Honey, I’m home!

That’s right.  The milkshake did the trick, and mom got to cash in her get out of jail hospital card on Friday.  She spent the weekend with her animals, both human and canine and the best part – sleeping in her own bed of course!

So, Mom is at home on full liquids and so far – still feeling pretty great.  Her chemo is two-fold, the first part is the traditional IV – once every three weeks treatment.  The second, is a handy little pump – that she lives with for the next 9 weeks – it’s pink… we’ll call it Paula the Pink Pump.

The pump and her picc line get changed weekly, and other than that we’re hoping she’ll be hospital free until her surgery date sometime in September.

She’s been a busy bee with lots of visitors and keeping up with all of the things on her to do list,

Like manicures

Mother-Daughter Manicures!

And deck building.

Decking!

Okay, maybe not so much deck building, as supervising and congratulating when all was said and done.  And maybe the deck really has nothing to do with the Mom update, but seriously – so pretty!

Some really good news, a new C-Word from one of her doctors…

CURE. 

That’s explicitly the goal.

A Message from Mom – “Well, that’s what I thought. But it’s sure nice to hear!!”

 

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Guess what my milkshake brings?

1 package of Sun Warrior Vegan Protein

Three Dollars

1 Large Kawartha Dairy Vanilla Milkshake

Six Dollars

Getting off the TPN and drinking guiltless 20g of Protein ideally 4 times a day

Priceless

All the boys to the yard - obviously

Good luck with your first chemo treatment today Mom – we’re cheering for you!!!!!

Message from Mom – “This is Delicious!”

Peace of mind for those that are far

It has come to my attention through the grapevine that while updates are great – seeing is believing. I should have known better – always add a picture is rule #1 of blogging.

First, I can tell you that Mom’s hemoglobin is up to 106! This is great news it means she’s not bleeding anymore and in fact is making her own hemoglobin.  The drug she is on to stop the bleeding is a wonderful thing.

They are still going to give her radiation on Tuesday to make sure everything stays on the up and up.  And if all stays on track, Wednesday will be her first chemo treatment.

They are going to try her on fluids again to see how she does, hopefully it’s okay since that will get her one step closer to home.

Now for a short gallery…

This is what 41 years of marriage looks like…

41 Years

Mom has a room now – so nice to be out of the holding pen.  But even better is sunning on the patio.

photo copy

We’re a goal oriented, strategic planning kind of family – and we figure it’s good to have goals…

Goals

Some family members aren’t so sure about any of this and would like to know – “Have you seen my mommy? I can’t FIND her!!!”

photo copy 3

A few other points to clarify –

  1.  Kim was right (sorry Kimmy – I didn’t write down why!).
  2. Anyone is welcome to call anytime.  Mom has her cell phone and a room phone – if you need the room extension please send me a message or a comment below and I’ll pass it on.
  3. The cancer and the blocked part of the stomach is at the bottom.

How you can help today – Ask questions if you’re confused about something, or I have left something unclear. Just send me an email (firstname maidenname @ gmail . com – no spaces) or leave a comment – just like when you’re in school, if you’re confused about something, chances are someone else is too!

Message from Mom: “Poor Puppy! I’ve asked the nurses and she can come for a visit!  We just need to provide proof of her shots – second drawer of the filing cabinet” – Clearly, Molly’s not the only one who is missing their cuddles!

Tomorrow – a non Cancer related update – variety is the spice of life after all!

And then things got complicated

So yesterday I gave you the low-down, today is the first of what I’m sure will be many updates.

While we were hoping that things wouldn’t get complicated until after chemo started – apparently Mom’s stomach had other plans in mind.

The current hiccup in the get better plan is somewhere in her stomach she is still bleeding.  We found this out last Friday when the hospital called with the results of her routine blood test – hemoglobin level was at 78… for the non-medical minded – it should be between 120-160.  For reference when she was bleeding out with the ulcer, her hemoglobin was around 70 something.  In true Nurse Mom styles, she did not beleive them, because she felt fine and having just experienced what 78 felt like, she definitely didn’t feel like that.  She said she would come in for a blood transfusion but only if they agreed to retest her.

They did.  It was 74.

Shit.

Two units of blood and she was sent home, feeling… exactly like she did that morning.

Monday was the surgeon appointment and by Tuesday she wasn’t feeling great.

Wednesday she went to the emergency room and told them her blood pressure was down, she was short of breath and pretty sure she was bleeding again.  Perk of being a nurse – you know what to say to get action.  By the time Dad had parked the car and found her – she was in a private room and more blood was on it’s way.

The plan was to do a gastroscopy – where they go in with a scope camera have a look around and hopefully cauterize wherever she was bleeding from.  In mom’s mind they would do it Thursday, she would be able to go home immediately afterward.

No dice.

Friday morning they did the scope, but what they found was food in her stomach.  Since she’s been on liquids only since Monday – this is not good. While she’s been there waiting for the procedure and decisions the hospital staff has taken the opportunity to get lots of other things done so she’s good to go for chemo.  She’s met with the oncologist, the radiologist, she had her picc line put in.

And the verdict, not going home Friday.

During the gastroscopy they couldn’t find anywhere that she was clearly bleeding from. So they are going to do radiation on her stomach to stop the bleeding. Not sure how radiation stops the bleeding – probably by magic.

