Thursday, October 3, 2013

One month

Today marks one month since mom passed. One month ago at this very time, she was receiving last rites from Father Mark. Over and over in my head I have wanted to blog about every last detail of September 3rd, but I haven't. I'm afraid that I will forget something, but really, how can you forget your mom's last breath?

Since mom passed, I gave birth to a beautiful little flower named Elise Kimberly. 13 days after ma passed. The next day, I was on Zoloft. I've blogged about this before, it makes me feel like a robot. I don't feel as though I've been mourning mom since I am drugged out now. And have a newborn. It's all just too too much, right?

I'm afraid that mom is going to come to me in a dream, but that I won't remember it in the haze of nursing at 4 in the morning. I don't think that's possible though...I think it took my dad just a bit to come and visit me. I am hoping to see mom soon.

So, the day my mom died will be told soon. I guess I'm just not ready to put the words to paper yet. I remember everything. It's so hard to believe that I haven't talked to my mom in one month. Mind blowing. I miss you. Terribly.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Rest in Peace, Mom

I'll save the story for later, but my mom passed away Tuesday, September 3 at 4:19. She was surrounded by her family. And it was awful. My heart breaks because I don't have her, but I know my mom is whole and happy with HER mom. It's what she has wanted for so long. The battle is mom is at peace. I love you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Last rites

were just administered, this is so fucking surreal. One minute my sister and I were sitting and chatting and the next my dad called to say that Father Mark from St. Mary's was coming over to bless her.

It was beautiful. Mom was agitated, but shook her head yes when Kasey asked if she liked it. I was able to give the host to mom on one of her water/popsicle things.

Hospice was here this morning and said that it looks like we are getting close. Maybe a few days. Cue the awfulness.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I hate this.

This is what I just sent to my friends. My crying is getting in the way of blogging, so this will have to do for today.
Hi guys -

I'd just like to say that I super appreciate the texts, letters, cards, phone calls, etc. Since I wrote this a week ago, mom has really slid downhill to the point that I am now on FMLA leave to care for her. A week ago she could talk, eat, go to the bathroom, swallow her medication, clean herself and today she can do none of those things. Not a single one.

My family and I have begun around the clock care for her, something that we thought Hospice was going to be able to provide for us.  It's been hard, but everyone is pitching in. I think my sisters and I have been averaging about 6 hours a day this weekend and then they have been switching who can spend the night to help dad out. With me being 9 months prego, pulling the night shift isn't in the cards.

This has been incredibly hard. I desperately want to talk about it, but I can't. Theresa texted me and I thought I could talk to her, but I drove the whole way home after work trying to think of what I would say to her. I literally can't talk about it. Brian is my only confidant at this point and it's even hard to talk to HIM about it. Sue helped me out this weekend which was great and I made an attempt to call Annie, but by the time she called back in a few minutes, I couldn't formulate a sentence. 

It's hard because I keep thinking that I would be able to talk to my dad about this and feel better, but he's gone too. Please forgive the woe is me moment, but why do I have to lose both my parents in the same year? It's not fair. Dad would have been able to console me a little. I would have still had one biological parent. I just hate this.

I would be very surprised if mom made it through the week. I am terrified of what this week is going to bring. And in no time I am going to have another baby. It's all happening too fast.

Sorry to bring the party down, I just had to get all of this out there. I have the greatest group of friends ever....I am just an incredibly sad girl right now.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Nearing the end

My mom's best friend drove 3 hours tonight to say goodbye to mom. And she'll drive 3 hours straight home. Kathy said that it was important that she be there. And it was. I wish/pray/hope that my mom knew she was there.

Kathy told us that it is sometimes hard to make friends as adults, and that mom was her first adult friend. They were thick as thieves for a long time. Once the cancer started, mom kind of withdrew from a lot of people, Kathy included. I can't imagine what Kathy was thinking and feeling tonight as she saw my mom. I tried to warn her, it's a very sad sight.

