I don’t even know

This is all happening so fast. I don’t even know how to process it.

Yesterday, they did a full-body scan of J to try to identify the cause of his knee pain. While they didn’t find that, they did find that his cancer has metastasized to his spine.

They didn’t have the results yet about the type of fluid that they found in his lungs, so we don’t know yet if that’s malignant or not. I guess we’ll have a bit better of an idea once we have those answers.

At least they upped his pain relief so now he’s more comfortable. But I don’t even know if he’ll be released tomorrow or not because they’re also waiting for his kidney function to get in the normal range. It’s coming down but very slowly.

To be honest, I don’t know anything about his life expectancy now. His oncologist is maddeningly vague about that and J never asks. In the past, I understood that viewpoint.

But now that he has bone mets in his spine, that changes things a lot. Now I would at least like to know, if his life expectancy is closer to a year or if it’s just a few months.

One of the reasons I’d really like to know that is so that I can advise Dylan accordingly. If J is going to make it until the summer at least, he wants to try to continue his college education. He’s going to take off a semester when my husband is at the very end but he also doesn’t want to take time off too soon.

Dylan is really, really struggling to know what to do about going back to school. Honestly, I don’t blame him a bit—this has to be one of the most agonizing choices a young man could have to make. He doesn’t want to lose education time unnecessarily but he also really wants to be there for his dad.

I’ve been talking a lot with the kids and it’s interesting to see how differently they’re handling it. Amy is a lot like me, very worried but also very pragmatic.

Dylan is having the hardest time by far. He doesn’t like to talk about it much. In that sense, I think he’s like J and that worries me. He did see his girlfriend for a while yesterday and he’s been going on walks, which is good for him. But I can also tell that he’s bottling up a lot of his feelings, which I can’t imagine being good for him.

Oddly enough, Chloe has really stepped up to be a source of comfort to me and she has a very good way of calming me down when my thoughts are racing.

She committed to me yesterday that she will help me with the rent—even down to splitting it in half. It will require tightening our belts for sure, especially until I’m eligible for J’s social security survivor’s benefits. But I think we will make it.

As she put it, even paying for half our rent here is still so much nicer and more comfortable than anything else she could get for a similar price (and it also gives Dylan a place to stay while he’s on breaks.)

I also mentioned selling J’s car to her and she was overwhelmingly in favor of it. We only owe $6000 on it and the Kelley Blue Book estimates its value at almost $9000. She’s driven the car before and knows it’s good. It’s a 2013 Toyota Corolla and has had all the maintenance done on it. It will probably go for another 150,000-200,000 miles. She feels great about buying it and can even pay for it with cash.

However, my name is not on the title at all and I don’t know how to transfer it. Once my husband can no longer drive, I just have to hope that he’s still of sound enough mind to help me figure it out.

So while I’m still praying for a miracle for J, it’s starting to become clear that I may not get one. And I’m trying to figure out what my next steps for survival will be. At least I know that I most likely won’t become homeless or need to move right away, which is a huge load off my mind. I’ve spent far too much time thinking about what happens if I become homeless and frankly it scares the living daylights out of me.

Thank God for Chloe, honestly. Dyl won’t have to drop out of school entirely to help me survive and I feel like that alone is a big gift we can give him. And once I’m filing taxes as a widow, he will surely get a lot more in grants. He really does have a good shot at making it, even despite the heavy obstacles he faces.

But Chloe is so calming and positive and I really appreciate that so much. I got more hugs from her today than I have in months and I admit that I really needed them. She brought me out of what was honestly kind of a tailspin.

I would never recommend this to anyone else; it’s absolutely horrible. But just maybe, it will be okay.

So now my attention is back where it should be: on the absolute unfairness of losing my husband so young. Just a year ago, he was NED and got off chemo. We were so full of optimism then. That optimism is so hard to hold on to now. I really have to remember the good times and try to keep them in the forefront of my mind because it’s way too easy to imagine the worst.

Still waiting

So he’s not being released today. They don’t have the results of the lung fluid test yet.

They finally did another test about the pain in his leg: a bone scan to see if the cancer has spread there. This seems so fucking obvious that it makes me really angry at UT Southwestern.

He has seen specialists there about both his chronic cough and his leg pain. They essentially dismissed both complaints.

They gave him Advair and a rescue inhaler to manage his lungs. They never once considered that he might have MPE, even though it’s a common problem for cancer patients.

