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I am sure if you are visiting this site, you are aware that the last month for mom has been eventful.
Mom thought last month that she had pneumonia. She visited her local doctor who saw something suspicious on the xray. She was referred to a Pulmonologist at the Mayo Clinic -Mankato.
On March 19th, The pulmonolgist confirmed with ultrasound that she had a mass with surrounding fluid accumulation . They were able to drain the fluid, and send it off for testing that same day. He made it very clear to mom that this looked highly suspicious of cancer. She was then scheduled for a PET Scan the following week.
Hearing this news is always difficult, but I am blessed with a mother with a very strong faith. We have many discussions about what she wanted if the results came back as the doctor suspected. I was able to ask her "Mom, if this cancer, what do you want to do". She was adamant "I don't want chemo, and I don't want Radiation". I asked her "What if that means that you won't be around very long,?" She replied "When the Lord thinks it's my time, then it's my time". I asked "Does that scare you?" She said very confidently "NO....does it scare you?" I smile, because Mom has always talked about heaven as a place that she looks forward to going. To be reunited with those she has loved and lost....and it has always made me excited to go to heaven too. So, I replied back to her "No, mom....it doesn't scare me. I can't wait to see Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Ron, and Aunt Diane" She said..."Yeah, me too". I will always treasure this conversation with her, because it showed me what a strong woman my mother is. Her strength has always been in the Lord. It has given her a peace that transcends all understanding. I then committed to her that I would make sure her wishes were honored and that she understood every thing being said to her". So we went forward in the week...waiting in the abyss of the unknown. No diagnosis...just trusting the God will guide us every step of the way.
March 27th: She had a PET scan on March 27th, and then on March 28th, we met again to review all the results. The pulmonolgist confirmed that the fluid came back positive for malignant cells, and the PET scan found that she had n a 4.2 cm lung mass, and also involvement to the lymph node, the other lung, and the plueral lining. The diagnosis was given as Stage IV adenocarnimona of the left lung. Her pulmonologist told mom very gently and with great compassion that there was no cure, any treatment would be considered "Palliative". Hearing this difficult news causes so many emotions! She calmly told the doctor exactly what she told me, "No Chemo, No radiation", but she agreed to meet with the Oncologist to hear all the options. That appt was scheduled for April 9th, but first the doctor wanted a brain MRI to rule out any brain mets. We scheduled that for April 3rd. More waiting....brings about many more conversations...what's important... I checked on her daily...apparrently too much because she complained to Ron that I was calling a lot!
April 1: 2 days before her scheduled MRI, Alvin returned home after an appointment to find mom at her computer unresponsive. He and his buddy took her to Blue Earth Hospital. A CT scan revealed a brain lesion. She was then transferred to the Mayo ISJ hospital in Mankoto. An MRI revealed a 2cm brain lesion. It has been a whirlwhind ever since. On April 2nd, Mom and I met with every specialty under the sun . They presented every option of treatment available. Mom listened, asked questions, and with each one she told them that when The Lords wants her she is willing to go. It's when Mom is expressing her wishes, that she is the most clear. Because of the brain tumor she has times when she has difficulty expressing herself, but when she talks about what she wants, she is as clear as bell (where did that saying come from, anyway?) The Palliative care team at the hospital was Fabulous! They helped us sort through all the treatment options, and align them to mom's goals. Mom expressed Her biggest frustration was the memory loss, and word findng difficulty that came along with this brain lesion, We learned about a very specific radiation treatment that would stop the growth of the brain tumor, which help to not lose any more memory loss, and help her not develop weakness that they told us would also arise. This procedure was Gamma Knife Radiation. It is a targeted one time radiation treatment . It has minimal side effects compared to whole brain radiation.
On April 9 &10th we spent this time at Mayo Clinic Rochester, where they treated Mom like a queen telling her everything that would happen in a manner she could understand. She under went the Gamma Knife Radiation on April 10th, and we returned home the same day. This was the only treatment that Mom was interested in pursuing.
April 11th: today: The Hospice team came today to enroll Mom into Hospice. She was the strongest (physically) today than I have seen her in a long time. Prayers are being answered.
If I stay in "Nurse mode" this is a lot easier for me, I can talk about symptoms, and medications but when it comes to thinking about the care and compassion I have seen by so many, that's when this becomes very real. I am so touched by all the support that has been shown to our family. Mom even said "I didn't realize how many people cared" She is so grateful for all of you, and so am I. Please continue to keep our families in your prayers, and please continue to pray for Mom and Alvin as they go through this journey together. I've seen Alvin cry more this week than I have the 35 years I have know him . He loves Mom, and has taken great care of her. In June it will be their 30th wedding anniversary .
Sorry this first entry was so long....I can't believe what a whirlwind the last month has been.
Thanks to all who have reached out in concern, visited mom and Alvin, sent cards, and texts of support to all of us, helped out in many ways, and most importantly have prayed us through this very difficult time. We appreciate it more than words can say!