From my perspective, today was a great day for Mom. I arrived at the hospital around 11:45am after dropping Gary off at the airport (less tears this time around, though not by much) hoping to make it in time for her chemo treatment. When I got there, Mom was totally awake, alert and snipping at my dad. It reminded me so much of the normal married bickering that occasionally erupts in their speech and I took advantage of the fact that she is pretty much blind to double over in silent laughter as my dad sputtered his defenses. Then she told him he was being too defensive. With a smirk and a twinkle in her eye.
Chemo didn't end up happening today-the oncologist was concerned about swelling near the implantation site and wanted to have it looked at before using it. It was a tense 45 minutes in the waiting room for us, though-the procedure was supposed to take 10 minutes and 45 minutes later, we were still waiting. Mom was totally fine, even a bit relieved to have the dressing off the wound. She kept itching it, which she gleefully said "freaks out" my dad. She had a CT scan of her head to check on the surgery recovery-we should have the results tomorrow.
As we were leaving the scan room, she thanked all of the technicians for their help, then yelled "Happy new Year!" I think that she is 100% aware of how freaking cute she is. She's milking the Kermit voice, the oversized PJs, the fact that she knows all of the nurses and technicians, for comedic effect. Dad said a nurse told him they all request her room and I believe it-she's a doll and there's always someone else in the room to help. But in addition to the sweetness, she also has some amazing zingers. Today as she was about to fall asleep, my dad commented on how cute she was. Another friend agreed, "like an angel." She quips from bed, "an angel with a shaved head!" without missing a beat.
But I digress.
It was a good day because it was the first day without ice packs on her neck and lower back. It was a good day because she ate a quarter of a real tuna sandwich with pickles and lettuce that she held in both hands. It was a good day because one of the nurses who has worked with her on and off for the whole week pulled me aside in the hall (he wasn't working with her today) and told me she's getting stronger. It was a good day because an amazing friend of mine who has some experience visiting people in hospitals asked her point blank how she copes with everything and Mom told her: "Every day I set an intention. I knew I needed to get my strength up and to do that, I had to eat. So I decided to get my appetite back. It's a vicious cycle, but I take it one day at a time, fighting as hard as I can." My friend then pulled me aside and said that she was shocked by how clear Mom is-despite being on medications that take two pages to list, she is lucid and fierce.
Goals for tomorrow include having an opthamologist look at her eyes. We all feel that it's not normal to go blind in four days and the doctors were talking about doing an MRI to see if the blindness is a result of the cancer spreading to her eyes or optic nerves or if it's a byproduct of the cancer already in her spinal column. I'm not sure why anyone would do an MRI before seeing an eye doctor-the MRI is really uncomfortable for her and she's already had two in the last week. We also want to increase her rest time-today was another busy day with procedures and LOTS of visitors. Tomorrow she will probably be having two if not more doctor visits (and maybe chemo, too) in addition to her radiation and needs to rest.
Thanks to everyone for posting comments on the blog, sending me emails, sending me and Ross and Dad texts, etc. We continue to read everything to her and she gains strength from you.