Friday, September 10, 2010


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.


  1. like so many of your days shared with your mother, the coming ones will be just as important and just as memorable. simply do the best you can. take a deep breath. kiss mom. tell her thank you and tell her you love her.

  2. She sounds brave and independent. Staying in ones home would seem more peaceful and hope you find a solution to honor that wish. It was a dream of mine as a child to live with my mother forever, so I’m sorry to hear this news. Like Norma said tell her thank you and tell her you love her.

  3. Sending positive thoughts your way xo

  4. Hey guys...Thanks for the thoughts and the comments. I have in fact told her over and over that I love her. We are not an "emotive" family, so its always been assumed. But I have done so verbally.

    I also hope that she understands that I am out there fighting for her, and her right to "be" where she wants "to be".

  5. oh no. I'm so sorry to hear this. She sounds remarkably strong in all much more than I know I would be.
    I'm praying for you all for what it's worth.

  6. what to say, except to echo what others have said here. spend as much time as you can with her and stay strong. this time you spend with her is precious--make the most of it.

  7. Oh, sweetie, I am so very sorry to hear about this. It must be dreadfully draining going back and forth. All you can do is stay in the here and now; spinning out of control into picturing the future is the worst you can let yourself do.

    I think staying home is great idea. See if you can contact her insurance carrier about what kind of hospice they'll set up. They can be a huge help to her and you both.

  8. Your mom sounds like a pretty remarkable lady - which only makes sense, as she has a pretty remarkable son. I'm thinking of you both.

  9. I know that we all make the journey eventually. It was hard with my father because I hated him and we never had moments of laughter together. Mom is different - for the first 21 years of my life it was her and I against the world. When she leaves, I know that I'll know and feel that there was nothing left undone.

  10. I've been thinking about you a lot lately, honey.
    "It was hard with my father because I hated him and we never had moments of laughter together."
    God, you make me laugh! I hope you know what you mean to us. We are all here for you.

  11. I just came onto your blog the other day, and I'm not surprised in the least by your bravery and charity in meeting this particular challenge. You will not let yourself or your mother down.

  12. Hugs to you from a gal who will always miss her mother.

  13. Well I think that just sucks! I am very sorry to hear about your mom. Best wishes for her peaceful journey to wherever she is headed next.