I seldom love being wrong. But I am overjoyed to report that I was very wrong about how Mom would feel today. A few days ago, I predicted that "by Friday, she'll probably feel like crap" due to the return to chemotherapy. But today Mom still had an appetite and the strength to do physical therapy and occupational therapy. From the reports I've been getting, she seems stronger this week than the past couple of weeks. She did vomit after eating matzoh ball soup tonight, but she ate the entire bowl of it first. That's progress. For her to have an appetite at all is a victory.
Her digestion is a constant struggle. Being so sedentary, taking morphine, eating sporadically, taking blood pressure medication, and being nauseous all take a toll. It would be astounding if her digestion was anywhere near normal. But she has stomach pains a lot. My uncle brought her a heating pad that's a lifesaver; she uses it frequently and it helps with the belly discomfort. Last night she slept with the heating pad and by this afternoon her stomach was much better. The nausea hit tonight after dinner, but up until then was at bay. Again, for her to have the energy and stamina to do both PT and OT is fabulous-she wasn't able to do both since before my last visit and now it was two days in a row, after chemo.
Gary started a new job today (YAY!) and my parents called tonight to hear all about it. Gary wasn't home, though; he was performing in his improv show for the first time in almost two months. Mom wasn't really interested in talking to me, she just wanted to hear all about Gary's first day and to let him know they were thinking of him all day. I filled them in on what I knew, which wasn't much, and they told me they'd talk to Gary tomorrow. The whole conversation warmed my heart-that is exactly who Mom is. She remembers little details about people and then asks about them. She calls people on holidays, she asks me to send texts from her phone on birthdays, remembers who is going where on vacation and when they'll be back...that's classic my mother. That she's still the same person is such a relief to me. That even though so much has changed, I still have the same person in my life.
There have been many instances where I've felt role reversal, where I've stepped into the care taker position: feeding her, helping her stand, establishing rules, rubbing away her headaches the way she used to rub away mine...and yet she's still my mom. She's still asking the same questions she'd be asking if she wasn't in a hospital bed.
I am learning what this cancer means. I have been so focused on what it can take away. Today I got a glimpse of what it absolutely can't.