My Mom is sweet and quiet and 74. She has lived with us for over 6 years. We had a house built with an apartment for her on the ground (walk-out) level. My husband designed and Mom decorated her own little place and it is very cute! She has a bright and sweet one bedroom with living/dining/kitchen great room, her own laundry room and 2 (YES, two) bathrooms. (Small place, 2 bathrooms... I didn't get it, but that's what she wanted and that's what she got). We moved her here from Denver and it has been nice to have her here, and nice for her to have her own place. We can enter her place from ours via inside stairs, or she has a carport/patio where she can walk right out and get into the car (which is great because she has a walker and can't do stairs).
My Mom has never pushed her ideas or advice on me (can you imagine)?? and I'm sure my sons wish I was the same in that respect! Oh yeah and her quietness... and the part that she espouses the idea that "you don't say anything at all if you don't have something nice to say." (I missed that boat by a long shot, I know). She hasn't had an easy life, and she raised four of us by herself with no child support. Don't get me wrong, she can be stubborn when she wants to be, she just does rarely, and in a quiet (some would say passive) way. No matter. Some days she can drive a person nuts, but mostly she is just sweet and quiet and loves to laugh (thankfully for her, I provide her with plenty of material)...
She has stage 3 colo-rectal cancer that has metastisized to (and throughout) her liver. It's been very hard lately. She doesn't want any surgery, chemo or radiation, and she has always felt this way if she should ever get cancer. The tumor in her colon is very large, and couldn't be removed when they did the colonoscopy. They thought it may be possible to remove the tumor with surgery (which as I mentioned she didn't want anyway), but then they did some scans and determined that since it had spread to the liver, it would be a dis-service to her to do the colon surgery since it could not be curative. It would have been very hard on her anyway even at age 74. She has some other medical problems, uses a walker, and is heavy, so an abdominal incision would be very hard to heal.
She spent last April/May in the hospital/rehab center because she nearly died from a pulmonary embolism (very scary), and she had to have a surgery on her hand at the time as well, because the IV and blood pressure cuff caused a huge hematoma on her hand. They did a risky and experimental drug procedure on her, which I consented to (I'm her medical power of attorney). With it she could have died, but without it she surely would have. The blood clot was in her lung and it was the size of her entire lung. Fortunately, the procedure worked and the blood clot dissolved. They put a filter in her groin in case she had another blood clot, which would keep it from going any farther than a leg. She has recovered very well from that, but it took a long time for her to heal. She has been on Coumadin (blood thinner) ever since so she won't create clots.
Well unfortunately, colon tumors bleed, so there you have it. Remarkably the bleeding stopped with the colonoscopy. It may have "cauterized" the area that was bleeding at the time. WHEW! We've gone back and forth with what to do about the bleeding once it starts again (and it will) but we (Mom, the doctors, my husband and I)all decided that we don't want the bleeding to start again so we have taken her off the Coumadin. Our lives have been full of medical appointments, as I'm sure you can imagine and they take a lot out of her (well, all of us). She had a PET scan last week in Portland (absolutely amazing science if you've never heard of it). When it was "just" the colon cancer, she may have been able to live up to six months, but since it has spread quite a bit into the liver (8 spots, and 2 are extremely large) the prognosis isn't as good (or as long). So, I've kind of let family know that if they want to visit her, they should come and do it soon while she can still enjoy them.
The surgery for my torn rotator cuff? I am trying to put it off until September so I can help Mom along her "journey" and attend our Son's wedding in August in Colorado without an arm sling or a lot of pain. (I certainly , I don't want to be a spectacle at the wedding). :) My surgeon says it can wait as long as the range of motion is good and the pain level remains low. I had a cortisone shot a few weeks ago and it has really helped.
I know that I am very blessed to be able to have the time to be able to say goodbye to a loved one before they pass away, and to be there to help make her comfortable, take her to appointments, and just be with her. I am thankful for that. It's been a wild ride though, and it's hard to read her sometimes. Other times though, she says the kookiest sounding things that she wants to do, or have me do for her, that it can make me a little... hmmm...
OH... my happy news is that tomorrow we are going to go pick up our Grandson (a few hours from here) and we will spend the whole weekend playing, visiting, "arting" (as he calls it) and just being silly. What good medicine THAT will be!