Mom has literally had four spoonfuls of ice cream over the past two days. Has gone pee twice. Is rarely up. And when she is, she's not really there. She is so weak, so frail, so precious. Speaking with her is non existant right now. Hearing her is almost the same. We have gone to a dark place in the last two weeks, I can't even believe it. Thankfully (???) mom is so drugged that she is "comfortable." I'm not sure that I can really wrap my mind around that concept.

You can sit and sit with mom for hours as she sleeps, but when she makes one move, you feel like your chest is going to explode, that you can't move fast enough to aid her, that you are going to LITERALLY break her when you move her.

I had to put underwear on my mom. I had to wipe her tush. My sisters have fawned over her just as much, if not more, as I have. It's amazing how you just DO when they can't do for themselves.

We are nearing the end. It makes me incredibly sad. I'm keeping it together fairly well, but in all honesty, I have no idea what I am feeling. I don't want her like this, mom would be fucking mortified. Oh god, would she ever be. We try to give her dignity, but it's really hard when she is rolling around on the bed.

I fucking hate motherfucking breast cancer. It's stealing my mom from me. Or I should say, it's already stolen her. I can't even remember our last conversation. Kathy said that it would come back to me. I certainly hope so.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hard to keep up.....Part 2

So I go home Tuesday night, have a really good cry on my husband's shoulder and go to sleep. We are meeting with the social worker at 8 the next morning at mom's.

At 1:47 am, I sit straight up in my bed out of a dead sleep. Mom died. I just knew it. I checked my phone. No missed calls or messages. I lay back down, still knowing she's dead. I figure I'll wait a few minutes for everyone else to figure out she's dead. Pretty soon, I am back to sleep. Super fucked up.

So, I wake up, get to mom's at 8 and she was sleeping. I guess she got dad up at 3 am and they had been up since then. I brought dad some coffee and pretty soon Kasey, the social worker and mom's nurse were all there. It was the day to work out the calendar of caregivers.

It was actually nice to sit around the table with the team and to chat and learn about how Hospice works, what we should expect, what they can do to help us, etc. Instead of filling out the whole calendar, we decided that the family members that we've asked to help will all come over on Saturday and sign up for times. That way they can see the new layout of the home and get some tips on what to do for mom.

The new layout of the home? That would be a hospital bed, toilet and wheelchair in the family room. Yeah. We're there. It just make the most sense to have her in a bed rather than the couch. This is just so reminiscent of grandma Perkins to me. I remember her house and the hospital bed. And then I remember she died not too long after that. Not the most pleasant of all memories.

All of the medical equipment was being delivered yesterday, I am headed to mom's right after work. I am trying to get my mind right so that I am prepared when I go into the house - 1. for mom's appearance 2. for that damn hospital bed.

Oh, and in the mix of everything, I had to ask my two BFF's to be our witness on mom's will and POA. Having someone outside of the family see her paperwork just felt creepy to me. I mean, Anne and Sue don't care, but it was weird for me.

So, I am probably missing a lot, but those are the highlights. I just can't believe we are here. She has gone downhill so fucking fast. I feel so bad for her. It is crushing to see your mom like this....miserable, drugged up, out of it. It's crushing to see my dad being so crazy and out of control and freaked out. I can barely take it, but what the fuck choice do I have?

Hard to keep up...Part 1

the blog when everything is happening at lightening fast pace. So, I guess this is the update as I have it:

Monday, based on my work emails, it looks like I was here the whole day (it's awful that I simply cannot recall this information). The MOMENT I stepped outside of work, Katie called me crying saying that she had been calling around all day looking for home health care for mom, but that it was going to run us about $2,000 per week. I was on the phone with her for about the first half hour home and then on the phone with Hospice for the last half hour. It was determined that our family would meet with the social worker, Angelique, Wednesday to talk about our care options for mom.

Tuesday, again I worked all day, but went over to mom's directly after work. Katie told me that mom fell that day and I decided that I needed to go over there and see what was happening. As dad says, she didn't fall, she "buckled." Going down one freaking step into the family room. When I got to mom's, it was just awful. Dad is stressed to the hilt, mom looked like a sad, brittle woman. It almost hurts to look at her, I just don't know how her frame is so small. So very, very small.

