Sunday, June 14, 2009

Drowning in Bad Memories

My parents arrived last Wednesday for a week long visit, most likely my mom's last. She is suddenly going downhill so quickly that even my dad has been left somewhat stunned.

The worse she gets the more I find myself pulling away, and I truly hate myself for it. I so badly want to have a few more good laughs, a few more real moments, but what she needs is a daughter who can listen endlessly to her every grievance. I wish I could just be there for her and listen, but every prick and every jab drives me right to the edge. When J is around I simply get up and leave the room when I can't take it anymore.

Eight weeks ago, when it was time to say goodbye at the airport after Olive's birthday, she couldn't stop hissing in my ear about how much she hates my dad long enough to say goodbye, or tell me she loves me. I finally took her on like I would a tantrumming three year old. "Mom, I know you're mad. I understand your anger. But I love you, and I'm going to miss you." It didn't work.

I'm 31 years old, with nearly 30 years of normal memories, yet this is all I can remember anymore. When I close my eyes I never see her once full head of hair or a smile, just my mom as she is today.

When they get back my mom will try 3 quick rounds of a different type of chemo, Ava.stin, which has a positive response rate of 40%. 20% of the 40% make it to a year. Last month it was given accelerated approval for patients with progressive disease despite treatment of other therapies, which is huge considering it is the first new drug approved for this type of cancer in more than a decade.

But honestly I'm pretty much out of hope.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Six Months, One Week

I planned all last week to make a six month update. I was going to write about how my mom had decided to continue on with chemo despite her earlier plans, how her terrible allergic skin reactions had become somewhat manageable, or at least tolerable compared to the alternative of stopping treatment.

Six months. Six months. I couldn't stop trying to wrap my head around it. Six months ago we'd all begun planning for her to be gone by now. We never thought she had six months. But her she is! I suddenly felt like I'd been given the gift of time all over again. Time to start fresh, forget what I thought I knew, and just enjoy. Invincible.

Six months, one day brought a big scan. No one expected the results until this week, because that's the drill.

Except that her Neuro-oncologist called within a few hours. And he canceled her chemo 36 hours before she was to start. And he told her to get an appointment asap @ UCSF. And while he didn't mention the two shiny spots that appeared last time, he did say that there is regrowth at the original site. And that he was leaving for vacation the following day and he'd see her when he got back.

She told him that she wanted to continue with chemo, that she'd made plans around it, that she didn't want to just sit around doing nothing, that she had a lot of fight left in her.


And so now for a week I've been walking around in a daze. I'm trying to process it, but my mind can't wrap around it. I was energized. I had a new game plan. And now that's all gone.

I'm lost.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Uh Oh

Yesterday I learned that Olive can drink out of a straw. I learned this after she drank a good third of my venti Tazo "Awake" iced tea.

We had a very cranky afternoon but her heart did not explode.

Good times.