Welcome to my blog about my mom, Loretta, and our journey through learning of her cancer and treatment.

Just a little background. Mom is 61 and hadn't been to a doctor in about 18 years until this past June 2011. The reason for this is due to the surmountable cost of insurance, even when your spouse has insurance it can be cost prohibitive.
So, Mom finally got approved by JPS in June and it was a good thing too, she had Basil cell carcinoma on the bridge of her nose. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor and plastic surgery reconstruction. She also has high blood pressure and Thyroid problems. We thought she was finally getting the attention she was missing and was going to be OK. Boy were we mistaken.
Mom started having some abdominal pain the first of January 2012. After talking with her and the pain getting worse, she finally agreed that she needed to go to the clinic or ER.
The following blog posts chronicle the events since then. Future posts will continue to explain treatment, issues concerning her condition and general comments.
I appreciate you taking the time to learn about what it means to be diagnosed and this type of cancer. Mom has been a trooper so far, she says "I'll beat this".

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The end is near

5/30/12 - Thursday

I called hospice on Tuesday to have them evaluate mom. They started 24/7 care that day.
Wednesday came and mom is non-responsive when you try and wake her. She's comfortable and not in pain. Her sister-in-law, Pam came to see her as well as her cousins Janice, Brenda, Wanda and Patsy. Carol West, our pastor came and prayed for mom and told her it was ok to go, that God has her now.
Thursday around 9:40 Owen calls to tell me that the Dr can't read her BP. Shes got very labored breathing and a rapid pulse. It won't be much longer now. I called Kent and told him to come home and be with her. I've notified everyone else that it won't be long. Kathy came home from work to see mom & be with me. She stated for awhile and I asked her to go be with Gran. So she's over at Gran's.
Today is mom's only grandson's graduation from high school. I know if she could have gone she would have. I probably won't be going so that I can be here with mom.
I pray that our good Lord eases her body and takes her home to be with our loved ones that have already passed. I know that my great grandmother is waiting with open arms to comfort her.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Baton Rouge update.

5/27/12 - Sunday

Mom awoke several times in a little bit of pain. All of which is solved by a little morphine.
She's still sleeping a lot and gets irritated with you when you wake her to help her with pain or something.
Please God, let her make it home tomorrow.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Baton Rouge

5/26/12 - Saturday

Mom said she had to make it to Baton Rouge for the tournament (USBC Open bowling tournament). She's here, but deteriorating. She won't make it tothe lanes to watch Kent bowl, nor will she make it to a casino to play the slots. She's been sleeping 20+ hours a day. If she could just stay awake for a couple of hours she could enjoy a few things, but she can't even stay awake to potty. Kent & I are taking turns watching over her as she rests.
I pray that she doesn't linger like this for long, it's just not the quality of life she would have wanted for herself.
My heart aches each and every day. All I can do is be there for her now and tell her I love her each chance I get.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Long.. Stressful week