She started to ask me something and it was quickly apparent that I could not hear her. Like, I had to put my ear next to her mouth to hear her. As the nurse later explained, mom is so weak that she can't get the air exerted past her vocal chords to really make a sound. I felt like I was treating her like Colin. When I don't understand him, I just shake my head and say "yes." So I did that once with mom and she asked why I wasn't answering the question. Then I really leaned in to find out that she was asking me how much longer they expect her to live like this. And my response was, for as long as you have a flicker of hope. What else was I supposed to say? I can't imagine living how she is living right now.

So, at one point, mom was sitting up on the couch and I was right next to her. All of the sudden, she places her fists on the couch and tries to push herself up. I then tried to get up to help her.....and had a huge, stabbing contraction/vagina pain. I was literally stuck. Dad sees what is happening and flips the fuck out. He starts screaming at me to GET HER. DON'T LET HER STAND. He runs over, pushes the coffee table out of the way and grabs on to mom who is standing by now. He just keeps yelling. I tried to tell him that I was having a contraction, but he was out of his goddamn mind. I know he was just worried, but man, it was overboard. Right in that second, I knew that I was going to be no help to mom. She may be dying, but she is a fast mama jamma. My mom does not want to be held down.

So, after a couple more yells from dad and some kisses to mom (she did stroke the back of my hair for a bit...her nails are a little long and it honestly felt really nice to have that touch interaction with her).

So that was Monday and Tuesday. I'll make a separate post now for Wednesday, I feel like this is getting to be a book!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Three years today

Three years ago today, mom called me and told me the the doctor thought she may have breast cancer. Three years ago at this very moment, I was sitting a work, excited to go to my first Browns pre-season game with my hubby. At just about 7:30 p.m. was when I took the call from mom. Three years later and Hospice is at my mom's side. Ain't that a bitch?

I can't believe it's only been three years. I barely remember my life before breast cancer. If I think hard enough, my mom was annoying...always talking too much, always asking too much. Now she can barely speak above a whisper and is so involved with her disease that she can't talk about anything else. Three years ago, mom was an involved grandma of two grand daughters. Now she is a reclusive grandma of soon-to-be five, who wouldn't have the energy to chat with the girls if you paid her.

Now, I don't want people to think I am bashing my mom with this...I'm not. This is the truth. Mom would give anything to be the mom and grandma she was. Cancer stole that. Took it. Gone. It really makes me mad and upset.

This weekend was rough. All day Saturday I was waiting for a phone call about mom, someone to tell me how she was doing. Dad texted that she pooped (yay!) but that he wished she would have pooped more. I nested on Saturday.

Sunday, around 1, my phone starts blowing up. Mom wants to go to Hospice House and be admitted. She can't breathe, she thinks they'll fix her.

My sisters and I show up to mom's, the Hospice nurse is already there. It's been determined that they'll give mom Adavan to calm her, thereby letting her breathe a little easier. I was there for almost 4 hours, sitting in a warm house, chatting with my sisters, looking at my mom's boney frame and sunken in face. Is this really where we are just three years later? Really? It's hard to comprehend.

Today the nurse was to come by at 1:00 and I am still waiting to hear how that went. My poor dad fields so many phone calls, I hate to bother him. I want to know what she thinks/said. I still don't think mom is dying RIGHT NOW, but I know we can't go on forever like this. Will I have the baby before she dies? Is that selfish? How am I going to handle everything? I guess time will tell. This blows.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Hospice has been called in for mom's care. Hospice. Let that soak in. I don't think it's even begun to soak in for's like it moisture on my skin that just won't seep in. Hospice.

At Tuesday's oncology appointment, Dr. G. walked into the room, gasped, and said "Oh my." That's all it took, I knew this treatment was over. To be honest, I knew it was over before we went, but it's still a kick in the guts.

Mom was so sick at the appointment. Down to 107, came into the office in a wheelchair, looking very frail and forlorn. Tired as hell, voice was scratchy and just looked overall miserable. It was very apparent that we needed interventions higher than the Clinic. The draining of the lung obviously did not do the trick, as a matter of fact, we found out that they LEFT a liter of fluid in her lung! A full liter. Unbelievable.

