March 25, 2011

An update on my mom

So my mom is having a hard time right now. But you would never know it if you asked her. Her response is always "I am feeling better." Even when you can tell by her voice that she isn't, she will say "I am feeling better. I just need to get past this and I will be all better." She is not one to complain - a nurse even told me one day "Linda wouldn't complain if her big toe was on fire" and she truly wouldn't.

About 6 or 7 weeks ago we noticed that her balance was a little off, she seemed to get confused and her speech was a little slow or she couldn't find the right words. It wasn't extreme but we were watching her, trying to figure out what was going on. Then one day she called me from mag (she still goes every other day for 4 hours of magnessium treatment) and told me the nurses didn't want her driving home. I had Kurt drive me down to the Infusion Center where I sat with her for the remainder of her treatment and had them explain to me what happened. Apparently she came in and wasn't herself. She was way off balance and her words were slurred. The nurses, being extremely worried, took her straight down to her dr. so her dr. could see her behavior. They were thinking that she had had a stroke or something. The dr. ordered an MRI of her brain and blood work to see what was going on. The MRI came back perfect. Nothing wrong. The blood work showed that her calcium levels were high and, apparently, high calcium levels lead to confusion, balance problems, etc. They said that there are meds she can take to lower the calcium levels. Ok, so her mag is low - she can take mag for that - and her calcium is high - she can take a med to lower that. So all should balance out, right?

We went to the dr. appt in February thinking that that was the case - just add the calcium reducing meds to her treatment and everything should be ok. Well, I guess calcium doesn't work that way. The calcium going up is a sign that the disease is progressing. So while there are meds they can give her to lower it, the fact that it went up is not a good sign. And boy, can you tell when that calcium is off. Poor thing would get so confused and loopy. But the meds would do their job - after a day or so we could tell that her calcium level had come back down and she was herself again. At the February appt the dr. also switched her chemo. The PET scan showed that the cancer was still contained in the liver but it was more active than they wanted - meaning the chemo wasn't doing it's job. Another sign that the disease is progressing. The dr. told us over 3 years ago that there would come a time where the chemo just wouldn't work any more and she was thinking that we might be at that point but she wasn't ready to give up and switched the chemo to try something else. This is when my mom asked if she was still going to be around for Trevor's delivery and the dr. said she didn't know. Slap in the face - didn't see that one coming.

So for the last month we have waited to see if the chemo was going to be able to turn the disease back around. And during that month we have watched my mom struggle to be herself. The confusion has come and gone but every time it goes, it seems to leave a little bit behind. She is very aware of what is going on but she gets confused and can't remember things or fully comprehend things. And she sleeps a lot. And she feels sick a lot.

We went to the dr. yesterday (Wednesday) and found out that the new chemo isn't working either. Her numbers show the disease is continuing to progress. Which we basically knew just by how she had been feeling and acting but it is still devastating to hear.

It just breaks my heart because she never complains. She sits there listening to the dr. and I am not even sure how much she is fully understanding and she says "if I could just go in the hospital for a few days and get some medicine, then I will feel better again." But not this time mom. Man, how I wish there was some medicine to make her feel better - I would do anything to get it. But there's not.

And then the dr. starts saying things like: Hospice, home care, pain management, hospital bed at home, oxygen, when to take her to the hospital/ER and I start thinking "holy cow - this is really happening." She is letting us know our options should we need them but what? I really don't want to hear any of this.

Then we start talking about her safety because with her balance being off, we don't want her falling when someone isn't at home. Or when she gets really confused, we don't want her doing something to hurt herself. So today (Thursday) I went and spent the day with her. She slept most of it but we had ice cream together at 10 am because that is what she wanted. Have I mentioned that she never complains? I could tell by her breathing that she was hurting and I asked her if she needed any pain meds. She just simply says "ya, I think I will take some now." Her liver is now enlarged and it causes her pain but she never complains.

I am no where near ready to lose my mom. I don't even know how to deal with that but I really don't want to see her suffer either. All I can do is love her, be there for her, spend time with her, help her feel safe and secure and pray to Heavenly Father that he will take care of her. He knows whats best for her. I can be a tool in His hand to do whatever it is that she needs. That is my mission right now.

1 comment:

B and Jessica said...

Oh, your Mom is such a trooper! I'm sorry to hear that things are so hard for her right now. We will keep her in our prayers.