Friday, August 8, 2014

Back To The E.R.

Well, surprise.  We're back in the E.R.

When Mom first came back home, she was doing amazingly well.  She had been discharged early, because she seemed so strong.  As the days past, she continued to do well.  Apart from a medication issue with Percoset (she reacts oddly to it), she seemed OK.  On a scale of 1-10, her pain was holding at about 2-4 (normal for post-surgery), she was cheerful, and while there were a few little kinks and hiccups, everything was fine.  If she had a bad day, that could generally be attributed to something (a long day the day before, hard PT, etc).  That was different today.

Yesteray, she seemed to be in a bit of pain, but Wednesday was a big day, so I didn't think much of it.  Today, though, was different.  Today, she was claiming to be at a level 8-10 on the pain scale.  In addition, she was disoriented, had trouble remembering recent things, couldn't repeat simple things back to me, and was a bit combative when I tried to get her out of bed.  When here physical therapist arrived, I asked her to evaluate and give me an opinion, and she said we should head to the E.R., so here we are.

It's been 5.5 hours, and I'm exhausted, but we finally have a few answers.  I was worrying about a whole slew of things: more tumors, brain metastases, stroke (although not all the symptoms for that one added up).  Here's the result:

-The back and spine look good.
-Not much has changed from an oncology standpoint.
-The biggest change is a bit of growth in the mass on her skull, which has caused a bit of swelling.  That's causing the confusion.  Hopefully some steroids will help.
-There are signs of a UTI, so she's on some antibiotics

They're sending us home, and we're to follow up with her oncologist on Monday.  From there, she'll have a port implanted, and she'll start chemo next week.  We should know after the first few treatments whether or not the cancer is responding.

On Another Note
So many of you have offered love and support, and I am so grateful.  We are eternally grateful for the outpouring of love.  Many of you have also asked how you can help.  Here's the problem: I hate asking for help.  I doubt I will ever feel comfortable just calling you up and saying, "Hey, could you lend a hand?"  It's just not how I function.  However, I will take this moment to list a few things that we could really use.  If you can help out in any way, please let me know.  Don't hesitate to call, text, or email, or even just stop by.

We could use:
- Meals.  I'm actually somewhat prepared for food, but not the food she needs that's really supposed to help with cancer.  Not only that, her tastes have changed dramatically, and she's not eating much.  I'm trying to switch us over to a plant-based (mainly vegetarian), all organic diet.  The hardest part of this is researching what to make (I've always been more of a meat and potatoes gal) and then actually finding time to make it.  If someone, anyone, wanted to make even just one meal and then hand over the recipe, I'd be so appreciative.

-Help with Anna.  I love caring for her.  I love the time I have with her.  I particularly loved today's bonding time (dancing to classical music followed by snuggles on the couch).  However, I also love having some time to clean or prepare meals or go to work or go to the gym.  If anyone would be willing to pitch in for an hour or two (or more) each week I'd probably be brought to tears.

-Help packing and moving.  Mom moving in with us means more than just packing up some of her belongings.  It means we have to clean out my old office so we can clean out her bedroom.  Then we have to pack up everything in her apartment, decide what to keep and what to trash, and bring some of it back to our place.  Some stuff may end up in storage, and some may just be sold.  However, it's a lot of work, and with Anna it's not getting done as fast as I'd like.  I'd love some help.

-Care for Mom for some time in September.  Hans and I are trying to make it to a conference for the kennel the third weekend in September.  It's in Chicago, which means we'd probably be gone for about 5 days or so.  The problem is, we can't leave Mom alone that long.  Not only that, she won't want to be without her dogs, and we need someone to take care of her AND her dogs.  Having someone to check in on her throughout the day and stay with her overnight would be the most amazing gift.  Heck, even if it was a different person each night it would be amazing.  Please!  Can anyone help?

-Positive thoughts.  The reality is Mom might die.  Actually, the odds are that she doesn't have much time left.  I know this.  She knows this.  Her doctors know this.  However, we don't actually need to hear it.  I don't need to be told to prepare myself.  I don't need to be reminded.  The only way I'll actually make it through this is if I remain in some sort of state of denial.  Please let this continue.  Please, no more "I'm so sorry" or "Oh how awful."  It is awful.  It freakin' sucks!  I really don't need you to tell me this.  I just ask, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

So there you have it.  That about sums it up.  Thank you!  

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