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……

Mother's Day...

Can kiss my ass. While I personally had a wonderful day of receiving little presents from my children and being able to cook my heart out, it sucked when I went to my mom's. My whole MD went out the window almost the second we walked into the dark house where my mom and sister were sitting in the living room.

Mom was disconnected. She was grouchy. She "yelled" at the kids. When I say yelled, she got really snippy when my little niece wanted to go outside to play. Yes, it was cold and yes, Kelsey was not wearing the proper clothes to be playing outside in. But none of the kids were, and let them just go outside and release some energy for 20 minutes. It wasn't going to kill them.

I tried to get the attention on me and my ever growing belly, just so we could all have something to talk about. Naming baby names seemed to take some of the pressure off for a bit, but then you could tell mom was getting tired or something.

Dad was out in the garage with my husband the entire time, talking his ear off. What Brian told me on the way home horrified me. Mom won't let dad out of her sight. My dad told Brian that his perfect day would be "to be allowed to go downstairs and play the guitar for half an hour." We have a BIG problem on our hands. Mom won't let him go grocery shopping on his own, she'll go, then get tired and then sit in the car. When dad gets back, she'll bitch at him for taking so long.

Mom won't let dad sleep in another room. Although she is up coughing all night long, he is not allowed to go on the couch to sleep. He told Brian that he works 10 hours a day on roughly 3 hours of sleep. What the hell is going on?? Dad told Brian that this is not the woman he married. She flies into a rage over the smallest things.

Oh, and did I tell you that she's given away her Vicoden and OcyCodone to my aunt??? I asked mom, please never do that again. Mom saw no problem in it. EVEN THOUGH SHE HAS A FUCKING BROKEN RIB that is supposed to be managed with pain meds. I guess she got a refill, so everything is hunkey dorey again.

What am I supposed to do? My sisters and I are going to meet up this week to try to figure something out. But what in the hell am I supposed to be doing? All I know is that my mom and dad cannot go on like this anymore. Mom is coming to terms with stage four and now we all are paying for it.

My heart hurts and my head wants to explode. I want to say that I am done with this. Can I, please???

Friday, May 3, 2013

Boney Bones

I didn't go to mom's appointment with her this morning, but she did call to say that per the bone scan, everything is at bay and that the treatment is working. From the xray from April 19th, Dr. G. said that her 7th rib looks a little thin and the 5th is broken. The broken rib is what has been causing her some pain (not that I even knew she was having rib pain). He told her to go on with activity as normal and he is thrilled with her progress.

This is great news, but I can help but feel that it is overshadowed by her ignorance and meanness from yesterday. I just want to throw in the towel on the whole thing, but the pesky thing is that she gave me the gift of life.

I think I just have to shrug this off, lick my wounds and not talk about any grown girl would do. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

About done with this shit.

Below is a note I just wrote to my sisters. I am reaching a point where mom is making it nearly impossible to care for her and to be a part of her healing. Cancer is slowly taking over my family and unfortunately, my mom is letting it.

I've had it with mom. I just called her and asked her what time her appointment was for tomorrow and she said 8:10, but that it was just for a shot and that she wouldn't be seeing her doctor. I then asked her if she had the results of the bone scan and she told me, well, I assume that the doctor will give them to me tomorrow. So I just told me you didn't have a doctor appointment. To which she tells me that she would prefer to go to all of her appointments alone now.

Of course, I threw a titch of a fit and told her that it wasn't fair to us that she keeps cutting everyone out. I told her that I am tired of her telling one sister something and then telling that sister to keep it to herself. She cried, and you know what, I didn't care. It's high time that she stops pulling this stuff.

It's like she can't see that we love her and need to be a part of this. I've done nothing but go to appointment after appointment, switch her doctors for her, take copious notes....I'm about done. I've done it because she is my mom. I've never expected a thank you and I know I probably will never get one, and I am fine with that. But I am not fine with the three of us being cut out of her healthcare experience. She got off the phone in a huff because dad was calling. I am not going to feel guilted by her. I am just so frustrated.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Family dynamics

In my therapy last night, we were talking about families and how they deal with cancer. This was brought up because I was telling the group about my last post (mom wanting to only tell Kasey, NOT her other sisters). I told the group that this annoyed me and made me feel "less" of a family member. Why should mom leave me out of a health situation? I was the one who switched her doctor, I have been the one to go to all the appointments, I am the one who takes all the notes.

We were talking about how sometimes families that are apart come together, are already together to fight this as a united front, or just don't talk about it. Each person around the room had a different family than mine. Some kinda similar, some very much different.

And then someone said something that stopped me in my tracks.

Families are like chemotherapy drugs. We may have the exact same disease, but treat it in wildly different ways.

This made sense to me. The couple next to me are the ones that are kinda similar to me. Their family dynamic is the same (mom, dad, 3 daughters). Their 42 year old daughter has stage four breast cancer as my mom has. BUT my mom and their daughter have no where near the same treatment plan. Therefore, they have a different experience and perception of the disease. They act different as a family unit.

I find that it is hard for me to explain all of my feelings right now, but I wanted to make sure to jot this nugget down. It's important to me. I feel like this one is a keeper.

Cancer is exhausting, but my caregiver support group has truly from my self. My mind is more clear and I have the coping skills to begin to fight this beast. In honor of The Gathering Place, I am fundraising on behalf of them. If you are so inclined, click here, read my story and help others like my mom and me!

Until next time.....