So, Dr. G. explained pallative care and we eased into the hospice conversation. I took the lead when he was done and said that that is the route we wanted to go. Everyone agreed. It was weird to be the person in control, "putting" my mom in Hospice. I wonder if that is a decision I will come to regret or rejoice in.

After that, the wheels were in motion. He explained that there is an appetite stimulant that mom  can get on and that Hospice can give us for free. In our minds and hopes, Hospice is a way for mom to get her strength back so that she can continue treatment. I want that to happen so, so bad.

Wednesday we met with the caseworker and today an assessment nurse came in. Tomorrow, her regular nurse will take over and she'll be in once per week, but we have access 24/7.

I've told some friends and co-workers and now I just want to talk to the people I want to talk about it. I feel myself withdrawing, but that's okay. This next month, it's going to be all about taking care of this baby, me and my mom. I need to get through the next 30 days, have this baby and then re-assess. Here's to hoping for a painless 30 days.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A 2-Liter of Pop

That is what was drained out of mom this morning. Nearly two liters of fluid out of one freaking lung. I am really hoping that it gives her some massive relief SOON.

So, it's only been a mere four days since I posted, but of course hell has kinda broken loose.

So, we go to the radiologist on Tuesday (8/13). Besides this guys super awesome head of hair, he was also a super awesome guy. HE is the reason why mom had her procedure today. We went in to get ideas for radiation and instead he wanted to get mom out of pain....THANK YOU! He did give us a few options for radiation and we left him to chat with the pulmonologist and oncologist. The really great  thing about this appointment was that we found out that the two spots on mom's brain are tiny - 4mm and 6mm. Good news!

So we wait until Wednesday evening to hear back from Dr. G. and from what I gather from my dad, who was talking in front of my mom (as we all know, that is not a good thing) Dr. G. called mom and basically told her that he wasn't sure if we should go through with radiation since there is so little brain involvement. EEERRR. Try again. Anytime we let mom's cancer breathe for one moment, it spreads like wildfire. And then I guess he told her that he wasn't sure about continuing treatment. So, an appointment has been made for 8/20 for our WHOLE FAMILY to go in and talk to the doctor. He hasn't failed us yet, and if he does recommend to take her off of treatment, we need to decide this as a family and be fully informed. Novel idea, huh?

BREAKING NEWS! My dad just called and my mom is already on her way home. He says that she is doing and feeling 100% better! Yay! Don't put all your eggs in one basket! Yay! The sky is falling! I obviously don't know how I feel right now. I am hoping this sticks for a bit. I am hoping to see some pep in her step. Fingers crossed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Loose skin and brain mets

Well, the cancer has metastasized to the brain. The liver has gotten worse. Mom is now so thin that the skin is hanging off her arms. We are in a dire situation. What do you think my mom thinks?

"It's only three little spots on the brain."
"My doctor said that I could live without 3/4 of my liver."

I just don't get how she can be so positive with some things and then over the top depressed about others. With this diagnosis, where is the lady that hurls to my dad how he is lucky to go to work and be healthy? How can her brain function normally one minute and delusional the next??

Mets to the brain does explain her demeanor...and it makes me sad. We are headed to the radiologist tomorrow to get the new plan and to get her tattooed to start to remove whatever the fuck is on her brain. Dr. G. wants to meet with her the day after she stops radiation for his part of the chemo plan.

I guess I am just wondering how much more mom can take. I mean seriously, she has been a warrior, albeit an awful one. The will to live is strong in that woman, even though she can barely get off the couch. I just don't get the stamina.

We got the word that her disability was approved pay out in January 2014. Who is to say that she is even going to be here?! I talked to my sis-in-law about it and she said that unfortunately, many people pass while waiting out the 5-month wait period to receive benefits. This could be a real situation for us. My dad needs this money. My mom has effed their financial situation so bad, I have no idea how they are going to survive. Cancer not only stole their livelihood, but their hopes, dreams and financial freedom. It is very worrisome.

Yet, here I am, typing this and not shedding a tear. The world is crashing and I am calm. I just want my mom to not be in pain. I want her to have some pep in her step. I want her to enjoy her grandchildren. Is that really too hard to ask?I feel like if she were to refuse chemo, she may be able to regain some of herself. But I think my mom will soldier on. I swear, it's the fucking chemo that is going to get her.

