Aunt Millie is hanging on. Her strength is unbelieveable.
She has been through more in the past several months than most of us will ever experience in a lifetime: ruptured appendix, endoscopy, discovery of a stomach tumor, aspiration followed by three weeks of a breathing tube, radiation, chemotherapy, and insertion of a feeding tube because her stomach is blocked by the tumor.
Aunt Millie takes it all in stride, fueled by strong faith and a beautiful family: Uncle Joe, their four children, and grandchildren.
She simply shrugs her shoulders when asked how she's doing, as if it's no big thing.
Aunt Millie has a sense of humor. Her children set up a communication system with her, early on when she couldn't speak. They told her to give them the finger when she wants them to leave.
She's a star pupil, waving both fingers at times, as if to emphasize her wish.
She can't eat or drink anything. I can't imagine that.
One afternoon we visited her, and she was sharing a room with an elderly woman. Lunch had been delivered to Aunt Millie by mistake, and she had to tell the aide to take it over to her neighbor.
Aunt Millie went on to tell us that the meal was a hot dog, and how much she enjoyed inhaling the smell of it.
Aunt Millie has good days and bad days. She refused pain medication until just last week, the final days of her radiation and last chemotherapy sessions.
Now she waits, tired, depressed, hurting.
Please, oh please, give her a miracle. Take away her pain, let her enjoy food again, let her thrill her grandchildren, and give us all the finger(s)!
Mostly, let her share her infectious smile.
We love you Aunt Millie.