“It’s going faster now. I can feel it.”
I felt my chest get heavier and my eyes fill when I heard Mom utter those words yesterday.
Only a week before when my sister was visiting with her family on their Spring Break she had told Mom that she hated to go home, but that she would see her this summer. Mom replied to her by saying that she didn’t think she’d be here then.
What do you say to that?
A month or so ago Donna, one of my oldest and dearest friends who recently lost her father to a long battle with cancer, suggested a book to me. Final Gifts – written by Maggie Callanan; a hospice nurse, this book gives caregivers and family members some insights into the end of life process. It’s less about the mechanics and more about the need to maintain a soul connection, prepare and let go. It’s also about hospice patients and how in subtle ways the offer up final gifts to those they love.
Mom has been reading this book and I’ve been reading the companion book: Final Journeys. Neither are light reading, but both offer up helpful information and stories.
They are definitely not books that I feel like you can read cover to cover, but rather in bits as time and tears allow.
For the past three weeks Mom has been undergoing weekly chemo infusions. Each one takes about 4 hours and leaves her feeling tired, but not as wiped out as previous medications have done. She’s also taking daily doses of 20mg of Prednisone – a steroid – that is given in an attempt to boost the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs and her pain medications.
She seems to be managing her pain much better with pot before meals, and more frequent oral meds in addition to her pain patch which is a continuous transdermal dose. Increasing the amount of pancreatic enzyme taken with meals and snacks helps too. The steroid dose gives her a lot more energy, but it also makes her quick to anger and/or weep. She hates that, and feels confused by it. I try to remind her that it’s just the steroids, while holding her tight in an attempt to ease her fear and frustration.
Mom is losing weight and feels much weaker. This concerns her a great deal. As a retired nurse, she simply knows too much. I know it too, but I don’t focus on it. To me she is as beautiful as ever, and no physical changes affect what I see.
Last night in an attempt to divert my attention away from the impossible to the possible, I was looking at houses on the beach to rent for a day or two. Looks like I found one.
The house is oceanfront with lots of windows. Something I was looking for because walking on the beach is no longer an option. A newer rental with wheelchair accessibility and walk in shower, it would be perfect for an early Mother’s Day getaway.
Next week it’s chemo again and then two weeks off. An open window of time to go on a trip and relax at one of our favorite spots.
I pray it works out.