The dreaded 'C' word ... Cancer
It's the most debilitating disease on the planet and one that strikes without warning, quickly and decisively and takes away your dignity, your life and your future.
My Mom was diagnosed with Stomach Cancer recently. You may have noticed that work just didn't flow as quickly and simply as it did in the past. This is the reason.
It's not only the doctors you need to visit, it's the questions and discussions you need to have with loved ones, and yourself. All the complications are discussed, the outcomes and possible scenarios that can be followed. And we know nothing about this disease, only what is told to us or that we heard about, which isn't much.
It's a major blow to the equilibrium, similar to a man who stands tall and proud yet that which he stands upon suddenly quakes and trembles and becomes unstable. His knees unwillingly bend and he falls prey to imbalance, insecurity and weakness. He must go down on the ground to his knees or fall on his face. A least if he is kneeling he can still keep his face forward, his shoulders back and his head up. It's better than being flat down on the ground, isn't it?
The decision has been made, taken out of our hands by the person who has the most to lose, or gain - my mom. She decided it was best to take the operation. They would cut out half her stomach and hopefully cut out the cancer with this process. It's a 100% cure we were told up front by the surgeon. If the cancer hasn't spread from your stomach there's a good chance that this will be a 100% cure. We'll get all the cancer, even the surrounding tissue and lymph nodes as an extra precaution.
Well, after the CT Scan and the Pet scan and the Endoscopy that tattooed her stomach, she finally went into the hospital expecting major changes to her diet. After a short recovery period (hopefully without complications) she would finally be able to eat well again.
She'd lost so much weight that her usual 145 lbs slim body was now almost gaunt at 109 lbs. Well, in a younger woman she might even have been considered slim and sleek. But the weight kept going down and the operation was supposed to fix this too.
The operation happened. It was a success. No cancer anywhere except in her stomach. It was debated and finally decided that the cancer had not left her stomach lining. The lymph nodes that were removed and tested proved to be free of cancer. It was highly possible, in fact in the opinion of the surgeon, almost 100% sure that the cancer had been found and prevented from spreading - in other words they had caught it in time.
Phew, we all said. Thank goodness that's over.
But it wasn't.
It was only the beginning in a series of debilitating, embarrassing and horrifying experiences. It was as though the medical community had heard about her near escape with cancer and wanted to treat her for the cancer that she no longer had - or as they put it - to treat her for the cancer that might suddenly show up because one little cell wandered away and settled in another organ. It happens often they say.
So she stripped off her clothes, lay on a flat metal bed and allowed them to tattoo her with tiny pricks and write over her with permanent markers. Again and again she did this until they were satisfied. Then they started the radiation treatments. Everyday for the next five weeks they would radiate her stomach area, the marks they'd made would help to pinpoint the exact position.
And the Chemo-therapy? Well that started almost as if it were added at the end, almost forgotten, or at least pushed aside until the marks required for radiation were finalized. We found out later that the Chemo side were keeping tabs on her all the way. So they were ready for her, even if we weren't. It would be Chemo-therapy once a week for 6 weeks.
Okay, we agreed. What else could we do? Mom was sure they knew what they were doing and trusted that this was the way it had to be. I tried telling her about alternative therapies, about vitamin nutrition to help her weight loss, about other people who had it worse and survived because of what they did, the alternative way. Mom isn't interested, still isn't. She listens carefully, but thinks the doctors know what they're doing. After all, didn't they just recently change everything around with the radiation because of some breakthrough in Jacksonville? They are up to date and they've helped other people survive this. It's only going to be bad for a short time and then we'll be sure there's no cancer left anywhere.
But Mom, there's no cancer now. The Pet scan couldn't find any. Why do the radiation?
Because, the doctors think it's necessary. The operation might have been successful but there are always other little cells around that might mutate at any given time. We must find and kill them. I'll only feel bad for a short time, then it will all be over and we can rest easy. This cancer came from somewhere. Had we seen it and done this earlier, we would have prevented it, so now we're preventing it.
My Mom's weight is now 105 lbs. She'd only lost 20 pounds over this short time - over... Wow, this started in September 2008 - not eating, losing weight, trying different things to help her eat and settle her stomach, until the Endoscopy and biopsy finally told us the grave news - stomach cancer. She was diagnosed in March, about a week before her birthday on the 31st. Needless to say her birthday was a solemn and quiet affair, far from the rest of the family. She didn't want anyone over. They came anyway, my 2 sisters, and they talked to her. Even my sister who has cancer herself made the trip to help mom. My 2 brothers called from South Africa to speak to her, bolster her spirit, tell her that they, too, were there for her, whatever her decision.
It's strange to think that it's been almost a year. It doesn't seem like much in the big scheme of things I guess, but consider that she never was overweight. She never had extra weight to lose. She's happy about her weight though - It's been stable at around 105 now for 3 days, Mom said (June 17th 2009).
Will it go up again? I don't think so. Not with the radiation and the Chemo and the anti-nausea pills that don't work.
There's more to tell and this is not in the best of order, nor properly written. I need to review it, explain some things better, find the proper time line, show the feelings of both Mom and myself and the family, so people will understand. Maybe I should also explain about my sister who has Multiple Myeloma and has given up on any breakthrough. She's accepted death, knows it's inevitable and is creeping closer everyday. She's already asked Hospice to come in and help her set her affairs in order (around June 8th, 2009). Any day now my sister believes that our sister will die (I have 2 sisters).
If you're interested, come back in a few weeks, or hopefully days, to see if anything has changed and read up about my mom.
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Items For Sale
1994 Pontiac Firebird 3.4 auto - $950
White with T-Top (no leaks), new headliner, cold A/C, 90% tires, excellent transmission and drive train. Auto seats / windows / mirrors. Clear title. Generally in very good condition. Starts right up but has a bearing knock at about 1500 rpm.
- Car is not driveable as is.
Call Joe at JoeJude Enterprises.
1994 Nissan Sentra 1.6 XE auto - $650
Cold A/C, 95% tires, new CV joints, excellent transmission with O/D, paint somewhat faded in places, normal body wear, new headliner, clear title.
This car was running very well until shade tree mechanic did a tune up (new timing chain and 2 x Injectors). Now timing seems way out. If you know about fixing engines this is the car for you.
If you wish to send condolences, etc. please use the
edwina email - that's my Mom's name. I'll print out each one and
deliver it to my mom, or sit her at the computer and let her see them, when she's capable and willing.
If you wish to send donations, use the PayPal button below or send it from within your own PayPal account to my Mom's email address at the .net judeline account.
To get rid of spammers, I have to encrypt the email. This should bring up your email account with the correct address for mom. If it doesn't work, you know how to get hold of me at my business = JoeJude Enterprises. Our contact info is at the bottom of every page of our web presence.
If you wish to donate from your own Internet banking account:...
Or else, just click here.
Any and All donations will be used to help Mom through this ordeal. The monies will be given to her to use as she sees fit. As she has no need to use it for rent or general groceries, it will probably be used to make her life easier, to arrange transport to and from the treatments she needs, and/or to pay for any cancer treatments her medical will not pay for.
Luckily she is still in full control of her faculties. She can think and reason and make decisions about her life. I know she will hate the idea that she is on the Internet, but I cannot afford to take her backwards and forwards to her treatments for much longer. I also have to live my life and I have to draw a line somewhere. Any help would be greatly appreciated and not considered charity, just a helping hand to a fellow citizen of earth who needs help.
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Thank you from Judeline and Joe Meintjes - JoeJude Enterprises.
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