Betsy (Elsen) Nus's Journal
Tough Times, Yet I Must Trust
Written Feb 20, 2014 2:45amHi everyone,
This is Betsy. I know my Mom is typically the one who updates this site, and she is quite amazing at it. But I also know it makes her happy when I post too, so here goes...
First, I would like to say a special "thank you" to those of you who continue to check this site and still pray for me. It has been over 5 years now, and I still have prayer warriors and people who care how I'm doing. It is just plain humbling. And Lord knows, I need lots of prayers, as my cancer journey continues, day after day.
In an earlier post, I know my Mom mentioned The Pain Rehabilitation Center that exists down at Mayo Clinic. I knew nothing of it until my great aunt brought it up to my mom (Thanks Becky!). A couple of months ago, I had a consultation at the facility, and was told that I'm the ideal candidate for their program. That is bittersweet for me because that automatically means I really have a serious problem, as they only accept patients who have run out of options. But being accepted is a great thing, of course, because I can still hold on to some hope for improvement regarding my daily head, neck and back pain.
I have very mixed emotions about entering this intensive pain rehab program. It's all day, everyday for 3 weeks. I begin the program on March 19th. For my level of functioning right now, that schedule sounds grueling, if not impossible! At times, I have major doubts on whether or not this place will be able to help me, since it's uncommon for them to get patients with cancer in the brain and spine. But I think I will be able to identify with the other participants when it comes to the debilitating nature of chronic pain. It is my hope that meeting people who struggle with chronic pain will, at the very least, make me feel less alone.
I'll admit I'm feeling a bit of pressure since this is a kind of "last straw" or final hope of my pain improving. I feel pressure because my family and loved ones have generously offered their financial resources so I am able to stay in Rochester for the extent of my program. Thank you for releasing that burden, and may God bless you abundantly for your giving hearts. It is just mind-blowing to me how God provides and also what a close, special family I have! I want you all to know how much I love you and that I am taking this opportunity very, very seriously.
I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day. Tim and I were able to have date night at "Biaggi's" (yum!) and then we watched romantic movies at home while eating chocolate covered strawberries, which he surprised me with. I'm beyond lucky to have a husband who doesn't mind a good chick flick every now and then! I pray that I am able to be more independent, patient and hopeful after I complete this rehab. Because Tim helps me with SO much every single day, with no complaints. EVER. I love him so much. I so desperately want my freedom back from pain and my cancer. I know I cannot have the "pre-cancer" me back, or the life I had five years ago, but I just want to be the best partner I can be for Tim.
In other news, I've started having panic attacks (I wouldn't wish this experience on anyone), deep depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, grief, and an overall inability to handle the pain (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). I am SO worn down from the pain, that I've slowly isolated myself from others. I hate disappointing people when I have to cancel plans so often due to pain or some other cancer-related issue. I'm in the darkest, heaviest place I've ever been in. It's worse than all the surgeries, chemo, radiation, infections, etc. And it's worse because I'm losing hope. I hate thinking or saying that when I have God, and my amazing husband, family, and friends who love me, but it's the ugly truth of it all right now.
As you all know, I've tried many treatments for both my cancer and chronic pain, but none have been successful. I will always be willing to try one more thing (if the possible benefits outweigh the risks). A component of this particular treatment program at Mayo involves working to wean patients off of narcotic pain medications. I have taken low-dose Dilaudid daily for several years now. I don't abuse my pain meds, but I know my body has naturally become tolerant and dependent on the meds, since I've been taking them for years. And that scares me sometimes.
I have committed mysef to fully participate in this upcoming program, with an open mind and heart. In the end, I hope to return home refreshed, armed with coping skills and tools that truly help ease my pain, anxiety and depression. I know my heart is longing to re-connect, so please pray that I will be able to do so with myself, my family, and old and new friends. Thanks for reading...and I apologize...I can never keep it short and sweet!Much Love,
World Cancer Day
Written Feb 4, 2014 2:24pm
A few years ago, I'm sorry to admit, a day like today would probably have slipped under my radar. Not anymore. World Cancer Day. What does it mean? For me, it's a day to mourn and grieve what cancer has taken from my daughter, but also a day to be grateful for those who research for, and tend to our loved ones who have this disease.
Betsy still struggles and each day seems dark and mostly hopeless. She can't see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. It's sad and weighs heavily on me, but much more so on her and Tim. Has her diagnosis changed? No, they still just say she has to learn to live with it, as the tumor still has residence in her spine and brain. How can she? She has pain, debilitating pain that I cannot fathom. I go on about my daily routine, enjoying friends, family, a busy schedule, but Betsy struggles to complete the simple tasks of the day. This World Cancer Day has me feeling thankful she is with us, but so very angry for what cancer has dealt her. I pray God will hear me and grant her ONE DAY where she can feel hopeful and see a glimmer of light at the end of her long, dark tunnel. I thank you for listening to a mother's rant. I thank you for lifting her up in your prayers.
**She will enter the pain clinic in Rochester soon, we hope. No word yet on a start date.
Written Dec 27, 2013 7:20pmPlease say a quick prayer for Betsy. They have a nasty stomach flu going through their house and now she has it. Poor girl is miserable, on top of the usual day to day issues.
We pray you had a blessed Christmas!! We did. Betsy and Tim came out to Delano for Christmas Eve. They stayed overnight and she seemed to be feeling pretty good. She woke Christmas morning not feeling as well. They left right after breakfast and headed home. I think she had to miss out on the get together with Tim's family and felt terrible about it. She would love to get through an entire holiday or special occasion without some physical issue getting in her way.
Please also lift up a family from our parish. Stephanie, age 33, lost her battle with breast cancer. She left behind her husband and three young sons. I will miss her.
May God's perpetual light always shine upon her.