Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The "C" word... (part one)

My mom has Cancer. Yes, the big bad C word. I have been wanting/needing to blog about this for some time, but life has turned crazy. Cancer will do that to a life. I don't have to tell you, right? It seems like everyone's been affected by it.
On April 13th, my mom took herself to the emergency room to get some symptoms checked out that she suspected may be "mini-strokes" or the precursors to a stroke. She refused to let anyone take her to the E.R.
Several hours had gone by since she went it, and I hadn't heard from her. So I started texting her. She said she didn't know what was going on but that they had run some tests. I asked her if she'd even spoke with an actual Dr. yet, and then got no response. About 15 minutes later (by now, it's about 9:15pm), my dad called me saying that we were in a bad place... and that they had found that my mom had a brain tumor. I went to pick him up to go down to the hospital where my grandma and sister were heading down as well. (My dad couldn't drive yet... only a week prior to this, my dad had a major back reconstruction surgery. It was a double surgery, where he had been operated on front and back.)
We get down there, and luckily they had given my mom some meds to calm her down. She's a very frantic type. Shortly after, she was transported via ambulance to the local trauma hospital. Her case was not a 'trauma', but they did have a state of the art neurosurgery team there. We followed the ambulance. My other sister met us down there. A Dr. came in and showed us the images from the CT scan she had. It appeared that there was either "multiple, multiple tumors" or one large tumor that was oddly shaped. Further testing would tell us more. She was admitted to the hospital. My grandma stayed with her, and the rest of us headed home. I got home about 3am. I was tired, and scared. I had to be up at 6am to get my son off to school.
That day passed in a blur. I couldn't eat. I felt sick. I was weak. I didn't know how I'd make it through the day. I went back to the hospital to be with my family.
Friday morning, the 15th, my mom had brain surgery. The removed the entire mass. They wouldn't have more information for us for at least a week, when the pathology report came back.
After surgery, we all got to see her for a few minutes. That night, mom was so drugged up, we all left her there in the ICU so she could rest and recover. The next day, my dad and grandma spent some time with her. My dad was in terrible amounts of pain (still fresh from his surgery) and asked if I'd come relieve him for a few hours. So I headed down to the hospital (thank goodness that my husband was such a saint, and played "Mr. Mom" over the course of this week...) for about 3 or 4 hours to be with my mom. It was so hard to see her that way. But she was coherent, mostly. And restless. She had taken a short walk earlier that day, and wanted another one, but they wanted her to wait. And when her dinner was served, she literally gagged on it, saying it was so gross. I could tell my being there was causing her to lose rest, so finally I told her I was leaving so she could rest.
Later that night, we get a call. The nurses said she wouldn't stay in her bed, and that if one of use didn't get down there to calm her down, she'd have to be restrained. Dad didn't feel well, and I knew grandma was tired, so off I went. That was one of the longest nights of my life... Mom was very agitated and restless. Numerous times she tried to get up, and she had several panic attacks that were hard to control. I convinced the nurses to give her something to calm her down. It worked... kind of.
Finally at about 7am my dad got there to relieve me. I drove home, trying to stay awake. When I got home, my bed had never felt better than it did that morning. Too bad I only got to stay in it for 4 hours.

(To be continued...)