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I’m back – can I just say that I so didn’t want to come in here this week. I just felt very reluctant this morning – disheveled, out of sorts, completely not ok. I got into GSP about 7:30 or 8 Friday night, and Bobby came to pick me up in his newly-shiny little BMW. Saturday, we got up, ran errands, had breakfast/lunch at IHOP with J&T, then got ready for a wedding in Greenville Sat night. We ended up getting there an hour early – the bride had filled out her contract with the wrong time – but I’d rather get there an hour early than an hour late. We didn’t get home until after midnight…. Slept in yesterday morning, then went to Townville for the day.

Mama’s feeling under the weather – the HCP layered chemo on top of a urinary tract infection, so she’s had a great combo of back pain, body aches, and nausea. Daddy took her to the ER early Thursday morning because the back pain was so bad – they switched her antibiotics, and it’s gradually decreased. She talked to HCP about it last Tuesday, and he said “yeah, it could be the bladder infection – but it could also be the liver cancer.” Argh, I hate him sometimes. Mama’s scheduled for a CT scan next Monday, a week from today, and I’m so worried. I just have an icky feeling about it, and Jennifer had a bad dream about Mama last night – I hate it when she has dreams like that because sometimes they end up being harbingers. I’m going to call O’Rourke’s office today and tell them that Mama’s not coming for her Aug 21st chemo – that we’re going to have the CT on Aug 20th, then we’d like to have an appt at Duke the following week on Aug 29th or 30th. That’s assuming, of course, that Maggie doesn’t come early. I’m expecting the evil Debbie Queen Bee to give me a hard time about us basically making our own chemo schedule, but I don’t care – they can’t make Mama take chemo. They already think our family’s a little weird because it’s not the first time that we’ve just rearranged our own chemo schedule – it really offends them when we do it, but it’s ultimately our decision, not theirs. And it’s not like we have a proactive oncologist that takes an active role – he basically just does what’s easy. The bump on her head has nearly disappeared on Carbo, so he prescribes 5 more Carbo treatments without doing any scans. Yes, I think it’s definitely time for us to see the specialist again. It’s going to be a rough trip because Daddy and I are going to try to do it in one day, but it’s worth only having to take one day of PTO, and not spend the money on a hotel room.

I just got off the phone with Daddy. Mama cracked a rib vomiting this morning and could barely get out of bed. Daddy took her to G-ville per O’Rourke’s request. She’s having a CT scan done now, and we have an appt at Duke tomorrow morning at 11:40. M&D met with O’Rourke and apparently it didn’t go very well. The highlights of the conversation were her condition is “weakening,” he can arrange for Hospice to come in this week if they’d like, her liver is “breaking down,” and he gives her no more than 6 months. After I dry heaved in the parking lot of S-D, I called O’Rourke and told him that he was not to share his timeline opinions with our family again – that I knew that he thought we were all in denial, and I knew that he had been an oncologist for 20 years, but at no point during that 20 years had he been crowned God, and therefore he had absolute no way of knowing when Mama was going to die. He said that he felt an obligation to “prepare” us – I thanked him for his concern and said that we preferred that he not share any more timelines unless specifically asked by one of the family members. Where does he get off telling us that Mama’s going to die within 6 months. Like Susanna said – “I call bullshit.” The way he talks, she’s not going to get up and moving again – this bladder/urinary tract infection is going to put her down for the count, and is just one of many back-to-back afflictions that she’s going to endure in the next 6 months. He offered to arrange with Hospice, and Mama told him that she didn’t think she needed Hospice – that she was cutting her own grass last week. And he told me on the phone that we needed to understand that she would probably be permanently bed-ridden in the near future.

I just can’t fathom this – it makes me feel sick to my stomach. Six months – that’s January/February. I cannot comprehend this. It just feels unreal. I knew that our break was almost over, but I didn’t think that we would be thrown back into it so violently. But I guess there’s no nice way to remind us that our mom has metastatic breast cancer. There’s no nice way to say “ok, you’ve felt normal long enough – time to become a cancer-fact-spouting stress ball again.” It just makes me want to scream – I don’t what to call Grandma and Grandpa Butcher because I know that Mama wants me to pretend like everything’s fine. I don’t want to tell Michele because she’ll say the only thing she can say – that God is going to heal her, and there’s always more medications, and more chemos, and more options. And I would rather her say that than what Ginny Plant said – she asked me “so what if your mom does die?” It made me mad that she would even say that – because when you say it, it’s closer to being so. I don’t want to tell Marlena and Tim because it’s easier talking about Emma and other mindless, happy things – I don’t want to say “wow, these hamburgers taste great. My mom’s liver is failing and she’s probably not going to be here to see my first baby.”

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