Until tomorrow to see what the radiologist says. I wonder how long she'll have radiation. I'm going to try to ask him if there is a difference between BRAIN cancer and BREAST CANCER in the brain. Hopefully we have the less of two evils.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Notes - nothing surprising here....

Treatment isn’t working
111 pounds
Giving her two bags of saline to help with dehydration
Brain scan tomorrow (8-8) at 3
Chest xray today (8-7)

 Cancer is progressing and chemo is not working. The liver is worse. Dr. Weiss is concerned about the liver…this time there is a lot of stuff on it.

Does the treatment benefit mom this much that she should stay on the chemo? Dad is going to ask about this. 

These are my notes from talking to dad on the phone.  Not good, but also not surprising. I feel very calm about this for some reason...almost like I am on Zoloft or something. My poor little sister was all upset and crying and I just felt like a zombie robot. I think I am more concerned about the brain scan taking place tomorrow.

Positive Vibes
We have two doctors on her case
Mom was still asking about treatments - maybe she isn't "giving up"

So I will try to focus on those. Till next time.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Today marks another PET scan day. Mom has been having trouble on this new chemo with constant vomiting, weight loss and just overall feeling terrible. There have been two times that she hasn't been able to receive the chemo because her platelets were so low. The doc is concerned about the cancer in the liver and it wouldn't be surprising to know that it has spread further.

Mom said to me last week that she may not want to continue treatment. I don't blame her. She's stage four, her time is limited, why feel like shit the entire time? What's the fucking point? I want my mom to be around just as badly as my whole family, but not at this expense.

Mom called me today on my way into work. She said that my dad was worried about me because I haven't really been talking to them or stopping over. I told her that at 33 weeks pregnant, I am constantly exhausted and super emotional right now. Then I started to cry. It was nice to have a conversation with my mom that wasn't totally about her. Sounds awful right? It was nice to have my mom concerned about me. It felt normal. God, we haven't had a conversation like that in forever. Of course, she gave me crappy advice, like always, but it was normal.

Maybe without chemo, we can be normal for a minute? The medicine isn't working, it just isn't. I don't need the results to come back to tell me that.

Friday, July 19, 2013


I've decided not to post today about my mom. She is still sick, depressed and in denial. We've established that. What I want to talk about are my girlfriends.

I have been incredibly blessed with many wonderful friendships over the span of my lifetime. But very few come close to what I have with Anne, Sue, Theresa, Bernadette, Kelly, Jen and Heidi. I've been thinking about these girls since earlier this week when I was looking around town for a pedicure. It hit me from out of nowhere that I had some gift certificates to use for spa services. Last April, my friends all gathered their money, handwritten cards, notes and poems and gifted my sisters, mom and I with a huge gift certifcate for spa services. You see, only one month prior, my mom was diagnosed stage four. They presented me with this glorious and beautiful gift on my daughter's third birthday.

Most of us after a very emotional card opening.

I have been friends with these gals since the third grade - we are talking going on 25 years of friendship.

From our high school days....

To our 21st birthdays....

To our bridal showers....

They have been by my side. Every single step of the way.

The latest time they all came to my side was at my dad's memorial. Heidi drove in from Chicago, Bern, Theresa and Jen came from Columbus and my other chicas are close to me.

It was truly humbling and overwhelming to have those girls with me. I know I would do anything for them, or their children, but sometimes receiving as much love as I's hard to put into words.

I read this blog today about girlfriends and it really jogged me to write this. So often this blog is sad. This is a happy post. A post that will continue to grow in me. A good post. 

This is a tribute to you. I love you all. Getting through mom's cancer and my dad's passing has been aided by the love, support, devotion and smiles of you girls. I just had to put this out there today. PHS 97 rocks!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Harder than a newborn

So this post has taken me a few weeks to get up the courage to write. We had a tremendously difficult weekend with mom the 14th and 15th and it has really set the tone for the past few weeks.

