Monday, August 22, 2011

Days 13-14

Sunday was a good day for mom. :)
She went to church and felt good pretty much all day.

Isn't "good" just the loveliest word?

Today, she went in to work bright and early. I mean, by 7:15am, bright and early. *yawn*
Mom works at Calhoun College and today was the first day of classes. She was determined to be there.
Well, not only was she "there"...but she lasted the ENTIRE DAY! What??
But why not? She felt GOOD.

As if that wasn't enough, Mom's co-workers surprised her with a little party and SCADS of gifts/food/$...just the kindest and most thoughtful things ever! No wonder Mom misses her work when she's not there...they are like family after all these years. I don't think it's possible for these wonderful people to be more supportive and loving towards Mom. They are GEMS.

Side story...Mom's first partial day back at work last week found everyone, of course, excited to see her. This one lady heard Mom's voice and came out of a meeting to latch on to Mom with the biggest hug you can imagine. Mom said this friend just squeezed her and cried...she said she could literally feel the strength coming from this friend into her body.
I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to this "family" mom has created over the years. What a support system she has! It literally brings me to tears.

Two things to take away for today...?
~ Hugs are powerful things. Don't be stingy with them. Show love and show it often.
~ I still really like the word GOOD! It makes me quite happy. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Days 9-12

Anyone familiar with the song "Popular" from Wicked?
Imagine Kristin Chenoweth singing...

Laaaaa Laaaaa La-a-a-Laaaaa!

That's exactly how I've felt these past four days about Mom. :)

She found out she is deficient in iron...better than deficient in other things, but still important to rectify. Not that this was necessarily good news, but it did explain why she kept having such intense weak spells. I think just knowing WHAT the cause was made a huge impact on her state of mind. She'll have a whomping 3-hour iron infusion on Tuesday when she goes in for the next big fill-up, but until then guess what's been happening??

Mom has felt GOOD! (insert La-La's here)
She drove Daddy to a doctor's appointment and then...drum roll please...made it in to work for TWO days for a FEW hours each day!! Gloryoski! (as my Granddad always said)
She was, of course, tired after each excursion...but not weak or sick. Awesome!

It gets better.

Mom and I had a date this morning. She brought Daddy over to hang out with the kids so she and I could enjoy a movie at the Monaco. Glee in good!
Now she can enjoy another Sunday at church and a good solid Monday of feeling good before the truck comes barrelling down the road again.

Not much in life is better than spending time with your mom.
Especially when she's feeling GOOD!

I really like that word.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Days 7-8

Yesterday and today found mom in pretty much the same shape:
She feels good...then she feels not so good.
Today she visited her oncologist, Dr. B, and he gave her the good news that all of this is completely "normal". He seems pleased with how she is holding up and reminded her that she will feel pretty good just in time to be "hit by the truck again".
Mom mentioned how the chemo must be still working its way through her system because she is having lots of hot and cold flashes. Dr B then shares an interesting bit of info...once the pump is stopped, the chemo is done. The side effects she's noticing is how the chemo has affected her healthy cells. A delayed reaction, if you will.
Huh. Who knew?

Mom is hoping to make it in to work tomorrow, if only to see everyone and "check in on some things". I can't imagine how stir-crazy she must be now that her good moments are outweighing her not so good moments. I know she'll take it easy and not push it.

One thing I am falling in love with right now:
B texts her Goppie (that's what my kids call mom...long story...ask me later) everyday to check on her and share about her day.
My heart just SOARS.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 6

No, I didn't post last night and I am so sorry. Geez. :)
I didn't realize I would be so thoroughly harassed this morning by those wondering how mom did yesterday; but I love that there are so many who love my mom and are following her journey.
What a great team we're forming!
I think we might need t-shirts. Hmmm...

Back to yesterday:
Mom woke up feeling great!
She even made it to church. Double YAY!!
Then she kinda nosedived after church. She wasn't expecting for her one excursion to zap all her energy, but it did...and that just may be the norm now. As long as she knows what to expect, it all seems easier. Mom said last night: It could always be worse.

She did take some medicine last night to help her sleep, and wouldn't you know it...good ol' doc was right again! ;) The meds totally helped...she slept well and woke up feeling rested and stronger.

She's a little disappointed that she's not feeling 100% today, but maybe this IS her 100% for now. I think as time progresses, she will learn to measure her "norms" more accurately. But no matter which norm scale we are using today, she is feeling better.

And better is better. Period.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 5

Yay! Mom felt better today!
She found out she doesn't need one of her at-home meds since she fortunately isn't having a certain side effect from the chemo. Good news...good news. :)
Her blood pressure is still a little low, but she's feeling stronger.
AND she sounded more like herself...which brings me more happiness than I really ever thought it could.
We're even planning a movie night for this next weekend before her next "fill-up".

Take that, stupid cancer.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 4

Today was a day of highs and lows.
Mom woke up feeling okay this morning...borderline good.
Throughout the morning, she started feeling weak and her blood pressure was really low.
By 11:30, mom was at the cancer center being spoiled rotten while she was being REhydrated. Apparently she didn't drink enough over the last couple of days and was totally DEhydrated.
Good grief.

After a healthy intake of fluids, she floated on over to a hair appointment and got the cutest little pixie cut ever! Last word from mom is that she is feeling good and eating good. Yay!

She looks great and feels better.
Sounds like a winning combination to me!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 3

I think I might understand something a little better now...

