Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All's Well

Mom's colonoscopy showed no problems. Thank you Lord.

Searching for More

Mom is undergoing a colonoscopy this morning, to rule out any other cancer. Sister #2 is taking her so I don't have to miss more work. Of course that means she has to miss more work. Bless her. Will post results when I know them.

I can't believe July is at an end. School will start again soon, and the traffic in Sheridan, Arkansas will be tremendous. We are in the process of building a by-pass, but it will still be years before it's completed. At one time the intersection of highways 167 and 270 were the busiest ones in Arkansas. I don't know if it still is, but it's pretty bad at times. You can't get through there at the end of the school day, or on Friday afternoons. And if you want to get anywhere on the Friday before deer season begins, you'd better learn an alternate route. It's backed up for miles. Pretty sad for a town of only 4000.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Buzz and the Color Purple Revisited

We finally buzzed Mom's hair. This is the before shot. (photo courtesy of LeLe.)

This is the after shot. Courtesy of me. We decided to go ahead and cut it all because it was beginning to look patchy, and it was painful. The nurse practitioner, who also lost her hair during chemo for breast cancer, said her head hurt too when the hair was coming out.

And here is Mom wearing her sparkly purple hat that everyone loves!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


We finally had pictures taken of LeLe, my Mom and me. Chelle came out and took them at around 10:00 this a.m. and it was already unbearably hot. We walked out in my Mom's front yard, under a huge tree and promptly found fire ants. Oops, well, we moved around the tree, posed prettily and laughed a lot. Then Chelle had an awesome idea, and we followed her directions, forgetting intirely about the ants. OH NO! They tore LeLe up. They were all over her feet and up in her jeans. Her poor feet were solid welps.

After we beat off the ants, Mom put on her sparkly purple cap and Chelle took a photo of her with it sideways and her arms crossed like a rapper. We fell out laughing at that. A few more pics and we were done. Thanks so much to Chelle for her kindness. We love you girl. I'm sure she and we will post photos when they are ready.

Mom wasn't feeling super great. Not sleeping and chemo treatment had her down a bit, but she is a trouper and she carried on. Sister #2 and I proceded to paint the den for her. Neither one of us was really up for it, but we did it anyway. (And whined the entire time.) We are not happy with the color, but it's what we had, and we used it. Still, it's a new fresh coat of paint and it looks better than the old dirty walls. We didn't get the kitchen done, and will have to go back for that, but it shouldn't take long since it's a small room.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Color Purple

It was treatment day. We left my house at a little before 8:00 and of course had to drive thru Hardees for a sausage biscuit. There are no fast food drive thru's in Rison, so my Mom takes advantage any time she can. A quick stop at a convenient store for drinks to carry in our insulated bag and off we went. Traffic was pretty light and we made good time. First to see the oncology nurse for an update on everything and lab that shouldn't have needed to be done, but due a snafu at the lab, was required. We walked down to the oncology lab, checked in and proceded to wait for almost an hour before being called back. During this time of waiting, Mom performed her usual moaning and heavy sighing due to impatience. Finally, we were called back and as we walked to her particular cubicle, she spotted a treatment patient with a purple sparkly cap on. Purple is my Mom's favorite color. She firmly stated then and there, that she wanted a purple cap like that one. "Ok Mom, we'll look for one. Maybe they have one in the gift shop." The IV was started and all that goes with it, but an hour into the 4 hour treatment, she began to get antsy. Everyone around us was just laying back enjoying the quiet, reading, napping or watching the little tvs that some of the cubicles have. (Not ours, unfortunately) But not my mother. No, she sqirmed, and sighed and twitched and asked how much longer. She's like a child in the back seat of a car on a vacation trip, I swear. I escaped for a little while, going outside to sit and warm up a bit, and then to the gift shop where I spied ONE purple sparkly cap. $15.00 is way too much to pay for one of those things, but my Mom wanted one by jingies and she got it. (Don't tell her how much it cost, she would have a fit.)

Finally it was time to go, and we left and traveled to Lowes in Bryant. She needs a new hall light fixture desperately, and she had a gift card from Christmas she hasn't spent yet. She found one she loved, and we started out with it and she changed her mind. She wanted to go to Home Depot and was afraid she'd see one there she liked better. We put it back, and headed out of the parking lot and she got sick. She had enough time to unbuckle her belt and open the door, thank goodness. She didn't lose a lot, but I was very glad it was on the ground and not in my vehicle. We stopped in Chic-fil-A and she bought some salty fries. That and her Diet Coke made her feel better and so on to HD we went. Sadly, they didn't have a fixture like the one she wanted, but she settled for something different.

