Yesterday I spent the day with my mother in law. I drove the 2 1/2 hours (too much traffic) to take her to her doctor appointment with the cancer specialist. He gave her the news that the mass in her stomach is stage 4 cancer and has spread to her liver and possibly other places as well like her kidneys and brain. He said that they won't operate but that the immediate need was to dissolve the blood clot in her lung. She will go on chemotherapy once that is dissolved.
She will move to Tennessee to live with her daughter as soon as possible. Her daughter is strong. She is flying out today to be with her mom to help her through the hospital stay (she was admitted to the hospital yesterday right after the doctor appointment to thin the blood and get rid of the blood clot) and will fly back with her as soon as she is able to fly. She will help her through the chemotherapy.
The cancer doctor would not allow my mother in law to wallow in self pity or ask questions of 'why did this happen to me?' That was not a question he could answer. He told her to ask,'what can we do now?' 'Where can we go from here? What will the next step be?'
Since she hasn't felt well for about 5 weeks, she hasn't eaten anything and has lost about 15 pounds. And since they aren't going to remove the tumor from her stomach, things will not be changing for her either. He said the chemo will most likely not shrink the tumor but just keep it from getting bigger. We talked about how she has a new normal now and that even if she doesn't feel like eating, how important it was to just accept her normal and eat.
I've never been faced with something as scary as cancer, but I have had to deal with migraines for over 20 years. Pain is my normal almost daily. We talked about how if I lay around feeling sorry for myself and let the pain take over my life, I would never do anything. But the pain will not win. I can't let it. We talked about how important it is for her to make decisions about all of the things she wants to do before her time is up and get them done. She may have 2 months or 20 years, but if she wastes her time sitting on the couch feeling sorry for herself, even one day she has wasted precious time. I know she wasted the last 5 weeks of her life and wish I could have been there sooner for her. She never told anyone.
This whole thing has been really hard on my husband. He had a very difficult childhood and almost raised himself so his relationship with his mom isn't normal. Makes me appreciate my parents even more :)
No more wasting today. Off to make a difference!