The Next Phase

...of the saga that is Mom's cancer has started.

This week has been a rough one and about the hardest part about it for me is the realization that it was probably easy compared to what is coming.

On Tuesday her doctor had her come in to do another CT scan.  She wants one at the end of every round of chemo to compare.  If you cancer is going to be chemo-resistant, they aren't going to waste your time or attack your body with something that isn't working.  Mom's CA-125 number had dropped but it hadn't dropped as low as her doctor would like and then this last time it did what no one wants it to do - it started to creep back up. 

Mom is one of those patients, too, that doctors point to when discussing the issues with the CA-125 test.  As invasive as her cancer is, as far as it has spread, her numbers should be in the thousands.  Normal is considered under 21.  This last round of chemo her number dropped to 20.4.  When it started to creep up?  It went to 41.  The highest her number has been is 595 (I think that was it...I may be off by one or two).  Forty-one doesn't sound too horrible now, does it?


Between her last CT scan and now, the tumors  have increased in number all over her abdominal area.  She has a 1/2 centimeter tumor in her esophagus.  Considering your esophagus is only about a centimeter in diameter, that's a pretty good-sized tumor.

The hardest to hear, though, is that she has tumors - yup plural - and not just plural, many (approximately 20) in her liver. 

There is very little they can offer to her but they won't quit trying.  Not until Mom says she's done.  To have those conversations, though.  To listen in on those conversations as she talks to her doctor...it is so hard to fathom.

My mother is 64 years old.  She has always been the most vibrant and energetic person I know.  Always on the go, can't keep her on the couch.  Now she can't get off of it.  She has played on the floor with her grandchildren up until several months ago, a few months into round one of chemo.  She has been to work almost every day of her treatment, missing a few days here and there when side effects reared their ugly head.

Chemo and inactivity caused blood clots to form in her leg.  One of them broke loose and got into her lungs.  If it hadn't hung up where it did, she'd be gone.  Taken in a few seconds.  Instead, the clot is discovered in the CT scan and she's now on a blood thinner.  She has mentioned she was spared so God could torture her.  That isn't true and she knows it but I can see how she'd feel that way.  Why save her from a blood clot to have her go through what comes next?  The spreading cancer.  Chemo that doesn't work.  Pain.  Humiliation as her body breaks down and she loses control of certain functions.


I keep praying it's because God intends a miracle.  And I am ALL for it.  I'm praying hard I get to be a witness to it because let me tell you... I will grab a bullhorn or I'll buy a microphone for my car and I will be shouting it from EVERYWHERE.  Nothing would make me happier.

However...I also know it could be He is calling her home and how He calls her home is entirely up to Him.  I don't have to understand it, like it or agree with it.  I just have to love Him and trust that He knows what He's doing. 

Honestly?  It is that faith, that belief and that knowledge that kept me from losing my temper a few times this week.  When they put Mom in the hospital on Tuesday, it looked like no big deal and they'd send her home on Wednesday.  Wednesday did not go as it should and it was really rough on Mom.  It got a little tough for me to curb my tongue a time or two and it was only that knowledge that God has it all covered that kept me from saying things to people I could not take back.  It never fails that there are insensitive people and when you need compassion you're definitely running into someone who doesn't have the slightest idea what that is.  It's not expected in a hospital but...it happens. 

When it does, I sometimes don't win the battle in my mind against uttering something sarcastic.  This time, though, praise Jesus, God kept my mouth shut.  It just has me wondering if I'm going to remember to rely on that faith every single time something comes up.  Probably not but I sure hope so.

This is a bit of a ramble and I have no gracious ending.  The only thing I can put here is what I stated earlier...with a minor twist.  This week was possibly just a hint at what is to come.  All I can pray is we all remember we serve a mighty God, an amazing God and know that He walks with us through this mess.  Right now, though, I just want to kick something...and then sit down and cry.

Instead I'll take a deep breath and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  All while praying...

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