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For my mom

Sunday, February 09, 2020

It's been a long time since I last blogged. But this blog post isn't about me, it's about my mom. My apologies for the length.

My mom is 72 years old. On the morning of Friday, November 22, 2019 my dad noticed that my mom was just a little "off". He asked her how she felt and she just looked at him, silently. He asked again and once again she just looked at him in silence. She was unable to speak and seemed confused.

He asked her to get dressed, which she did with no problem. He came and got me and told me something was wrong with mom and he suspected a stroke. A few minutes later mom walked out to the car and got in and dad took her to our local hospital. Once there, they were taken into a triage room in the emergency department and mom was hooked up to the blood pressure machine as the nurse talked to her and tried to illicit a response.

Her blood pressure began climbing and went all the way up to 281 / 192 (not a typo). She then had a grand mal seizure and was administered several doses of the muscle relaxer Ativan. They got her blood pressure back down and since our local hospital didn't have a neurologist on staff, she was shipped off to another hospital in a neighboring city, about 40 minutes away. By the evening she was doing better, but could not speak coherently. A CT scan of her head showed no signs of bleeding at all. However, they did find multiple tumors. With anti seizure medication and medicine to reduce the swelling, she was back to making sense and speaking in complete sentences in a couple of days.

She came home on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Many Dr. visits and consultations followed. We learned that there were 4 tumors; one insignificant small one, one on her left temporal lobe (causing the trouble with speech and some weakness), on deep down in the center of her brain and one on her brain stem. Of those 4, only the one on the temporal lobe was operable, two others were too deep and you can't perform surgery on a tumor on the brain stem because it wraps around and the most minor misstep can cause death.

on the 19th of December mom went in for her brain surgery. They got most of the tumor out of her head and sent it off to the lab. The result was Glioblastoma Multiforme. A highly aggressive for of cancer that attacks the brain. There is no cure for this cancer, the only hope is to prolong life as long as possible. She came home on the 21st of December and was back in the hospital the next day with garbled speech, extreme weakness of her right arm and leg and facial muscles that were twitching. Apparently the scar tissue that was forming was putting too much pressure on her brain. Increased dosages of a couple different medicines helped stop the problem and she returned home at noon on Christmas.

On January 22nd, while walking into her Dr.'s office for weekly lab work, mom's foot caught the carpet at the transition from tile and she fell. Mom was holding my dad's left hand and pulled him down with her, re-injuring his torn rib cartilage that he has battled since October. She wasn't hurt in the fall, she went down in almost slow motion. But of course, her lower back has been sore since that day. For the last few weeks, for her to walk, one of us has to walk backward while holding both of her hands. Her balance is not good and she is scared to death of falling again. Now we have her using a walker (the good kind with the fold down seat) when she needs to head to the bathroom or go out to the car for her daily radiation treatments. A friend of mine gave me a brand new wheelchair that we now use to transport her from the car to her various appointments.

My mom had zero signs of anything being wrong before that morning in November and now, just over 2 months later requires help with most tasks. She was an avid quilter and was a quilting instructor for approximately 20 years through a local junior college. Since all of this started, she had one day early in December where she felt good enough to sit at her sewing machine and finish piecing together a quilt top she was making on commission. A couple of her friends put the finishing touches on the top and quilted it to the backing and we were able to give the quilt to the woman a week ago. The lady is a friend who had my mom make the top using pieces of paint stained overalls that were her dad's, the quilt was for her mother to remember her recently departed husband. As it turned out, nobody charged anything for their time to help finish the quilt and it was presented as a gift from my mom, the last quilt she will ever have a hand in putting together.

If you have read this far, bless you for your patience. If you are the type to pray, please do so for my mom and for our family. If you don't pray, send some good thoughts our way if you could. In closing, I don't want to seem like I'm begging, but my brother created a GoFundMe page to help with the out of pocket expenses (co-pays, out of network Dr.s, medical devices and supplies, etc.) and if you have the means and if you feel lead to, a little help would be appreciated. If money is tight, please don't feel you need to help monetarily, your thoughts and prayers are all I ask,

Thank you,
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