I received some sad news mid this week. The doctor in charge of my mom’s palliative care informed her, and us, she now has a very short time left. The phrase the doctor used is mom’s body is winding down. So not being hungry, things not tasting good enough to want to eat, being tired and week all the time, and just wanting to sleep, are all signs the body is winding down. Personally I haven’t heard this phrase but it seemed gentler…kinder, somehow.
Up till now, no matter how poorly my mom felt, she would rally. When she was diagnosed with cancer about 6 years ago at the age of 79, she went through a significant operation, months of chemotherapy and 26 rounds of radiation over a 5 week period – spending her 80th birthday fighting cancer. It was brutal to watch what it did to her. I remember sharing my thoughts on visualization…recommending she imagine each time she was going through her treatment there was a little guy inside with a laser gun zapping all the cancer cells to dust. Personally I pictured Marvin the Martian.
Less than a year ago she was told the cancer was back. She was surprised and disappointed as she figured she’d beaten the odds – they had given it a 5 year window – and she had almost reached that point. Her immediate direction to the doctor was to operate and take it out of her. While operating was not considered to be an option, they did try chemotherapy. This was too much for her body to handle and the treatment was stopped.
When the doctor told her a month ago she had months not years left, her comment was “I am going to live longer than that doctor thinks I am, I am going for another oxygen treatment”! This is a woman who despite all odds continues to fight.
I’m schedule to drop over tomorrow morning. I’ve been giving this much thought in the 2 days since we were informed. I cannot imagine what my mom is feeling. But I do recognize that this is not for me to be concerned with (remember what I wrote yesterday…accept the things I cannot change). What she feels, thinks, believes, imagines…they are all hers and hers alone. What I CAN offer is what I have always offered my mom – a daughter who tells it the way it is but somehow manages to put a twist of humour in – encouraging laughter whenever possible.