Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So you may have noticed a distinct lack of posting lately. There are a few reasons for that. First, with all of the traveling that we’ve been doing, I haven’t really been home long enough to post. Secondly, my brother and mom have been in town the past few days, so that’s been soaking up my time also.

That brings me to the most important reason. You may remember when I was talking about my grandmother’s situation with her breast cancer. Last week we had a family meeting with her Hospice nurse. Naturally, one of the questions we had was “how long do we have left?” The answer was surprising. The nurse said realistically 2 – 3 months. It could be as little as 1 month or as many as 6 months though. This was surprising because she doesn’t really seem much different than she was 6 months ago. She has less energy in the morning now, but it picks back up in the early afternoon. She’s also on constant pain medication (a Vicadin every 8 hours wasn’t controlling the pain, so you can imagine how bad it must be.) Now she’s on a NS Contin every 12 hours, with Vicadin as a backup in case pain still gets through.

The cancer is active in her body, and has manifested itself in two open wounds where it has broken through the skin. One is on her chest and the other in her armpit. She has a lot of swelling in her right arm, but can somewhat contain that with a compression sleeve.

At this point, Hospice is helping to manage the symptoms. That’s all they can do, and all she wants. She stopped having treatment about 18 months ago. She could have gotten rid of the cancer, but it would have meant losing the functionality of her right arm. She opted to maximize the quality of her life, however long that might last. She maintains that she’s had a good full life and has no regrets. I suppose we could all be so blessed to be able to say that when facing her situation. In treating the systems, they’re giving her the best quality of life that they can.

That of course doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. She may be my grandmother, but I’ve always called her mom. She has helped to raise me my whole life. I grew up in a house two doors down from her, and when my parents got divorced and my dad was working nights, I would stay down there, eat down there, go to school from down there, etc.

Reflecting on that has made me want to take advantage of any remaining time we might have. Lindsay has helped me with that, because she lost her grandmother suddenly to cancer a few years ago. As such, I’ve been able to make some lasting memories and do things that I’ve always wanted to do with her. One of the things that she’s going to try to do for us mimics what was done in the movie My Life. She’s going to record messages for events that haven’t happened yet. Things like my cousin’s graduations, or her great-grandchildren being born. Milestone birthdays and things like that. Frankly, it’s hard to even think about that because it means that she won’t be here with us to celebrate, but they’ll definitely be treasured by us.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been posting much at all lately. I haven’t really been home to do so…


boilerdowd said...

I'll be praying for you with Gina and Mike.

J Money said...

Sounds like everyone has the best possible attitude... all our best.