On June 14th, my dad was getting ready to board a plane to Belgium for two weeks for work. My sisters and I knew that we were going to have to take care of mom, and we were all cool with that. At about 10:00 that Friday, dad called me in a panic that mom was going to the hospital - she couldn't breathe. He was getting ready to leave for the airport and was beside himself. Mind you, mom's oncologist knew that dad was leaving and told him that it would be fine to take the trip.

My aunt and uncle came over to take my ma to the hospital and dad went to the airport, a complete mess.

All day, I checked in with my aunt and uncle - they took such good care of her that day. I ended up leaving work at 3 and while I was on my way home, she was discharged. The hospital did nothing for her except run tests and soup her up with dalatin (sp) which made her loopy. I checked in in the late afternoon and she was sleeping. I figured I would run over Saturday morning.

In the meantime, my husband's whole family descended upon our house for a family reunion that was taking place the next day. It was a beautiful summer night. At around 9:30 I went up to my room to grab my phone that was on the charger so that I could snap some pictures of the kids. I noticed that I had missed a call at 9:15 from my cousin Jenny.

I immediately called her back to find out that her mom, my mom's sister, had stopped by and that Aunt Karla was VERY concerned about mom. So concerned that she left my mom, went home and called Jenny to tell her about it instead of alerting any of ma's children. Jenny meanwhile was at work trying to get in touch with me and my sisters. I was livid when I found out. If you are that fucking concerned about someone, DON'T FUCKING LEAVE THEM HOME ALONE. DUH.

At any rate, I went downstairs, told my hubby and family that I had to roll and left. On the way to mom's, every bad scene imaginable was going through my head. I called my sister to let her know what was going on and just prayed that mom was okay and not dead on the floor.

I got to mom's around 10:00 and she was laying on the couch, kinda out of it, but I wasn't too concerned that I had to call 911 or anything. I decided to stay the night. She was laying on the smaller of the two couches because it gave her more back support or something. She finally fell asleep around 10:45 and I fell asleep not too long after that.

At about 2:45 a.m., I was abruptly woken by mom's bone shattering coughs. It was a feeling I can't really describe. It was like electricity ran through my body - her coughs were so violent. I ran into the room to see her sitting up and just coughing and trying to catch her breath. After a few minutes, she calmed down, but I was a basket of nerves. I was then up until approx. 5:00 a.m., just trying to monitor her breathing.

Watching my mom was harder than watching a newborn. You don't worry that the newborn is going to die at any second. It was horrific.

At 7:00 I was awoken by my mom retching and puking. I again ran into the living room. It's really a mind fuck when your poor mom can't control herself. I was helpless. Truly. I couldn't do a damn thing.

She and I went outside after a while and ate some yogurt. I ended up leaving at around 10:00 to get ready for the family reunion.  I knew my mom would have visitor's on Saturday, so I was okay with leaving her in the hands of someone else.

I got home and collapsed with tears. It was awful. Truly, hideously awful. I couldn't bring myself together. I cried, cried, cried. It's hard seeing your mom like this. I did manage to pull it together to go to the reunion, but it was hard. That night when I got home, I was almost blind from the tiredness. I went to bed afraid for my mom's life. But I was so exhausted that I couldn't drive to her house to care for her.

I woke up the next morning at 7:00 and went straight over to her house for a few hours. She was doing better. It was like the chemo really hit her on Friday and she couldn't control herself for a few days. By Sunday she was pulling out of the nosedive.

It's been hard to write all of this because I thought my mom was going to die. This is something that I absolutely DO NOT want to talk about with anyone. If you read this, please keep it to yourself. I don't want to talk to you about it. I am putting it out there for my own help. DO NOT even acknowledge to me that you have read this. I am serious. This was hard for me and I can't go there right now. I have talked about this with a very select few and that is all. When chatting about your mom's mortality it can kind of weight you down.

More has happened, like her platelets are through the floor and she couldn't get chemo today. I will talk about that later. I really just had to get this beast off of my chest.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Third time's a charm????

