Friday, August 27, 2010

The day my life started to end...

We all go through life growing, experiencing, working, doing... But have you ever considered that you are basically working so hard to get to the end of your life? I hadn't either. Until Monday...

I will begin my story in the spring of 2010. I can't pinpoint exactly when the feeling came to me, but I do remember waking up one morning knowing that something bad was going to happen to someone around me. I immediately felt that it was my mom. I have always had this "sense". No I am not a psychic. It is VERY underdeveloped. I can't be sure. Plus, I forget to trust it a lot. In this instance, when my mother-in-law died, I thought that was what the feeling was about. The feeling hadn't gone away though.

On Monday 8/23/10 Mama went for a check at the dr about her gallbladder. She had been diagnosed with diverticulitis three weeks ago. More on that later. Monday he ordered a ct, because her liver was enlarged and the gallbladder symptoms. The ct showed masses in the liver and a large one in the colon.

That night the dr called and told her to get to West Florida Hospital because she needed massive amounts of antibiotics. She got here and they found she was severely anemic and have given her 4 units of blood up to this point. They said the antibiotics were not for an infection but for the immune response to the cancer. I came down on Wednesday morning for her colonscopy procedure. The surgeon was unable to even attempt the colonoscopy because of mass was so large it was almost closing off the bowel. They told us it was definitely cancer Wednesday afternoon. 

She had surgery Thursday 8/26/10. Dr Patrick Dial removed the affected sigmoid colon...8 inches of it. Resected the colon and no colostomy!! The liver was inoperable. The masses were spread everywhere in the liver. Over 2/3 of the liver is affected. Because of the spread, there is no way to remove the bad without taking some good, which would leave her with nothing. He found a tumor on her right pelvic wall as well. It was wrapped around the ureter. He dissected on it, removing what he could. There is still tumor around the ureter, so we pray that the chemo will work on it. The consideration here is that the ureter could be blocked resulting in her needing a stent or kidney failure.

Her CEA was 230. It is a tumor marker. It will be the thing to watch, well other than the CT and Pet scans, to see how well the chemo is working. Dr. Dial said we should hope for a 5 in the end. I am going to have to research to learn more about it.

Dr. Boatright has Aspergers. Well, we actually don't really know, but he acts just like Tyler. He is frustrating. We ask questions differently and he doesn't repeat. You know how you hear something, especially in this particular instance, and you will restate the question asking again. He answered, "You know everything. There are no secrets." Well, I personally agree with Susan that we need a second opinion. She wants to pay for mom to go to MD Anderson for a consult.

Dr. Denby, the GI who did the colonoscopy attempt, prayed with us when he told us she had cancer. God has really given us wonderful doctors here. (I'm holding opinion on Boatright just yet.) Dr. Dial is the best in the biz, and the only dr from Tallahassee to Mobile that does the colon resection and liver resection in the same surgery. Plus, he went ahead in the same surgery and inserted the mediport in her subclavian artery that will be used for the chemo, which is usually done in a separate surgery!

The nurses are fantastic! Very nice! Helpful and caring. I am so thankful that God led us here.

I have heard enough from the drs, nurses, and Paul Dangerfiled, the anesthesiologist, here that it is possible that there were no symptoms until just recently. I am over the fact that Mom ignored needing a Colonoscopy in March. If she had it then, we will still be in the same situation. The cancer is so expansive in the liver that she has had this for over a year. Based on the amount of blood lost, she has had it over a year. I completely forgive her for not going to the dr or having the colonoscopy in March.

My hypothesis is that the original infection she had 12-13 years ago resulted in this. Damaged cells remained. There is too much coincidence in the uterus infection and the sigmoid and pelvic wall masses. It is the same proximity.

Things I have to get over:
(1)Dr. Davis not doing a proper palp exam (feeling of her abdomen) at some point. When I have not been to Dr. Crowe in a while, he always makes me get on the table for him to do a standard physical! I don't have to ask. He looks at the chart and does it. 3 weeks ago when mama had that case of "diverticulitis", according to Davis, he couldn't have done an exam. He may have, as Mama swears he did, but he couldn't have done it properly! She had hepatomegaly (enlarged liver) on Monday. It couldn't have gotten that large, which was because of tumors, that quick! In my eyes, he failed to do his job. Period. Maybe she would have had cancer anyway, but he could have at least done his job and examined her!
(2)Mamas will to live. What there is of it. Whe has good attitude and good spirits, but I wonder how much suicidal thought there is underneath it all. With this diagnosis and the prognosis of 6mo to 2 years given to her yesterday, what is the reaction she had? Well, when I told her they said that, she said, "Well, I feel fine!" Of course that is pre-surgery. What bothers me more is the "I still want to work" attitude. I want to be aggressive with the chemo. She wants to be able to work.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

I forgot!!