And Brother, if you are reading this, she is worried about your motorcycle. She had a dream that she was in the front yard, and Daddy was alive and walking to the shop. You came driving up the road on your bike, pointed at her as you drove past, and headed around to the back of the house toward Daddy. You turned too sharp and the bike slid out from under you. So, you might want to call her first chance you get and convince her you are a careful driver of the bike. Just saying...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Doctor Visit 7/21/08

Mom got a great report from the doctor. As a matter of fact, the doctor seemed surprised at how well she's doing. The next visit with the doc won't be until after the last chemo treatment. She has 5 more to go, 21 days apart. Mom can do anything she feels like doing at this point.

Whenever anyone goes to LR with Mom, they automatically know they will go shopping. It's a given. Aside from working in her yard, that is her favorite past time. And if she feels even halfway like it, she will order you around to go where she wants. Sister #2 was driving and didn't really know exactly where we were going, but Mom was giving directions like a general. We stopped at K-Mart and bought some hats. I'm hoping her hair will stay for another few days so we can get a photograph taken. LeLe and I are planning to have our picture taken with her this weekend. If no hair, we will all wear hats. Hear that LeLe? We bought three hats that are just alike and three white tees to wear with jeans.

We also went out to Academy Sports to find some warm up suits for Mom to wear during her chemo. She gets cold in the oncology lab. I found some shoes that I'd been wanting for work, and they were a very good price. Sister even found a thing or two on this little trip. We were all happy. I did however have to go back to work and make up the time I took off. Bummer.

Adventures in Painting

Sister #2 had put a coat of paint on the hall that I primed last weekend when I reached mom's house Saturday. UGLY. None of us liked it. So, we wound up hunting up old cans of yellow and beige paint to mix with what we thought was a putty color. I've never seen putty that dark or ugly. We found two half gallons of old paint and in a 5 gallon bucket, we mixed it all up. It turned out pretty well, all things considered and we began repainting the hall and finished the living room. We really wanted to get to the den as well, but the trim was soooo time consuming, we ran out of time. Back again next Saturday to work on the den.

Mom has been driving herself around, and even went to Dumas to purchase some corn to put in the freezer. She paid for that long trip with a sore side, but otherwise she was fine. Today we see the oncologist for a visit. She's been having some trouble sleeping, so Nurse practitioner gave her some Ambien that seems to be working well. Her hair is beginning to come out a little, but she is unconcerned. I think that is the one thing that will break my heart. I know it's necessary, and little enough to bear if the chemo works, but it's almost as if it makes it real to me. If that makes any sense at all.

I had a peaceful day yesterday and even received a call from a California cousin I haven't talked to in a long time. That was a nice visit.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Not anything really interesting to post. Just didn't like leaving it for so long. The first part of the week was hectic, but on Wednesday things began to slow down. I hate to admit it, but I was even bored at work on Thursday. That's very uncommon. Next week Nurse Practitioner will be out for a medical conference two days. LPN will be out one of those days on vacation too, so I'll have to find something I can do and still answer the phones. I could always clean, but right in the middle of mopping the waiting room, someone always comes in, or the phone rings. So, I don't think that will be the plan.

I wanted to do absolutely nothing yesterday, but life gets in the way. I had to buy groceries and at least try to cook a little something for SR's supper. And I woke up at about 3:00 a.m. from a dream where I had a terrible headache. Woke up with one for real. I got up and took all kinds of medicine through the night but never really went back to sleep well. When I finally got out of bed headache was back with a vengeance. Took more meds and forced myself to Walmart for the groceries. When I got home, I thought I'd sit outside for a bit, soak up a little vitamin D, and try to relax and feel better. All I got was hot. I did cook some home made soup for supper, but by that time I felt really rotten having to take yet another pill for pain in my head. So, needless to say, yesterday was not a stellar day in my life.

I got to visit with LeLe and MK for a few minutes last night. I also got a call from J., so those were two bright spots in my day.

