Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Fightin' Pants

For a few months now, my mom has been having some health issues. I'll spare the many details, but it started with a dizzy/fainting spell that had Dad calling 911, and has ended up with two blood transfusions for extremely low hemoglobin levels, every possible test in the medical books, and the discovery of a mass in Mom's lower intestines and/or colon.

And yes, the mass is malignant.

It was a week-and-a-half ago we found out the mass was likely malignant. It was a Saturday, and Mom called from the hospital (she'd been admitted for a transfusion). She was crying. I started crying. She sent Dad home so he could process it in his own way and I visited her for a couple hours that afternoon. That was the gut-punch day.

But since then, no tears. The biopsy confirmed it a few days later and since then, we've been calm, collected, and ready to fight.

In a message to Mom on Facebook, I talked about putting our "fightin' pants" on--a sort of mix-up of "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it" and "fighting spirit," I guess. That Saturday was a very emotional day. Still, I've run with the term.

Yesterday was Mom's birthday.

Part of my gift to her was a banner I made. "These are your fightin' pants," I told her. Of course, she loves it. Even Dad loves it, and helped me put it up over the fireplace. "We'll keep it there," he said to me later. And they will take it to the hospital, too. Though Mom hasn't yet seen her oncologist (she will this coming Monday), we're fairly certain that surgery is in the near future.

She also got some Silly Putty (for times of anxiety) and Superwoman socks to keep her feet warm. When I visited her the last time, it was freezing in there. And I gave her a book by an author we both like. I bought another book by him, and when we each finish, we'll swap.

You might notice that I've avoided using the c-word. I have avoided it as much as possible since this whole saga began. Part of that is, perhaps, denial, and my own anxiety at play. But part of it is a stubborn refusal to let the c-word completely take over our lives. Of course, we are all going to be fighting this with Mom, and watching her battle it. But all of us refuse to let it be a 100% downer. We are choosing, instead, to face the challenge head-on, with dignity and our collective sense of humor intact. It's not going to be easy, and it's not going to be fun. But whatever Dad and I can do to lift Mom up when she's feeling her worst, we will do.

We still don't know what the exact course of treatment is going to be. We believe surgery, as soon as possible, because no one wants to leave a malignant mass in there to grow. We figure there might be some chemo, and we'll deal with that should it come. We are hopeful that it's as early as we think it is.

A few days ago, Mom was talking to one of her friends on the phone, and giving her the details of what is going on. Dad later told me, while laughing, that Mom said, "...and I'm pissed!" With that kind of attitude, we can pull up our fightin' pants and deal with what's ahead.


Lynda Helm said...

Meg, thanks so much for sharing. We love your Mom and Dad and Hope all has a happy ending. I'm a "C" survivor and know how scary it is. You are all in out thoughts and prayers. Much love, Lynda & Bob Helm

Natalie said...

Hi Meg, so important to communicate and not to carry the sadness alone. Mom and family have my prayers and positive thoughts.
My husband was diagnosed in 1996 with cancer in the ascending colon. He was fortunate, it was contained and did not get out of the colon. He had 6 feet of his colon taken out followed by chemo. He would have 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off period after the third week of chemo, he was very tired, exhausted actually. Lots of rest followed until the next bout. The chemo made him very sick and weak. However after all the chemo is over. He gained his strength back and all was well.

Yes, there is a big fight ahead but with the right attitude and the support mom will come out of this with flying colors. During the chemo lots of ice pops kept Alan's mouth from getting dry.(a suggestion)
During his time of rest, he always like to go to a Solarium type atmosphere. At this time it may be nice to have a massage or a facial and lots of naps.

Give Mom my love

Jon Hodson said...

Meg, a phone call any, any hour, any time and Mary and I will do whatever we can do to help.

Anonymous said...

Megan... I have told your folks but anything you/they need at any time any hour just let us know. She will beat this...we have too many things left t do

HARRIET Garland said...

Megan.. guess I don't know how to do this.. I am the anonymous person

LaVonne said...

Blessings and prayers for Susan and all who know and love her. With her beautiful, positive spirit, I know she will fight this head-on and never look back! Susan is an inspiration to everyone who knows her❣️ Although I haven't met you in person, I know you are as wonderful as your Mom😊 🙏🙏🙏🙏

Barb Alvarado said...

Hi Megan - I know tomorrow, 7/10, your mom has an appointment with the surgeon - please send both your mom and dad my positive thoughts.