My sister-in-law is not well. She hasn't been for quite sometime. Despite being in her late twenties, her body is slowly but surely shutting down on her. My SIL has epilepsy, a condition she was born with but went undiagnosed until her early twenties. People just assumed she was clumsy, forgetful, not paying attention. But all those episodes where she seemed to zone out or where she would fall down, we know now was a result of seizures. At one point it was determined that she was having anywhere from 9-12 micro-seizures every hour. These don't look like your "typical" TV drama seizures. She doesn't fall down or foam at the mouth, although she has been known to black out. (subsequently she can't drive anymore) Instead, her hands shake, she loses focus, her speech slurs just a bit. The worst part to what is happening to her is inside. Her body is so busy trying to repair the damage that constant seizing is doing to her brain, that it is neglecting all her other parts. Her joints have become loose, she has difficulty exercising, she's constantly tired. Seizure medicine is not helping and now the doctor is talking to her about death. Yes, death. She's in her late twenties with four children and her doctor is trying to prepare her for the idea that if this continues to progresses, eventually she will become brain damaged and then her body will shut down. This is terrible knowledge for anyone to process, particularly someone so relatively young. They (my brother and SIL) have been exploring their options.
They traveled to a state where cannabis oil is legal to see if it helped. It did. Are they willing to uproot their lives and move away from family for that? Perhaps. I would greatly miss my little nieces and nephews, but I would completely understand if they decided to do this. SIL is determined to not let this stop her from enjoying life either. Last time she visited us we went to the science museum and pushed her around in a wheelchair. This isn't the life she wants, but it allows her to spend time with her kids and husband. Someone once shamed her by stating that if she was so sick what was she doing going out all the time? What they didn't see or know was that she spent the next three days in bed after that little adventure, in pain and barely functioning.
I have not always gotten along with my SIL, but I also don't harbor her any ill will nor would I want my nieces and nephews to grow up without a mom or my brother to not have his wife. I'm also really glad that despite her being an essential oils enthusiast, she still goes to the doctor, takes medication, and is looking for alternative solutions for her problem. Of course, as you would expect of the devout, she also believes that God can heal her. A part of me understands. It's the reason why people play the lottery. Even if there is an infinitesimal chance that you may win, it's still a chance, so why not? Prayer and healing seem to meet that same need.
As we are talking on the phone the other night she said that the reason she posts about her health on social media is because "I believe in the power of prayer." Except I don't think she does. Traveling to another state to try cannabis oil and going to the doctor, sometimes weekly, tells me that you know that you have to do more than pray. What I think she likes is the idea that people are praying for her. It makes her feel loved, especially since she doesn't get out much anymore. If people are praying for her, then they are thinking about her. That means she is not forgotten. That her problems aren't too much that people are abandoning her. I completely understand that feeling. I imagine how nice it must feel to have someone take you aside at a party (the first time you've gone out in weeks) to tell you that their daily prayer list that they faithfully pray over. And not just them, their sisters also pray for you.
Obviously, based on how often there is miraculous healing, this isn't going to do a damn thing, but people are thinking about her. Since she does believe in a god, there is also that tiny bit of lottery hope that this god will listen to your prayers and magically heal you even though he never has before and there is no evidence he has done it before either. Being pragmatic, I am worried. I am worried that they don't have a living will. I'm worried that her health, which has been quickly declining, will send her into an early grave. I'm worried that my brother will become a widower in his thirties and that my nieces and nephews will lose a mother. And based on all the available data, that is looking like a very real possibility.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.