They basically did nothing about his leg. They tried prescribing Lyrica and Neurontin, which did nothing. And then they essentially shrugged and stopped looking.

He’s at our local hospital and they’ve actually discovered the fluid in his lungs and drained it and now they’re doing a bone scan to determine if the cancer has metastasized. All of these things seem relatively obvious.

And UTSW seems like they should be better and based on reputation they are. At least the neurologist I saw there determined that I have leukodystrophy and not MS. But now I’m wondering if he should have just stayed in Fort Worth and asked to see a different oncologist.

Shit gets real fast

I went up to the hospital to see J yesterday. He wasn’t doing nearly as well as he was the day before.

For one thing, the pain in his leg came back, even despite him still being on morphine. They still don’t know what’s causing that but I hope they’ll do more tests tomorrow. He wasn’t eating as well either.

The real scary part is that they drained his lungs and it didn’t occur to me at first just what that could possibly mean.

They’re testing the fluid that they drained to determine if it’s a malignant pleural effusion (or MPE.) Basically what that means is that there’s fluid around his lungs and that fluid itself may be cancerous. It’s extremely common in cancer patients, unfortunately.

He’ll find out the test results tomorrow. Based on his symptoms (primarily the horrible cough he’s had since February) I will not be surprised if that is indeed what he has.

But the thing is that if that is what he has, it means he really might not have much time left at all. A lot of things I found about MPE were pretty grim. It’s usually a sign of very late-stage cancer and the average life expectancy is 3-12 months.

And if that 3-12 months includes the time since his cough began, yikes. But I don’t think it would be from the time it was diagnosed, though it might be.

He really might be gone in just a couple of months. He’s been living as though he still has plenty of time left but he might not.

Honestly, I just feel sick. I don’t want him to be gone that soon. Of course, I never want him to be gone. But this seems to have come on with a suddenness that I wasn’t prepared for at all.

Maybe he’ll get extremely lucky and will find out tomorrow that he doesn’t have MPE after all. That’s what I’m really hoping for. Because the alternative is too much to bear.

Exhausting day

Whew, yesterday was exhausting!

My husband woke me up around 10:30 am, 3 hours early. He said he needed me to take him to the emergency room. Talk about waking up with a bang!

I had told him just the day before that I wanted him to start using the pulse oximeter when he felt bad. At the time, I kinda felt like he was blowing me off. But to my surprise, he actually had used it—and was very alarmed when his pulse rate was 220.

So we went to the ER, me not even changing out of my pajamas (a t-shirt and sweatpants.) When we got there, they took him back to a room right away.

At first, they thought he might have sepsis because his lactic acid levels were high. But finally, after doing a CT scan of his chest, they diagnosed him with pneumonia. (And they repeated the lactic acid test and were able to rule out sepsis, thank god.)

He got supplemental oxygen and morphine, in addition to antibiotics for the pneumonia. And within just a few hours, he seemed so much better. With his pain well-controlled, he was actually able to eat a full dinner (including dessert!), which he hasn’t been able to do in months.

His pain has been grossly undertreated. I’ve tried talking to him about getting hooked up with palliative care services (which is not the same as hospice) so his pain could be more adequately treated. He finally told me that I could mention it to my social worker/therapist, who always asks if either of us need resources from UTSW. Fortunately, I’m seeing her tomorrow.

Just seeing how much better he was doing with adequate pain meds and oxygen was like setting his condition back to what it was a few months ago, when he was doing better. It actually gave me a lot of hope, a lot more than I’ve had in recent weeks. He no longer seems like he might die in a couple months. Granted, I’m still not optimistic that he’ll even make it another year, but at least it looks possible now.

He very adamantly sent me home tonight instead of letting me stay in his room, so that I could get some rest and take care of myself, too. It was hard for me to do. But I also reluctantly knew he was right, as if I push myself too much, I could very well end up in the hospital, too.

So I came home and talked with all the kids (Amy had come over with her boyfriend and got pizza for all of us.) I was able to give them the good news about J, which we talked about for a bit.

Then we moved on to talking about other stuff unrelated to J’s health. There was just this collective sense that we needed a mental break from his illness and that was good.

They left around 9 and I took a 2-hour nap. And when I woke up, I talked with Dylan for a couple hours. It was good. And he also expressed a willingness to move out of the country with me at some future date, so now I’m at two out of three on that one. I don’t know if Amy would be willing to go but she might be.

