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Not sure where to go from here...

Feb 10, 2011 - 3 comments
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end of life

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Ovarian Cancer



My mother was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer on April 13, 2009. Stage IIIC - she had massive tumors on her abdominal wall, as well as growths on her appendix and in other places...that's how the journey began. She has fought hard for the last 22 months, never giving up for a moment, although I knew she wanted to at times. It's been a rough road, to say the least. She spent over 100 days in the hospital last year fighting infections, a history making case of shingles, you name it. Basically, she has been robbed of quality of life.

Yesterday, we set up hospice. After her visit with her onc, they both came to the conclusion that enough is enough. She is too weak to go through another round of chemo, she is anemic, unable to get enough nutrition to build up strength. She has been bleeding more than normal...what I'm referring to in this sentence is the ureter stint she currently has in place. She normally bleeds a little from it, but she made the doctor aware that the bleeding is not normal. During a very painful pelvic exam the doctor discovered she has another growth on her vaginal wall that is causing the bleeding. We are all confused by this new development, yet not surprised.

I have spent the last couple of days setting mom up and getting her comfortable. We can get through this by viewing a sliver of hope that she would get strong enough to continue with treatment. However, I'm not sure what is best for her at this time. We have no idea how much longer she will be with us. The doctor said "months" no clue as to how many. I'm not sure what to expect now. I'm not sure if I should keep that sliver of hope alive. My mind keeps reviewing the last CT image and telling me that all hope is gone. We don't know how fast these tumors are growing, we don't really know anything. We DO know that she has cancer and it's currently kicking her butt. We DO know that hospice is called in when a person has 6  months or less left to live.

I'm not ready to say goodbye - my Mom is my best friend. All I can do is cry when I walk out of her room. I can be having a casual conversation with my husband and suddenly burst into tears. The thought of her never being around again drives a stake through my heart. My brain has yet to catch up. I feel lost, and broken, defeated, numb. I try to imagine life with her gone and I can't...this just doesn't seem real to me. On the other hand I can't sit back and watch her suffer any more for the sake of making sure we are all happy. I have to accept what is happening somehow and realize that she needs to move on. I promised her I would not interfere with any decisions she makes going forward. I will stand behind her 100%. She said that was the greatest gift I could give her right now. She's preparing for her death. She is viewing that sliver of hope with caution and doubt. Meanwhile something huge inside of me is dying. There is a space being prepared in my heart for her memory. It's all I can do...It's all I can do.

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by shewrites, Feb 10, 2011
I'm so sorry you're going through this.  

You need to concentrate on today only and let the future take care of itself.   If she wants to talk, ask her about her childhood, parents, courtship with your father, your childhood, whatever you're curious about.  Get out the scrapbooks, etc.  Remember happy times.  If she wants a certain food, try to get it for her.  Invite people she wants to see to come over for a visit.   In other words, try to make each day count.

I was resigned to my Dad's death because he couldn't go on.  But six months later, I suddenly got "kicked in the teeth" that we had let him go so "easily."  (Not really)  That came from remembering him from before he was so sick.  Fortunately, I was ready for that new stage of grief when it came.  

God bless ...

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by Karen_D64, Feb 10, 2011
Thank you for writing. Somehow we just move forward I suppose. We don't stop living and we can only keep the memories of those we love alive.

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by georush, Feb 11, 2011
Please, please, please, take one day at a time.  Never, never, lose hope!  I have Ovarian Cancer Stage IV, I'm 44 years old, have been through 6 months of chemo, 6 months fine, 6 more months of chemo, cancer came back!  That's where I'm at right now.  But do you know why I fight?  Because my mother died 31 years ago, when I was 13, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish for one more day with her.  So, take that one day at a time with her, no matter what it brings.  I have a 13 year old daughter, and I'm fighting for that "one more day" for her.  God Loves You!

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