Today I will be going down to Rison to help Sister #2 paint more of Mom's walls. We are hoping together we can get the biggest part of it done. Mom's still doing great right now too. Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This is Me....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I talked to Mom yesterday and she's doing even better. The intermittent vomiting has stopped, she's able to eat and she feels really great. That is such a blessing. She is also blessed with a couple of friends that amaze me with their love and support. Roy and Lilly have been taking her everywhere she needs to go, bringing her to get her labs done at the clinic, and out to eat often. They brought their son (who is married with a family) with them yesterday and mowed her yard, and even used the Weed Eater to polish it all off. Anyone who knows my Mom knows that her yard is her NUMBER ONE priority. I am humbled by their sacrifice on her behalf and very thankful for them.

We have been extremely busy at the clinic and we are all still scratching our heads as to why. The summer is supposed to be our lax time. I am exhausted for some reason. I guess it's a combination of lack of exercise, the stress and hours at work, not eating right, and my concerns about Mom. I have some personal issues I'm dealing with as well, and it weighs heavily on my mind. That can drain a person all on its own. It's very hard to feel positive when you are so worn out. I've never wanted to go on a cruise to the tropics, but the thought of that right now sounds pretty darn good. Unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the money for such an excursion. If I can hold out till I'm 55, LeLe tells me she's taking me on a trip. I hope I'll still be up for it by then. Heh heh.

Monday, July 14, 2008


My Tucson needs a part. I drove all the way to Conway, sat for 45 minutes, and then was told the part must be ordered and it will be in either Tuesday or Wednesday. That is frustrating, especially in light of gas prices. The man did say it would be fine to continue driving the way it is for the time being though. So that's a relief.

I drove out to Penney's on my way back from Conway. You may not think that is a big deal. And it's not really, but considering my paranoia about driving a route I've never driven, it's a major deal for me. I took the 140 exit and then off on Shackleford. Woo hoo, easy as pie, but I was sweating bullets. I know, I know, that's really stupid, silly, crazy. But that is the nature of an irrational fear. All that anxst and they didn't have my size in any shoe I wanted. I need a pair of sandles and some new work shoes, but my size in everything was gone. I wound up ordering a pair online.

Uncle is going to J's to inspect the house he wants. Sooo glad of that. Uncle is very very good at his job.

Mom is still having unexpected bouts of vomiting. She's not nauseas, it just hits her about the same time every evening and morning. Sort of like morning sickness. She's having trouble sleeping too, so we will ask Nurse Practitioner for a sleep aide.

It's Monday. Anything else need to be said?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fresh Paint

I drove to Mom's today to check on her, take her medicine refills, and prime the walls of her hall and living room, so Sister#2 can paint tomorrow. A little before my Dad passed, we all got together and painted one of my Mom's living room walls a bright dark red. Daddy loved it. We chose a very light yellow gold to do the other walls and a bit later, Mom painted the lower half of her hall walls with the red and the upper half with the yellow. She's been wanting to paint over it for quite some time now, so we decided we would do whatever made her happy right now. (And who wouldn't if their Mom was going through chemo???) I spent about 5 hours painting and cutting in. That red did NOT want to go. It took two coats of primer in the hall and three coats in the living room. I'm feeling the effects of all that looking up and reaching too. But, she was so pleased. I just hope #2 can follow up tomorrow, cause I have other issues to deal with.

She is having unexpected bursts of nausea, that are over with almost before they start. So she isn't really staying sick, just not keeping everything she eats down. Her strength is improving so she must be eating enough. She has lost weight of course, and looks so skinny to me. Her hair hasn't started falling out yet, but she purchased some caps to wear when that starts. She is getting very tired of sitting at home and not being able to do what she wants. She's so used to being outside and mowing her yard. I hope some of the family can do that huge chore for her this weekend, because her grass is getting pretty deep with all the rain we've had.

I must take my Tucson to the dealership and let them look at a light that won't stay off. It's the ESC light and it has something to do with keeping it from hydroplaning and "stuff" like that. I have to go all the way to Conway where we purchased it, because SR feels that they will want to make sure it's in tip top shape, since they are the ones who sold it. I don't mind going so much, but I have to go alone, because there is no one free to go with me. I really do get tired of having to do everything by my lonesome.

J has made an offer on a house he wants to purchase in Russellville. I am thrilled for him but so fearful he will make a mistake. Mom and Dad have not been invited to help in this transaction, and it's hard for us to sit back and not have any input. We would love to see him have a place of his own, we just don't want him to pay more than he should, and then find out the house is in need of a lot of repair. Fortunately, Sister #2's hubby is a home inspector and he has agreed to give the house a good going over. Please help me pray that J makes the right decision in this. He is in love with the house and the yard and I'd like to see him happy with it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer Slump?