Today began mom's third time trying chemo since October of 2010. I can't believe this woman has had to endure this much medicine for this fucking cancer. Here are the notes I just sent my sisters:

Okay, here is the rundown from chemo. Mom has lost another 4 pounds since 5/31 - she was not happy about this (she is not at 122). The type of chemo she will be on is called Gemzar. She will be on that for 3 weeks, one week off. The chemo should go in fairly fast, they think she'll only be hooked up for about half an hour each time. This type of chemo is typically used in pancreatic cancer patients, but has been known to do a good job in BC patients.

Side effects include: fatigue (like we need anymore of that), rash and fever (1 in 10 patients develop this - doc is not too concerned about it happening to mom), blood issues. This chemo has been known to beat up blood counts, which may mean that she cannot recieie the chemo on a certain week if her counts are too low. They say that "generally" people do well on this type of chemo.

Mom's port worked like a charm today. I had to leave before the chemo started, so by this point, she should be done now. She said that her energy level was a 2 on a scale of 10 and that she has no strength or energy to do anything.

We need to make sure that she is drinking A LOT of non-caffeinated fluids. They stressed that over and over. So basically, while dad is gone, we need to fill her up with juice, water, high calorie, high protein foods so that she can gain some weight back.

Those are my notes....she was in an okay mood, but you know she gets fidgety when things don't happen quickly....

As I look at the Gemzar website, I came across this little diddy: "Serious lung problems, sometimes fatal, have been reported with GEMZAR. Tell your healthcare team if you develop breathing problems as you may need to stop GEMZAR therapy." WHAT. THE. FUCK. The doctor didn't even list this as a side effect. Mom can't breathe. This is just going to be awesome.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mets to the Liver and Lungs

So until today at approximately 12:45, my mom only had metastis to her breast, bones, spine, ribs and lymhnodes. Not ideal, but at least not in any organs. And then the phone call came. Mom now has mets to her liver and lung. We've reached that point.

Don't freak out yet. Here is the report:

  • One spot on the lung
  • Two/three (depending on who you talk to, mom or dad) spots on the liver
  • Cancerous fluid in the bottom of the left lung
From what dad says, Dr. G. is very confident that we can knock this back with more IV chemo, and I tend to believe that. Mom has always responded very well to IV chemo. Either Monday or Tuesday of next week she will begin chemo, doc is just trying to figure out which drugs will be the best. He is confident that we can get mom to another clean scan.

While that's great, overall it sucks. I've looked at it as a feather in our cap that we have missed any organ involvement. While these are small pieces on the organs, they are still THERE. Which means our odds long-term are going to go down a bit.

Oh yeah, and they also found a blood clot in her abdomen, so now she has to give herself daily injections of coumadin for the next 3 months to keep that at bay. Again, the doc is not that worried about that. He seems to have a pretty good outlook on things. Since he has been a miracle worker so far, I tend to go along with him and his plans. This time, a bit more nervously.

So, that is a titch of a blow. But what are we gonna do? Keep marching forward, that's what we do.

Before I leave though, I just HAVE to put down how awesome and amazing my dad's service was. It couldn't have gone any better. The weather was perfect, almost 80 people came and we had one hell of a party for dad. His send off was what my dreams were made of. Take a moment to watch his ashes being gets me every time.

I am hoping to write more about dad's service soon.....

Friday, May 31, 2013

Stupid Cancer

Well, I have a lot of things on my plate right now. Tomorrow I have about 60 people coming to honor my dad at his memorial. I've been working hard every night after work this week to prepare things; get the menu together, work on the guest list, talk with dad's friends, make signs, etc. It's been nice to concentrate on dad this week. It's make me miss him more, but I am very excited to see his friends tomorrow. 

Among the items on my plate is the fact that my mom's health is downgrading. Now, not to the point of imminent death, but to a point where it is getting scary. You'll see in the email chain below that the appointment today was okay, but that it is apparent that mom is......failing? Not bouncing back? Being taken down by MBC? Let's face it, since December, she's lost 20 pounds with barely any weight gain back. That's not a good thing.

So I have decided to soldier on for this weekend and to try to not get bogged down with this depressing news. I've decided I'll get back into the cancer game after dad's memorial is done. I'll hop in the drivers seat and drive this car off the cliff if I have to. Because I don't see this car going to any sort of nice destination.

