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I'm about to lose my mom now, too


Remembering Dave

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well, I hesitated to post this (this is the only forum I visit now and only every few weeks) because my mom wanted to keep this private, but now she's telling just about anyone, so I thought I'd share here.

If you recall, she was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in June 2004, right when Dave's SCLC came out of remission. In the following ten months she had four major surgeries, including two to remove parts of her liver where tumors had grown. She never could tolerate the chemo - got every side affect in the book, so during the second liver surgery a chemo pump - sort of AN experimental thing - was installed in her ab, with a catheter going directly into her liver, and a port just under the surface - they'd fill it up with chemo every other week and it would time release chemo right into her liver.

She's been pretty stable for about the last six months - and since shortly after Dave's funeral, leading a fairly normal life for a 72 year young lady. (Dave's funeral was her first "outing" out of the house after the last surgery)

But last week, her blood cancer marker (something they check for with colon cancer) was way high, she was having vision problems and not feeling very well. So they did full body and head CT Scans. she now has a HUGE tumor in her liver (despite the darn pump), both lungs are filled with small tumors, and she has a brain tumor which is affecting her vision. She started brain radiation yesterday so they can save her eyesight, but frankly there's not a whole lot more they can do for her. Lung tumors are too widespread for radiation. Can't radiate the liver. They've tried three or four different chemo cocktails and none of them she could tolerate. I talked to her primary oncologist - who was Dave's onco doc - and he's like family to me - and he said on the outside I should expect her to be gone in three months. He thinks she should get the brain radiation and then hospice. So do I. I don't want her to suffer like Dave did. She doesn't know THIS much, and I'm not going to tell her. After the brain radiation, she, dad and I will meet with him (the onco doc) to get her options and she and dad can make the decision. Onco doc said he'd try more chemo if she wanted but he didn't see the point of putting her through that and I agree.

I really hoped she'd hang in there and remain stable for at least a year after I lost Dave. She's about all I have, especially in the help department. My Dad is not doing so well. he's very depressed and snapping at me. who else? can't snap at my mom. depressed people often get angry and I'm the object. I called his family doc (who I know, he's like family, too) and told him about dad's depression and about mom, so I hope he at some point can talk to my dad and maybe get him on some antidepressant meds.

My sinuses have been chronically infected, and I saw a good ENT doc today who said, yes, you need surgery. I know sinus surgery is not a big deal, but who is going to help me with Faith for the days I can't, and how can I be "out of commission" right now when my parents need me?

I'm just venting and whining. Dave's good friend Roger, his wonderful 16 year old daughter Laura and Roger's mom can all help me and all have said they will. but two of them work and one of them is in high school.

somehow I'll get through this one, I thought facing Dave's death was unbearable and here I am, somehow existing and "making it".

Darn it all, I HATE CANCER.

(my mom's mom lived to be 95, so the way I see it, cancer is robbing my mom of 20 years. )

Karen

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Oh Karen, I have to take a deep breath after reading your post. My eyes are filled with tears as I think of all the pain you must be going through right now. I know how hard it must have been for you to meet, once again, with Dave's oncologist in this type of discussion. I am so glad you have a dear friend to help you deal with all this and help you care for Faith while you have your own medical problems corrected. Sometimes, I have such a very hard time understanding why God puts some people through so very much pain. One would think that you have definitely had your share of suffering. Karen, I will be saying extra prayers for both you and your mom. You're a very strong lady and I know God will guide you through this.

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Karen,

I am so sorry that you have to go through this yet again. I lost my Mom Oct 7th and I am so bitter and angry that cancer took her. Mom also had another brain tumor in the end and if she could have gotten her strengh back she could have had radiation to her brain. Mom also had a tumor in her liver. I pray for you and your family that your Mom gets more time with you and your family and that she is peaceful. Take care of yourself as well.

Tammy

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I am sorry Karen that you are going through yet another tradegy.

Your mom will be here for the holdays, and like Ry said try to make it special and make some wonderful memories.

I feel bad for your dad he sounds like he would be lost without her. Hopefully, they can get him on some meds to help him cope.

Prayers sent to you for strength and your mom for more positive results.

I am sorry you are going through another hard time.

At least you have Faith by your side. I bet she is getting big.

Please take care, I care about you and want you to have some peace in your life.

Maryanne

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Oh Karen I am so sorry to hear of your mom's decline. You will all be in my prayers. Cherish every minute that you have with her and make the holidays as special as you can for her and yourself. I know only too well how hard that will be but you have Faith and what a speical gift she is. May God Bless you and give you the strength that you need to endure.

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it's so strange to be with my mom and know that everything is her last thing. we had her last thanksgiving. it was simple but fun especially with my brother's kids there. mom bought apples to apples and we played that, even Faith won a hand. my mom is very fatigued but she was a trooper for thanksgiving. but I see the sadness and fear in her eyes. with Dave we never thought of anything being his last thing as he never gave up. my mom's not exactly given up but we know there's no hope at this point. with Dave it was pretty obvious there was no hope and both he and I acknowledged that the last few weeks. by then he was in so much pain that him going way forever wasn't the issue, controlling the pain was the issue. mom's not in any pain but just worn out, her body is just wearing out and everyday I can see that she is weaker, and when I talk to her on the phone her voice sounds weaker and weaker.

I'm rambling. the strong antibiotic the ENT doc prescribed seems to be working and the coughing spells are less frequent and less "violent." I only got up twice last night to cough and blow my nose so I feel better today. I think Laura is going to stay at my house the week I have my surgery, whenever that is, and help me with Faith, she's hoping to have her driver's license by early January and daycare is exactly one mile away - and no stoplights - just two turns - so I think she can get Faith to daycare in the morning and pick her up with no problem and I'm sure her dad will help out too. so looking ahead I think we can get through that week.

well, better go, just feeling a little sad, Thanksgiving day was OK without Dave since we were with my entire family and focusing on my mom, but friday saturday and sunday were a bit lonely, I even got together with friends and ate out and went shopping, but it's just hard not having him around on those 'do nothing' days.

God bless, Karen

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Karen, I'm glad you were able to spend Thanksgiving with your mom and make some beautiful memories. It sounds like she's a real trooper and determined to make the most of life. Glad to hear that you're feeling a bit better and have help with precious little Faith. I know you will feel much better after you have this procedure done. Yes, I know how lonely these "do nothing" days can be. I think they're the worst to deal with. I'm sending positive vibes your way and saying lots of prayers for you and your mom!

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Ann, yeah, it's certainly not the holidays. Holidays are fine, because we are kept busy. Everyone always says won't the holidays be hard for you? No, it's being alone at 9:00 at night or an entire weekend with just Faith (nothing against Faith, but she ain't Dave!).

'Course, these holidays are WEIRD because I KNOW it's the last ones with my Mom. She doesn't want anyone making a big deal out of it, so I have to refrain from getting too sentimental.

I did ask her to write down some of her good recipes (her beef stew is awesome) and asked her if that was morbid or depressing and she said no, she was flattered.

Anyway, here's to as few "do nothing days" as possible in the future.

Karen

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