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A week of cancer and many emotions


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As most of you know I was sick with a cold last week. I missed a whole week of work and that put my finances in even worse condition than they were despite the long hours I have worked. That along with the time of year has had me pretty depressed but there was worse to come.

I decided not to go to church on Sunday. I wanted another day of complete rest before going back to work and to make sure I was no longer contagous. I was worried about exposing the Pastor's wife because she has been on Chemo. She had Uteran cancer that had spread everywhere 5 years ago. She had radiation and chemo and had NED for over 4 years until a few months ago.

She had a mass in her abdoman. She couldn't eat because it was pressing on her colon and causing her to throw up everything. They removed to mass and discovered that wraped in the ball of jell like substance was a tumor attatched to her colon. She has been on chemo sense then. She has lost a lot of weight and is still in some pain. She has lost confidence in her doctors.

I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself when she called. With all of her own worrys she called to make sure that I was alright and to offer me food if I couldn't get to the store to get any. I felt so humble. All I can do for her in return is give her some literature and nutritional information that I got from Cancer Treatment Centers of America. It seems like so little.

Monday I returned to work. I always spend Monday and Monday night with a woman who has severe dementia and needs full time care. I got there Monday and learned that her daughter had dies a few days earlier from colon cancer. All I could do for her was tell her that I was there if she needed to talk about it. She did and I listened. It seemed like so little.

Sense my boss has told us that working the holidays is voluntary I voluntered to work Thanksgiving day if I can work both the day and night with this lady. I want to take her out to have Thanksgiving dinner. She has no family here and staying all night will help me because I won't have to worry about driving after dark. Still it seems like so little.

A few days ago I got up to a cold drizzle. I was just so tired I wanted to just stay home. I know some of the tiredness is from being sick but more is from depression. These last few weeks leading up to the aniversary of Johnny's death are always hard. Add my money worrys and it gets harder. I just felt like why should I go to work. The more I work the farther behind it seems I get. Then I had a reminder. A little voice in my head telling me to think of Mama and Johnny.

Mama worked for over 40 years in a canery. She raised us 5 kids with no help from anyone. She did that while dealing with my dad who was an alcoholic. I know there had to be many days when she wondered why she kept trying but she never gave up.

Then there is Johnny. There were so many times that life treated him so dirty. He had so many reasons to give up on man kind but he never did. I know many times he spent his last dime to help someone in need knowing that it meant living on bread and powdered milk for a week until his next check came. When he was diagnosed with cancer he fought to live. Even when things got really bad with the anxiety he never lost his faith or his will to live. He fought until the last breath.

With two roll models like them how can I think of giving up? I see others who are younger and in some cases healthier than I am. Somehow they got into the system. They get a monthly check and all of their doctor bills and medicine paid for. They don't have to worry about car repairs or where the next dime will come from. I could probably do that but I won't. Is it just stuborn pride that keeps me going?

Last night I got more bad news. This time it really hit me hard. All of the old emotions came back. The anger and fear and frustration. I found out that someone very dear to me is in the final stages of Uteran cancer. The problem is it is just so uncalled for. They did everything right but still she was let go until now. That makes me so angry :!:

For two years she has made trips to the hospital bleeding and scared. Their answer was always to send her home with pain killers! Sense May she has been in and out of the hospital at least 20 times. Her daughter had to raise hell to get them to do a biopsy a few months ago. They didn't even know what her problem was but they were telling her daughter that she shouldn't put her through that. She should just make her comfortable :!: The biopsy came back inconclusive.

She made an andvanced directive. At first she asked that she be asked to make all decisions and her daughter only if she was unable. Later she made a new one saying that she and her daughters would both make any decisions. If she was unable Pam would make those decisions. Well the hospital chose to take the new one out of her file and replace it with the old one. They did that twice. The last time Pam took a new one up and made the nurse on duty sign it and date it. She told them if they lose that one she has 5 more with her at all times and more at home. The reason they changed it was for their own purposes. They wanted to go to her and try to get her to give up. They would ask her if she wasn't tired of hurting. Or if she didn't want to stop all of the tests and just rest.

Last week they decided that her gal bladder had to come out. They opened her up. They knew that she had a mass but they were not sure where it was. It is in her uterus and is pushing against the colon. They did nothing but sew her back up. They didn't even remove her gal bladder. Put her through a high risk surgery and accomplished nothing. When Pam screamed at them that they were killing her mother they called the police on her. The cops who came knew what was going on and just asked if she had her emotions under control. Seems she wasn't supposed to say things like that where others might hear.

They did take a sample of the mass. Yesterday after calling and not getting any information her brother called the patient advocate at another of their hospitals. He was told they had no doctor available to give them the results. He raised enough fuss that they found someone. They were told very bluntly that she is in the final stages of uteran cancer. When she asked for chemo she was told that it would just make her throw up more(same thing the pastor's wife was doing until the removed the mass). They mentioned radiation but the best advice they want to give is to take her home and call hospice.

This lady is Johnny's sister in law. She is my oldest friend. She is the one who helped Johnny and I get in contact with eachother again. I want to do something to help but I just feel so helpless. What can I do for her now?

I have decided that the best thing I can do for her is help Pam. Pam has already started with the coulda woulda shouda thing. She did everything right. She has fought with all of her love and strength for her mom and it still wasn't enough. I don't want to see her go through the agony of selfdoubt that I have so I have given her some advice.

I know in my heart that it is too late for Carol. I know that she is going to die soon. I told Pam to get all of her records for both for her attorney and for a second opinion. I also told her to get the biopsy sample and send it to another lab. I don't have much doubt that the outcome will be the same but I want Pam to know for certain so she won't keep tormenting herself wondering if she could have done more. If only they would have done right by her in the begining this would never have gotten this far. Now it is too late and I feel so helpless. All I can do is try to ease the torment that Pam will go thorough and it just seems like so little.

Please forgive me. I know this is too long but it just seems like there are some days that are just too hard to get through alone.

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I'm so sorry to read of your horrible week. Boy, when it rains it pours sometimes. It's good that you write it out, though.It seems writing is good for you and you express yourself very well. I hope your friend and her daughter get their very well deserved medical support. Her treatment has been truly terrible. Giving support the way you do is truly inspiring. I hope you start to feel better soon.

Joanie ((()))

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