Thursday, December 1, 2011

A sentimental post

For those looking for snark and self-deprecation, you'll have to look elsewhere, because it just ain't happening here today.

My grandmother is ill.

And I really do mean the worst kind of ill.

She had severe abdominal pain and went into the urgent care center. They did an X-ray, thinking it would be gall stones or kidney stones or something similar. Instead, they found a large mass in her stomach. They sent her over to the hospital, where she was immediately admitted and tests were run.

By the end of her five day stay, they found cancer in her stomach, intestines, liver, gall bladder, colon and free-floating in her abdomen. When those test results were further investigated, they learned that these cancer cells were all breast cancer cells, not the colon cancer cells as originally thought.

My grandmother beat breast cancer in 1999. She had a full mastectomy just two years after she lost her husband. It's been in remission all this time, and it just is not fair that it came back like this.

After finding out it was breast cancer, they did a full body scan. The cancer is in her lungs, esophagus, bones (not yet in the marrow) and in her brain.

She also beat brain cancer in 2004. Again with the unfairness of this all.

Her oncologist has agreed to try the most aggressive form of chemo available. But there is only so much her bedraggled seventy four year old body can handle. She's been dealt a rough hand in the health department (in addition to the two bouts with cancer, she survived polio as a child as breathes with only one functioning lung as a result), and is severely overweight. She uses a walker to get everywhere, and that's on the good days when she can even get out of the house.

Chemo is not going to be kind to her, and I fear (well, we all fear) that it will do more harm than good. She is going wig shopping next week. The treatments start on the 14th of December. If she's going to try this, it has to be now; no waiting for the holidays to pass.

So far, the cancer is winning. She has lost the strength to walk, and goes days at a time without being able to eat or drink anything. The tumors in her brain are actually pressing on the back of her eye, causing severe drooping, and her vision is becoming impaired. She is drifting in and out of coherence, spending hours each day unable to form complete sentences and unaware of what she's doing.

Nobody who has beaten a disease twice should have to face it for a third time. And the disease should not get such a big head start the third time around.