Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A wise friend once told me...

That title is somewhat the truth...I asked a friend tonight about what I was feeling and if it was 'normal' to have these feelings.  I have never lost a loved one to cancer.  I have lost family members, but only a couple.  I was very young when my Grandpa passed.  He passed on in his sleep.  There was no preparation for his entrance into Heaven.  One day he was there, and took a nap, and the next, just gone.  No suffering, no regimens of pain meds and anti nausea meds and anti anxiety meds and Hospice visits.  Just a peaceful passing.  As we walk down this road God has already paved for my Mother, I am plagued with ill feelings.  With angry feelings, selfish and not so happy feelings.  Feelings of guilt, regret, joy, and sadness.  All of these feelings I can sum up in a sentence, and that sentence is what I asked a friend about.  That sentence is............................  I desperately want my Mother with me, but not like this..........................................

Mom is declining at her own pace every few hours.  More confusion, lots of nodding off while sitting and standing, dead a$$ tired, up for only about four or five hours today.  If you are doing the math, that means she is sleeping for 19-20 hours a day right now.  NOT where we want to be, but sleep is best for her.  While she is awake, she's so tired.  You can see it in her eyes, I can feel it in her smiles.  She's exhausted but that brain of hers just will NOT give in.  So I will propose above mentioned question to you all.  Am I wrong for feeling this way?  That the selfish side of me wants my Momma here with ME for a very very long time, but not like this?  I hurt to know that we will probably never get to have those amazing hour phone calls any longer.  No more texting all day long checking in on her. Gone are the days of taking her to the kids sporting events and watching her smile from ear to ear boasting about her grandkids.  I just don't want the suffering.  We have had all the time in the world to prepare for this.  Three years to be exact.  Now that we are nearing the end, it sucks.  It hurts.  It's like a vise squeezing my heart kind of hurt.  Yes my heart REALLY does hurt.

There's a plus side to all this heartache and pain.  I have a greater knowledge of who my TRUE friends and family are.  I am 150% certain about who I can trust, who I know will always pick up their phone if I call them at any time of day or night, and I know who I can rely on to help me out in time of need.  All of this has become crystal clear to me in the last couple of years.  For that I am Blessed, I am Thankful, I am Lucky.  

As the hours and days go by, I will continue to update as much as I can.  I will include what details I feel are appropriate and leave out the ones that make me feel vulnerable.  Some people have mentioned to me that my writing has helped them realize things in their trials of life, and that's why I will be committed to updating the blog.  Besides, it's therapeutic.  I am not a people person and the best of my friends know this.  This blog helps me relay my Mother's journey one step at a time without having to repeat it to several people several times a day so that they can watch me cry a river of tears.  Thank.Goodness.for.that.  Ugly cries are to be had in private.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Life can show no mercy..

"Things have seemed to change...There's one thing that still the same....in my heart you have remained..."

Michael Buble can sing things I could not put on paper myself even though the thoughts are there.  Babe You're Not Lost is on repeat in my car and on my kindle and in the laundry room while I am folding clothes. Life for Mom has taken such a drastic downturn in two weeks.  Major.  Heartbreaking, overwhelming changes.  She is a shell of herself.  I can see her spirit and her soul in her eyes and feel it through her hugs.  Her body has all but given up.  Her body is lost.  It's a horrible comparison, but it's my comparison.  The only way I can express to you in writing what is going on is this.... two weeks ago, she was texting rapidly, sometimes responding almost quicker than my teenage son.  She was cooking suppers and doing some laundry and sweeping the kitchen floors.  Walking unassisted, staying by herself at home for long periods of time.  Standing upright.  Lifting her own legs on her own will.  Sleeping until only 9am or so.  Two weeks later, none of that is the same.  Each and every thing you and I take for granted everyday (which you SHOULDN'T) comes as a struggle for her.  She walks with a cane. She doesn't wake up until around 11:30 or 12 noon.  It takes her a couple hours to wake up and become mobile enough to walk around the house.   She needs help lifting her legs into bed.  Cooking for her is few and far between, but she did manage to make her husband his weekly dose of taco meat, which is tradition for those two.  Sundays she makes taco meat, just for her hubby.  And that makes her very happy. Her legs and abdominal area are still swollen.  the fluid in her lungs can be heard thru stethescope, but only in the lower area.  Her right hand is very swollen, but her left hand is not?  Don't ask, because I know not why?  And the newest development, which has me worried, is the swelling in her face.  Mainly on the left side.  The vision in her left eye is half way obstructed by the swelling in her upper eyelid.  Her cheek and her lip are puffy, Hell, even her ear.  Hospice is saying it is most likely her kidneys are being affected.  That was the term they used...."affected".  Which in reality I know what that means.  Her kidneys are shutting down.  I am no doctor, but I have googled enough information to know.  Kidney failure is devastating.  We all know what's coming, but my Mother has a way of making her life worth living regardless of her health.  Obviously I am devastated.  Unfortunately, it's her norm.  The swelling will continue to pool in different areas, it will never get better.  I have comfort and peace knowing that Hospice is helping her long her journey keeping her free of discomfort.

