Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Freight Train

Mom has reached the "painful to eat/sleep/breathe" stage again and is looking like she's 6 months pregnant. She told me it feels like her liver is sloshing around when they go over bumps. Dad made her go to the doc last week. Doc checked her CA125 levels again (elevated even more..shock) and decided to send her in for a CAT scan, to see how much fluid she has in her abdominal cavity. She had her CAT scan on Monday and I found out the results yesterday.

The cancer is spreading - they can actually see it now. There is fluid, but not enough to drain. Why? Because it's being absorbed into the surrounding tissue, which is hardening.

Freight trains, people.

When she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer, her tumor was the size of a baseball. Two days later, it was the size of a cantaloupe. TWO DAYS. According to her doc, they caught it as early as they could have. Makes sense, since cancer grows exponentially. First one cell, then two, then four, eight...you get the idea. The bigger it gets the faster it grows. And now, finally, they can actually see the cancer in the epithelial lining of the abdomen. This, combined with the fibrosis of the tissue, makes me think the end is racing towards us.

I don't know what to expect, except the obvious. I don't know what to look for, watch for, so that I'm not caught totally off guard. I'm 100% certain that it won't be as simple as her not waking up the next morning - oh no. There will be pain, and there will be drugs. I know my mother, though, and she'll tough it out as long as she can before breaking down to take drugs. Once she does, how long does she have? No one will even venture a guess, which pisses me right the fuck off. You hear people say all the time "the docs gave me 6 months/6 weeks/1 year to live" and mom's docs won't even hazard a guess. I know that often the guess is wrong, because it IS just a guess and the body has it's own timeline...but at least it would give us a starting point. If cancer grows exponentially there should be a way to figure out how fast it's growing and predict it's continued growth rate. They have a record of how quickly her CA125 levels are going up - it shouldn't be hard to figure out the formula involved and go from there.

I don't know where to go for information. I'm an information whore - the more I have, the better I do. Tell me what to expect, what to do, where to go...and I'm good. I'm equipped to deal with things a little better. Leave me adrift, with no idea what's going on? I freeze. I can't do anything. I don't need exacts, but an idea would be nice.

Poor husband...I ranted for a while last night and he just hugged me. After a few minutes he said "I'm sorry I don't know what to say or do. I don't have any answers for you and I'm so sorry." I told him he was doing EXACTLY what I needed - letting me vent, without taking me seriously when I say things like "Ok, so ovarian cancer feeds off estrogen. Can't they just give her estrogen to speed things up and get it over with?" He knows I don't really want my mother to die, but that I don't want her to suffer any longer than she has to. He initially started the logic route "no, honey, they can't because it's assisted suicide and that's illegal" which earned him a response of "what if we promise not to sue? if she writes a notarized letter?" I think that's when he realized what was coming and just stopped talking for a bit. I have no real life friends I feel I can really vent to on this - yes, they'll listen and they'll hug me and they'll love me/cry with me/whathaveyou...but I also fear they will try to HELP and they can't. I don't want logic, I don't want empty platitudes. I just want hugs.

Husband also understand that I feel helpless. I can't even rage at anyone - there's no one to blame, no one to bitch at and say "YOU! FIX THIS!" I can't blame the doc who did her ovarian surgery for not getting all the cells - I know how tiny cells are and how impossible it is to get all of them. I can't blame the radiation or the chemo for not doing it's job, because it did...for a while. She was a year and a half without cancer. I can't rant at mom like I usually do when something is unfair - I don't have that right. And I can't be melodramatic, which is my other recourse, because that just seems wrong and flippant. My two armors - rage and humor - have been stripped from me and I'm totally defenseless against anything coming my way. I feel naked and very pissed off.

4 comments:

Jess said...

I'm sorry.

I don't knwo what else to say but that I'm listening to you and hear you and all that jazz. I don't have any good answers or magic words. Just....sitting here in the suck with you.

BethH6703 said...

I'll echo what Jess said...

The only tidbit of assvice I have to offer is to maybe check with your local hospice. They may be able to help you some with the "I don't know what to expect" concerns.

Many hugs & prayers being sent your way.

Serendipity Lost said...

Ditto what Jess and bethh6703 said. Many, many hugs and prayers your way.

Jen said...

i found your blog through Melissa @ L&F. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. In the beginning stages of diagnosis for our family, I am scared to death for what is to come and I am so glad to have found your blog, a familiar voice of what is going on in my own head about losing my mom and all the why's and what if's that go along with all that. Many prayers for your mom.