Monday, June 22, 2009

Where to start...

This post is going to be very long since the last time I posted was May, so I'll sum up our activities first so you don't have to read it all if you don't want or have time to. My mom was diagnosed, just before Father's Day, with Stage IV non-small cell adenocarcinoma (the most advanced lung cancer), I quit my job to take care of my nieces and nephew and my mom, Mark's sister and her 3 kids (who I'm taking care of) moved in with us, Mark starts a new job next week. Just in the last month and a half our entire lives have been completely turned upside down. I guess I'll start back in June with the backache.

So my mom was originally watching Mark's nieces and nephew (ages 6, 5, and 4 months). She had been having losts of trouble with her back. It hurt her all the time and was limiting her ability to move around, which wasn't good considering she was watching a new baby. She went to her family practitioner (or the other guy who works in the practice actually) and he prescribed her over the course of a few weeks several different muscle relaxers, which weren't doing much for her other than making her feel really out of it and sick. She decided to stop taking them altogether. While this had been going on, she was starting to lose motion in one of her legs and began to walk with a limp. One day she called me in tears, as she had just fallen down in the bathroom. Later I learned that she had been falling often since her leg had started to lose function. Then, on a Friday night after partying at Dave & Buster's with Dani and Brennan, I got a call from my Dad at 1am saying he had brought my mom to the ER at Mercy Gilbert. He said he had found her on the bathroom floor and she was unable to move her leg at all. She couldn't even help him get her up and back onto the bed. The ER doc did some tests, including a chest x-ray and CT scan. When the results came back we were shocked. They told us my mom had what appeared to be 4 "masses" in her brain with some swelling around them. Brain tumors??? We couldn't believe it. I was expecting to hear she had a pinched nerve or something wrong with a disc, but never would I have imagined I would hear that my mom had brain tumors. We knew it was serious when the doc told us they were trying to get my mom transferred to a hospital with a neurosurgery unit. So after several hours in the ER they were able to get her a room at Scottsdale Osborn. The ambulance took her up there with all of us not too far behind. Later that day they got her set up in her room and did an MRI. The MRI showed the 4 brain tumors more clearly and also showed a tumor on her lung and one on her hip and spine. They did a biopsy on the lung mass and then we waited for the results. It came back as cancer. She had a lung partially colapse from the biopsy, which extended her hospital stay for a few days more, but then she was finally able to go home with a plan for radiation and chemotherapy over the next several months.

It still doesn't seem real to me. You never think your mom could get cancer. She just finished up her radiation treatments and has started chemotherapy. All of it has really taken it out of her. She is super tired all the time and has no energy. I can definitely see a change in her personality as she isn't as talkative and laughing all the time, but that's to be expected I guess. We just recently shaved her hair because most of it had fallen out from the radiation. I think that was when it hit me a little that this is real because it was a symptom I could actually see. She is doing well though with it all. As well as anyone can do I suppose. She got the function back in her leg. It seems the swelling in her brain was causing the loss of use and since she was on steroids to bring the swelling down, she is better now. So we are just moving on with the chemotherapy once every 3 weeks and in about 7 weeks they will do another MRI to see what progress has been made.
So that's where we are at right now. Like I said earlier, she isn't able to watch the kids anymore, so I've quit my job to take care of them and be able to spend more time with my mom and help her out. Mark's sister and the kids live with us now, which has been fun. It's a little crowded in our small house right now but we are making it work. Mark started his new job last week and is actually liking it, which is a plus. The 2 girls, Khera, 6 and Julianna, 5 just started school today, so it is just me and the baby, Daniel at home for now, which is a nice break. So life is crazy right now, but we just do what we have to make it through. We have received so much love and support from family and friends and that has been such a big help. We know that Heavenly Father has a plan and that all of this has happened for a reason, so we trust in him and move forward.

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