I've been spending a lot time trying to find a wonderfully entertaining picture to go with this disclosure, but everything has escaped my imagination, so I'll just say it: Mom has Stage-4 cancer.
The past two weeks have been exhausting, from traveling to her house, the hospital, our house, back to her, and so forth.
Officially, the diagnosis is "Stage-4 Carcinoma of Undiagnosed Origin". This means they can't agree on where it started, but it has spread throughout her body. They *think* that it started in her pancreas, but get this - ten years ago. in 2000 they found a *cyst* on the errant organ and they have been monitoring it. They never wanted to do a biopsy because the pancreas is buried under lots of other organs and they thought it better to leave sleeping dogs lie than to piss it off.
When the ER doctor came up, he said that the news was bad. "We found cancer." He went onto explain that the cancer was throughout her body. The cancer was terminal. She's looking at months.
The immediate danger is that a sarcoma and bone tumor have devoured about one fifth of he C7 neck bone, which translates to extreme pain in her left arm and has rendered her left hand useless. She's taking radiation to shrink the tumor and hopefully elevate the pain.
Here's the worst - she knows this is the beginning of the end. Last night she said that stopping the pain at any price is better than staying in the here and now.
My heart sank a bit.
But its her life, her wishes, her decision. On the plus side, we don't have to go through Chemo. She doesn't have to suffer, and I don't have to watch her suffer.
The doctors wanted her to go to a nursing facility, in fact - they insisted. Not my mom. She wants to be in her own house. I have to figure out how to do this. A person should be able to remain in their own home as life draws to a close.
The object is to make her comfortable. The other object is to keep me sane so I can help her stay comfortable.