Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday. Every special event right now seems that much more special. I'm not sure if it's the realization of our own mortality, which makes us take notice of special days that much more, or perhaps it's the underlying tone of thankfulness. Nonetheless, special days are special. But everyday is truly special. Each day is one more day together.

I'm so very happy that I live close to my mother. That we have a relationship of friends. Before the cancer I spoke to my mom on the telephone multiple times per day. We shopped together, weekly. We had family dinners, regularly. Our relationship has always been extremely close. I can't say the cancer has made us closer - as we already were. But, it has seemed to make me take more notice of the time we have together and try to notice the enjoyment it brings.

Tonight, we will have a very small, low-key celebration at mom's house. She is requesting Publix birthday cake with whipped cream icing - so, that's exactly what she will get.

Pictured above are two arrangements of flowers sent to her from her co-workers. It was one of the most touching gestures, as each person brought in a silk flower and attached a personal note to my mom. As you can see, many participated and she has been taking time today to read the notes - with a box of tissues, of course!!

To all that have been keeping my mom in your thoughts and prayers - thank you!! And thank you all for the well wishes on her birthday. She has been receiving all kinds of posts on Facebook and they truly warm her heart.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chemotherapy - Round 3 - We Need A Little Christmas, Right This Very Minute!

Last Friday began round 3 of chemotherapy. This one we went into prepared. She drank the water. She took the pills. She ate the small meals and snacks. All of the above still make it hell. That really is the only way I can describe what someone goes through as they fight for their lives by enduring hours of toxins pumped into their bodies.

Now, nine weeks into chemo, the treatments are really taking their toll physically. Her legs hurt. She equates it to the feeling of walking a five mile walk - only her walk is only halfway across her living room. Our trips out have decreased, as she doesn't have the strength or energy to walk through a store or go out to lunch. She is tired, yet, the chemo makes it so she has many sleepless nights. Often, I too, have sleepless nights, so we find ourselves texting one another, making fun of the sales people on QVC at 3am. However, they have had a lot of really neat Christmas decorations on around 5am. . .yes, we know the schedule well.

By Tuesday, mom's spirits were waning. So, amidst meals, meds and pep talks, we decided she really did need a little Christmas on Wednesday. It was November 2nd after all, Halloween has passed and while we normally wouldn't dream of decorating for Christmas so soon any other year. . .this year it feels most appropriate! She made the comment that having her tree up would make her feel like we are closer to the end of chemotherapy, since her last round is on December 30th. So, with Christmas music cranked, my brother, my mom and I put up her Christmas tree.

Unfortunately, the magic of those few moments soon wore off and she was back to feeling pretty miserable soon after, but at least her tree stands tall in her living room, beautifully lit and a reminder that soon the season of joy will bring her much reprieve from the doctors, IV's, nausea, vomiting, aches, pain, weakness, baldness and surgeries. Soon, life will return to a new normal. She will be a survivor. Her hair will grow back. Her breasts will be reconstructed and she will be able to do all the things she once did - and more!

Yes, Christmas really is right around the corner and this Christmas brings with it even stronger promises of new life, mercy and peace.