Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday, June 30

Mom has been restless the last two days. She can't get comfortable and her back is still hurting. The pain meds are keeping it from getting too severe, but I fear we will have to call the doctor tomorrow. The fluid in her lungs is causing her to cough a lot when she lays in the bed at night. She is up and down all night long. I don't think she has fully accepted all that is going on, or at least hasn't been able to process it. She tries to reason out why she feels like she does, and the cancer doesn't enter in to it as far as she is concerned. She may be in denial subconsciously, or she may just not understand. I've overheard her giving friends and family misinformation. Not that she is purposely lying, it's what she believes to be the truth. When we correct her, it seems as though she doesn't hear us. Maybe most or all cancer patients do this. In the beginning, we weren't with Daddy 24/7 like we have been her. She was with him most of that time until it got bad. I don't know if he behaved this way or not.

While at Mom's, I did a little cleaning out of her fridge and put some fruit and purple hull peas in the freezer for her. I cooked some for lunch today with some cornbread and potatoes and she seemed to enjoy that, but when I offered to heat them up for supper, she didn't think it was such a good idea. She says nothing tastes good. She is already small and I fear she will wind up looking anorexic before it's over. I guess all cancer patients do though.

Trying to take care of her and work is taking its toll on both myself and Sister #2. Trying not to get frustrated and stressed is extremely difficult. We have a long road ahead of us. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Evening, June 28th

Mom came home from the hospital today. Sister #2 brought her home, and I was able to rest some. I slept late, but still felt so tired, that I tried to take a nap around 10:30. Unfortunately, I couldn't relax enough to go to sleep. I decided to go on in to the clinic and catch up on paperwork. And I'm so very glad I did. It took me 3 hours to complete the daily reports, reshelve charts, and do other little things that I always do. It was a relief to get that accomplished, and know that the week can begin without all that stacked up.

Tonight, my niece will stay with Mom, with Sister #1 "on call" if she should be needed. #2 reports that Mom is doing great, walking around outside, eating well, and acting like herself for a change. What a relief! I will go take over for niece sometime late tomorrow morning. We may just see if niece can stay again overnight tomorrow night if all goes well tonight. We trust her, but she is only 18, and if Mom has a really bad night, she may have some trouble knowing how to deal with it.

We definitely need to take the help while we can, because the oncology nurse explained that the day after Mom's treatment (July 4th) she may be really sick. So the weekend may be pretty hard on everyone. I am taking advantage of the peace while I can. I will be taking Mom to treatment since I'm off on the 3rd, and we will schedule all subsequent treatments on my Friday's off. Hopefully, the week after treatment won't be so terrible, and we won't have to miss more work.

I don't know about the others, but I'm really missing homecooked meals. The hospital food is....well, we all know how that is. My body is very tired of fast food, and junk food snacks. I haven't bought groceries in a long time because there was no need. The food would go to waste without me here to cook it. And since I don't know how much I'll be at home in the coming week, it will be foolish to buy any now.

I report that my new Tucson is wonderful and I love it. I've been very thankful for it this week. I have three free months of XM radio, but doubt I will keep it. I haven't found a station that I absolutely love enough to pay for it. I have lots of time to decide though.

I appreciate all the prayers of my family and friends. Without those, I don't know how we would have gotten through. God has relieved my back pain so much, that I hardly have noticed it lately. I prayed very hard for help with that. I just didn't think I could do all I needed to for Mom and fight the pain too. And it looks like my Heavenly Father agreed. Woo Hoo! Way to go Father!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Moment of Peace

Gentle Readers,

I see that my sweet daughter posted a note for me while I was unable. It's been quite a week for us. Wednesday afternoon, we took Mom to Pine Bluff to get her hair cut. We thought it would be a nice outing for her, and it would be easy on her to lay back in the shop chair for a good "head washing." She seemed to be feeling fine when we left, just having some back pain that she had been dealing with for several days. She kept telling us it was just muscle pain from not being active enough. And I think she was very determined to get a new "do." She did fine at the beauty shop and seemed ok on the way home, but was very quiet. By the time we got home, she was almost in tears with her back. We got her inside the house and she wanted me to rub the area, thinking it would loosen up and lessen the pain. I only touched it and she began moaning with the hurt that caused. She couldn't sit, stand, or lay down it was so excruciating. I called Nancy, and she told me to get her to the hospital pronto! Mom was hurting so badly, I couldn't get her into the car. So, I called 911.

