Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Begining

I suppose I have to start somewhere, and the beginning seems like a good place to do that. Perhaps if I start at the beginning I'll figure out how to go forward. Right now I feel very stuck. Please bear with me as this first post is going to be very very long.
In September 2003, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had gone in for her annual mammogram and there was a small lump. The radiologist said "Well, we can't really tell what it is because it's so small. Come back in six months." My mother, whose mother died of breast cancer when my mom was 17, said to hell with that. She walked next door to her regular doctors office, told him what happened, and told him he WOULD do a biopsy and find out. He did, and it was cancer. It was very small and encapsulated, however, so the biopsy removed it all. She did radiation therapy, just to be on the safe side.

Fast forward one year and 4 days, and she is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I had gone down to my parents place for Labor Day weekend. Sunday morning, after breakfast, mom went and laid down. I went to check on her and she was sobbing and couldn't breathe. Dad called 911, I handled her (and him) until the QRU (quick response unit...small town ambulance) arrived. They took her to the hospital where they drugged her and did some scans. That day they finally found the source of the abnormal bleeding she's been having - a tumor the size of a baseball. They sent her to SLC to have it removed...and by the time she had surgery on Wednesday, the tumor was the size of a cantaloupe. While my mother was still drugged from the surgery (which was BEFORE I arrived on the scene), my sister guilt-tripped our mom into doing chemo by telling her that if she didn't then SHE could explain to her youngest grandsom why she was choosing to kill herself.

I could have murdered my sister when I found out. My mother told me about it at the time but no longer remembers this conversation. How dare my sister do something like that?! Mom did indeed go through chemo and she was lucky - it wasn't nearly as bad as she thought it would be. Little nausea, no hair loss...

We made it through last September with no cancer. This September, however, her CA125levels were elevated. CA125 is something in the blood that indicated the presence of ovarian cancer. It had come back...only with no ovaries and no uterus, it chose a different place. Usually lungs or brain, so that's where the docs looked first. Nothing. They did full CAT and PET and MRI's but could not find the cancer - all they knew was that her numbers were coninuing to rise. Mom opted for chemo again, because she wanted to go on a trip with dad this spring. Her first two treatments were fine - but then she had an allergice reaction to the carboplatin, so they had to change her meds. At that point...she lost her hair, she started having "accidents" (which I will elaborate on more later - this is already becoming a novella), lots of nausea and loss of energy.

I got a call almost 2 weeks ago, on a Thursday night. The good news is that they found the cancer. The really bad news is that it's in her liver. She will not be doing any more treatments. My mother is going to die and no one knows when...but she and I both figure about 6 months. I'm not the type to stick my head in the sand, no matter how much I want to. I also don't want to face this, but I have to. So this blog it my first step towards facing it and dealing with this fact. Please bear with me as I work through all of this.


sharah said...

Found you! I'll be reading along.

serenity said...

Found you through the Virtual Lushary today - have seen your comments on other blogs over the past couple of years.

Hugs and love to you in the upcoming months. I have no words to make it better, but I want you to know that I'll be listening.

The Town Criers said...

Oh, sweetie, I'm just so sorry.

Wen782 said...

Sending you huge hugs, sweetheart. I'll be that calmness on your shoulder. You won't always feel me there, but when it's quiet and you're feeling like there's a hush in the air, that'll be me, with my arms around you, keeping things quiet for a second.

seattlegal said...

Hoping and praying for you and your mom. My mom went through breast cancer a couple years ago, but thankfully has been cancer free since. It scared me that I would lose her because my mom, like yours, is one of my best friends.

I am so sorry that you are going through this.

(I came across your blog from Bullet Proof Eggs).

brelinda said...

lMy Father too has cancer ... and had it before. Last time was lucky out of a 50/50 chance rolled the lucky side. This time who knows. My daughter too has diabetes and Mother has a immune system desease that although controlled can flair and be very bad and sometimes fatal. I have been in your mothers place watching her daughter self harm and having trouble dealing with what life has handed out and have been in your place having to watch a parent go thu that and might not (in my case) make it. when you are in that place you feel alone even though if you look there are lots of people that care for you and love you for who you are .