Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer …
We actually have to go back a little further than April 2008. Back in November, both Mom and I got sick … just colds. The problem was Mom never really got better. In January she still was having trouble breathing, but the blockage appeared to be her nasal passage. Her back started to bother her more and more. On Jan. 31, she wrote, “Not sure what’s going on but I’m not right … I just want to feel better. I haven’t been right since November.”
And there were plenty of distractions as well. Grandpa Siccardi fell in New Jersey, not once but twice within a week in February. We had to make arrangements to have him admitted to a nursing home, getting him settled at Seneca Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Waterloo. When he wasn’t responding to therapy, a follow-up x-ray showed a fracture and he underwent surgery for a hip replacement. Mom and I planned to remodel the downstairs bathroom so we could bring him to our house to live. And Gavin was born – all from mid-February to the end of March. Most of February was spent with me in New Jersey. A chunk of time was spent with Mom in Ohio .
But those were just distractions. Our lives changed forever in April.
Mom’s entry for April 14:
Last four days have been trying. I finally went to the doctor. The shortness of breath hasn’t gone away. After an x-ray, they gave me an antibiotic and said I should call Monday to let them know how I was. Later that day they called and said I should come into the office on Monday. They said I had a suspicious lung and wanted a CT scan. [The] results came in. I have to see a lung specialist next Monday.
I’m trying to stay positive but it is difficult … I am calm, so I know many prayers are being sent up.
We had a cry fest together that entire weekend. We were both numb, but Mom was in worse shape … pain and nausea on top of the stress. She intuitively knew how helpless I felt, which made her feel worse.
We saw Dr. Stephen Ignaczak May 1. Dr. Gloom told us up front there was no cure and the only treatment was palliative. The cancer had spread from the lung to her liver and possibly her bones and brain. He set up a chemo regimen – three days in a row spaced three weeks apart. Her first round was scheduled May 6-7-8.
To be honest, I think we were all surprised – the doctor, Mom and me – she even made it to the first treatment. She was so weak and in so much pain. Yet, she wrote, “God never gives more than we can handle. I sure hope He didn’t get this one wrong! … I have prayers going up for me in Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Florida, New York and New Jersey. There are so many people praying for us. I have to be thankful for every day the Lord will bless me with.”
Mom tried to remain upbeat and wrote, “I am trying to make the most of the time I do have and to do it without complaining or regret – just love, peace and joy. Oh yes, the cleaning of the house … Joe is going to have to be stuck with it after I’m gone! I have enough dust bunnies collected that I thought I would leave instructions on knitting his own cute furry animals with the dog hair that has collected in the hall ways and around some of the furniture I’m sure he could muster up another puppy!”
I tried to be helpful and supportive. After all these years of Mom taking care of everyone else, she needed someone to care for her. I gladly did it, although I wish she didn’t need the care. I sat with her through her chemo sessions and helped her finish her Mother’s Legacy book. Ironically, she writes in her journal about being smoke free for seven months!
Mom handled the first round of chemo quite well, although she had a coughing spell a couple of days later. The doctors were fabulous, returning our after hours calls within minutes and prescribing medicine to get the cough under control.
To be continued …
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Every time you accept the negative into your head … you make it true.