Of course, when you are waiting for an ambulance, time slows to a standstill and we were pretty upset by the time it arrived. But, the EMTs were excellent and thoughtful. I was even invited to ride in the passenger side on the way to UAMS. Mom had a temperature over 101 and we gave her some ibuprophen for that en-route, as well as morphine. She was so bad though, that the morphine helped only a little. We arrived around 5:30 or 6:00 and she was taken back immediately, but it took a while for us to be able to go back with her, due to a trauma the staff was dealing with at the time.

Sister #1 and #2 met us there, and we finally were able to be with her in the exam room. The staff continued to give her shot after shot of morphine to no avail. X-rays and a CT was ordered, and they showed a pocket of infection, or abcess in her abdomen where the omentum was removed. The doctors didn't feel that this was the cause of her back pain and were a bit stumped by it. The only thing they could figure out, was that the fluid on her lungs was pushing on her diaphram and causing it to push on nerves connected to the area of her back that was in pain. They told us she would be admitted (thank goodness) and we continued to wait for hours. I sent Sister #1 home and #2 and I stayed in the exam cubical with her hour after hour.

While we waited, she continued to be given morphine shots, and eventhough they were not getting rid of the pain, she was so groggy that she was quiet in spurts and yelling in spurts. During the quite times, we noticed how many ambulances came in and eavesdropped on conversations the staff was having about them. At some point during the night, we became so silly from fatigue and lack of sleep, that all we had to do was look at each other and we'd start giggling. It was NOT funny that our mother was laying there in pain, but the mind is a strange thing. I suppose it tries to deal with stress in strange ways. As the night wore on, Sister began playing with medical tape. She created some really pretty flowers with it. How, you may ask?... by folding strips of it up and twisting it like ribbon. Ever seen ribbon roses?.... Well, there you go. She also fashioned a Calla Lily for me. It set off another round of uncontrollable giggles.

At 3:30 or so, we finally were moved up to a room. As luck would have it, Mom was taken back to the same room she stayed in the first time. So, for a change, we knew exactly where we were going and where we would be. Sister then went home to her children.

They gave her ANOTHER shot of morphine, and I told the nurse they WERE NOT WORKING. He apologized and explained that was all the doctor had ordered for pain aside from Tylenol. I asked him to give her the Tylenol. ANYTHING to try to help. By the Grace of God, the Tylenol seemed to make the morphine work. At about 4:30, she finally fell asleep. I pulled my chair over to her bed, folded my arms on the end of it and fell asleep too. It wasn't the most comfortable way to sleep, my arms and legs kept falling asleep too, but I couldn't hold my head up any longer.

The doctor came in at 6:45 and explained that they may try to drain the abcess, but wouldn't know until later in the morning. But they began IV antibiotics. As soon as those reached her system, she began improving. She wasn't allowed anything to eat, in case they needed to do the draining procedure, but she was resting and the pain was under control for a change. The doctors decided to review her scans again and make a decision today about the procedure, so she was allowed to eat supper and was given a good snack at midnight. I went home last night and fell into bed. I slept several hours without waking and got up early this morning to be there when the doctors came through again on their early morning rounds.

At 1:00 this afternoon, the procedure was nixed and she will continue on the iv antibiotics and go home tomorrow. (As long as her pain is controlled by pills and not morphine shots. ) The pain in her back? Well, they finally decided it was due to a bit of pluresy. She is sore where she was hurting, but the constant pain is gone.
Mom was almost herself this afternoon. By the time she finally got to eat, she was a bit testy. (Which is her normal self much of the time. heh heh) She was doing so well, though, that I decided to leave at 4:00, trying to miss the Friday afternoon rush hour. I'm home now, as you can plainly tell, and ready to sit on the couch without worrying about Mom's needs for a little while. Sister #2 will take her home tomorrow, so I may get an entire day to relax. Oh, but I will probably go into the office for a couple of hours to catch up on my workload. I was only able to work one day this week. I was wishing I could have a vacation, but this was NOT what I had in mind......