I wrote an article for Medium about the fact that all my adult kids are willing to look out for me and for each other and how I think we cultivated that. I do think it’s pretty rare. But especially when things look kinda scary, I’m also very grateful for it.

Dark thoughts

I was thinking about it a lot yesterday and I have become relatively convinced that I think J is on the downward spiral.

That doesn’t mean that I have given up hope or that I think all is lost. But it does mean that I finally had a bit of a wake-up call about how things really look and it’s not good.

The fact that Norco has stopped working to alleviate much of his pain seems to suggest to me that the pain has gotten worse. If the cancer has progressed (which we’ll probably know more about after his appointment on the 27th) it would make sense why he’s in a lot more pain now.

I don’t know what his oncologist will recommend as a next step if his cancer isn’t responding to this treatment. I know he mentioned another drug before, but he also told me that if the first drug doesn’t work, the second one is unlikely to work, either.

And that comes down to the point of how long and how much he should suffer during treatment itself. If the doctor says it only has a small chance of working, does it make sense to keep suffering from the treatment? I guess that’s a question only J can answer for himself.

And I know that he wants to feel like he’s done everything possible to stick around for me and the kids, which is so incredibly touching and admirable. But I also see how much he’s suffering and I don’t want to keep putting him through that.

If it’s a matter of months either way and the most time he can buy is a couple more months, I’m not so sure it’s worth it.

Yes, I want more time with him—I’ll always want more time! But what I want more of are the times that now mostly seem to be behind us, especially. It’s hard to explain without sounding like an asshole but I don’t want more time if it’s going to cause him more suffering.

Because more than just selfishly wanting him here, I want him to be free of suffering. It would be horrible if I wanted him to stick around at any cost. There comes a point where you have to say enough is enough. I don’t know if we’re there yet but I’m becoming increasingly aware that that point may be coming in the next year.

Yes, I am absolutely terrified of trying to make it without him, both in general and in terms of what will happen if he dies before I’m eligible for his social security survivor benefits. But I foolishly have some small faith that things will work out somehow.

My current working plan is to try to save all the money I can and hopefully not have any lapse in expenses. But if I’m not able to do that, I’d fall on the mercy of my landlord and hope that he would be okay with partial rent payments until I get the life insurance money (which can take several months, from what I understand.)

Chloe will obviously need to be working but I think I have to practice interviews with her. She didn’t get hired at Starbucks, which she’s understandably taking as a blow to her self-confidence. I need to try to build that up as much as possible.

I want Dylan to stay in school, just because his prospects are so good upon graduating. But he may need to get a job while in school—and depending on how bad things get, I might need some financial help from him (rather than the other way around, as it has been.)

At least if he’s going by my disability income, he should get full Pell grants again.

I’m just spitballing, trying to find ways that we will be okay, even if J does die before I can get his survivor benefits.

I just don’t want the reason for my husband’s continued suffering to be to try to help me—and I do think he would do that. He has always put me and the kids first above himself and that has been such a profound gift to us.

But sooner or later, it’s time for him to rest. Only he knows when that will be. I just hope he doesn’t feel like I need him to keep going through more and more in the pursuit of trying to be here longer because he’s afraid of what will happen to me and the kids.

Another birthday

Yesterday was J’s birthday. We got to spend some time together, although he was feeling pretty bad, especially as the day went on.

We had some fun moments, especially when Amy and her boyfriend came over. They ordered food for us from a nearby Japanese restaurant, which is one of the places J likes.

It took kind of a while for the food (they always order delivery) so we got to have some fun conversations while we waited. We talked a lot about music, especially some artists that both J and I like (like The Cure.)

That was kinda satisfying for me, especially because it really showed how much we influenced the development of her own music taste.

It was just overall a very pleasant visit. I got some vegan lemon-poppyseed muffins for her. They got to see the cats again and we talked a lot about them. I showed Amy some new stuff I got (like a Texas A&M garden stone I bought yesterday) and she complimented me on my Christmas tree, which I’m really proud of how well I decorated—and even pointed out that she “wasn’t just bullshitting.”

Her boyfriend also brought his camera and we took some nice family pictures. That was before my husband started feeling really bad (or at least he wasn’t doing badly enough for me to notice—he may have been concealing it well.)

