Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I met a few angels today...

Yup. Actually more than a few. They were almost everywhere I looked. Dressed like human beings, walking and talking like us. They talked to me too.

No I'm not bonkers, I didn't take any illegal substance, and I didn't fall on my head since I last blogged. God is working miracles in His way - and they are everywhere. Small, medium and the large ones we are still praying for, if it's in His plan for our family. Since last Monday so many things happened.

Let me say firstly: my mom is doing SO much better. She is driving around, visiting friends, and went to a coffee shop with my sister Linda yesterday. I even caught her doing some weeding in the garden over the weekend!

No, I didn't exaggerate her condition and illness last week. Everything happened exactly as I told you. She almost died before she went to hospital Sunday before last. She said she felt it, my dad saw it happening, and the doctors were very worried. On Friday she went home, not needing any oxygen or pain medication. She was still a bit tired, sometimes short of breath, but I haven't seen her looking this good since January this year, before she got sick the first time.

I went to visit my parents on Sunday, totally ready and prepared to cook for us all. When I got there, everything was done, I only had to make the salad and lay the table! And mom flatly refused my help to pack the dirty dishes in the machine. Here is a picture I took of her and my dad on Sunday:

Her face is a bit puffy from the cortisone, (my dad's is puffy because he is a big teddy bear!) and truth to be told, this picture doesn't do her justice. (They might just hurt me for posting this picture!)

Back to my story. She had an appointment with her oncologist Dr D today. We're not very happy with the way he treated her, allowing her to get so sick without doing something to help alleviate her pain, but they trusted him. Today he informed them that the radiology dept at the hospital where they are, couldn't help them with the radiotherapy mom needed - broken machine or something. So they have to go to a different hospital 80km away. My dad asked if there was a possibility for them to rather go to a hospital about 20km from them, they phoned, and got an appointment for my mom immediately.

Doc D didn't like this at all and said if they don't want to go to his choice of hospital, then he would rather not treat my mom any more. (Good riddance I say!) In less than 30 minutes my dad got all the necessary reports, x-rays etc, and drove my mom to the other hospital. Let's call this one LA - Los Angeles - the place of Angels! (Now don't get confused - this is South Africa - this hospital was where I met the angels!)

My mom was almost swept off her feet by caring, helping, supportive nurses at "LA hospital". They were there less than a minute when the new doctor, Doc P, met them and discussed everything in detail with them. She sent my mom for a CT-scan and a bone density scan. That took a few hours, and while my dad went home to rest a bit and get some reports they forgot at home, I popped in to say hello. It's 5 minutes from my home where the old hospital was 20 minutes' drive away from me.

I was just in time to give my mom a hug and a hello before she went in for the bone density scan. We thought it was best for me to go home, since the scan would take about 45 minutes and by the time that was over, my dad would be there again. Just as we kissed goodbye, one nurse told me:

"No don't go, come in with your mom, you can keep her company. Come sit here, everything will be OK."

That was just one of the darling things they did for us. When my dad arrived 30 minutes later, another nurse called me to go get him and show him where my mom was, and brought an extra chair for him to sit on. They were so thoughtful, efficient, just wonderful! I left them a few minutes later with the promise of coffee at my place after they saw Doc P again.

There were a few minutes during the time I waited for them when I almost panicked. The news from these tests might not be good at all. But then I realized how calm I felt when my mom told me everything that happened before I arrived at "LA hospital". When they told me later that the scans showed my mom's cancer had spread even further than her lungs, it wasn't a shock. Not good news at all, but we felt cared for, safe.

The bad news is that the cancer has spread to the membrane around her intestines, her spine as well as some lymph nodes in her chest. But the good news is that these cancer cells are small, and treatable, they do not have to operate. Realistically it might never be operable, but we still have lots of hope. And her lungs are clean!

Last week this time we thought my mom was on the verge of dying. I was crying most of the time, even though God's grace gave me strength. On Tuesday she told me her cancer is terminal, and her response to the treatment will determine how long she will still be with us. In other words, she will be receiving mainly palliative care, making her last days as painless and comfortable as possible.

Realistically speaking again: yes, she might still be terminally ill, and the treatment she will be receiving at this new hospital might still only be palliative care, but it's as if the sun has broken through the rain clouds, and everything looks bright and beautiful.

Hope has shone through and filled our hearts to overflowing. Thank you dear God!


Lori said...

I'm so pleased that you are being taken care of every step of the way. You and your mom have been in my thoughts, and will continue to be. What a sacred journey.

Geohde said...

I am very glad to hear that your mother is feeling so much better.

I am so sorry that the big C continues to advance. :(



Waiting Amy said...

She looks wonderful! (and you are right, you dad does look like a teddy!)

I am so glad your family found LA hosp. and you are receiving compassionate care. I've been thinking of you all.

Fertilize Me said...

Thank you for this update -your parents are very huggable!! I feel very priveledge to see the blessings that have been bestowed to your family. Excellent care and excellent Dr's. You all deserve it! Thinking of you

Leah said...

What glorious news that your Mom is feeling better, and that the immediate threat appears to be treatable. It's so nice and refreshing to hear stories about truly thoughtful, caring people in the medical profession. They all feel your thanks and prayers tonight, I bet.

Bea said...

I'm so glad your mum is up and about, and being well cared for. Hopefully this indicates a good response to further treatment, and she'll be battling on for a good long time.


Mands said...

I am veryy happy that your mom is doing so well. It is a very traumatic thing to have to deal with for all concerned, and more and more people are affected by it daily. I hope she goes from strength to strength.

Anonymous said...

so glad to hear how your mom is feeling, how you're feeling and the excellent care she's receiving...
i appreciate your perspective on all your family is going through...

Furrow said...

I think she looks great. They both do. I'm so glad to hear about her rebound and hope it continues. Thank heaven for caring hospital staff. We often only hear the bad stories.

Schatzi said...

Oh, it brightened my day to hear this. I am so glad that you mother is feeling and doing much better. But especially that she is now in a place where she feels cared for. Fabulous.

Amanda said...

I am so happy that your Mom has gotten new doctors, new nurses, and new care! It sounds like a place full of wonderful possibilities!

You are all in my thoughts!

moosk said...

this is wonderful news... (sorry, i'm a little late catching-up). i don't know if any studies have been done, but i strongly believe that being treated in a caring, thoughtful environment can make a huge difference in the outcome. i'm so glad to hear that your mom is home and feeling strong. and who knows... maybe those angels have a miracle in store.