Saturday, February 05, 2011

Update on Mom

It has been nearly a month since I last wrote about my Mother and her battle with rectal cancer. And I have been chastised by several people for not doing so but I didn't want it to seem like I was soliciting sympathy. So I humbly apologize to the family and friends who were expecting more frequent updates to be posted here.

Mom has been a real trooper through it all, handling it quite well physically and emotionally. The only thing she hasn't cooperated with is eating and drinking fluids. We had been warned that during the third week of treatment (she is getting both radiation and chemotherapy) that the side-effects would start showing up – and they did, with a vengeance.

Imagine if you will, having an extreme case of diarrhea lasting for a week or more. You can imagine how that would feel if you've experienced even one day of that crap (pun intended). On top of that (or rather beneath it) you've gotten a very severe sunburn where the skin has peeled off several layers and exposed raw flesh. The combination of the two is indescribable.

Then her blood count dropped. She had been holding at a level that was low but it hadn't dropped significantly until a few days ago. Low blood counts cause weakness. On Wednesday, she was at the point where she could help us very little with getting her in and out of bed and she couldn't stand on her own. The treatment center was closed Wednesday due to the nasty weather so she missed that session.

Thursday morning she fell trying to get out of bed on her own. She has two black eyes and probably has a broken nose. She looks awful. Even worse now than yesterday morning. If it wasn't so sad it would be funny.

We weren't due for blood tests or to see the doctor until Friday but I called and we went in Thursday afternoon. Her blood count had dropped significantly since the previous Friday so she was scheduled for a transfusion Friday after her radiation treatment.

I had a terrible time getting her up and dressed yesterday (Friday). She was no help whatsoever, it was like all of her strength had simply melted away. She was literally dead weight. Somehow we managed and I got her to the treatment center. Once the doctor saw her it was decided to admit her to the hospital.

When my niece and I left the hospital last night at 11:30 pm they still had not started the blood transfusion. It was expected to be started within a few hours. They did get a saline solution started to get fluids into her. She is extremely weak from the diarrhea and low blood count. Getting some new blood into her as well as fluids should make a big difference.

She hasn't lost her sense of humor: When the nurse asked her what they could do to make her feel better she simply said, “let me get some sleep!” It seemed like as soon she would drift off to sleep someone came in to prod or poke her to get blood or something... that's the nature of hospitals though.

And now, I'm off to spend the day at the hospital.

Prayers gratefully accepted.


Diana Ritchie said...

Oh Becky I can't even imagine how tough it's been. You and your family are definitely in my prayers!!

If your family is wanting updates and you'd rather not have them here, you could set up a page on It's free and a nice way to keep people updated. I set up a page for a friend of mine when she was going through some pretty serious cancer treatments - she had family all across the country and they appreciated a place to go for updates with "bothering" her everyday with a call.

Take care of yourself too!

Sheri Fenley said...

Oh Becky,

You are so holding it all together. I don't think I could ever make it through like you seem to be doing. You know I am here for you. I will sweeten the pot and light some candles as well. We are all here for you and your family.

ps. I totally agree with Diana's suggestion above.


Sue and Fred said...

I am at a loss for words......It sounds like a VERY dificult time. You seem to be handling it all well, but know that you and your mom and family are in our thoughts and prayers. If you need anything, just call.
We love you,
Sue and Fred

Carol said...

CaringBridge is a wonderful site, and you can read her the prayers and replies left as comments. That is so uplifting to the patients. Several of my family and friends have used it, wonderful experience for all.

Prayers coming your way, sprinkled, heavily, with fairy dust and hope and smiles and HUGS!!

GrannyPam said...

Praying for you here in Michigan.

Michelle Goodrum said...

Plenty of prayers coming from Arizona. Be sure and take care of yourself too.

Susan Clark said...

Echoing all the above comments. Prayers both of you and the rest of your family.

Debbie Blanton McCoy said...

My prayers for you and your mom. I know what a difficult time this is for both of you.

Greta Koehl said...

Sending prayers from Virginia and lighting some heavy-duty candles. You are so strong and your Mom is a great lady for being able to keep her sense of humor.

my Heritage Happens said...

Oh, very sorry things are so rough. I have been through this twice, once with each parent. My prayers go out to you and your mother and all of your family.

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Becky, you're in my thoughts and prayers often. I admire your strength. Please take care.