May 13, 2013 - 5:26 pm
My Mom had a football size tumor removed from her liver (it was on the edge) about 4 years ago. Docs said there was not cancer left so she never got any other treatment. 1 year later more cancer was found in her liver and it had spread to her lung. 2.5 years ago she took the one chemo pill they said she could take for her cancer. With 3 pills she had a stroke (this medication raises blood pressure; she had high blood pressure, go figure). The stroke left her with no center vision. She decided not to try any other treatment. She was very annoyed that her vision was taken away because she was a tech person, loved to cook and shop, etc. At this point she was given a couple of months to live and put with Hospice. It has been 2 and half years (she keeps saying she has to act sick when hospice comes or they will kick her out). My Father learned how to cook and has turned into quite the Chef. He does everything around the house, which drives Mom crazy as she used to do all of that. They have found their groove together and he has taken fabulous care of her. She was very bitter at first but then her Texas lady pride took over and she learned to put on her makeup and do her hair (she grew it long for the first time in her life, very Georgia O'Keeffe) so she looks beautiful every day. She has insisted on getting up and getting dressed and "fixed up" every day. She and my Father (married 58 years last week) snuggle every morning, he helps her with her showers (which she does not seem to mind at all) and they are still madly in love. All that said this has been a very challenging experience. We are all so grateful for the extended time we have had together. It has been priceless and I can’t even put into words all of the beautiful times we have had and the laughter and tears that go with those. I have gotten to know my Father, I never knew him before, really. He is a super cool guy and the hero in this story. My beautiful Mom is starting her decline. She has always had ups and downs (the roller coaster of this family) so the bad days we have expected to be the last, but they were not. The last month has been very different. She still fixes up every day and has made us promise not to let hair grow out of her chin, let her fingernails get dirty or let her go without lipstick. But she is just exhausted and does not want to eat; we are giving her smaller meals more often, Ensure being a meal. We had our last Mother's day yesterday. We have no idea if we have a week or months, I just don’t want her to be in pain or lose her dignity. I love her so much and have never lost anyone. She is my Mom; she is not supposed to go anywhere. I am 54 years old and I still need my Mom. But I guess the tables have turned because she needs me now. My Sister and I have spent so much time with them. It is almost at a point where the eventual and actual passing of my Mom seems unreal. She thinks she has lived this long is the love and attention she has gotten from friends and family. I think some of it has to do with her terminal cancer not being treated. When she knew she was terminal she wanted her life, all of it that was left, to be as pleasant as possible. Anyway, I know it is coming, I can't think about it much, but I just thought I would share a little of our experience. Love the ones you are caring for. Being present is a gift to everyone.