hair: a retrospective
i'm going to get my hair cut short again. i think. maybe. most likely. but how short will i go? stay tuned my friends.
and a video (warning, it's NSFW at all, but completely worth watching)
I almost refuse to believe that tomorrow is the last day of the boy's first grade year. he's had a great year at school. He enjoyed his teacher, his friends, he was good citizen in April for cooperation. He won awards in math and reading. and he's grown! a couple inches taller and 4 less teeth than when he started school in August.
We're celebrating tomorrow with a special mom + son lunch (with a trip to Target for a new baseball mitt thrown in for fun)
i want to get lost. in a big, huge city. preferably one that i've never been to before and one where i don't know a soul. i just want to blindly explore.
i can't do that right now in real life. so i read instead.
that's the question that's been rolling around in my brain for the last week or so. Rob and I have usually gone to our respective mother's house for celebration. I'm considering going with Rob...I mean, she is my mother-in-law and I do love her, but part of me just wants to hang out at home by myself and think/write/scrapbook about my own mom, especially being so close yet to her death. But then again, I'm not sure I want to be alone at all that day. I just can't decide. cursed by my libran tendencies for being indecisive. Though I'm now leaning toward staying home and getting down on pen and paper stories I remember about my mom. The pics will help and then maybe I can actually organize the ones I do have of her.
it's amazing how some days can be just fine and I'm a functional human being. then there are the other days when I just can't hold it together and everything seems to be crumbling. had one of those days yesterday. and i feel like today is a recovery day. i'd have slept all day if i could have, but luckily i had things to do. i know staying in bed would have made the cycle worse. though, a nap right now would hit the spot.
happy to be taking the boy to a preview for the day camp (camp whippoorwill) he'll attend this summer. he'll go for a couple of weeks, along with some other random summer things we've got going on. dinner with friends Saturday night will round out a good day. maybe Sunday i can work on cleaning off my desk some more. i'm not sure there's an actual surface under all my crap!
but my much-loved mommy died on April 15th from her cancer. She never quite recovered from the bodily damage done to her by the radiation. After the radiation course was finished, she went back to her house for a couple of weeks to recoup and be with her beloved dogs and near her dad, whom she missed greatly while she was here with me. However, during that time she lost practically 20 lbs, despite all the docs did to deal with her side-effects. At her next oncology appointment, it was decided that she wasn't strong enough to move on to the chemotherapy necessary for the lung cancer.
Side note: During her radiation treatments, we got to spend a lot of time together. And I am so thankful for that. At that point, she felt good enough that after each appointment, we'd go to lunch and then either to Target or if she were tired, we'd head home and watch some TV together and just chit-chat. Now that's time I will cherish forever.
We decided that she would come live with me for a couple of weeks so that I could cook for her and entice her with yummy food and protein shakes and lots of whole milk and fat and calories. By her third day here, she began to have issues being able to move around by herself. on Thursday April 1st, she had two bad falls, one where she hit her head pretty hard, but she didn't want to go to the emergency room. By this time, she could not get up from a sitting position to standing without being lifted up by me or Rob. Once she stood up, walking was ok for her.
Friday the 2nd we decided because of the falls and the quick physical decline to take her to the ER after a discussion with the VICC nurse on duty. So off we went. They admitted her and she stayed in until Monday the 5th. That's when we found out that the cancer was much more aggressive than we thought and the oncology gaggle of docs who came to see her every day privately (after I asked) told me that it was probably going to be weeks rather than months and that we should consider hospice care. By the end of the hospital stay, she could no longer stand up from a sitting position at all, unless she had someone on each side of her.
So mommy and I talked about it and decided that we both wanted her to come to my house for the hospice care. I was glad that she wanted to come home with me and for me to be the one to take care of her.
So, that Monday, Alive Hospice of Middle Tennessee took my mom on as a patient. By the time we got home from the hospital, Alive had already had a hospital bed, bedside table, oxygen machine, bedside potty and shower bench delivered to our house. They were absolutely amazing at every turn.
I had quit my job in March in order to take my mom to all her appointments and spend time with her. So that Monday our hospice journey began.