I almost forgot!! You have lost weight too! Based on the information at the doctor, you have lost 20 pounds since March. Its weird. I didn't think I was that heavy in March, but apparently so.

The point is that now I am BELOW the weight that I was when I was admitted to UAB!!!
In 20 more pounds, I will be what I was when Megan was born!
In 45 pounds, I will be PERFECT!

The whole process is just watching portions, making better choices at times when I can, not depriving myself of anything, and definitely NOT DIETING!! It really hasn't been that hard.

Main keys:
  1. limiting sugar makes me feel less hungry in general.
  2. eating one chip will start a craving that last for several days.
  3. Yogurt is a great "sweet" treat at ngiht.
  4. Eat what you are craving...if you dont then you will eat a ton of other things until you get the ONE you want!

Im still here

It has been a while since I posted. School has started. Megan is in 10th grade and is so excited about turning 15! I remember those days. Sydney is in 5th grade and loves school. Her history class is a lot of work. Mrs. Ennis was tough in choral, why do I think she would be any different as a history teacher. Syd is also taking Cheernastics with Juddi Jones and LOVES it.

I participated in a tag swap this week with using distressed techniques. The tag looked beautiful! I am so proud of it. I gave Mema a copy of it, plus I have some left over, so I will give Mama one too and still have one to keep!

Mema had another stroke over a week ago and is still on a walker. She is good except she doesn't have feeling in her foot. She will be getting it back, so the drs say. I sat with her yesterday.

Andy's mom died July 2nd. It was a tough time for the family. Megan took it very hard. Syd was touched too. Funny thing is there was a Bible that she had, where she had written prayers for the members of her family over the years. A lot were about Chris, which really proves prayers will be answered! She also had prayers about us not keeping MEgan from her. You know, it took her death for me to actually see just how much she loved us all. I was so offended when she threatened to get Megan, but now I can see it was desperate plea just to be able to see her. Her death affected Andy, but as usual, he is very quiet with his emotions.

He did cry, especially when we told Syndey Grace. Syd was gone out of town with Mama and Daddy somewhere. So that night when she came home, we had to tell her. I will never forget how she ran to his arms and told him she was "so sorry for his loss". I cried myself. She is such a sweet child. Of course, Megan is too. She has continued to try to talk to Andy about his feelings on the subject. It frustrates her that Andy is so closed off.

The plaque for the burial plot is done now. We need to get some flowers for it.

Her death also opened the door for me to talk with Mama and Daddy about their wishes. Daddy was very frank and said that cremation would be fine with him. Mama agreed, sort of. Of course, I made it perfectly clear that I want my body donated for research. Andy won't talk about it. The girls don't want open caskets, which wouldn't have happened anyway!

That brings up a point about funerals and caskets. I don't look. As a rule. I prefer to see the person in my memories as he or she was in life. Not the plastic made up model. So what I do is avoid the casket "viewing" area. With Gloria, however, I had no choice given the situation at the time. I am actually glad that I looked. the last time I saw her was on the Tuesday at lunch before she went to the hospital that night, then died on Friday. She looked so much better in the casket. Almost normal again. It had been a couple of years since she has looked that good! That was once that I am glad I looked.

Andy is still concerned about taking Zocor since her death. The drs said it was the diabetes, zocor, and recent heart surgery that caused her congestive heart failure. When Zocor was mentioned, Andy and Gary both focused on it. Andy goes to Dr Crowe tomorrow to talk to him about it, his stomach probs, and hopefully his turning red-ish-purple in times of "stress". Hopefully I will be back to update about all taht.

I have a UTI and yeast infection. That explains the time on the computer today. I feel like crap with all the meds and the sickness.

It's like Andy said the other day... "If we had more money, life would be perfect"!!