Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grandma's Cancer - July Update

Was it back in February I first posted that my mom has cancer? The doctors told her it was stage four lung cancer, that she'd undergo radiation and chemotherapy to help her deal with pain and in perhaps 6-12 months call in hospice.

I have four younger sisters, so to keep track of who's who, I'll use the nicknames my late father used for us when we were growing up. #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5. Original, huh? (I'm #1 for those who don't already know that.)

Back to the update. As soon as #2 and #5 learned of Grandma's condition, they put their heads together to be sure that alternating weeks each of them would be able to take care of Grandma. Every Wednesday she would go for treatment, and then return to either #2's home/family for a week or her own home with #5 keeping daily watch on her reactions to the treatments. #4, along with two of her own four children and the girlfriend of one of those children, drove from one end of the state to the other to spend a week at #5's and spend time with Grandma.

The only thing #1 has been able to do is call weekly and have fun heart-to-heart chats with Grandma. I had been hoping to go in August and spend the month with Grandma (and my daughter Megumi, too, of course!), but unfortunately I will not be able to go afterall.

Sorry, back to the update! When all of this began, in fact, the only reason Grandma learned of the cancer at all, she felt a terrble pain in her left foot. Apparently, the cancer had spread throughout her body and the bones in her foot simply crumbled. They gave her a "boot," and she was able to keep mobile. She was also told that she would have to gain weight before beginning treatments. She tried to, but I'm not certain that she gained much. Anyway, treatments began.

While she lost all of her hair, she never suffered any nausea or pain at all! The chemo did tire her, but usually a day of rest was all she needed to feel like she could get up and do things she normally did. During the past month of phone calls, she kept telling me that her doctor said that the cancer was GONE! At least the cancer that had spread throughout her body. The growth in her lung, which is where they suppose the cancer originated, was half the size it initially was in February. She was given hope that she wouldn't have to return to the doctor for three whole months! False hope, that is.

At this point, she is stopping the radiation and the chemotherapy and is beginning a new treatment. #2 gave me the details (which I still might not be giving you correctly here*): Every three weeks Grandma will go in to receive a B 12 shot in her left arm (question for Grandma/doctor - why left? maybe because the cancer is in the left lung?), a bag of a new drug (question for Grandma/doctor - name of medicine?), and everyday she has to take one dose of folic acid (at the exact same time every day! Don't forget and don't take two!) This will continue for three months. Then the doctors will do more tests to see what's what.

So that's the way things are at the moment. One of the things Grandma said, "The bad thing about getting better is people don't come around and ask you how you're doing so much anymore." I had to laugh, but it added a poignancy to my own inability to get over the ocean to spend the summer with her. I was going to help her and #3 sort through her photos.

But it'll be okay. At least thus far our prayers that she not have to endure the pain have been answered. Thank you, Lord, for that.

*corrections from #2-5 are more than welcome!


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that your Grandma's cancer is responding well to the treatments and that she is not having much pain.

Thanks be to God!

Thanks for the update, R.L.

We will keep praying for your Grandma and for your family.

Raggedy Lamb said...

Thanks, Steve.
Actually "Grandma" is my own mother! I guess I'm getting more Japanese, referring to people as though the children in the family are the center of the universe. Sorry to confuse.

Steve said...

I think that came out in your post, but I just goofed in my comment.


I'm praying for your Mom, R.L.

We just found out that my Mom has lung cancer, also.

She hasn't started any treatments yet.

Red said...

I'm glad to hear that there's a different treatment. It hopefully is less stressful on the body than radiation. I'm very glad to hear what she had gone through was successful in pulling back the cancer.

My guess on the B12 shot is that it's on the arm she uses less. At least that's what I hear regarding other treatments.

Raggedy Lamb said...

So sorry to hear about your mom's having cancer, too. I pray that the Lord will be her strength and comfort in the ordeal ahead.

Thanks. I hadn't even thought of that!

Steve said...

Thanks, RL.

I appreciate your prayers more than you know.

Could you throw in another one for my son Nick (28). He is a real mess and faces going back to prison again for violating his parole. He is using drugs again after being clean for about 8 months.

He told me tonight that he wants to kill himself.

Raggedy Lamb said...


Oh, yes, I will ceratinly keep Nick in my prayers. And you. May God give you both courage, may the Holy Spirit intervene and draw your own son to the only Son of God, Who died for Nick to make him whole and new.

Lord have mercy. Hear our prayer. We ask in the Name of Jesus, the Lamb Who takes away the sins of the world.

Steve said...


Thank you, very much.