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Grandma Update - Thursday the 26th

This is LeLe speaking on Mom's behalf:

For those who do not know, my Grandma was rushed to the ER at UAMS in an ambulance last night due to extreme pain. Seems she has a pocket of drainage in her abdomen which has been causing back pain. They ran a CT scan and looked at it and it appears that they will be able to drain it. They will review the CT scan again today to make sure. Mom was with her all night and only got about an hour of sleep. Please pray for Grandma as well as my Mom. Sister #2 was also there until 4:00 a.m. Please pray for the whole family and those who are giving her care.

This is my prayer that I posted on my blog and our church's prayer warrior email list.

O, Father.

You are the Great Physician. I lift up my Grandma Sue too you. I know she is in capable hands at UAMS and I pray that you give the doctors wisdom and discernment on her condition. I pray for Grandma's spiritual and emotional well-being in addition to her physical health. God, you know her needs. You know her pain. You also know the plans you have for her and I pray that your glory is shown whatever may happen. I pray that she may be comfortable until her chemo next Thursday, which will dry up any more fluid.

Father God, I pray for my family, especially my mother, who are caring for her. I pray that you would give Mom the strength, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, to handle Grandma's care-giving. She is tired, Lord--please help her to keep going. I pray this for my aunts as well who are helping with her care and for the grandkids, that we might cope with what is going on.

Lord, I thank you for what you are going to do and in advance for Grandma's healing, either on this side of Heaven or in Heaven itself. We know that she is in your hands and I praise you for that.

In your precious Son's Holy Name,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday, the 24th in the p.m.

I worked today, but I'm told Mom slept better last night with the new meds. Yaaayyy. She wants fish, so I'm taking her some Dorey's tonight. Here's expecting better sleeping results and more rest in the next two days.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Post-Op Visit

We took Mom to her post-op visit today and she handled it pretty well. That was a good thing since she had a terrible night. Her pain meds were causing some side effects that were uncomfortable, so she stopped taking them. The result was quite a bit of pain during the night and severe nausea. I was very much afraid we were going back to the ER, but I finally gave her pain medicine anyway, and she finally settled down enough to sleep some. At one point, I was laying at the foot of her bed I was so concerned. I believe something else was causing the side effects, but the resident we saw today changed her pain meds just in case. She has one place to the right of her incision that is causing a problem pain wise, and her back is evidently having muscle spasms. Hopefully, she will be able to keep this medication in her system and avoid a repeat of last night's performance.

We still do not know what the pathology report showed, or what her prognosis is. The Surgeon is out of town for a week and the resident was not allowed to share that information. Mom begins her chemotherapy on July 3rd. She will be taking treatment at UAMS every 21 days and they will last 4 to 5 hours. The day after treatment will be pretty hard on her, and the following week will not be a picnic either. She will definitely lose her hair, but she only wants to wear a hat. No wig, no scarf.

She felt well enough to eat at Cracker Barrell, and to take a short trip to J.C. Penney to find a couple of comfortable outfits to wear to chemo treatments. I carried a wheelchair I borrowed from the clinic and it was a chore getting that dinosaur out everytime we went somewhere, then putting it back in. But we do what we must, don't we?

Right now I'm so exhausted I don't think I could sleep if I laid down. But, I have to work tomorrow, so I'd best get to trying. I will be spending tomorrow night and Wednesday night with her, and will leave for work from her house in Rison on Thursday morning.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Quick Update

Talked to Sister #2 last night and Mom was eating very well indeed for a change. She was able to walk around outside and check her tomato plants and had stayed up most of the day. Will be leaving shortly to take my turn at overnight duty.

