Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ups and Downs

I have been meaning to blog a lot more about our journey of my mom and her cancer.  I am not sure why I haven't - lack of time - depressing - but I feel it is time I need to give an update/vent. 

First - my mom has been nothing but courageous with her battle.  She underwent chemo and radiation.  I will never forget when she started losing her hair.  It was coming out in chunks and I remember her calling me crying, saying she looked hidious.  So we decided it was time to shave her head.  It was a sad day, one I will never forget - May long weekend.  As hard as that moment was for her and for me, I was so honored to be there and proud of my mom.  I couldn't shave it, so Marks mom came over.  We all cried but it was empowering.  I made sure to tell my mom how beautiful she looked with a shaved head.  And - I meant it!

She felt like a rockstar for the most of the treatments.  She was given the max doses for chemo and radiation.  At the end of her radiation treatments she really went down hill.  So much so that at one of her cancer appointments at the beginning of August her levels were all messed up that she was admitted into the hospital where she stayed for three weeks.  I was surprised and taken back by this.  I had no idea my mom was so sick from the treatments.  I felt like a bad daughter for not noticing.  I know I was preoccupied with a two month old, but I still felt like an idiot.  My mom later told me that on the second night in the hospital she woke up and "saw the light", but said "no way, it is not my time yet".  It was hard juggling a baby and getting in daily hospital visits.  I couldn't stay for long, I felt like I wasn't doing enough.  I tried to accomodate by buying the hospital cable tv for her and bringing the paper/magazines.  It is hard being stuck - I want to be with my mom - but I have this young family that is relying on me.  I know my mom appreciated all I could do for her at the time.  At this point the tumor had shrunk dramatically and there was no sign of the cancer anywhere else.

When she got out of the hospital she had some of her energy back.  She was still weaker and naseated but could still make us home made buns/cinnamon buns/rice crispy cake, so I knew she was ok.  Ha ha. 

The following months were ok.  Her scans were good.  I was nervous for the one in December because I wanted Christmas to be a positive experience for us all.  And it was.  The tumor was pretty much gone! 

But the nasea never did go away and the energy never came back full throttle.  My mom was discouraged with not feeling great and expressed this to her doctor.  He made the point that she did almost die and it takes a long time to recover from that.  So I think she felt not the best, but was hopeful that she would recover. 

Then came January.  My mom called me and said she thought she had a stroke.  Her left side was numb and her leg was not functioning good.  It was like it was asleep.  My brother and I took her to the walk in clinic and after the doctor heard her story he thought it had spread to her brain.  Very crappy news.  Another weird symptom was that it was taking her a long time to urinate.  She was pretty much wheelchair bound for the next couple weeks.  When we got in to see the cancer doctor he was upset that tests had not been done sooner.  That day they did an ultrasound on her kidneys - they were concerned they were failing.  Luckily, that came out good.  They did a ct scan and that looked good also.  So the last step was an MRI of her spine.  A couple days later she went in to get her results.  I honestly thought they were going to be positive results, so I felt that I did not need to go with her and she got a ride from the cancer center volunteers.  But, our luck had run out and there are multiple spots on her upper spine close to her neck.  What a regret not being there with her.  I would hate to hear that news by myself. 

So the next step is my mom gets monthly injections to strengthen her bones.  I think she gets a ct scan in about a months time and then chemo and possibly radiation.  My mom is pretty upset about this and as of now told me she is refusing treatment.  God - what do you say.  I want to scream at her fight, fight.  You have to, for me, for Greg, for Karter, and Bentley.  But then I see how much she has struggled since treatment.  I understand quality of life,  being sick isn't much quality.  But she is still alive!  I just don't know what to do.  I have talked to her trying to be encouraging, saying that they would not be giving you as much chemo/radiation this time.  I think she is waiting to see what the cancer doctors say.  As in, time span for if she does treatment vs refuses treatment. 

I wanted to end on a positive note.  The support I have received from friends and family has really touched my heart.  I know with my friends I have not talked a lot about my feelings - but that said I know I could call anyone of them up and they would lift me up.  Mark, of course, is wonderful.  He is very encouraging and there to give me a hug and smile whenever I need it.  Marks parents are truly a blessing in my life.  Wendy is one of the most caring and thoughtful people I know.  Whether it is shaving my moms head, taking care of the kids so I can take my mom to appointments, giving my mom magazines, or just listening to me, she is there.  She even makes meals for my mom and freezes them so she does not have to cook. She has enough on her plate with her very close sister who is very sick with cancer - but still thinks about my mom.  What a lady.  When I say that I hit the jackpot marrying into Marks family I mean it.  Anyway, love you all and goodnight!

 Mom, Karter and Bentley

My mom and godmother.  I love old pictures

 Oh she was smokin' back in the day!

4 comments:

  1. Oh, Alynne. I honestly don't know what to say. What a courageous post. Thank-you for sharing this incredibly difficult experience on your blog. You, your mom, and your entire family are in my thoughts.

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  2. Hi. I don't know if you remember me, but our kids went to Cathy's daycare together a couple years back. I read your blog via Jordan's blog every now and then, and this post really makes me want to reach out to you.

    My Dad had cancer, and passed away almost 9 years ago. It was so hard to see him struggle with his health. I am so sorry that you have to go through this with your Mom; cancer really sucks.

    If you need someone to talk to who has gone through something similar, I would love to be that person for you. I remember feeling so angry and depressed at times, like no one understood what I was going through and it changed me. Please, feel free to send me an email at heekala@shaw.ca if you want.

    If not, I will not be hurt. Just know that I am sending positive vibes out to your family. Take care.

    Rebecca.

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  3. If you ever need anything please call! I will take the kids in a heartbeat when you need to be there for your Mom. I wish there was more I could do. Sending you strength and love!

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