5/15-5/20 Mon-Sat

Mom and I got the news from the oncologist on Monday that she can no longer have aggressive treatment. Her cancer has progressed and for her to have treatment would make her so sick she would die from it. Mom didn't take news very well, as I didn't either.
Monday started at 9am and I got home at 9pm. Long day and mom & I broke the news to Kent & Owen (her brother).
I spent too much time in the house with them smoking.
Tuesday morning came and mom was aggressively perusing calling hospice care. I told her that I would call and that I could answer all their questions.
She finally relented and I called them at 9:30am. We have an appt for 6pm Wednesday. Mom was actively telling Owen what to move from her room to make way for the hospital equipment
I awoke Tuesday morning coughing my lungs up. Didn't even make it all say at work I felt so bad.
Wednesday I went to the Dr and got all medicated up. I have an upper resp/sinus infection. Didn't go to work. I went and got my anti-biotics and headed to grans for lunch and a nap.
Gran was very happy to see me. Since mom was in the hospital I hadn't been over for lunch in awhile. We at and visited for a few and then I laid down for a nap. I no more got to sleep and hospice called wanting to change our 6pm appt to a 2pm appt. Boy, am I glad we did. Marla with Vitas Hospice was so nice. She got there at 2pm and left at 8pm. It's a long process to get everything signed, verified and checked in. Mom got really tired through the process.
Thursday mid day they delivered mom's medical equipment, including a nice bed with rails. Mom was finally starting to calm down. Although she had a panic attack at 2am Friday morning and called Hospice.
I was sick again Friday, felt like my lungs were being ripped from my chest. I rested until 2pm and then called mom to check on her again. She said she was feeling much better and needed to go to Walmart for some clothes that fit and some other items.
We decided on Thursday that she needed to have her baptism (she was baptized when she was 14, but wanted to do it again) on Sunday 5/21. I got it all arraigned with my pastor, Carol at Celebration. Mom & I went shopping and I was the one about to fall over by the time we got home. Mom got some new cotton pants that are more comfortable win some matching shirts.
Saturday came and mom had another good day.
Sunday was a blessed day for mom She was baptized and no a part of our church family at Celebration.
My brother and his family, 2 cousins, her brother & his daughter and many, many friends were there to share in moms big day. We all gathered at our house afterwards to visit and eat. Mom overextended her stay and got really tired. Owen and Brianna took her home and got her in bed. She slept all night.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Finally out of the hospital

5/14/12 - Monday

Yeah!!!! Mom got out of the hospital yesterday!
She was scared of coming home, but we talked it through and she was finally ready to leave.
Her pain meds leave her forgetful and very confused at times.
I'm so pleased she's home. We had to make a decision Saturday as to whether she wanted to continue treatment or call Hospice.
After explaining it to her again, she realized that if she chose Hospice, there would be no more treatment and they would just make her comfortable until the end.
Wow, you should have seen the clarity in her face once she realized what I was saying! She said, "let's do this, let's get treatment"!
Mom's a tough cookie and she proved that Saturday. She decided it was time to start moving, so Kathy and I got her up and walking down the hall and back. She did real well for someone that's been in bed for 2 weeks. After exercising, mom and I went into the bathroom and she got a good shower. She enjoyed it so much she was purring like a kitten.
I thought we had her all tuckered out, but I'm guessing after we left she took a short nap and then started calling everyone. LMAO

So here we are on Monday. Mom said she slept really well and didn't have any pain in the evening.
I did all of her pills for the week and she was really confused then. I'll have to keep on top of her taking those for awhile to make sure she doesn't forget or try and add/delete pills.
We are waiting on home health to come teach me to give her IV antibiotics. Sorry, got interrupted on my post by the home health lady, Carrie. 2 hour visit, you know the one, give me your mom's life history. Ugh
All of this background so that she can show me how to deliver mom's IV antibiotics.
So we has to rush to see Dr Lingham. We are here now, waiting for her to see us in the exam room.
Next stop is JPS IR department to check on mom's drains.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 11 in the hospital

5/11/12 - Friday

Wednesday mom starting feeling better and Thursday he was even better.
The transitioned her from IV pain meds to oral and things were going well for her. They even started making provisions for her discharge.
Until Mom called me at 4:50am to tell me she's in pain and that what they have given her isn't working. She also told me she didn't think she would make it through the day.
She's scared. I'm thinking she's scared she will get home and there won't be anyone there come Monday when kent goes to work.
I spoke with the doctor and asked that we get a new CT scan so that we can determine the extent of her tumor and if it has metastasized. So, we are currently waiting on that.
She also doesn't want the NG feeding tube. It's hard for her to swallow and it's hurting. Dr tried to get her a PEG feeding port installed in her stomach, but with the fluid on her abdomen they can't do it. It would leak.
We've also been trying to get her a surgery for a pain block. JPS transitioned to their new electronic patient charting system and it had severely effected major areas like Surgery, admissions and the ER. surgery cancelled all non life threatening surgeries all week.

I've spoke to a social worker and they are contacted Hospice care. We are waiting to hear back from them.