Back is a little better. I was able to do some cleaning at home, which relieved my mind some. (Especially since LeLe calls me Mrs. Spic and Span) Speaking of which, she came by to look at my car, and she oooohed and aaaahed appropriately. When she and J were little, they always called them "Newsh Cars" and we still use that term. :)

J has been working much overtime. Very tired and frustrated.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Just Walk Away

We did it. Found a vehicle we agreed on and can afford. But, it took that much despised haggling thing to come to an agreement. We actually had to get up, and start walking toward the door before they would come down enough to make it work. Eventhough I would have been terribly disappointed, I was willing to leave without buying. Funny how they can cut even more off of a price when they think they are going to lose a sale. At any rate, you are now reading the post of a proud White 2008 Hyundai Tucson owner. Not the jewel of suvs but a good reliable one, with a great warranty. It took us four hours to finalize the transaction, and by that time I was starving. We ate lunch at Chili's, which was very nice. I am happy.

My back is not so happy. With all the pulling on my Mom and car shopping, I have been in misery. No drug I can find relieves the pain, but SR did get out the old heat massager we bought on a whim at Walmart a year ago and worked my back over. That helped quite a bit. So, I'm thinking regular massage therapy, and hand held massager with heat in between may be my best option.

Mom was up a lot last night with bathroom needs. I feared she had a urinary tract infection, but Sister #2, who stayed with her last night doesn't think so. I get a reprieve for the evening and will go back to spend the night tomorrow night. I will then take her to see the doctor at UAMS for her post-operative visit. I can now take her in a nice vehicle with reclining seats. I'm so happy about that.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Update

Spent the night and today with Mom. She had a good night, only having to get up four times. Sounds like a lot but in the grand scheme of things, not so much. She's beginning to eat a little more, her blood sugar is getting back to normal and she's doing a little more walking. (When encouraged, cause it hurts and it's very tiring.) I was able to get her a bath, because a wonderful man I know gave us a shower chair. And it was not as hard as I thought it would be, considering we didn't have a hand held shower head. I used a plastic container to pour the water over her in the tub. She was exhausted by the time we finished, but felt so much better with a clean body and head washing. And for the first time, I gave her a shot of Levonox in her stomach. She must have one every day for a month to ward off blood clots. I've never given a shot before, but had no trouble, while Sister #1 cringed at the thought. Sister #2 will have to help me out on the days I'm not there.

Tomorrow we go to find a new vehicle. We have agonized over what we want versus pricing. I don't expect to enjoy the day much, eventhough I may come home with a brand new vehicle. I normally would be very excited, but the shopping, test driving, haggling, etc., just doesn't hold much appeal right now. Still, it will be nice to have something new, and be able to get away and focus on something else for a change.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Homeward Bound!

Prayer is a wonderful thing. As if I had to tell you all that! Mom is going home today. Praise God! Also, a personal burden was lifted this morning. I had prayed very hard for an answer about something and at the EXACT time I needed perfect words, God spoke them through me. In my heart and mind I know that He is working and in control through all this, but it always helps to get Divine help in an instant and KNOW where it comes from. He also gave me someone else's perspective on an issue that I had negative thoughts about. He is holding me up and giving me what I need as I need it. What a wonderful God we serve.

Thank you for your continued prayers and kind thoughts. We are not finished yet, but we move to the next phase in Mom's treatment. We will all need energy and patience in the next two or three weeks.

WOOOO HOOOO!!! She's coming home.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Little Good News

According to Mom, the doctor said she might be able to go home tomorrow. No one was there when the doc came through today, unfortuately. She was given some blood today to boost her a bit, and evidently it worked. She was eating better and moving around more today. Yaaayyy.


Not much to report today. Mom is sleeping a lot. I am working today and Sister #1 is with her. I'm hoping Mom will try to get up and walk more today so we can take her home soon. My prayer is Friday. The nurse is going to teach me to draw blood so I can take care of Mom's weekly lab requirement for the doctor. Chemo will be every three weeks at UAMS.

When we do get her home, it looks like I will be staying at least every other day/night for two weeks. She must have 24/7 care for that period of time if not longer. Please pray that we can work out a schedule we can all live and work with. I don't have to tell you how hard it is to do this and work too. It's impossible to do it without missing some work. I am thankful my boss is very understanding and has told me to take what I need. (I just don't get paid of course ;)
I'm also having some personal issues right now. I won't go into it, but suffice it to say that I need an extra dose of peace and a great deal of wisdom.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday Afternoon Update

Spent the afternoon with Mom. She is off the iv pain med, and is taking it by mouth. I got her up three times this afternoon to walk and she made it to the nurse's station each time. It was a major accomplishment and it wasn't pleasant, but it helps to hurry along her recovery.

