Mom had a CT scan to see why she is coughing so much and to determine why her abdomen is swollen. They not only found that her cancer has continued to progress despite the new medication, but she also had what looking like multiple blood clots in her upper legs. So we rushed in to get ultrasounds of her legs, only to find very long clots in both legs. One leg is almost completely blocked by the clot, the other one is pretty close to being blocked. So she is on blood thinners now, and the lymphedema wrapping is now postponed until further notice. No more wraps, no compression garments, nothing.
We may never get back to it. Her cancer is continuing to progress fast. When she has downhill turns, they come overnight. She’s not walking at all, she’s in the wheelchair almost all the time, except when she’s on the couch, in bed, or in the car. She has no energy. She’s depressed. She’s disengaged most of the time, emotional sometimes, angry other times. But at the moment, the blessing is that she has no physical pain.
Her oncologist doesn’t think she’ll make it to June, or if so, not much beyond. She had a trip overseas planned for June, which I think was giving her something to look forward to. Something to hope for. We haven’t told her yet what the doctor said, or that she won’t be taking the trip. Even if she’s alive, she won’t be well enough, and the blood clots just sealed the deal.
With the discovery of the blood clots–and the requirements of suspending the lymphedema wrapping appointments–Mom’s schedule has gone from busy to empty. Which, while that gives her a break, it also gives her time to sit and stew. I’m going to do what I can to engage her, but it is difficult these days. Having a one-sided conversation is hard for any length of time. And knowing how much I should attempt to engage her is difficult, too. We used to be able to sit and crochet together…and talk or not. But she won’t crochet anymore…and she doesn’t seem to want to talk anymore.
I watched a video by a hospice nurse talking about the last months/weeks/days/hours of a person’s life. Although I cried through parts of the video, I feel like it helped me understand how Mom’s body is going to be functioning in the next months. I’m not stressing over her eating or drinking, because a body that is preparing to shut down doesn’t need the same energy as one that is actively living. So I feel like if she wants to eat/drink, she can. If not, I’m not going to be stressing her out by harping on it.
Today my father said to one of my brothers, “She’s not coming back from this” a few times. I talked to him without my mom this morning, and I can see that it’s starting to set in on him. Sometimes, anyway. Sometimes I think he’s completely in the dark, but maybe that’s how he’s coping. The brother that lives with them is barely acknowledging any of it. Another brother is dealing with his own depression issues, and although he is trying very hard to be helpful and engage with all of us, I can see that his medication is keeping him dulled. The third brother who lives out of state…he’s emotional like I am. But he’s so far away that he’s not as involved as the rest of us.
I’m randomly crying. I feel like I’m grieving and she’s not even gone yet. I’m trying to hold myself in the moment, but when it’s quiet, I just can’t. I feel the weight of the loss on me, heavy and cumbersome. There are moments when I feel like I can’t lift my head. There are moments when my thoughts whip around in my head so fast that it makes me dizzy. I try to find a center, a grounding, something to soothe me, but I have not been successful. It’s not anxiety, it’s not panic, it’s just so much sadness. Not depression, I don’t mean that. Just sadness.
I’m trying not to show my mother how emotional and angry and sad and upset I am. But I don’t want her to think that all of this means nothing to me. I worry that she sees me buzzing around, doing this, and that she thinks that I am not upset. Because she knows I’m the emotional one in the family, and yet I’m not showing it this time. But she doesn’t ask. We don’t talk about it. The sicker she has gotten, the less we have discussed how sick she is, or how sad we are, or how afraid we might be. The sicker she has gotten, the less we have talked. The sicker she has gotten, the further away I feel from her, which I guess is natural as she prepares to withdraw from her life. But oh, how it hurts. How it hurts me to not be able to talk with her and be myself with her.
How much it hurts to even admit that she’s dying. Even though I’ve been open and honest with the family and with her good friend. Somehow “reporting” what has come from the doctor has not hit me the same as saying it in context of my relationship with my mother. I guess I don’t know how to explain that any other way.