Please pray for Mom, she's been praying hard.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 8 in the hospital

5/8/12 - Tuesday

Mom had her surgery to relieve some of the fluid in her abdomen yesterday.
They removed 1 liter from one site on her lower right abdomen.
She was scheduled for a pain block surgery today, however, the hospital implemented their new computer system this past weekend. This new system has come with a lot of issues they didn't expect. A lot of the key departments can't operate because of it. Surgery is backed up by 2-3 days.
So, they have pushed her surgery to this Thursday.
She was feeling much better earlier this morning. She was alert, talkative and wanting juice and water. He even wanted to be adjusted in bed to get more comfortable.
But, Murphy had to hose the progress she was making. Mom is now back in pain.
Wound care was here to apply a gel like patch on her lower back and pelvic area to prevent a bed sore.
I wish there was more that I could do to ease her pain or even take it from her. I pray many times a day that our gracious and loving Lord with heal her and comfort her pain.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 7 in the hospital

5/7/12 - Monday

Here we are, day 7. Mom is still in a lot of pain. They will be taking her to surgery before 2pm today to drain the fluid on her abdomen. We hope this will help ease the pain.
Tomorrow they are going to do a pain block. They will sever the nerves that serve her liver. This will help prevent this from happening as her condition worsens.
We will probably do a feeding tube unless she feels that She can drink and eat on her own.
I pray that after tomorrow she will be out of this severe pain and able to gain some strength and go home.
Please Jesus, perform a miracle and heal my mother. She has so much to offer. Amen

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 5 in hospital

5/5/12 - Saturday

Mom is still in extreme pain. Her fluid build up in her abdomen, called Ascites, is not helping her pain. They came and did a sonogram to give the dr an idea of here the bulk of he fluid is so that they could possibly drain it and give her some relief. Once they reviewed the scans, they determined that her fluid is in layers and it's too difficult to drain it outside the OR. They will drain the fluid on Monday in the IR department.
We also discussed her pain levels a few days ago and that pain management may have some options to relieve her pain. If all goes well, Tuesday they will do a pain block in her spine. They will literally sever the nerves that supply the abdomen area of the liver. It's possible they could regenerate, but it would take months to do so.
Mom has also vomited some brownish-red fluid. It could either be an ulcer or the tumor has infiltrated her digestive track.
It's so hard to watch her deteriorate like she is. Last week at the dr she weighed 115, today, being weighed in the bed, she is 132! She hasn't Ben 132 since January.
She's scared and worried and doesn't want to be alone.
Feeling helpless isn't all that I feel, but I can't let mom see any of that in my face or my voice. She need to know I'm her rock and that I'll be here for her.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Abscess update

5/3/12 - Thursday

Mom got moved up to the Oncology floor at 5:30am this morning. She called to let me know. I guess in case I was coming up to see her really early. Lol
I brought her a really nice bouquet of flowers. She loves them.
She's still experiencing break-through pain as well as being sore from being in bed so much.
Both drains are working very well. Her abscess is still draining some nasty looking stuff.
Even though she sleeps a lot, I know she's not getting good rest. I feel so helpless at times. I know that for her, me just being here is comforting.
Dr Rana and a few interns came in to check on mom. Her abdomen isn't as hard as it was yesterday, so he feels that it's trying to resolve the fluids on its own. Dr Fitzsimmons will be checking on her later today as well. He has done her bile drains and he did the abscess drain yesterday.
I wish Kent could be here with her. He bowls on Wed and Thur each week and the series is almost over. I know mom would like it of he were here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Surgery today

5/2/12 - Wednesday

Mom has a baseball sized abscess near her hepatic arteries. Also, her liver isn't processing her body's ammonia and she's got a lot of fluid in her abdomen. Doctor is pretty sure if they drain the fluid it will just come back.
We have been waiting all day for them to take her to surgery to drain the abscess. At that time they will access if they should drain her abdomen as well.
Mom is in extreme pain.

Ok, they finally got her to take her to surgery. I'm waiting in the surgical recovery area for her return.
Doctor said this infection is probably due to the numerous drains they've had to replace. he wants to drain just the abscess and see if that resolves the abdominal fluid.