Sunday, May 25, 2014

Things that go whirrrrr in the night

I've not been sleeping well lately. It's hard to turn my mind off at night and for some reason, when it's dark all I can do is stare at the ceiling and think. I have no problem sleeping during the day so after a sleepless Friday night, I decided to turn on the light in the bedroom and see if I could simulate daylight. It worked! I fell asleep and was sleeping so well when something woke me up around 1 AM.

I listened and I could hear something clattering. I couldn't tell exactly where it was coming from but I knew it was in the house. So I got up and listened again. I turned off the light, thinking maybe the fan was making a noise. The clattering continued. I opened the door and the clattering was louder. Since the Hubbs sleeps in another room, I thought maybe it was him snoring. Nope, he's sleeping peacefully and quietly.

I stepped into the hall and again, the clattering got louder. So I slowly walked down the hallway trying to find the source of this noise. It was driving me crazy and I knew I wouldn't be going back to sleep as long as I didn't know what was causing it.

It seemed to be loudest in the hall bath so I stepped inside and turn the light switch on and off. No difference. I unplugged my toothbrush. No difference. I opened the upper cabinet door and bingo, loud clattering. I listened and listened and couldn't find the source. The clattering would get quieter and then louder.  I thought maybe something was between the walls. Maybe a woodpecker?????

I decided I needed help so I woke the Hubbs and told him I needed him to listen to something. Now waking the Hubbs usually results in grumbling and growling but this time, he got up and came to the bathroom without a word. He stood with his head tilted to one side and then asked me what was that noise. I told him, "I don't know, that's why I got you up". So he went and put on his pants and shoes and went to the basement and looked around. Nothing down there.

Meanwhile, I'm still standing in the hallway afraid the house is going to blow up or fall down or something is going to suddenly appear from between the walls. The Hubbs went to get his glasses and repeated everything I had done in the bathroom, light switch, toothbrush, cabinet door. By this time, I had moved closer to the front door ready to run. He reached into the cabinet and handed me my Hummingbird flosser. It's a small electric thingy that can be used with the U-shaped flossers to floss your teeth. It's not suppose to work unless you press the button. But it was running and as it was sitting on the shelf, it was turning around and around and each time it turned toward the back of the cabinet, it would knock against it and be really loud. Then when it would turn toward the front, it would quieten down.

I looked at the flosser then at the Hubbs and burst into laughter. He and I had a good laugh and I put it down on the counter and went back to bed. This morning, I found it lying on a catalogue in the bathroom buzzing like crazy. Maybe it's trying to tell me something????


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Looking on the bright side

I cannot begin to tell you how much your comments have meant to me. Uplifting, caring, sweet wonderful people that you are. I am so very thankful for each one of you and happy to call you friend whether you are near or far.

Life has settled into a pattern of sorts. Mom started radiation last week and has now had 6 of 10 treatments. She also started chemotherapy today in pill form which she will do for 2 weeks. There are brights spots. Mom is eating and staying up more now. She was sleeping quite a bit and had very little energy but she seems to be getting some of that energy back. She is eating well each day which was not the case a few weeks ago. We are even finding humor in little things. Monday she decided to go to the kitchen on her own. She uses a walker to get around because she wants the stability it provides. The space going into the kitchen is quite close and she got herself blocked into a corner. My aunt turned around and there was Mom, standing against the pantry cabinet behind her walker blocked by the dryer. My mental image of that is hilarious and I think they both had a good laugh about it.

Mom's spirits are definitely up compared to the past few weeks and seeing her smile and laugh helps me. Of course, there are the talks about how to handle things and getting everything taken care of but that is a fact of the process and we are handling it well. I have even taken a day each week to stay home and do what I need to catch up on. While a major part of me wants to be with her each minute of each day, I know that my body won't handle that so I rest when I can and take advantage of the wonderful family and friends we have to help with the trips to radiation and staying when my aunt needs a break.

She has been having company but surprisingly, it has not been bunches of people at one time. They have been spaced out very well and I am grateful for that. Two weekends ago, my son and DIL came up with their 3 kids for a visit which Mom thoroughly enjoyed although it did wear her out. Three kids 5 and under are a little overwhelming in their energy and activeness. Mom had to go lie down on Sunday of that weekend because she was just worn out. But she was very glad to see them. She had worried how they would react to the patch she has over her right eye but only Lilly, the 3 year old, asked about it. Mom told her she had a boo-boo and Lilly told her Gibson (her cousin) had a boo-boo on his eye. And that was that! Children are amazing.