Everyone is constantly asking me...."Is she in pain?"  The answer to that....the pain never leaves BUT that is not her number one complaint.  Her pain is being managed and that is a blessing!!!  Most pancreatic cancer patients have issues with eating, digestion, pain, nausea, etc.  She seems for now to have dodged that bullet.  Amen Amen Amen.

Hospice is coming again today after an unplanned visit yesterday to check out the swelling in her face after 24 hours.  Looks like we are going down the path of having Hospice visit more than twice a week.  I would prefer at this point that they do, but try and tell her that...she's still so darn stubborn :)  Its her way or no way.  I love that about her.

So for now, we are praying and loving and hugging and living.  She certainly hasn't given up yet, but she's scared.  She's not scared of passing away, but of what she will miss and how she will get to the 'end of life'.  If curse words offend you, I apologize in advance, but my Mom is a BADASS cancer fighter.  She has more than done her part in challenging all that cancer has handed to her.  I am eternally grateful for each and every phone call, text, and visit we have had and all that are to come.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Four Months Later

...I haven't made a blog entry in FOUR months, folks....four months.  That, my friend, is a pretty hefty amount of time when you have been stricken with terminal cancer.  I couldn't be more proud of being a daughter of a cancer fighter than I am right at this very moment.  She has literally defied ALL of the odds, all of the obstacles, met her milestones, and continued on her life journey.  She's a fighter.  Plain.and. Simple.  She's my Momma.  And unfortunately she is very very ill.

I started this blog specifically to help me clear my head of thoughts before I go to bed at night.  I find it quite theraputic most days.  I am not Shakespeare, but I try and maybe someone else out there is going through the exact same thing as me, and they will feel comforted knowing they are not alone.

The not so fun stuff....my Mom's health.  She is hanging in there, each day brings new challenges.  Some days are so much better than others.  Some days just plain suck.  Her legs all the way from her ankles to her abdomen are full of fluid, and this makes daily life painful.  Very, very painful.  Her legs are red and swollen and blistered and cracking.  Her skin on her legs looks as if it is about to burst.  Most days it takes her a good hour or so to get up and moving around.  She has been sleeping in later and later every day.  Most days she was up by 9am.  This last week she has slept in a lot longer.  Today was almost noon before she got up. She needs her rest and we will let her sleep and we will not disturb her.  But to brutally honest, I have googled enough information to know that an increase in sleeping has its' own ominous definition.  So does the swelling.  I will let you all figure that out on your own.

I talked about morphine on my last post in December.  She has hit that crossroad where the pain is just too unbearable.  Administering morphine into her daily regimen of pills has helped.  I know that for the longest time, the word morphine scared us all.  When I think of morphine, I think comatose, out like a light for days, don't wanna wake up after surgery kind of morphine.  It's not like that.  Go figure....  Thank goodness it's not like that.  She is a bit groggier than when she is not taking it, but it takes the edge off of the pain in her legs.  If it makes her comfortable, then so be it.  The word morphine no longer frightens me because this is what needs to be done for HER.  Her hubby has been taking off work to be with her 24/7, and that is a blessing in itself.  Anything she needs, he gets it.  If she needs help, he's right there.  He loves her with every ounce of his being and he wears his heart on his sleeve for her.  Talk about being blessed with one of the best caregivers in time of need.

There are a couple things more personally that I am noticing that are progressions of the disease, but I will save my questions and my assuming to myself until I have spoken with Hospice this week.  I do myself NO GOOD getting worked up over something trivial to them, but seems urgent to me.

Her time left here on this Earth is short lived, I am sure.   I struggle with that thought daily.  I am a planner.  I like to know when things are going to happen and why and how and with who.  This situation is out of my hands and I am finding it very difficult to let Him deal with it.  Let God make the decision when he sees fit to. My only concern is that we stay AHEAD of her pain, I have no interest in seeing her suffer any more.