Home > Uncategorized > One Week After Mom’s Cancer Diagnosis

One Week After Mom’s Cancer Diagnosis

Some things I could’ve lived without ever learning about- the ins and outs, the up and downs, the stages and treatments or non-treatments of cancer being one of them.  But we don’t always get to choose the paths that we walk down.  In those cases, we just try to do the best we can.

Mom learned she had cancer on Friday, March 16th.  This doctor referred her to a gastric specialist, setting up an appointment for Monday afternoon.  As for us, we had the weekend to digest the news and wonder about the unknown.

On Friday night, Rob (my youngest brother) flew in for the weekend.  I made the first of many trips to Dallas Love Field.  We spent the day at her house Saturday, talking and reminiscing.  She seemed her normal, happy, vibrant self.  She and Rob came to church that night and afterwards we went out to dinner.  For the first time, I saw the signs of her illness- a lack of appetite- she ate three bites of a salad- and the tiredness on her face.  Rob spent Sunday at her house and then I took him to the airport.

At the doctor’s office on Monday, the gastric specialist urged caution.  “The CAT scan doesn’t look good, but it could be anything.  We need to run more tests to find out exactly what is taking place.”  He ordered blood tests for that day as well as a colonoscopy and endoscopy for that Friday.  Given her symptoms, he’d ordered the colonoscopy to rule out colon cancer.  “I can’t say what you have,” he said, “but if you were my mother I’d be very worried.”

On Tuesday, the gastric doctor’s nurse called with the results of the blood work.  “I’m so sorry,” she repeated.  Her cancer markers were off the chart high.  She had cancer.  The question that remained was the particular type and form.

On Tuesday, Samuel (my son, her grandson) went to her house and spent the evening.  She sat on the couch and he lounged in the recliner with the dogs in between them.  Both of them ate multiple popsicles while watching TV and I was relegated to being the waiter and the TV channel changer.

I made a brief visit on Wednesday and on Thursday I planned to mow her yard, except the torrential rainstorm put a halt to those plans.  Instead, she and I sat in the living room talking.  We’d talked a lot that week- about the past, about the future, about people.

She wanted to apologize for mistakes that she’d made.

“We both made mistakes and we’ve both changed.  All that stuff is in the past and we can do nothing but laugh about it now,” I told her.

In these days, there were be moments of laughter and moments of sadness.  When the sadness came, I tried to move her back to laughter.  Sometimes, we succeeded and sometimes we just dealt with the sadness.

She confessed that she never listened to me when it came to the foods that we wanted Samuel to eat or not eat.

“I’m not surprised,” I said.  “Besides, it’s not like I listened all that well when I was growing up either.”

She laughed and agreed.

“You don’t have to agree so easily,” I said.

On Friday, we drove to the testing center for the endoscopy and colonoscopy.  We had to be there an hour early and we waited about forty minutes after the procedure before we the nurses took us back to her.  She was her normal, happy, talkative, laughing self.

I’m not sure how happy and talkative I’d be after having a colonoscopy and an endoscopy.

“Can we get you anything?” I asked.

“I’d really like a Diet Coke,” she said.

It may not have been the best choice, but we had the nurses get her one.  We also got a water for her to drink.

The doctor arrived a few minutes later.  “Well, it’s not good.  I did rule out colon cancer, but you do have cancer in your stomach.  I can’t tell you what the prognosis is because I don’t know what type of cancer it is.  We won’t be able to tell you what the treatment options are until the results come back.  That won’t be until Tuesday at the earliest.”

In the meantime, he prescribed some medications for pain and nausea.

By the way she reacted, you would’ve thought someone had given her a thousand dollars.  She laughed, she talked, and not a tear came down her face.  Not a single tear.

When we got to the car, she wanted two things.  “I want a forty-four ounce Diet Cherry Lime Aid from Sonic and my cellphone.”  It took awhile to find a Sonic and while I drove, she talked and talked on her cellphone.

We got her home, filled her prescriptions, and once more got ready to wait through the weekend.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

    God bless your mom and your family. 😦

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