Last night Mom sounded like she felt better. She said she did. No nausea and she was able to eat. Her back is giving her a little pain and that worries me but it's not really severe, so maybe it's ok. We are waiting for her PCP to call us with a colonoscopy appointment since the oncologist wants her to have one as soon as possible.

I plan to go to her house on Friday and start priming her walls for paint. In the scheme of things, painting her walls is not a priority, but it gives her something to focus on. On Saturday I have to take my new vehicle to the dealership and let them look at a light that stays on. Not supposed to do that. Ugh. And there is no one to go with me, so I am moaning and whining about having to spend the day in Conway all by myself while they check out my suv.

I can't believe there is still so much sickness. It's summer for goodness sake. The time when we are supposed to go into a slump of sorts, but that's not the case this year. It's like the flu season never ended. God in his Mercy thinned out the patients while I had to be out. That helped my co-workers, but the patients are back with a vengeance. It's ca-razy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mom is experiencing a bit of nausea and fatigue. I think her mind is a bit fuddled to, but how could it not be? She came to the clinic for a weekly lab check ordered by the oncologist yesterday. Sister #2 brought her from Rison to Sheridan, and they bought a few groceries at Walmart. Next visit with gyno-oncologist is July 21, and next chemo is July 25.

Since things have settled a bit, my back is acting up again. God gives you what you need while you need it, and the pain is increasing after not being a problem while Mom was so needful of my help. Or maybe the activity made a difference. I tried walking to the post office from the clinic yesterday and was in severe pain by the time I got back. After sitting for a little while, it got much better. I am beginning to feel though, like I'm 100 years old, and I think I'm walking a little funny too. I guess I'm trying to relieve pressure or pain or something and do it without really thinking.

The work day yesterday was hectic after being closed for so many days. It's always like that on the first work day after a holiday. At least the day flew by. We are beginning to look for a replacement for our LPN who is leaving in August or September to have a baby. Lucky girl is going to stay home with her babies. I remember those times. Priceless.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Letting Down

Ok, the immediate demands of taking care of my Mom have lessened and I'm very glad of that. I spent the weekend, doing pretty much nothing. I called to check on her a couple of times a day while Sister #3 has been there, just to make sure all is well. I bought groceries for the first time in three weeks. I actually cooked a meal or two. Even cooked a cake for J, when he came down to nap in his old bedroom. He said he was coming to visit with us, but that usually means, he gets to give us a hug and see our face, then he's off again. This time, he hung around sleeping until his Dad got home from work, while I cooked a cake for him to take back with him.

I messed up though. Nothing major, it just bothers me that I wrote something that offended someone. I didn't mean to. We all know that you can't hear voice tone in an email, and sometimes the recipient misunderstands your meaning. The Twitter thing is relatively new to me, and I've always been extremely curious as to why someone I don't know would follow me. Twice, after looking at twitter pages, I've blocked folks I was unsure of, but this time I actually contacted someone who was following me and asked them why. I never meant to offend them, or imply they were stalkers. But, it seems she was hurt by my inquiry and sent me a note explaining why, aplogizing and saying she would now withdraw from following me. And the strange thing is, in her note, she made me very curious about her life. I apologized, and asked her tell me more, but I fear she has washed her hands of me. That's very disappointing. And it bothers me more than I would like to admit.
LeLe has often told me I'm too fearful of this sort of thing. I'm afraid I err on the side of caution more often than not. I suppose this shows how many folks I might have met and enjoyed corresponding with, had I been braver.

I've had the whole weekend to just chill and now I don't really feel chilled. I feel disappointed. Maybe depressed. I know it's not just that little error that is to blame for it all though. I know it's the letting down of all the demands of the moment. I don't think I've really begun to deal with everything, being on auto-pilot most of the time. Maybe getting back into the day-to-day routine of work will get me back to where I need to be. Like when folks say you had to go back to work to get some rest from vacation. :)

I will be going to check on Mom this evening and give her a daily shot of Lovenox. I'll make sure her meds are organized and she is feeling ok. I think she may be ready to stay by herself now. I just hope she doesn't over-do it. She's pretty fiesty. I am told she is on so many prayer chains, I've lost count. They are working big time, considering how well she is feeling. We appreciate it more than we can say.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Long Day