She ate a few bites of Dorey's catfish and drank some diet coke, and three or four spoonfuls of potato soup. I know it doesn't sound like much, but when all you want to do is sleep and be left alone, that's pretty impressive. I settled her for the night and made sure she had taken a pain pill before I headed out for home.

As I was driving along, with the cruise set on 73 or so, the transmission jumped into neutral with no warning. I didn't do anything to cause it, didn't hit a bump or anything, but all of a sudden the RPM gauge was going crazy. For a few seconds I couldn't figure out what happened, but finally put the gear shift back into drive and had no other problems. I'm soooo glad it happened only a few miles from the Sheridan exit. I'd have been in major anxiety mode if it had happened in Little Rock traffic. God is always good to me while I'm driving up there. I pray every time I come up on a turn off or exit I have to take. He's never let me down.

Tuesday A.M.

Mom is doing better this morning. She's up and moving around a lot, and doc says she can have anything she wants to eat. She wants catfish from Dorey's. I will be taking some this afternoon if they are open at their concession behind my house.

The doctor also said that the type of chemo she would be getting with the type of cancer she has, will actually make her feel better. (After the initial nausea, I'm sure.) My father's chemo was so hard, and made him so very weak and sick, we were really dreading it. And Mom said she didn't care if she lost her hair, as long as it worked. :)

She can go home as soon as all her body functions are working properly. Shouldn't be too long now. Yayyy!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Evening

After a rough morning, Mom is able to get up and move around some, and hold down a little popsicle. She's asking for "mashed taters" but doc says not until she can hold her liquids. Prayers are being answered, because she is being moved to a private room later tonight or in the morning. I was able to work a full day for a change, and MAN! was it hard. My poor co-worker was so far behind from doing both our jobs, I didn't think she would ever get her desk cleared off.

My boss is being very understanding and realizes how much time I will be off in the coming months. It always helps to know that. At this point, we still don't know what the prognosis is, or the treatment schedule. Right now, we are only focused on getting food and drink to stay down and get Mom strong enough to go home.

I will be working a half day tomorrow and then heading to the hospital for my turn at keeping an eye on the old broad. BTW, she isn't offended by the names we call her. She enjoys it and has a wonderful sense of humor.

During all of this, the hubs and I are looking for a new vehicle. I must have something I can carry her to chemo in, and what I have now is just not going to work. We plan to go to some dealerships on Saturday if all goes as planned. We've been studying the internet and trying to figure out what we can afford and what we would be satisfied with. Please help us pray that we can get this task accomplished, because we have very little time and patience right now. It's something we can't put off though.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tough as Nails

That's my Mom. She came through the surgery with flying colors and is doing great. The uterus, ovaries, and the lining over the colon (the omentum) was removed. There was a tumor in the right ovary and in the omentum. She also has countless tiny tumors in her abdomen that the chemo will deal with. We are hoping she will come home in a couple or three days. She will not be able to stay by herself and we are trying to work out some kind of rotation in our family since we all work and must continue to try to work through all of this. When my Dad was going through all this, I was only working part time and could stay more than anyone else. Not the case this time. But my niece is off for the summer before college starts and she will be helpful. And LeLe will be able to take a turn now and then as well.

We are all exhausted but keep on doing what we must. I came home yesterday afternoon at about 6:30 and after eating a bite, fell asleep on the couch. I then got up and went to bed at about 8:30, sleeping through the night. I hope I'm caught up and will be in better shape today. My back has been an issue but I try to sit as much as possible. My sister gave me an impromptu massage the other day and it helped so much, that I plan to make an appointment with a local massage therapist as soon as I'm able.

I must try to work more this week than I did last, and we have to figure out how to work that. As well as Mom is doing, it shouldn't be so hard to leave her for periods of time. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. They are obviously working since Mom is doing so well.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


This is LeLe, B's daughter. Mom just called to tell me that Grandma's surgery has been scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. We are unsure of the time right now but will let you know when we find out so you can be praying at that specific time.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

LeLe, B, and Family


Just this morning moving Mom to UAMS. Won't know anything until we see the doctor. LeLe will keep you all posted for me.



