Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Two ambulances and a Blackcurrant smoothie

We`d borrowed a `smoothie maker` from a friend, and made some beautiful blackberry and banana smoothies.
Mum went up and had a long soak in the bath, with me hollering up the stairs every five minutes and on the strict instruction of keeping the door open.
It was a beautiful, sunny day . Mum came downstairs after her bath and we decided to sit in the garden and have a `sneaky`cigarette. When we had finished we came in and i noticed mum sway to the side. On closer inspection , her face had dropped to one side and she was unable to speak. She was ghostly white and collapsed in the chair. I got hold of her face and yelled "mum", "mum". No response. I dialled 999 and i don't know why but i just ran into the street. Ambulance on its way, i just fell into the arms of a neighbour, screaming "i cant do this anymore, just hold me". Well i have to say my neighbour was just wonderful. She held me and calmed me down and then tended to mum. I couldn't`t do anything, i just wanted to run. Gosh, that sounds awful, but that's what i wanted to do. Run away from cancer. The pain of seeing this happen to someone you love so much , someone who so does not deserve this, someone who never did anyone any wrong, someone who had had a terrible life. It was just unbearable.
Anyway, the ambulance arrived, followed closely by John, and then by Gord. They decided she needed to go to the hospital to be checked over. By this time , mum was coming round, no memory of what had happened.
On a lighter note , they tried to start the ambulance to no avail, and had to send for another one. Anyone driving past must have thought there was a terrible incident unfolding in my road!They also thought mum was vomitting blood, that is until i informed them about the blackcurrant smoothie!
John and i followed in the car. Gord went home.
On entering the A and E dept i was relieved to see mum sat up in a chair. They gave her a chest x-ray, which i am pleased to report was clear, and administered some fluids.
She felt much better. Again, no answers as to why it had happened. I tucked her up on the sofa and headed for a glass of wine.
That was probably the last `blip` mum had until after the wedding. Until the awful mood swings started.

Doctor `do little`

I decided, against mums wishes, to call out the doctor. Just for a quick check over, although mum was feeling allot better now. I am no fan of my mums doctor. I do feel he is to blame for not picking up on mums symptoms when she had been to see him so many times. He wasn`t very knowledgeable about ovarian cancer, in fact i think he had only come across it once before in his whole career.
He arrived after his surgery had finished. He checked her over and decided her blood pressure must have sunk very low. Unfortunately he was unable to tell this for sure as he had forgotten his blood pressure monitor!!!! Did he put my mind at rest?!
From that day on i wouldn`t let mum out of my site. I checked her through the night and would not let her leave the house alone. The strain that i put upon myself by doing this was immense.
The strain that i put on my partner and children by doing this was also immense. The strain that i must have put on my mum, i can only guess, but at that time ,in my ever struggling mind, i felt it was the right thing to do.
By the time of chemo number three my anxiety was terrible. My heart raced constantly, and i could think of nothing else apart from what we were going through. Life was cancer.
At the hospital they weren`t overly concerned with mum`s collapsing, and it did reassure me a little.
Chemo three went smoothly and mums bloods were excellent, so it took me by surprise when one Saturday morning we had yet another fright.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

`Anxiety` The new illness

The second bout of chemo, again went well. Mum tended to get a bit hot and sweaty when the taxol was administered. I went with her for nearly all six sessions. Gord didn`t offer once. Not that i would have had it any different, but a bit of support wouldn`t have gone a miss.
Mums hair started to matt. It just went into this type of dreadlock thing, perched on the top of her head. She had made the decision not to shave it off and i had to respect that, but as the days went on she had to cover the mass of hair with a bandana as it was so awful, in the end we relented and got the scissors out.
We were doing ok. Then one day , i was downstairs making some porridge for breakfast and i heard this almighty thud. I rushed to the bottom of the stairs. Silence. "Mum " no answer. I ran upstairs absolutely terrified, the fear that i had ever present in the back of mind suddenly came to the forefront , i thought i was going to vomit as i saw mum lying on the floor next to the bed.
I could see her trying to open her eyes. She sat up slowly with absolutely no recollection of what had happened.
And so, for me, severe Anxiety made an entrance.

Chemo, wigs and weddings

Luckily, in the run up to the first chemo, we had wedding plans to concentrate on. An absolute godsend! In actual fact in this period of time between our visit and the first chemo we did really well. Lots of expensive meals out, shopping trips , and just for a little while we managed to put it to the back of our minds. Mum was well. Better than she`d been for a long time. Thats an odd statement to make isn`t it seen as she had just had a hysterectomy. We hadn`t realised until now how ill she had been before.
She was staying with myself, husband John, Zak 13, and Kayleigh7. It was a squeeze, but we managed well . Kayleigh had to give up her room and sleep on the floor in Zaks room. I thought she took it well until the day i discovered she had written on her bed "This is Kayleighs bed".
Gord(mums partner) came down most days. We cooked him tea and did his washing. He was in complete denial.Totally.
The first day of chemo we got up early. John came with mum and i, which was a great support as he is very level headed. Then the news came on the radio in the car "Jayne Thomlinson has died" It was a total blow for our hope. The times we had mentioned this wonderful lady in our trying to be positive talk.
Chemo went smoothly. In fact it made us feel very safe. We met some lovely people in there and i know it made mum feel very much that she wasn`t alone in this hell.
I watched her like a hawk that night.
The three weeks passed without event really. As i said before we were all very excited and focused on the wedding. Mums hair had started to thin very slightly but nothing too dramatic.
We had chosen a wig a few weeks previously. A fun trip where myself and my friend Jane had accompanied her and done the "who can put the silliest wig on" thing that everyone does. Then we had gone to lunch at the Royal clarence, fine wine and fine food! I had a few tears as we had a toast and mum said "If i die tomorrow i have had a great time with you girls"

Monday, 2 March 2009

Visit to Cherrybrook

I dont remember alot about the journey home. I remember we all sat in the front room in silence,trying hard not to be too upset in front of the children. "Right come on everyone lets get out" . Off we went for a slap up rather expensive indian meal. Money all of a sudden had little importance, and that remained the same for the next six months.
We were invited for a visit to the hospital to look around the chemo unit. We were all absolutely terrified and still i believe in denial. We were shown a video in a little room that had obviously been decorated to look cheerful yet didnt quite do the job! On the whole, i have to say it wasn`t at all what i expected. Instead of being full of ill looking people crying and whaling in pain which is what i envisaged , we were met with smiles and laughter and warmth. People sharing out cakes and bags of sweets.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Enter the professor

In he came, like god really. Shorts and sandals. I was already crying and mum just looked terrified.Told us what we knew. Asked us how much we wanted to know. Mum replied "not alot"
We asked the prognosis. "not good".I leant on John. Unless you are unfortunate enough to ever come across this situation it is very hard to describe.

The Most awful day

Waiting for the results is something i never imagined any human being would have to go through . Not in this day and age anyway.
Wine by the bucketful. Credit card to the max.
John took the day off work. 330 the appointment, a day to worry.
We went in an hour late. Disgraceful. Ushered into this vile little room.
Suddenly we heard a man on the phone in the adjoining room. "this lady has ovarian cancer grade 3c and yes she does have someone with her" the auxillary nurse walked in,i yelled at her "can you tell him to keep his voice down for gods sake", she chewed her gum and looked at me and apologised in a non-convincing fashion.