Justin: chemo, meds
Mom is getting chemotherapy once per week. She goes for a blood test on one day and chemo on another, every week. But she missed a couple chemotherapy treatments because she was too ill and run down. She doesn’t have a lot of energy lately. It’s difficult for her to walk across the house or even to Ernie & Susan’s next door let alone walk around at Wal-Mart of Canadian Tire or Sobey’s, things she loves to do. Floyd has had to pick Mom up and carry her a few times since she couldn’t walk back. We’ve skipped going out for evening doughnuts after making plans before because of tiredness. We say it is from the chemo. While in hospital going for treatment, she uses a wheelchair. There’s no way she can walk that distance. She laughs and says she has been in all sizes of wheelchairs – from one for a 400-pound person to a child’s wheelchair with racing stripes on it. (The child’s was the best fit.)
The doctor now says he sees that, from the X-ray results, the tumour remains the same – it hasn’t grown and hasn’t shrunk. They now tell her that she can take chemo if she wants to but doesn’t have to – her choice. What does this mean? We have a “family meeting” mid next week to discuss it all. The doctor suggested that family be involved in the discussion. We cannot / should not speculate as to what this means.
Mom is now on new medication for chest pain. Side effect: she sleeps until late in the morning, about 7:30 or even 8:00. I’ve come home from work some days to see her sitting in her armchair with her eyes closed, weak from the pain. The house is quiet, a heavy, dark blanket over everyone and everything. “How are you doing today?” “Not good,” she says in a tiny voice. I can barely see her lips move sometimes and almost not hear her. Other days I come home and find them talking lively about the NASDAQ or the trade-in value of their car or characters on The Young and The Restless. It is as random as the wind, and it changes a few times throughout the day. Some mornings she says, “I feel good today, like nothing is wrong,” as she munches down her breakfast muffin. Other days, Floyd brings her muffin and coffee on a tray to her arm chair because she is too weak to carry it. Other days yet, she simply abandons breakfast and lays down in bed. I see her laying there in bed covered by a wool blanket, like a small child, not moving, not strong, only resting.
At Wal-Mart, Mom has started using the electric shopping cart. It’s like a go-cart but really really slow. The first time using it was a jerky experience, and she was quite embarrassed by it, but she tried it a few times. “What if someone sees me?” she’d say. Well one friend of Floyd’s did. In stopping for a minute to talk, the guy offered up, “Nice set of wheels.” Mom had a disgusted, embarrassed look on her face but took it in stride. However, the carts at Home Depot are obviously made for modern-day obese people; it has a weight sensor in it that shuts it off if a child-weight person is sitting on it. At first we had no idea it was about body weight, but we figured it out only after Mom being stranded in the middle of the store. Nice store staff though. One woman brought a new cart (which obviously didn’t work for Mom either), and another brought an ordinary wheelchair that Floyd could push around for her.
Sometimes at the dinner table Mom picks away at her food, sometimes she eats like a horse. Last night for example we had pizza. She ate an entire piece. I know when she complains about the food it’s because her “tasters are off”. Other days, the food disappears from her plate. “Floyd, we have to buy Delissio pizza from now on.” Mom can no longer taste salt, but her doctor tells her this is to be expected with chemotherapy.
Every day is different, every day is a challenge. We take it one day at a time.