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Battle is ON!!!!

Gentle readers, my mother has been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. She had been in pain for some time off and on, but didn't tell anyone until it became unbearable. Through a series of disjointed testing, finally a report indicated she needed to be hospitalized. After waiting long hours in the ER and frustrated at the lack of information we were given, it was confirmed. The ER staff avoided giving us any information, because they all could see the writing on the wall, and waited for Mom's gynocologist to break the news to us. We were ready for it, and had already figured it out, so it wasn't the blow it might have been.
She will be treated at UAMS in Little Rock, by a gynocologist-oncologist. Her regular GYN feels that her survival rate with this type of doctor is increased dramatically.

We have a battle of many weeks ahead of us. Please pray for our strength as we minister to her. Please pray that we don't have to miss a huge amount of work, as we all must keep working. And most of all, PRAISE GOD FOR WHAT HE IS GOING TO DO! I have faith He is in control and all will be as it should.

Oh, and pray for her grandchildren who are having a more difficult time of it than her children. Grandparents are precious, and hard to see hurting.

Thank you all.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bob Ross Eat Your Heart Out

I used to watch Bob Ross paint on Saturday mornings, and I learned a lot from him. He was a gentle man and seemed to be in love with the whole world. He was known for his trademark afro, and whenever he would add a tree, cloud or rock, he would call it a happy accident. So, when I saw this, I just had to laugh out loud.

I really needed this laugh today. Lots of "stuff" going on right now. Remember me in your prayers.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Playing Catch-Up

I haven't posted much of late, due to being pretty busy, and pulled in different directions. Not to mention the whole work thing. Sometimes I get into a slump and my brain just won't come up with a topic to post about, but I will share my week with you now.

The first two days of this week were pretty good actually. We were busy at work, but it wasn't overwhelming or very stressful. Wednesday I joked that it was the Brown Family Clinic instead of the Sheridan Family Clinic. LeLe was sick with a headache, I was sick with an upper respiratory issue, as was MK, my sister drove my mother over for the RNP to take a look at and we wound up sending her for x-rays and setting up an ultrasound for her. She was complaining of severe pain in her abdomen. Since she doesn't have an appendix, that was not the problem, and the ultrasound ruled out anything wrong with her organs in that area, but the initial report states she has Ascities. (A pocket of fluid has built up in her stomach) This can be caused by any number of things, and we need to find out exactly what. So, this morning sister and I went with Mom for a CT Scan. We are not going to imagine the worst, and hopefully all she will need is a quick fix.

On the way home, sister and I were talking about folks who spend thousands of dollars to make memories with their children. Nothing is wrong with that. So, don't think I'm criticizing anyone who takes great vacations with their children or buys recreational vehicles. I would too if I had the bucks. But, we began discussing the memories you make that are free. Like the commercial says, "Trip to Disneyland: $1500.00, The smile on little Jimmy's face when he shakes Mickey's hand: Priceless" I started naming priceless memories....

1) LeLe playing "Little Drummer Boy" on the piano for Papa, and J, R, and R singing along.

2) Watching my kids play on the rope swing.

3) Looking out the window and watching J use his Dad's machete to chop down small sapplings beside the house.

4) Listening to LeLe sing "Down by the Creek Bank"

5) Hearing J ask Jesus to come into his heart.

These kinds of memories are absolutely what life is all about. And I for one, don't give them enough importance.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I've been trying one of the addominal strengthening exercises suggested. So far it's too soon for that to make a difference, if it will. But, I was given a Kenalog steroid shot this morning, and that seems to have helped a lot. I may have to request those periodically. Nice to know something helps, especially when the anti-inflammatory meds hurt my stomach.

I am also fighting an upper respiratory thing and am taking meds for that too. I seldom get sick, but occasionally it happens. It's strange that at this time of year, there are several folks sick with illnesses that are normally in the fall and winter. We keep wondering when the summer slump is going to hit.