But as I’m sure won’t be surprising, the thought was never too far from my mind that I don’t know how many more birthdays I’ll have with him. He thinks he’ll at least see another one but I am not as optimistic.

This was the first year ever that we didn’t have sex on his birthday. That feels fairly significant—not in that I missed it but in what it seems to say about his overall health. He was really hoping to be well enough for that and he just wasn’t.

I keep thinking about what Dyl said yesterday, about thinking that J’s reason for living is to take care of us. I think he’s probably right. I know J has said that he at least wants to be around until I’m 50 so I can get survivor benefits. And I am sure that if he has any control over it, he’ll make it that long.

But the truth is that cancer isn’t always so controllable. And he’s not doing particularly well right now. He’s in that same state he was in last month, where he had to skip a chemo cycle because he wasn’t well enough to get it. That took a big toll on him, just as it is now.

And similarly to when he went through this last month, it’s hard for me to keep up my optimism through this. I just see how much he’s suffering and there’s nothing I can do to help.

He is having a really prolonged coughing fit right now (like for over an hour) and it’s possible that that might be what kills him. I am not so happy about my research skills sometimes, because they tell me about all the ways this is possible.

It’s really, really fucking hard to watch the person you love most in the whole world suffer. And knowing that they’re going to suffer even more is unbearable. I hope his suffering will be lessened somehow. And I hope I’m somehow given the strength to get through it.

He’s home!

I went to pick up my son from college for the semester break, which will be about a month long. It was surprisingly really fun (which is hard to say about 8 hours of driving.)

Part of what made it fun was that he had made a special playlist of songs for us to listen to together, which included some of his new discoveries as well as some songs that are mutual favorites.

Then, we put on Panic at the Disco’s first album, which we both really love. Because we both know all the words to every song on that album, it’s a fun singalong for both of us. By now, it has become a tradition that we listen to that album on every trip to or from campus.

He mentioned that he thought it was pretty rare for moms and sons to have singalongs in the car and to like the same music. And I guess I hadn’t looked at it that way, but I think he’s probably right that it’s pretty rare. I know that I don’t have anything similar with either of my other two kids.

I have been feeling kinda left out and overlooked lately, like we had lost a lot of the closeness we used to have. He had gotten so busy with school and he’s also made some really good friends at school, which hasn’t left much time for responding to my messages.

But on the trip home today, it just sorta made up for all of that. He said that although people (including me) always tell him how much he’s like my husband, he doesn’t think enough people acknowledge how much he’s also like me.

We have nearly identical music taste and we hear music the same way, in the sense of identifying qualities of an artist that are similar to another. We are both very passionate about music, too, to an extent not shared by many people.

Amy somewhat shares that passion for music but our tastes are a bit different. We have a few overlapping artists and our tastes are sorta similar enough that we don’t usually find each other’s music taste annoying but it’s more different than mine is with Dylan. Honestly, Amy shares more musical taste with J. (And my relationship with music and J is similar to mine with Amy.)

Chloe has artists she likes but she does not share the general passion for music at all and our tastes are pretty different.

It’s just really pretty unique, I guess, that Dyl and I are both so passionate about music and share so many favorite artists (some of which were already favorites of mine that he even discovered on his own.)

Dylan also told me that he really respects the fact that I’m always trying to become a better person and that he is trying to do the same. That whole topic of personal growth and trying to get in touch with your emotions is something he says he’s learned from me. He remembers how I used to be and knows how much work I’ve put into changing, which inspires him a lot. He’s trying to learn from it and stretch outside his comfort zone.

I guess it was just really good to hear that he thinks he’s gotten a lot of good traits from me, too, because in the past, he’s focused more on my husband’s good traits.

Which is not to say he’s lost any appreciation for my husband’s good traits. He specifically mentioned how much he appreciates that my husband sends him a text every morning, especially because he knows that a lot of mornings my husband is really struggling.

But like he also said, even though my husband is also very supportive of the LGBT community, he thinks that his support is often quieter than mine. He actually thinks that I am a really strong ally, which was nice to hear.

He also said that probably his best friend on campus is a trans woman whose personality and interests actually remind him a lot of Chloe. His friend is very early in her transition and doesn’t think her family is likely to be very accepting and may even kick her out by next summer, once the signs of transition are more noticeable.

