Somewhere around the last few days of November my mother started to experience severe pains that felt to her like a heart attack. Very severe heavy pains all throughout her abdomen, chest and back. She breezed through open heart surgery for clogged arteries two or three years ago surprising us all with her bravery and swift recovery. I sure hope we will be blessed by the same outcome this time around.
She went by ambulance to the hospital where she was admitted and given all the usual tests. There was no evidence that it was her heart. They gave her pain medicines and started other tests a few days later. She was in quite a bit of pain during this time. They said she had a blocked bile duct in the gallbladder and pancreatitis. After a few days of not eating they managed to get the pain under control and then she was able to eat little bits of jello and broth. After that she able go home.
Next came an endoscopy in a town an hour and a half away. Just what you need when you don’t feel good. After the test they were told that she had a “spot” on the main artery leading to her pancreas. Ok that isn’t the worst sounding thing. She would have chemo treatments, then radiation and then surgery to remove the gallbladder, pancreas, the duodenum and a little bit of the small intestine. Supposedly an arduous surgery that might be more difficult to recover from than the heart surgery. Needless to say we were all very worried as she isn’t a spring chicken anymore and has not been in the best of health for quite some time. We can not imagine her going through this.
They went back for more tests and another doctor said it is far worse than previously thought. She has cancer spread all over her pancreas and the blood vessels surrounding it. You can imagine our shock. My father was completely undone as I have never seen before. My brother was the one who called and talked to my son to relay the news to the rest of us. It was difficult for him to even say it. My daughter was sobbing and I just kept my eyes on my grandson’s face as his father, my son, told us about my mother’s condition. My grandson is seven and he knew something was terribly wrong but so hoped it wasn’t true, as we all did.
We still celebrated Christmas at my parents house practically as if nothing was wrong. I am sure the other family members had a lump in their throat the entire day just as I did. There was such a dark cloud hanging over us. It didn’t feel quite real. No one wanted to leave when it was time to go home. My son, his family and I don’t live in the same town as my parents but close enough to drive to in one day. Still it’s just not the same as being right there. Thank goodness my brother does live there and is able to take care of them. He is such a huge help to them.
My mother had a port placed in her arm a few days ago and had a productive day yesterday. She seemed to be up and about a little more than normal. She will start chemo treatments at the beginning of the year. I never knew that chemo treatments were also used to treat pain in a situation like this. A situation when they won’t really do anything else.
That is where we are right now, in limbo. A terrible place to be yet we have the gift of time, something others don’t have. Maybe not much time but some. Maybe I can write updates as time marches on with information that can help someone else in the same situation. Maybe some of you have information that can help my family. So please keep us in your prayers and good thoughts. And go hug someone now and tell them that you love them.