First one is over. We left Whitehall at 9:00 a.m. for UAMS in Little Rock and finally landed in Rison this evening around 6:30 p.m. Because it was her first treatment, we had to wait quite a while for the pharmacy to send down her chemo meds. As others who signed in after us kept being called back, we began to get antsy, but an hour after our appointment time, they got us started. The pre-chemo meds they gave her were SUPPOSED to make her drowsy. Well, she was drowsy for maybe 30 minutes, then she was WIRED. Walking around, squirming, fidgity. She had more energy after we were finished than since she first got sick. We went grocery shopping on the way home and she wanted to go to Walmart, but I over-ruled that one. We stopped at Dorey's concession and bought her some good ole fried catfish. She ate four pieces on the way home, and before I left her to go home, she was working on the rest.

While Mom was getting chemo, Sister #2 got very sick. She suffers from migraines and her migraine med didn't mix well with something else she had taken (evidently.) We discussed my taking her home to Whitehall and coming back for Mom, but I decided I really wasn't comfortable leaving Mom, so we called Niece to come pick her up. Poor thing. I drove her car home to her and she was still in the bed when we got there.

Sister #3 is down from Russellville to relieve us for the weekend. All the meds Mom has to take could make a genius pull his hair out. So, I wrote notes and made labels etc. I still had to talk to Sis on the phone about them so she would get it clear in her head. I remember what is what, simply because I've been taking care of it for all this time. There were two more medications added to her huge daily amount, and they are a little confusing. They are to combat the nausea they tell us will kick into high gear tomorrow. I think though, that #3 can handle it.

Mom has already lost 5 pounds and we fear she will be a walking skeleton before it's all said and done. She will also become very dry, and it's apparent that's begun, because the daily Lovenox shot is getting harder to give. Her skin is just getting tougher to penetrate. The oncology nurse told her "I don't care what you drink, as long as you DRINK!" I believe Mom got that message loud and clear because she told me she knew she would have to make herself drink even if she didn't want it. (At least one thing stuck in her mind anyway. ;)

So tomorrow, July 4, since Sister #3 is there, I plan to do nothing. Sleep late, water my flowers, sit in the yard, etc. I would dearly love to have a pool to float around in, but since I don't, I'll try to just enjoy doing nothing. I hope the rest of you have a great holiday weekend.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

And It Begins

Tomorrow is the first day of chemo. Since it's her first one, we don't know how she will react, so we are trying to prepare for the worst. I initially planned to take her by myself, so Sister #2 wouldn't have to miss any work, but I decided I might need help if Mom becomes really sick while I'm driving home. I bought a small insulated bag to take her some Diet Coke and cheese and crackers to snack on while she is there. I don't know if she will feel much like eating but at least we will be prepared for it.

She spent the day at Sister's house and seemed ok. Her pain didn't get any worse today, and she ate well. She seems a little quiet, and I'm sure she is dreading tomorrow and thinking about the days ahead. And who wouldn't? I discussed the back pain issue again with the nurse practitioner I work with. She seems to think (and I tend to have a lot of faith in her thoughts) that Mom's pain is simply from the severity of the surgery. After all, they had to open her up pretty wide to get to all the cancer. And they may even have had to take her organs out to get to it. That would make anyone's back hurt, dontcha think? It is much easier to think of it that way, than to wonder if there is something more severe going on with it. And we DO NOT want to go there.

I've had several folks ask about her the last two days and it's always really nice to know people care enough to ask. Thanks folks. Remember us tomorrow kind readers.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Doctor Speak

I talked with the gyno-oncologist today. She is the one who performed Mom's surgery, but has been out of the office for a week or so. She was not aware that Mom had been in the hospital in her absence, so I explained what went on. If Mom's pain in her back is not better by tomorrow, the doctor wants to see her tomorrow.

Mom's treatments will be every 21 days, 6 to 8 times. We won't know her prognosis until we see how she reacts to the chemo. 5 year survival rate for this type of cancer is 30%. If after treatment, it does not return in a 2 year period, that rate increases. That is all I know at this point.

Sister #2 has taken Mom to her home to better care for her. I will deal with weekends as needed and be the one taking her to chemo. This was the only way we could both continue to work and care for her properly. Niece is still home for the summer and can monitor Grandma and call when she needs help. When school starts, if Mom is unable to stay by herself, we will have to regroup and figure something else out. Pray that God will provide wisdom and opportunity to take good care of Mom.