Scripture for Meditation:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:2 NIV).
Prayer of Faith:
Dear Lord, I ask that you would wrap my mom in your compassion and that you, the God of all comfort, would give her the warmest comfort as she rests in your presence. Help her to feel you with her. Help her to feel better and to receive the pain relief that she needs. Comfort me and my family as we walk alongside my mom during this time. Show us how to be compassionate, and show us how to be a comforting presence to my mom as she is going through this valley.
From the working manuscript of Not Alone: Prayers for Daughters of Moms with Stage 4 Cancer
Today is Thursday, 1/24/2019. Here is some more information from my mom’s appointment with her radiologist-oncologist yesterday. She has Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. She has small spots on her lung and upper breast in addition to the cancer cells we already knew about in the liver and on the back. What else is new information is that the mass on the back is not so much a mass but a whole cluster of disease there, on the lower lumbar L3/L4. What this means is that it’s not so much a tumor that can be shrunk and removed but just a large collection of the disease that really isn’t something that can be operated on.
The biggest issue right now is pain control. My mom was given a new anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Another development is that my mom has agreed to the radiation, which will start Monday. She will receive a 10-day radiation treatment. This should break up the cluster on her lower back and give my mom enough pain relief to regain some of her mobility.
New information is that my mom will be receiving medical transportation for her radiation treatments. What this will mean is that an ambulance will come to her house and take her in and out on a stretcher. The reason for this development is because it has been challenging to get my mom to the car (up and down stairs) in her condition for all of her doctor appointments. This change sounds like it will lessen the worry that there will be an accident (e.g., slipping and falling) en route to her treatments.
My mom’s liver biopsy is still on for tomorrow. They will confirm that this is the same breast cancer she had three years ago—to make sure that it’s not a new cancer.
My mom has a cane and a walker. She also now has a bedside commode to make it easier on her so she doesn’t have to get up and travel to and from the bathroom.
Regarding Home Health Agencies, my dad is in the process of selecting one to help during the day when he is at work.
As for me, I still have a headache (this is day three of the same headache that started once I received the news that the PET scan showed that the cancer had spread to my mom’s liver and back). Day one of the headache was clearly stress induced, and I was able to manage the tension with breathing, stretching, and trying to stay relaxed. Day two (yesterday) of the headache started out with just a stiff neck on the right side, as is common for the tension headaches I experience. It started becoming more of a headache by the evening—again induced by the stress of receiving the phone call about my mom’s appointment with the radiologist-oncologist yesterday. Day three (today) of the headache started out as a very solid stiffness at the base of the right side of my head and the headache was immediately there upon waking. The pain is in the back of my head, going about halfway up. This is a pretty bad headache for me if it’s now taking over the back of my head. I haven’t taken any medicine for it yet, which is unusual for me. I usually take pain relief as soon as I start getting headaches so that I can function at an even level and not be “sick with a headache” when I need my energy and strength to take care of my own family. I actually had a headache on Monday (which was the day before this three-day-and-counting headache started), but that one was linked to hormonal shifts (it was a cycle headache). I have been pretty good at riding those ones out, and I was able to ease this one away fairly quickly with relaxation techniques. I think I’ve just been waiting for this monster-of-a-stress-headache to subside on its own because I don’t want to admit that what worked for a cycle headache won’t work for a surprise stress headache. I want to be able to control those ones, too, and not rely on the medicine so much unless I unquestionably need it.
Also, I am sad. I am trying to maintain routine and keep things running smoothly in my own home. This helps me cope. It makes me feel like I have some level of control over my own life even though I can’t control what’s going on with my mom. Until the next update, carpe diem.