She ate well at the beginning, but after about 4 or 5 days, she started to drink less and eat less. I did my very best to entice her with her favorites...chocolate ice cream, ice cream slushies from Sonic, etc. She started to refuse entirely the Ensure we tried to give her. By the 11th, she would only take water and frozen mandarin oranges. And that's pretty much all she would eat up until the evening before she died. I could tell she was slipping because as much as she had wanted water/liquid the weeks before, she refused it time and time again the last few days.
Wednesday night, the 14th, she started to complaining of pain and was very, very restless and agitated. We called the hospice nurse and she came out to visit and stayed for about 2 hours, trying to ease her pain and restlessness. We finally got her comfortable around 2:45 or 3 am. Rob and I went to bed with her sleeping mostly peacefully.
When we woke up the morning of the 15th, I asked Rob to go check on her before we all got up and invaded her living room. When it took a long time for him to come back and tell me that she was ok, I knew that it was over.
She looked very peaceful, and had obviously passed away in her sleep. And again, Alive Hospice was amazing. mom's nurse was out right away to take care of everything. Soon after came the social worker who was absolutely amazing with Evan.
Ever sine the outpouring of love and help and kindness from her friends, my friends and our family has been astounding. I don't know that any of them read this blog, but if you do, thank you. If not, they'll get thank you notes in good time :)
mom is done with her radiation treatments. everything was going pretty well until her 6th treatment (Friday). Over the weekend it all caught up with her and she had a horrible weekend. nausea, fatigue, all those things that come along with the treatments. she got here Monday morning for her treatment and looked like hell. her anti-nausea meds weren't working well, so after her treatment we got a prescription for something stronger...zofran, and that seems to be working better. today she's had applesauce for breakfast, ensure for lunch and some more applesauce for dinner. it doesn't sound like much but it's more that what she ate all weekend. she's sleeping quite a bit and may stay here for another day or two to rest up before she goes back home.
chemo will start three weeks from today. i'm so worried because the radiation hit her hard, and I know the chemo will be even worse. i'm trying to keep my spirits up and hers as well, but it's so hard to be up and positive all the time, when I know she feels like shit. Luckily she's got some time to recover from the radiation, but i'm so worried. Luckily, we've had the most wonderful care at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. They make it as easy as possible in the situations that their visitors are in. Hell, even the valet guys know us by name now. I am so thankful that we have such a facility in our area.
If she feels good enough, she'll either drive home tomorrow or I'll drive her home and worry about her car later. We'll figure out where she'll stay and how it will work when she starts her chemo in a few weeks.
Thank you to everyone who continues to send good thoughts and prayers to my mom and our family. we appreciate it very much. more than you know.
obviously, that's a statement that everyone would agree with. even though i have friends who are dealing with cancer, i really had no idea how much it can really change your life. and I'm not event the one with the diagnosis!
so, my mom has non-small cell lung cancer, and it's advanced. It's made it's way through both lungs. But counting what blessings we have, it's not jumped to bones or other organs yet. the 8 month survival rate is 50%, and the five year survival rate is less than 10%. So, chances are we've got a year, maybe more, maybe less. that is so hard to hear. it's hard to read about, and it's hard to deal with all the information you get. within 5 minutes of being told that she basically won't live to see her grandson grow up and get married, we had a nurse come in to start explaining treatment options and clinical studies. Bless them, they deal with it every day. we don't. it was so overwhelming to get all of the information at once.
my mom is scared. we're all scared. we don't know what's going to happen. I don't know if I'll be able to keep working and take care of her. (although, we did pay off our car today, which was a GREAT feeling).
so, she's trying to sign up for a clinical trial that will give her the normal chemo treatment she'd get at any hospital, and will get some additional medications to see if they augment the work of the chemo. everything gets kicked off tomorrow with blood work and more scans on saturday. her first chemo treatment is scheduled for Wednesday. it will all be a learning experience for all of us.
or soon i'll have an un-intended lake house.
i'll be heading up to the mountain to see my mom tomorrow. she'll be released on Monday from Sewanee Hospital and come to Vanderbilt on Tuesday. They are going to do another biopsy there, because the oncologist was unhappy with the sample from the original biopsy. Hopefully they'll do that on Tuesday or Wednesday and we can finally get moving.
this has all been really frustrating. and that's just for me. i can't imagine how my mom feels on top of everything else. ok...maybe i can imagine a little bit. and it makes me feel sad for her. i love you mom.