Thursday, May 10, 2012

I hate cancer

Sorry for so long between postings, as usual, life has been a bit chaotic.  Lisa has been doing well, some complaints here and there about pain, some anxiety about school and lots of routine visits to her nurse.(So routine, that we've gotten to know the Lee's Chicken staff by name--hi Michelle- because we go every Tuesday before Lisa's appts.)

We will continue to check in with the nurse every Tuesday and have blood draws on Fridays, until there is no residual virus from the study found in her blood.  We are on hold for any treatments until then which makes me a bit nervous.  While this might make our schedule a little lighter it is nerve racking as we wonder if the cancer is going to use this time to get a grip and take off.

I've decided I really HATE cancer and other diseases.  I miss my "naive" little life where I knew nothing about cancer, chemo, side effects, hospitals.....I miss my biggest problem being that my kids didn't read at grade level or didn't clean their room or why the hell.......

Most of you know my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer that had metastasized to her liver.  She did chemo for a time and while she did survive longer than they originally gave her, the chemo stopped working and she was left with no other real courses of action.  Being that she is 79 years old, we all knew that the winner of this battle would be cancer.  Two Sundays ago, each of my mom's kids and their spouses got to share time with her and pick out a special memento to remember her by while she shared the story and history of some of her treasures.  One week ago, my brother had my mom's sister come into town for a reunion.  It had been 13 years since the sisters had seen each other.  It was nice seeing the sisters reminisce and getting to talk with my cousins who I hadn't seen since I was a teeny-bopper.  Unfortunately, my mom's sister has Alzheimer's and most likely didn't remember the evening after it happened.  My mom, her eyesight fading, had trouble seeing her sister at first.  Later, my mom's brain re-wired from the cancer and treatments remembered the evening not for its wonder, but for the things that irritated her.

This last Saturday, I got a call from my Dad in the late afternoon.  He sounded exhausted.  My mother, with her re-wired brain, was agitated and not being nice and had been suffering from a headache all morning and wouldn't take any meds.  I went over to spend the afternoon with her and to give my Dad a break.  Fortunately, my mom is/was still pleased to see me and spend time with me.  She took the meds with my coaxing and even had enough energy to sit in the sun porch and chat with mefor a while as the headache she had complained about all day subsided.  She went to bed around her normal 7pm.  She appeared restful and I actually watched a movie with my Dad...I don't think I've done that for 20+ years!

Tuesday, on my way to Lisa's appt, I got a call from my brother that my Mom was not doing well. She had not been up most of the  morning and had not eaten since late Monday.  By the time I was done with Lisa's appt and got in touch with my brother, he thought the end was very near.  Mom was now having what appeared to be "seizures" and trouble breathing.  He put out the call and my mom's children returned to the roost as we waited for the hospice nurse.  As luck may have it, Matt, my close friend, was the nurse on-call that night and was very familiar with what was going on because I had filled him in earlier that day.  Once he got there and administered meds my mom's breathing settled down and she was more peaceful. As the hours wore on, she weakly whispered she was thirsty.  I spent the night there and listened to her quiet desperate cries of "I'm thirsty...I'm falling....something is not right..." repeat thru the night.  I'm not sure how much she was really aware of and if she knew what she was saying, but I kept the vigil and gave her what I thought she needed.

Since then, we have continued the meds around the clock and gotten a hospital bed for her.  We have also established a "watch" schedule until we can get her into a bed at Angela Hospice skilled nursing.  This is hard on everyone and very heartbreaking.  This is not the way any of us want to die and I get a sense that my mom is aware that she is dying the slow death and is fearful of how long it could take.  At this point, we know its not very long, however, her vitals are still strong and that is torment as we wait for the final moment to be upon her which realistically could take up to two weeks.  As my Dad said "I can handle a lot of things, I can walk away from things that upset me, I can deal with pain....this...this watching someone die...I can't do...I watched my mother die and now I'm watching my wife die....I hate it and living this nightmare all over again....".

I ask that as Mother's day quickly approaches you send up some prayers for my Mom, my Dad and all my family.  I ask that God be merciful and quickly release my mother from this earth so that she, and we, no longer watch her suffer in this shell of a body.


Anonymous said...

I have been praying for your family every day since I have known of Lisa's illness and for every additional trial that your family has, and is, facing. Christ be with you. Love and peace, Gwen

Karen Mattson said...

So sorry! I wish I could take the sting away. I wish I could take your place, if even for just one day so you could live a day without this burden on your shoulders. I wish a wish was all it would take to make I will have to admit that as I sit on my sofa reading your blog, I can't pretend to know what you're going through. But I've watched both of you and how you have held your chin up, held your family together, continued to keep your life "normal". I am in awe. Be assured to know that my husband and I pray for you and your family daily, for strength and for healing. He is your refuge, your strength...

Michelle said...

Hi Lisa!! This is Michelle!!!
I am so sorry about everything going on and I am praying for your whole family and little Lisa. I think about you guys all time and look forward to your Lee's visits :)