As some of you already know my mother has cancer, she is 82 and suffers from some age related dementia which is exacerbated by chemo therapy, commonly referred to as ‘chemo brain’. Her daily treatments involve taking her to the cancer center Monday through Friday, a 160 mile round trip. Between the chemo and radiation treatments as well as traveling to and from them, she is becoming weaker by the day in body and mind. One of my biggest challenges is getting her to eat and drink enough to keep up her strength. The nutritionist at the cancer center told me yesterday that if she continues to lose weight and looses normal body functions, she will be put on a feeding tube. When the doctors and nurses talk to her about the necessity of sufficient nutrition she agrees with them and tells them that I take good care of her. It is another story when she is back home and I remind her what they told her. She just tells me she doesn’t feel like eating and refuses the nutritional supplement drinks. She needs at least 4 of them daily, I am lucky if I can get her to drink one and it has to be diluted with 2% milk or she won’t drink it at all. Her meds are set up in a daily pill-box with large letters marked clearly for the morning, noon, evening and bedtime, problem is she may take them or she may not depending on whether or not she notices the box sitting on the kitchen counter. I constantly worry whether she has taken too much or none of her meds. When I ask why her meds are still in the box, she says she doesn’t know and that she did take them. Then I have to decide whether or not to take the chance that she got them from the bottle or have her take the ones that she clearly did not take from the box. Either way if I make the wrong decision it could be really bad for her.
I know some of you may be wondering why I find it necessary to go into so much detail (be a whiny butt). The reason is simple, I am venting my frustration for my own benefit. I am both physically and emotionally drained and this blog makes it possible for me to stay sane enough to continue. In other words I get to complain without having to look you in the eye. It is Christmastime and for the first time in 45 years we don’t have a Christmas tree. Life as we knew it, is on hold. I don’t want my mother to suffer and I don’t like neglecting the rest of my family but it appears that for now my choice has to be doing the best I can for her and being thankful for the blessing of a family that understands and fills the gaps that I am leaving undone and faith that I can do all things through Christ. I must constantly remind myself of the 15 minute rule and just do it!