She is now no longer on a liquid diet, she’s on nothing passed orally – which means a Total Parenteral Nutrition is passed through that handy picc line.  They are also giving her more blood because they want her to be in tip top shape for when they start chemo next week. She’ll start chemo and then they’ll likely keep her in the hospital another day or so to make sure she doesn’t bleed again afterward.

So that’s where we are.  She has been moved out of “the holding pen” where she was one of 25 beds, and into a semi-private room without a roommate – for now.  The staff at Southlake have been wonderful.

How you can help today – thank you for all of the positive thoughts, we really appreciate it. She has her cell phone so you can text her or call if you aren’t able to visit, she has her iPad too – so emails are welcome!

Message from Mom – (after finding out that she was going to be put on nothing passed orally) – “Looks like I should order 3 days of internet”

The Big C – again

As most of if not all my in real life peeps know – my mom has cancer… again.

This is not my family’s first time with this – and here are my two cents – COME ON! Unfortunately no amount of hating the diagnosis is going to make her better – yes it sucks, but we’ve just got to pick up, stick together and get her through it, because personally, I’m not having it any other way.

For those that don’t know, this is my little family’s 4th visit from the big C.  We have had a lot of success, we know the system, we know the questions to ask but in this case knowledge doesn’t necessarily make things easier. However, we do know that it’s the little things that count.  Positive energy, prayers you don’t know are happening, chocolate, visits and hugs – all little things that go a long way.

Unexpectedly, this little blog might just be one of those little things that make it a little easier this time around – that’s right for the first time we’ve got social media on our side and since every little bit helps, I’m going to use it. 

If you’re new to this blog because my mom just sent it out to you – welcome.  Feel free to look around and get comfortable.  You can either make a point to check back in regularly or you can subscribe in the box on the right side and all posts will come directly to your inbox.  (If you subscribe you will get an email to confirm your subscription, check your junk mail if it doesn’t come to your inbox – you must do this step to complete the subscription). If you choose to subscribe, you might find yourself with the odd knitting project, or something ridiculous the Boy said, but you’ll also get the latest in updates about my mom.

But Meaghan, won’t this make your blog sad? Why blog about not nice things? Well, this blog is supposed to be an online journal of my life – and quite frankly – life is clearly not always rainbows and sunshine.  So it’s logical the blog would follow. More than that though, my hope is we get 2 perks from blogging: 1. Consistent information told straight from the source.  2. Easing the number of phone calls that both mom and our wonderful key family members and friends get asking for new details – not to say that phone calls are not welcome, just this way we don’t have to have the same conversation 55 times.

So strap in – for those readers that have commented I’ve been slacking off for the last little while year or so – I’m back.  And when I’m stressy I do 2 things, I knit and I write.  The five sweaters that I’ve sewn together in the last two weeks can attest to the first part, and this little blog will inevitably get more attention too.

To start – the details. Next post – the updates.

The short version – My mom fainted about 6 weeks ago in a grocery store.  She thought it was because she hadn’t had much to eat that day and it was 30 degrees outside.  EMS came but she refused to go to the emergency room, instead she called me and I brought her home for a chocolate milk and a lie down. She fainted again that night and when my dad said “can we go to the hospital now?” her response was “well, probably – but first get the blood pressure cuff.”  When her blood pressure was in the tank she allowed a 911 call, and by the time they got there she was vomiting blood. 

FYI – that’s not good. 

To the hospital they went, where they treated her for an ulcer.  Everything looked good.  Until it wasn’t.  Yada Yada Yada, she bled out, yada yada, it was a very good thing she was already in the hospital, yada, they sent her home 5 days later and her biopsy to the lab.

We waited.

And waited.

And kind of forgot.

Until they didn’t have results. Then mom booked an appointment with our family doctor.

Then we got first results. Stomach cancer.

Then we said some not nice words.

For anyone that hasn’t done this before, let me tell you – so far in all our times with this – this is the WORST part.  Knowing, but not knowing how bad, or where, or what, or how fast, or where else. When all you’re left with is a whole bunch of questions and your mind is left to wander into the terrible world of ‘what if’ – it’s awful.

Last weekend she had her CT Scan, and on Monday she saw the surgeon at Sunnybrook.  Stomach cancer, and that’s it. It doesn’t appear to be anywhere else, there aren’t any glowing node areas (although lymph-nodes can’t be truly known until dissection after surgery).  The plan, 3 rounds of chemo, surgery (leaving her with 40-60% of her stomach), followed by 3 more rounds of chemo. Followed by all better.  Forever.

The not so good news, the cancer is at the base of the stomach and the exit point is very narrow.  She is at high risk for obstruction and is on a liquid diet starting immediately. Since the chemo will first expand the cells before destroying them – it’s possible that she will not be able to get through the full 3 rounds before running into trouble. If she is obstructed, they will stop the chemo and do emergency surgery followed by more chemo. Followed by all better.  Forever.

So that’s where we are – for one post anyway.  I’ll do my best to keep it as up to date as possible. And I’ll also really try to inject this little blog with some happy along the way.

How you can help today – Positive healing thoughts are always welcome. 

Message from Mom – Thank you everyone for all of your  love and support – we really appreciate it.