Saturday, February 12, 2011


There are times when Mom gets confused and I don't understand it. Since getting sick, she hasn't been able to recall the year. When asked, she'll always begin "19..." then pause, and sort of laugh at herself before realizing we're in the 2000's. But then she won't be able to find 2011. She knows the days of the week and the month, but not the year. Very odd. And tonight she couldn't remember plans that we had gone over a couple of times. I don't know if it was because we were talking about things right after she woke up or if there is something going on in the timing region of her brain that is interfering with those kinds of things. But it's something and it worries me.

Though everything worries me. I worry when she doesn't eat enough, I worry when she doesn't rest enough and then I worry if she sleeps too much. I guess I'm just programmed to someday be a Jewish mother (even if I don't have kids, the obsessive worrying is still in my DNA). Mom told me that she ate well today: a friend brought over scrumptious things in the afternoon, so despite a modest breakfast, she got some good calories in her. When I asked how her stomach was feeling, though, she admitted that she wanted a break and didn't have an appetite for dinner. I think she's constantly less comfortable than she lets on and maybe that also alters her focus. I know if I'm in pain, specifics can become hazy. And it's got to be old by now-every day seeming the same, the only way to mark time passing is really by who's with her when, what food is being served and various therapies.

When we moved to the KGH, I admitted that I missed the hospital. Gary suspected that I missed the energy of the hospital more than the actual hospital, which is interesting. On a basic level, the hospital was high energy, emergency response, adrenaline-fueled. KGH is much more relaxed, slower paced, sustainable energy. If we can compare them to cities, the hospital was like New York and KGH is like Seattle. No wonder I felt more comfortable in the hospital. And we also were in phase one, with a phase two plan. Now, living in phase two, a phase three plan doesn't exist yet-who knows where Mom will be in a month, physically, emotionally or health-wise. There's no specific set goal that she's working towards. Everything is abstract: get better. But without specific, measurable outcome goals to achieve, it's impossible to tell when you're making progress.

So we're in limbo.

Strength and balance have much improved. So have appetite and stomach discomfort. But with round two of chemo beginning the day after tomorrow, who knows how long that will last. And if/when there are setbacks, how discouraged does it make sense to get? And, of course, the real concern is how the chemo is working. In about three weeks, we'll be able to take a look at where the cancer is now, how it's responding to treatment and if the chemo is worth it.


  1. Aynsely,
    of course it doesn't make sense to get discouraged at all but not all the things we do make sense. You get discouraged as little as possible or as much as you need to at any given time. Just don't give up on hope.
    thinking of you and sending you strength,

  2. Dear Aynsley and family,
    Chemo and radiation are effective because they are toxic, and it is hard to see the toxic effects hit your Mom. I encourage you all to take heart in the fact that she has been able to take the doses, is maintaining strength, and is still very much able to be with family and friends. Some of the memory issues may be the short-lived side effects of the treatment and may resolve. I encourage you to discuss them with her docs, and to take each day one at a time. I recall that every day when my sister was getting her chemo/rad combo, I just tried to encourage her to give herself credit for showing up and taking the treatment again. We all love your family and celebrate the love you share.

  3. I realize I left out a critical adverb and phrase. The memory issues may resolve QUICKLY, once the meds are no longer in her system.