So he just told his friend that if she gets kicked out of her house, she can come live with us—before even asking us if it was okay. And while I would like to be asked (and I told him that a lot may depend on how my husband is doing next summer), I love the fact that he doesn’t question my support. I actually really love that a lot.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve never met his friend. If I can help a young trans person who isn’t accepted by her family, of course I will. And I love that he feels so confident in that.

He also said some things that were a little less flattering, or at least more mixed. Like that he sometimes thinks both my husband and I are too nice. He thinks that I don’t take enough time for self-care (true) and that my husband seems like his only reason for living is to take care of us (probably also true, to be honest.)

He doesn’t want to be like my husband, mostly because it just looks so impossible. But he thinks of both of us equally as role models, which is something he’s learned more in college. He’s exposed to so many people who have truly terrible experiences with their parents and he sees that we’re trying our best—and it really matters.

It’s hard not to feel good about that.

Pain and what it means

My husband is in a lot of pain lately and I don’t know what it means.

I know that when he can get chemo, he feels bad from that but his pain lessens for a week, almost two. But when he has to skip chemo because his immune system is too low, the pain and nausea both seem to get a lot worse.

The medications he has aren’t really helping either the pain or the nausea. I think it may be inevitable that he’ll have to ask for a stronger narcotic and I don’t know if they will give it to him.

I have to be honest: all this is making me feel very worried, like the end might be coming sooner than we thought.

He had to work from home yesterday and he might tomorrow as well. Luckily, his employer is very understanding about his cancer. Even someone in the executive level had a wife who survived cancer and J’s boss’ dad had cancer, too, so they’re all very understanding.

But I’m also very worried about my finances. I still (yes, still—ugh) have to report my earnings for the year to Social Security and I may be over the allowable limit. If I am, I’ll have to repay the difference, which may be as much as two months without a Social Security check.

If J dies before I’m 50, I don’t get survivor benefits for him until then. I used to think that for sure he would make it that long. But looking at him now, I’m not so sure anymore. I would have the life insurance money (hopefully) to get me through until I’m 50.

But I’m also looking at the very real possibility that he’ll have to go on either short- or long-term disability, which only covers 60% of his salary. I could probably make up the shortfall but it would be tight.

The fact remains that I am still living like he’ll be around a while but it’s becoming increasingly clear that he really might not be. And I have to adapt accordingly, which really affects my spending. I don’t know if I can really continue to send my son as much money every month. For now I can but for how long?

Can I really afford to buy as many treats for the kids or to opt for meals out? I think I really have to cut back and quickly.

Chloe really has to get a job, like yesterday. She’s a sweet girl but I honestly really need her to step up to the plate. Supporting her 100% isn’t really feasible anymore.

I’m buying stuff for them, especially my youngest, that isn’t really necessary. He may say he wants a case of Gatorade for the time he’s home on break but that’s not really a need. Similarly, I always take him grocery shopping before he goes back to school and pick up the tab. But maybe I have to rethink that.

I just feel like I really have to get my finances in order, as soon as possible. I don’t know how much longer my husband will get full paychecks.

And I really don’t know if I can even afford to stay here long-term. I really want to and my rent isn’t that much (for the area.) But I just suddenly feel like everything I’ve relied on is shifting underneath my feet and I don’t know how to get my bearings.

The procedure

I’m trying to raise awareness about colon cancer by talking about it. A lot of people really don’t talk about it, seeming to think it’s embarrassing or shameful because it’s about our butts.

So I went in for a colonoscopy yesterday. I have to say that the prep wasn’t exactly fun but it also wasn’t nightmarishly horrible, either.

The good news is that the results came back clear—no polyps or anything. And now I don’t have to go through that again for 10 more years.

The sad part is that I realized that the chances are slim that J will still be here to take me to my next one and I’ll have to find someone else to take me. I don’t even know who that will be because I can’t see 10 years into the future. I think that’s one of the hardest aspects of J’s cancer; it just takes away so much of my ability to plan and daydream about the future.

I also realized that I was apparently more worried about the colonoscopy than I thought, because the first thing that I remember saying as I woke up from anesthesia was, “thank God I don’t have colon cancer like my husband!”

But I’ve always kinda known that my health risks are more likely to be related to my heart than to cancer, just based on my own past symptoms and family history. That’s certainly not to say that cancer is impossible and I still get screenings for it, just that I know my heart is more likely to get me.

I’ve had a number of screenings related to my heart health and they’ve all come back good. But that’s little reassurance since when my mom had her heart attack in her early 50s, the doctor who operated on her said her veins were clear, too.

