I arrived home from the hospital today to find flowers from my husband, and numerous birthday wishes on my facebook page. I needed to hear those sweet words from dear friends. Not because it is my birthday, but because it has just been a hard day, and those words were like salve on an open wound. God has blessed me with many dear friends, and I am so grateful for all of them tonight.
Mom was transferred to the “bigger, better, city” hospital on Monday afternoon. She has undergone more testing and a laparoscopic surgery. The doctor removed her ovaries and fallopian tubes and a sample of the peritoneal lining. Although they have found no cancer yet, the doctors are so sure of that diagnosis, they continue to search for the source.
Mom looked weary and tired today; so very tired. And discouraged. She is sick and tired of being sick and tired. She hears the doctors’ reports and repeats some of it back to them, but she isn’t grasping the probable diagnosis. Once the doctor leaves the hospital room, Mom reverts back to talk about a bowel blockage and surgery. Surgery isn’t even on the table anymore. Her bowels are working and they have started her back on a liquid diet. Mom never mentions the word cancer to any of us. At first I thought maybe she just didn’t want to talk about it, but I’m not sure any more. I pretty sure she does not have the capability, any more, to grasp much of what the doctor says. It is confusing! I have to ask many questions myself to clarify his medical lingo. And even though Mom definitely knows what a cancer diagnosis means, it just doesn’t seem to “stick”.
And for now, that is a blessing.
I think tomorrow is going to be a really hard day. My sister wanted me to stay home tomorrow and not make the hour-long trip to the hospital. The city hospital is in her hometown, and now she is the “boots on the ground” — the one stopping by the hospital and checking in with Mom on a daily/hourly basis. But I think I have to go. It will be 48 hours since the surgery: I’m fairly certain we will get the results back tomorrow. I am prepared for bad news. Words that the doctors have thrown around this week are spinning in my head. Malignancy. Studded. Metastasized. Chemo. These are not words that are said lightly. Doctors don’t use those words in passing.
I think it is going to be a really hard day.
This kind of cancer — peritoneal — is usually found in the later stages. This cancer could account for all of Mom’s symptoms over the last several months. The symptoms we have attributed to AFib and Congestive Heart Failure. The weight loss, no appetite, abdominal pain, indigestion… the list goes on. The pieces are fitting together like a puzzle. This kind of cancer will not require surgery. It will require Chemotherapy. Mom already looks like someone who has had chemotherapy. I don’t know how her frail weak body can take the poison.
I said in an earlier post that I wouldn’t borrow worry. I know that is exactly what I have done here. We have no clear-cut diagnosis. Mom has defied the odds many times over the years, and escaped cancer diagnosis. But I am worried. And I will go to the hospital tomorrow. There is nothing here more important. Nothing. That is where I need to be.
I’m not sure what her reaction will be — the dementia comes and goes. I’m having trouble knowing exactly what she is comprehending. But if the doctor comes in with a concrete diagnosis and treatment plan, I want to be there to help her “think” it through. I know my sister will be there, and my brother too, yet I feel compelled to be there as well. She needs us now. Tomorrow may be the hardest day of her life. Mine too.