When I was 7, I was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia). My mom and dad watched over, protected, defended, loved, supported, etc through 3 years of chemo and subsequent years of follow-ups and blood work and worry.
I clearly remember my dad asking me, usually on a daily basis how I was feeling. He told me to tell him EXACTLY how I was not ignore anything. I became very aware of my body and all the aches and pains associated with not only chemo, but also of just growing up. Even as a teenager, very much finished with the "cancer years", mom and dad would still check on me...see how I was feeling...make sure I went to doctor appointments...telling them and the doctors EVERYTHING.

Fast forward to me being an adult...even  now with 3 kids under my belt, my mom and dad STILL check on me. Usually on a daily basis. If I mention I have a headache, they want to know what kind and how long I've had it and did I take anything for it or do I need to go see the doctor. Then they recheck me later to make sure I'm feeling better.

Don't get me wrong. I have never seen this as nagging or annoying. I honestly think I would be annoyed if they STOPPED asking. I just felt loved. Completely and unconditionally. I knew without any doubt that every piece of me mattered to my parents. That I mattered.
I still matter.
Through their diligence, I learned of true compassion, how to truly support someone, how just the right kind and caring word or smile really has the power to heal.
I pray I can now put these lessons into action.
I think I'm getting a crash course.

Today, mom has felt "lousy", "rough", "not so good", "like I've been hit by a truck". She's been weak and blah. I told her to try and see this as a gift. When she's feeling lousy to remember that that means all the chemo is doing it's job. If she's got to feel lousy to get healthy...that's part of the gift. We want this chemo to hit the cancer HARD. We want this chemo to be BRUTAL with this stupid cancer.

So this is what I think I may understand a little better now...
How much mom and dad HAD to know how I was feeling at any given time. I can barely imagine how that must have consumed their days and nights. I say I can barely imagine it because I'm getting a glimpse into that mentality. If I don't know how mom's feeling before I go to bed, I worry. I think about her all night and it invades my dreams. I wake up feeling on edge. Then, I don't want to wake her so I wait until I think it's a good time to call and check on her. Drives me crazy.
Because I need to know how she's feeling.
I need to.

So I've asked (or rather commanded) her to text me before she goes to bed and when she wakes up. Just to get an update. And you know? If this starts to annoy her, I'll just shamelessly remind her of the 30 years of interrogation I've endured.
I'm sure she understands, though. Our roles have just now been reversed. And what a blessing to have had such an example for the role that is now mine.

Today, mom was "disconnected". (her new wordplay for the day) We are hoping this weekend will be a time to regain some strength and appetite so she can enjoy her "week off". I'm sure she'll be back in action soon. 'Cause she's "got things to do"!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 2

Mom learned a valuable lesson yesterday:
If your oncologist gives you medicine to take home.
For any reason.
Take it.

After mom's first infusion yesterday, she slowly started feeling like yuck. Instead of taking the anti-nausea meds she had in hand, she decided she could just tough it out.
Silly mom.

After unnecessarily suffering for a few hours, she realized that maybe dear ol' doc had a point. :) She took her meds like a good girl and...lo and behold!...she felt better, she slept well, and even woke up feeling "good". Of course today's "refill" as she calls it took its toll before the afternoon was out, but she took her meds. I don't think she went to bed feeling great, but tomorrow she gets "off the hook" and can enjoy almost 12 days of no chemo before they need to "fill her tank" as my grandmom says.

My family delights in wordplay. Just in case you didn't notice.

So today mom got a refill AND took her meds. She still felt lousy, but she's doing all she can do. And who can ever ask for more than your all??

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Beginning...

My mom has cancer.
Four words I have never wanted to say, think, or imagine. But...
four words that are true.

Friday, August 5th, Steve and I met my mom and my brother at her cancer center. (Wow, how I do NOT like calling that building HER cancer center.) But it is.
We met with her oncologist. (No, I don't like that she has to have her own oncologist either.) But she does.

Our new friend (and believe me, if you have to have an want him to be your very dearest friend and staunchest ally!), shared with us the life-altering news that my mom really and truly does have cancer.

A moment of complete nausea. A brave, yet pointless attempt to keep my eyes dry. Every cell of my being wanting to shake him and make him tell us he was wrong. But I didn't. Because he couldn't.
Because she does.



Mom started chemo today. Her "adventure" she calls it. I call it the journey. Either way...there is a long road ahead and the road map isn't fully drawn. However...we can see the endpoint. And it is complete remission. So however many bumps, detours, or crappy asphalt there is in between now and then...we'll still get there.

How did mom describe her day?
She was basically spoiled rotten: comfy recliner, good book, DVDs, warm snuggly blanket.
No doubt she'll be treated like a queen every time she goes for chemo. And as well she should! Only royalty such as my mom can lay siege to this hideous enemy with the attitude and spirit she has always possessed.

From day one, mom has been ready to get started. She knows what's she's ready to fix it. Like she says...I've got things to do!
I've never known anyone or anything to hold my mother down. I pity the cancer that's trying now. Stupid cancer. Don't you know who you're messing with??

This adventure...this journey is just beginning. The first leg is 8 weeks long. Four weeks of being on chemo and each alternating week of being off. The week she is "on", she will go T/W/Th. The week she is "off" will hopefully allow her body time to recoup and regroup.

Tomorrow is Day 2. What will it hold? Guess we'll have to wait and see. But one thing I do know...