Monday, June 27, 2011

Five Days

Five days ago, I learned that:
- The most painful thing to witness is your favorite person in the world doubled over in pain, whimpering and crying weakly.
- It is easy to ignore your own hunger and fatigue when your mommy is lying in a hospital bed hooked up to a respirator, heart rate monitor, and infusion pump.
- No matter how much time you spend researching medical procedures and learning the jargon, most everything the ER doctors tell you will be confusing and overwhelming.
- Mommy's cancer has spread to three regions of her spine and would have advanced to her spinal cord and paralyzed her if we waited any longer.
- Even if you are exhausted beyond belief, when your sick mommy calls, you'll jump up immediately to sooth her.

Four days ago, I learned that:
- Pain medicine works wonders but only for a few fleeting hours.
- Mommy is so fragile and so small. Her hair smells and feels just like a baby's.
- It's easy to care for someone as sweet and adorable as my little mommy.
- Mommy loves made-up, whimsical stories about me fishing out puppies and fire-breathing baby dinosaurs from a sparkling river and barbeque dinners courtesy of said dinosaur.
- Mommy's vision of heaven is of an immense, blue lake with colorful row boats, towering trees and vibrant green grass.
- Mommy and I have the most amazing and supportive friends who offer prayer, encouragement, and edible and non-edible gifts!

Three days ago, I learned that:
- The pain will be especially debilitating some days, even with the powerful pain meds.
- Mommy would be receiving radiation therapy on her spinal cord, specifically T9(the ninth thoracic vertebra).
- Good-looking male doctors are good-looking, smart, and aplenty in the UCSF hospital.
- Nurses are angels in disguise. Being in the hospital strengthened my desire to pursue a career in nursing.

Two days ago, I learned that;
- Doctors may want to completely stop chemo treatments. We would be transitioning into the pain control, quality of life stage.
- It's hard to tell your mommy that there's a possibility that nothing else can be done treament-wise. All I wanted to do was lie to protect her.
- Mommy's oxygen levels are low enough that she needs to keep a respirator by her bedside at home to help her breathe while she sleeps.
- Heaven is beyond beautiful. The patient we shared the room with died during surgery and described heaven as "more beautiful than you can ever imagine, with colors more vibrant and lively than we've ever seen. And the flowers, oh the flowers! They were each so uniquely and intricately painted." She was sad when they brought her back to life, and told my mom that she was jealous of her.
- Mommy can make everyone smile, even the grumpy nurses.

Yesterday, I learned that:
- I'm so sick of hospitals.
- Mommy is so sick of hospitals.
- Mommy would also need to receive radiation for two other parts of her spine, T2-4 (second to fourth thoracic vertebrae) and the sacral and lumbar regions.
- Mommy can wiggle her left ear.
- Even when she's in extreme pain, we can slowly dance our way to happiness and comfort.

Today, I learned that:
- There really are no more treatment options. Doctors can only make her days on earth more comfortable.
- Mommy is not scared of death. She's excited to go to Heaven.
- I'm scared of losing my precious mommy. I want her with me forever.
- It's hard for me to believe this sometimes, but God is still good.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's Father's Day, but I'm thinking about my mommy

Mommy is asleep in her massage chair as usual. These two napping hours are the most peaceful of the night. She's been in extreme pain all day, coughing, wheezing, and aching in so many spots on her body that I can't even keep track anymore. This post-dinner nap serves as a tiny break before another agonizing bout. This is the window of time where I can be quiet and pretend that everything is normal. Or not. Tonight, I went on and read stories about cancer survivors who have won their battle and have gone on to run many more miles and achieve more personal records. I'd like to say that I found inspiration in these stories and gave thanks to God for giving those cancer patients new life, but this is not true. I am bitter because my mommy, love of my life, will never be fully cured. I am bitter because the cancer continues to take over more and more of her body. I am so bitter and heartbroken.

But I can't cry or scream like I want to, because I don't want to wake her. Once she's up, she'll have to endure the pain again, and my heart will hurt more.