breathing not bad, Sask-Man

Justin: Mom’s health is not bad these days.  No new appointments until August, 2014, so they’re heading to Saskatchewan and Manitoba on a road trip.  They’re taking cousin Judy some household things.  This morning she’s off and on – good and bad – but I’m sure they’ll head out today and be gone for about a week.

“I never knew that”

Justin: Mom’s memory is slowly degrading.  Things from the past would come up in conversation, and she would say, “I never knew that,” or “No, that never happened.”  Today I questioned her about it.  I asked if she thought her memory would come back since she’s now done her medication for a couple or few months.  But for someone who doesn’t remember certain facts, those facts aren’t real; so for her to comment on them makes no sense.  This has been going on for some time though.  It could be from Ativan or sleep meds or just the stress of having cancer.

off chemotherapy pills

Justin: Mom will be off her chemotherapy pills in a few days.  She says she really can’t wait for that to happen.  She’s got sores on her fingers and face and is tired all the time.  These pills really knock the energy out of her.  They also take away her appetite, and she doesn’t really taste food at all now.  She just eats a little, as much as she can, at each meal.  It often takes her an hour or more to finish a muffin in the morning.

The doctor said a couple of days ago that she can go two or maybe three months without taking these pills, depending on what she wants.  “The difference between restarting the pills after two months and three months will only extend your life by a little,” the doc said.  I asked how much “a little” was.  I was thinking a month or two.  “Six months or so,” Mom said.  I was surprised.  “You mean you wouldn’t extend your life by six months just for the sake of extending not taking the meds by a month?” I asked.  Mom’s reply was that I had no idea how much these pills take the life out of her, how hard it is to live every day with the side-effects of the chemo pills.  Needless to say, I felt bad for asking.  It’s about quality of life at this point, not quantity.

Glenn will be here for three weeks during the time she’s off the meds, so we’re hoping she’ll feel better during that time and will have more energy and more appetite.  Her conversations about Glenn coming aren’t as enthusiastic as what I would expect, meaning she’s really pretty low these days.  If a three-week visit from Glenn doesn’t get her excited and counteract the pills’ side-effects, then probably nothing would.

The doctors also took a second quantity (not as much as the first, which was just under a litre) of fluids from around her lung.  This was several weeks ago.  This time, they did the tests they should have performed before.  And, yes, there is cancer in the fluids.  They were expecting this to be true, so it isn’t any surprise.

All-in-all, Mom is doing well most of the time.  The past few weeks I’ve seen her sitting in her armchair in the morning, not able to sit at the table for breakfast.  Yet, for the past few days she’s had “real good” times every day where she says she feels “as if there’s nothing wrong”.  Nice.  We pray that these continue.