Thursday, July 02, 2015


My mom died.
She had cancer.  In the spring, she had rallied after finally getting her surgery, and it seemed like she'd get those 5 years the doctors predicted if she went into remission.  We went out for her birthday and she ate her whole meal and we had a great time.  A month later, for mother's day, she was sicker than ever.  Her cancer came "roaring" back and was very "aggressive" (quotes from her oncologist).  Basically over a week, all the abdominal swelling came back, and her cancer number in her blood went from around 200 to well over 600.  She started vomiting shortly after that, since the cancer was strangling her digestive system.  She was too sick for chemotherapy.
At the end of May, she called me because she had been outside with her dog and fainted, hitting her head and smashing out several teeth.  I had her taken to hospital in an ambulance, where we discovered she had fractured her jaw and several other teeth.  An oncologist visited her and said it was very possible she would never eat again but that she could live worse case 6 months and best case 2 years if they could get her strong enough to go back onto chemo.
She was sent home after 8 days on TPN, which is IV nutrition.  I had to be trained on how to hook her up every night and unhook her 14 hours later.  The out of pocket cost was $1000 a week.  It would have been $180 more a day if I had nurses come in and do it.
Meanwhile her oncologist was trying every prescription known to man to try to get her to stop vomiting--one day I spent $150 (copay!) on two prescriptions that didn't work.
(I'm not whining about the cost, just appalled that it was so expensive and did so little.  I wish it had worked.)
My husband and I were there 3 times on her last day alive.  When we left, she was trying to eat some Italian ice.  She said she felt weak, and was using her cane, but she was hardly vomiting and maybe the newest medicine was working.
I came back at my usual time a few hours to hook up her IV for the night and she was on the floor, cold and dead.  Initially I was told she hit her head and broke her neck.  But although she had a very big head wound, there was almost no blood, and the mortician said her neck wasn't broken.  I think she had a catastrophic incident--a blood clot, aneurysm, stroke, heart attack--and she was dead before she hit the floor.  She didn't suffer, she probably didn't even know.
But I suffered, to find her like that.  To have lost her 4 days after someone said 6 months.  To have to clean out her house in less than a month, to sort through her life, my dad's life, my life, the house where I was born and lived for 25 years.
I gave her dog to an old friend of mine and added her cat to my crazy cat lady home.
There's something in me that's broken right now.  I might not be around for a while.

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