Last weekend, my daughter Abby, SIL and James came for a visit and again, Mom was happy to see them. James is use to the patch because he saw her so much when we were in Nashville. We have joked that he doesn't know why we aren't in a hotel room. :)  He gives Mom open mouth kisses which she loves.

So we are moving forward, taking each day for the gift that it is and happy in it.

Thank you for stopping by and for your comments. They mean so very much to me.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Bump became a Mountain

Hello, bloggie people. It has been a good while. Our lives have been turned completely upside down and it is taking a while to get adjusted.

As I said  in the last post, the surgery was cancelled because the cancer has grown too quickly and was too close to some areas the surgeons didn't want to mess with. At the time of the surgery, the cancer still had not been typed and the doctors did not know exactly what they were dealing with.

On Monday, 4/21, I received a call from the chemo oncologist at Nashville. She wanted to see Mom in her office on Tuesday morning instead of sending her to the oncologist in Knoxville. So again, we made another trip to Nashville and another visit to Vanderbilt Hospital. The oncologist felt that Mom needed to start chemo as soon as possible so she was admitted to the hospital to start chemo that evening. In the meantime, the ENT, who first saw Mom, came by to do another biopsy. Apparently, the tissue he had been getting was from a part of the tumor that was not living so he did an incision above her right eye to get viable cells for pathology. We waited and waited for those results. In the meantime, Mom had another PET scan which found spots in her chest, lungs and bones. Finally on Wednesday night, we found out the tumor was melanoma and that the best course of action to treat it was radiation. Last Wednesday night, an MRI was done which luckily showed no metastasis into her brain. On Thursday morning, she was taken down to see the radiation oncologist who explained what would be done. They wanted to start the radiation that night and it would continue for 5 days then stop for 2. She would have six weeks of this.

Mom decided she didn't want to start the radiation in Nashville. She has become weaker with each trip we make and she was afraid if they started the radiation, she wouldn't be able to make the trip home. She decided to come home to be with her family and do the radiation at the local Cancer Center. So late Thursday afternoon, my sister came back to Nashville and brought us home. Normally the trip takes between 3 and 4 hours, but Thursday it took 5 hours. There was a lot of traffic and there were several places where road construction was a problem.

On Friday morning, 4/25, we saw the radiation oncologist here at home and he explained that this is was best option for slowing down the tumor. This is the only way to, hopefully, stop it from invading her left eye and breaking through the skin around her right eye. They did the radiation mask and got the markers set on Friday and told us they would call with her first appointment the next week. In the meantime, we saw a chemo oncologist to get Mom started on chemo to help the radiation.

Mom started radiation yesterday, 4/27, and will have 10 treatments on the next couple of weeks. We are still waiting to get the chemo drug which will be in pill form. The treatments are suppose to last 15 minutes but the first one was 30 or 35 minutes. She said they had to do more ex rays and more markers before they could start the treatment. Apparently, this is a lot like having an MRI and Mom is claustrophobic so she had a problem. She was agitated when she came back so I gave her a sedative when we got back home and she went to bed. I told my aunt that we needed to give her the sedative before the treatment from now on and that's what she and my sister did today. It helped and Mom was able to eat and stay up after the treatment. Hopefully, she will start feeling better and be able to stay up longer.

Mom is on hospice care. We started that this week also. We all know that the end is coming and none of the treatments she is having are for cure. They are palliative, or pain management, only. We don't know how much longer Mom has to be with us but she is at home where she wanted to be and we are spending time with her as she can tolerate it. She isn't talking much but she does love having everyone close. My son brought his 3 children up last weekend to visit. She hadn't seen them since Christmas. Abby is bringing James in this weekend.

It has been really difficult this week to watch my active, vibrant Mom withdraw from us. She has always loved being with people and would be the last one to leave if she was having a good time (which she almost always did). She loved talking and traveling. She has been able to travel quite a bit. She's been in 45 states of the United States, including Hawaii. She has been on a cruise, done line dancing, and worked at Dollywood (an amusement park in the Smokies). She has done anything she has set her mind to and enjoyed her life as well as anyone could possibly have done. She has always had a ready smile and enjoyed a good joke. Seeing her not talking or not watching TV (which she so enjoyed) has been really hard. I'm not ready for this. I haven't had all the time I want with her yet.

I may not been back here for a while. I need to concentrate on Mom and spend as much time as I can with her. Thank you, everyone, for all your words of encouragement and love. Please continue to remember us as we go through this difficult time.