I still strongly suspect that she has the same neurological issue that I do and has just never been diagnosed because the doctors in that town suck so much. So I try to get the screenings I can and hope that my lifestyle differences will make a difference (namely, she was a heavy smoker and still drinks a lot.) But I don’t ultimately know if any of my lifestyle habits will save me.

In the meantime, I’m really worried about my husband. He’s taking Norco around the clock now and it’s not helping his pain. He’s also taking Zofran for nausea on days that he’s not on chemo. These just really don’t seem like good signs.

Talks with my middle daughter

I had some fairly enlightening discussions with my middle daughter yesterday.

First of all, I asked her if she wanted to take over the aux jack in my car, so we could listen to her choice of music. She tends to feel very private about what she likes and doesn’t view music as a social thing. So I was surprised when she actually did it because I think that’s a sign that she’s learning to trust me.

I told her that Dylan always takes over the aux jack in my car too, as part of my reassurance that I was fine with hearing stuff that isn’t always my taste. And sometimes I even find new stuff that I like through exposure.

I do have to say that so far, her music tastes don’t seem to match up well with mine. She mostly listens to Japanese city pop or disco, 70s soul, and some acid jazz. But it was fine listening to it.

Then I asked her if she felt weird at all about the fact that I’m so close with Dyl. She said no because it didn’t seem to hinder my efforts to be close to other people (like her.) But then she also said some really interesting things.

Like she guessed that it was more natural for me to be close to Dyl because of how much he’s like J. That’s very true. And then she also pointed out that some of Dylan’s bad traits are ones that she could picture my husband as having been like when he was younger (particularly being arrogant and not being willing to apologize.)

She said that she remembered my husband exhibiting more of those traits earlier, even in her own lifetime. She said that he’s really worked to not be like that as much anymore but that she sees those same traits in Dyl sometimes and they drive her crazy. She also acknowledged what I must have gone through for so many years (which nobody ever really does.)

Honestly, she totally hit the nail on the head with all of that. It was actually kinda eerie. But she’s always been like that, just sitting back and observing way more than she lets on.

Then, we had another very interesting discussion. She said that she thinks that the way we raised her is indeed part of why she has been so slow to take on the responsibilities of adulthood.

But she remembers things a certain way, which is that she thinks my husband would have been much tougher on her than I was, especially because he was raised that way. She sees it that my influence mellowed him out and kept him from acting on some of the ways he was raised.

She doesn’t think my husband would have ever been abusive like his stepdad was but does think he would have expected her to do a lot more work if not for my influence.

I pointed out that Amy always helped him with a lot of that work. But she overall said that was a negative thing and implied that Amy thought so, too. If so, I think she’s made some kind of peace with that, especially because a lot of the things she learned were about how to fix things (which she still does.)

So then I asked Chloe if she thought we should have been harder on her to encourage her finding her path to adulthood sooner and she said no. She said, “I might have been more independent sooner but I also probably would’ve also hated you guys.”

I’m not really sure what to think about all this now. I mean, she now seems more motivated to get a job and that’s good.

And she also acknowledged that a lot of that was just her and she doesn’t think we could have done much differently to achieve a better outcome.

She’s always been kinda slow to grow up, very private and secretive, and just does things on her own timetable. Any effort on my or my husband’s part to get her to change or go faster usually doesn’t work anyway. She has always been my hardest child to motivate.

But really, it just reveals how different all three of my kids are from one another. Amy is totally independent now and I’m really happy with how she’s doing overall. Like me, she found a good relationship and he does a lot to help her.

Dylan has been pretty self-motivated since 9th grade, when he realized that he had potential but it wouldn’t be realized unless he put in action, too. He’s the most conventionally successful of all my kids so far. And I can’t point to anything I’ve done or that J has done that has made him that way. I just try to help him fulfill his dreams as best as I can and was very clear with him about mistakes we made, so he could try to learn from them.

Still, it’s interesting that Chloe thinks we were too easy on her and that it might have held her back. But she also acknowledged that if we weren’t as nice, the outcome likely would have been worse. She sees us both as being really nice people, sometimes doing things for others to a fault.

She’s still planning (at least at this point in her life) to stick around and help me with the bills. We’ll have to see if that pans out in the end; it may not. But I think that for the most part, we did the best that we could, and I’m glad that we took the compassionate route with her.