Rockfish River.  We remain committed to trying to live each day to the fullest, and to treasure the time we have together.