Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Sorting rubble in the aftermath

First of all, I would like to say a very heartfelt "thank you" to everyone's kind comments and emails. If I had more time, I would answer you all personally. I hope that you won't take my nonresponse as more than anything than it is . . . just a necessity right now. I don't have a minute to spare.

This blog is supposed to be a chronicle, and even though the posts will inevitably get harder, I intend to use this to document my experience, and perhaps vent a bit.

First of all, my mom is out of the hospital, armed with very potent pain medication. Patches and pills for now - they seem to be doing the trick. The kind of cancer that she has is the kind that punctures little places into the bone, almost like cavities, if you will. We have been told that her cancer is metasticized from the breast cancer that she had back in 1987. Nothing about cancer can be considered good news, but compared to metasticized melanoma, this was the lesser of the two evils. We have been on such a rollercoaster, plunging down with one news report, and pulling out of the nosedive with the following report. Preliminary reports led us to believe we had only weeks, now, it seems that chemo is a possibility, not for curing, but for managing and giving her a little more time.

It is amazing the calls, visits, notes, flowers, dinners, and well wishes that have been literally pouring in. She is such a quiet person, shy really . . . I think she has been completely overwhelmed by the waves of concern, grief and love that have been washing over her. Mostly, she just says, "I WISH people wouldn't get so upset . . . . I hate that I am worrying people."

She is worried that she is a burden, that she is causing more problems for us kids. She worries about my dad, about my kids, about the time and energy we are all spending trying to care for them both, about the tremendous amounts of money going out the door for their care, housing, about their old house, storm damaged and rotting by the minute, by the overwhelming amount of things that are left undone.

She's a worrier.

One thing she doesn't seem to be too worried about is herself. She feels that she was given a tremendous gift - years of healthy living long after she battled cancer not once, but twice. She is handling this with grace.

My dad? Not so much.

He is fighting us, all of us. Fighting us about selling "his house", about finding a place for them to be safe and cared for, about taking medications, about everything, really.

He's been a challenge, and we didn't push the issue of a nursing home as long as she was insisting upon caring for him. That's past us now, and having private care is sucking money like a Hoover.

My patience is so thin. I want all of the doctors and staff to respond quicker than they are, or than they ever do. Battling hospitals for records releases and waiting on hold forever to make appointments is driving me crazy.

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