Biographical Non-Fiction posted February 5, 2017

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What Happened To Me


by MelB

Hi FanStory Friends,

Some of you know this already and others don't. I've been away from the site for three weeks. On January 12, I woke up at 3 AM and had an intense sense that I needed to pray for my mom. I had no idea why, but I prayed anyway. I got a call from my dad the next day and my mom had been admitted to the hospital for a collapsed lung. I booked a flight, rented a car, packed and fed my cats all in an hour and arrived at the airport a half hour later. After a 4-hour delay to my flight, I arrived in Florida at 2 AM.

After a short night of sleep, I went to see my mom in critical care at the hospital. She looked pretty good. Fluid had been drained off her lung and we were told she might have an infection from the radiation she completed last February, for Stage O breast cancer. She had been having back pain for six months, which was diagnosed as costochondritis from the radiation.

I kept a positive outlook and figured she either had pneumonia or an infection and she would be back on her feet in no time. I started cleaning up the house for her return, and visited her daily at the hospital. As the week wore on, she seemed to get weaker instead of better. The fluid came back with abnormal cells and was sent to another lab to find out why. I continued to keep a positive outlook and prayed healing over my mom. I anointed her with oil and gave her scripture to meditate on daily. I also had anointed healing music playing in her room. I had many people praying for her recovery.

The fluid returned to her lung and the diagnosis came back cancer. I was still optimistic she could recover. On Thursday, my dad and I received a message the doctor requested to see us. I know from working in the medical field, this is never good. Yet, I remained positive about the outcome. On Friday, we received the news -- mom had Stage IV lung cancer. It was in both lungs, along with pneumonia, her spine and pelvis, and also lymph nodes. I felt like I was hit by a truck, while simultaneously having someone drive a machete through my heart.

The doctors wanted to drain the lung and start chemotherapy immediately. When I talked to the nurse, I found out it was palliative care, which means it would only buy mom time. I had a talk with my dad, and neither one of us felt she was strong enough to endure chemo. After discussing it with mom, she felt the same. I told her I would love to keep her around as long as possible, but not like this. Not throwing up, losing her hair, sores in her mouth, etc. and all only for a few more months of life. What kind of life is that? All three of us made the decision to put her in hospice and had her sign a DNR (Do Not Rescucitate) Order. No daughter should have to ever make a decision like this!

I wrote two letters to my mom, telling her how I felt about her and how special she is to me. I read one in the hospital and read the other at the hospice center. I took care of her, bathing and washing her hair, shaving her legs, and doing whatever she needed me to do. I told her I didn't want to let her go. She said, "You've given me the best gift, being here and taking care of me."

My dad is hard of hearing, and sort of froze through this whole thing. I basically had to be the strong one, as he was having chest pains. I was terrified he was going to have a heart attack. He was also not functioning well. He would get turned around at the hospital, miss turns on the road, and couldn't remember things. When he received the news about mom, he cried and told me he had nothing left to live for without mom. This is not something you want to hear your parent say, especially when you are already losing one.

After I returned from the hospital each day, I cleaned the house and washed and folded laundry. In addition, I fielded all the phone calls he received, and changed my work schedule as needed. In short, I completely wore myself out.

The night we moved mom to hospice, she went unresponsive. I woke up again at 3 AM and knew mom was failing. I knew I needed to go to her, as I had tried to go back to the house to sleep. I spent several nights in the hospital with her and every night at hospice. We made sure she was never alone. Each time, she had anxiety at the hospital, I prayed with her and she would settle down. I opened the blinds each morning at the hospice center, which overlooked a lake. The third morning, I opened the blinds and beautiful cranes flew over mom's window. I knew instantly this was it. This was the day. We played her favorite music, Elvis gospel songs, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, and How Great Thou Art made it twice.

I played the Vince Gill/Carrie Underwood version last. It was a dreary morning that day. On the last note of the song, mom took her last breath. On the last note of the song, and the last breath she took, the sun came out. It didn't just appear, it shone brightly right at mom's room! There was no mistaking it--Mom was home.

I'm thankful she is with her Lord and Savior, but my heart is completely broken. I am pushing myself to write this, so I can hopefully get back. I have never felt so much pain in my entire life. I have had intense shaking inside and in my hands since this happened. I am devastated to lose my mom, as we were very close and had a special bond. I've also either got a cold or sinus infection. I am physically and mentally depleted.

People have told me I'm strong my entire life. I never really believed it, until I went through counseling and looked back at all I've endured in my life. As I watched my mom battle and struggle through the pain for six months, and all she fought through, I now have a new appreciation and respect for her. I now see where my strength comes from. Ultimately, it comes from Christ. But, my mom was a fighter! I clearly see where I get it from.

I just flew back home Friday night. I thought it would help to be home, but it doesn't. I am worried about my dad and I feel like I abandoned my mom. My son and husband have gone back to life as usual, while I struggle to see how life will ever be normal again. I don't know how to get through this. I've never gone through it before. I thought my mom would live to 80's or 90's. She just turned 71. I feel robbed of time. I can't wrap my head around how this was missed. She was following up with her regular doctor, as well as cancer doctor. She constantly had appointments.

I have started to review again. I have to do something to keep my mind off things. I don't know when I will start writing. I thought I should let people know what happened to me. I'm going to look into grief counseling and/or a group for losing loved ones. I'm also going to have my dad request mom's medical records. Maybe, I can get some answers from it all.

I love you all and I will return when I can. Take care.



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