Monday, March 14, 2016

My Mom's Summer from Hell

I debated writing a post about my mom's lung cancer.  I know for her it is a time she wants to put behind her and forget about.  I want to forget about it and move forward too but it shaped us and put life into perspective at a time when life felt out of control in so many ways.  

Looking through the pictures, I noticed how incredibly strong my mom was through all of it.  She was able to put on a smile and power through the most difficult months of her life.  The doctors told us how hard it was going to be.  They told us her treatment was going to be very aggressive.  I realize only someone that has gone through this sort of treatment can actually relate to the sickness she felt.  She was amazingly strong and somehow found the strength to power through.  The doctors told us some people can't handle it and opt out of the last rounds of chemo.  For my mom, that was never an option in her mind. 

It is hard to believe it has been almost a year.
Onward and Upward!

The cutest wig ever!  

Chemo and getting her fluids with her Cardinals water bottle

Kate made a comfort quilt with the kids for my mom.  She let them design and help her sew it.  I was blessed through all of this to have Kate's love and support.  She was always there to help with the kids when I needed to be with my mom.  She always asked how she was doing, keeping updated on her progress and keeping her prayers strong and constant.

At the beginning of treatment, she tried to keep wanting a beer and good meal out after treatment.  Eventually, she stopped wanting the beer or any food really.  That was when we knew she felt really horrible.  

The radiology machine was crazy.  They let me come in to look when her treatment was over.

MaryAnn always making friends.  All of the doctors and nurses loved her.  But she was very happy to say goodbye!

A picture from Siteman over Forest Park.

Lots of tears when she finally got to ring the bell.

The tumor dramatically shrunk just midway through treatment.

I think she drank about three sips but was always willing to try to eat and drink.  Things just stopped tasting good.

Cheryl Cima, Dr. Ward, Dr. Govindan

All treatment was complete at the end of July.  The doctors reported that they could not have hoped for a better outcome.  The tumor had shrunk and what showed up on the CT scan was residual scar tissue.  Scans will continue every 3 months.  We continue to feel positive that the cancer is gone!

  It wasn't until later in the Fall that she started to feel like herself.  I knew the day she and my dad came over for a visit to see the kids, she was starting to feel like herself again.  We appreciate our times together more now than ever.

The lessons of the heart I've learned through this and from my mom:
Love with all your heart
Tell those you love that you love them
Make memories with those you love
Lean on those who you love and who love you for strength and support
Laugh often
Cry when you need to cry
Give strong hugs
Enjoy good food with those your love
Enjoy a beer (or wine or any cocktail) with those you love
Everyday is a gift, share your love

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