Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Test Results...

I went to LI to visit Mom this weekend...we had a fantastic time. Saturday was spent doing our album for our Ireland trip on Shutterfly, then we went to see The Social Network (GREAT movie!), then shopping! And, since it was for boots (and not clothes) it was quite successful. Then, we went to Baby Bro's restaurant for dinner with Big Bro, SIL and my two fabulous nephews. Then, Sunday I had a great time at Baby Bro's restaurant watching the Jets slaughter the Broncos (ok, maybe not slaughter, but whatever, a win's a win).

Then, today came. I took today off work because I wanted to go to the Doc with Mom and Dad for the CT/MRI results. Bit of a communication problem at the premier cancer treatment center and Mom received a call this morning - BEFORE going to the Doc for the results - from a secretary wanting to schedule an appointment with the radiologist. Shouldn't happen.

Anyway, we had a heads up that the MRI results were disappointing. Found out at the appointment that the small spot that was seen on the last MRI was now several spots and there was additional swelling where her surgery was last year. Not good. I guess we'll hear more on Thursday about treatment options but it sucks. Also, the CT results were ok..not great, not awful...but, the liver tumor is a little bigger than it was the last time. For now, the Doc isn't changing her chemo regimen - she's going to stay on the Taxol - but it doesn't seem to be as effective. Plus, she'll go off the chemo while she's undergoing radiation for the brain tumors.

Mom is worried that this is the beginning of the end...I hated typing that last sentence but it's true. If the recommendation is full brain radiation, she's not going to let them do it because, in her words, she doesn't want to be a babbling idiot. She's trying to convince me that I don't want that either. I told her I'm not sure about that. I just want her around. As long as she's not in pain, I wouldn't care if she didn't know who I was.

Because my mom is a nurse, we used to talk all the time about what we would want if, God forbid, something awful happened to either of us. We agreed - no heroic measures. We wanted to die with dignity, blah, blah, blah. Do I still believe that now? For me, sure. But for my mom? When the very real possibility is staring me in the face every day now? When additional treatment may rob her of her speech, her memory, her ability to recognize us, her ability to take care of herself? But, could give her an additional 6 months or a year? Hell, no. I want EVERYTHING done.

But, this is her life. And, no matter what she decides, no matter what, I will support her. And, I will try to hide my pain from her. Because that's what she deserves. Because I promised her a long time ago - before she was ever sick - back when these promises should be made - when cooler heads prevail - when it seemed she was going to live forever - that I would respect her decisions and the way she wants to live and to die.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Feeling Kinda Crappy...Me and Mom

My mother cries every time I speak to her on the phone (and we talk almost every day). Every single time. Sometimes it's for no reason at all. Sometimes it's because she just feels like hell. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's because of something that I've done.

My parents went to Vegas last weekend - they saw Terry Fator and Cher. And, while she's telling me about the Cher show, she's telling me that Cher used to be married to Sonny Bono. And how they used to have a show. And then, after they got divorced, they still had a show. Now, I KNOW all of this. About Cher - no idea where Mom's going with this story. But, the truth is she's babbling a little (thank you, steroids!), and I'm at work. I don't have an unlimited of time here. (Yes, these are all excuses for what comes next.) So, I say something like, yes I know. And she gets all upset. Because she is sure she did not tell me this story - she only got home from Vegas late the night before. (She hates the "chemo brain" that makes her repeat things that she already has told someone, but even more than that she hates being told that this is repeated information. And, I know this. But most times, I can't help myself. It's hard to hear the same things over and over again without saying that you already heard this.)

Anyway, as she is getting upset, I'm trying to explain that I know this because I know this. The Sonny & Cher stuff isn't exactly top secret. And, the shows happened during my childhood. I had a Sonny & Cher stage and the dolls for crying out loud! So, it degenerates from there, she is upset that I'm interrupting her story with all kinds of "I knows" and I'm upset because I am yet again upsetting her. We eventually hang up, with Mom hysterical crying.

So, Mom is right on the emotional edge these days. Mostly, I think, because she's had really bad nausea for about 3 weeks. I guess we've been lucky to date because while there's been nausea, she's been able to deal. And, now, she really can't. The anti-emetics have worse side effects than the actual nausea so she refuses to take them. With the result that she feels like crap almost all the time. I'm pretty sure it's because of the cumulative effect of chemo (did you realize that I picked up my M.D. over the past year?). And, she hasn't had a break. Nonstop chemo since January.

But, I think Mom thinks it's because the cancer has spread more. And, that scares her. Who knows. She goes for her CT/MRIs the week of the 11th and we'll find out on the 18th how the cancer's doing.

Moral of my story for me...try to act like everything my Mom tells me is brand new information. The last thing she needs is for me to make her feel worse than she already does.