From: Kasey
Sent: Friday, May 31, 2013 1:40 PM
To: Jessica F
Subject: RE: Did Katie call you?

            Oh I forgot to mention – she only weighs 126 pounds. She weighed 135 only 3 months ago. It’s a gradual thing, but because we see her all the time, we don’t notice how much she’s changed. I don’t know when her scan is. Probably sometime next week.

From: Jessica F
Sent: Friday, May 31, 2013 1:30 PM
To: Kasey
Subject: RE: Did Katie call you?

Well, that’s a little hard to read, especially the “she’s getting worse” thing. I guess I’ve known that it’s getting bad, but I haven’t been concentrating on it. Do you know how far out the next scan will be?

From: Kasey
Sent: Friday, May 31, 2013 11:52 AM
To: Jessica F
Subject: RE: Did Katie call you?

Well that’s not all the info:

·         Dr. believes the spot on the skull is strictly bone and nothing to worry about
·         There are 4 small nodules that have popped up in the past month around her left rib – it’s definitely cancerous, but it hasn’t broke through the skin like the other ones.
·         He doesn’t want to do any treatment until they do another scan (bone scan already done in April – he doesn’t think a brain scan is necessary)
·         The bone spots he wants to watch are the 3 places in her ribs, lower spine (3rd), back right hip and the one by her pelvis. Everything else is minimal.
·         His main worry right now is the nodules and her lung/breathing issues

It wasn’t a bad appointment. Mom isn’t dying right now, but she is slowly getting worse. I don’t see it getting better – especially with the horrible cough she hasL

Mom and dad said they are coming to your dad’s memorial tomorrow. So she is feeling a little better and up to going out and doing things!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy birthday!

Mom has made it to her 53rd birthday! At this point last year, you couldn't have convinced me that we were going to make it this far. The journey in her 53 years has been rough and I don't foresee the next few years being a cakewalk. But at any rate, she made it!
Mom and Dad on their wedding day - 11.23.85 - isn't she so cute?
Over the past few weeks, I've had a rough time dealing with mom, her cancer and her ATTITUDE. She's so negative, always barking at someone, or completely ignoring that anything is wrong (like her broken rib). It's a very conflicting world, being mad at your mom who has stage 4 breast cancer. My sister said, "I have a hard time being mad at mom, she's sick." And I was all, "Hell no, she's being a beeotch."

I finally called my mom yesterday after our rough mother's day. Of course, she had no clue that I was upset with her. We talked, I am hoping that she heard me. I heard her when she said that it is hard to always keep everyone in the loop. I can get you really want to re-tell the story 8,000 times? I just wish that she would meet us in the middle of the road. Let us in. Let us know things. Let us HELP.

Again, I digress. Mom has made it to 53! Another hairless birthday, hopefully next year she will have hair! I love you mom!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Not sure what to do about this.

I just wrote this to my best friend and I thought I would just put it down here to make sure that I keep track of everything that happens. 


My sister called the doc about the mood swings and here is what she wrote:

Ok talked to him. He is concerned about the change in behavior. He confirmed that the scans were clear except for the little bit in the skull bones. He thinks she might have a brain metastasis and needs a brain scan. He is calling her today to talk to her. He said usually with a brain met though- they have other symptoms like numbness and tingling in the extremities. I said she was having pain in the arm. I wasnt sure if it was numbness though.

So at the last appointment that we were all blocked from, mom found out that she has a small amount of cancer in her skull and never told anyone until today when the doctor told Katie. Dr. G. believes that her erratic moods may be a result of cancer in the brain. I will die. I simply will wither away and die if that is the case. Not too sure I can handle that. I know I am being dramatic, but seriously, I can’t keep going through this. It refers to numbness…’s fingers and right leg have been going numb for about the past month. The doc thinks that the mood swings coupled with the numbness might mean brain mets.

The doctor understands that he can’t call mom and tell her that Katie called him. He is concerned enough that he is making up an excuse and wants her brain to be scanned by Wednesday (he is then leaving on a 10-day vacation). Not quite sure what to do……