I can’t tell you how many times my dad and I have asked my mom this daily since 4 weeks ago. My last post I left you with my mom and her crackling voice trying to tell me she went to the ER the night before and how they found a mass in her abdomen. You see, my mom is a postal worker and after she delivered the mail for the day, she noticed she was swollen and that something didn’t seem right. (It was like jello as she explained) That was on a Thursday night. The next morning (Friday) she had to get to her OBGYN immediately.
So let’s go back in time 3 weeks ago as we began our “skip work day”. Headed to the doctor’s office, I picked up my phone and sent an email to my Sisters In Christ. The only thing I knew to do at the time, was send an email asking for prayers. (God put me on that ACTs Retreat for a reason a few months prior)
Now most of those days were a blur to me. A lot of blood work was preformed that day. As we were waiting for the results we headed back home and that began our waiting period for the rest of our lives. Low and behold the nurse called and said: “yes Ms Hennigan you have a high elevated blood count.” That moment I knew it wasn’t good. I didn’t want my mom to see me cry so I walked outside and dropped to my knees. Crying. Sobbing. I didn’t realize at the time, but my parents were coming to meet me. I turned around walked toward them. All 3 of us just bear hugged one another. Crying. I remember the exact words I cried out. “I love you both so much”. Hearing my dad cry out “I feel like this is my fault” my tiny little mom just stayed in the middle of my dad and I. Just crying. Saying “come on now y’all have to be strong for me”. How could we, when our everyday lives would never be the same again?
Fast forward through the weekend of tears and I mean tears from the time I left my parents, the drive home, arriving home and all night sobbing. Wandering around my house like a lost soul looking at the stuff my mom had bought me over the years. Thinking of her precious little grandson and how close they are.
Finally a little hope at the time that MD Anderson accepted us and had scheduled us an appointment later that week. YES! MD Anderson, couldn’t wait! We would tell my mom “just hang in there 2 more days and we are going to be the best place” a cancer hospital that everyone in the world wanted to go to! We would be in the best hands. Right?
Arriving at the MD Anderson ER a week later here we were ready for a plan. Shipped her up to the room hooked her up to an IV bag and got some fluids going with pain medication. Ms Hennigan if you can just get through the weekend we can schedule your appointment on Tuesday. Just 2 more days.
Fast forward again through another long weekend this time my parents and I stayed in Houston close to the hospital. Here is what began many tears throughout all 3 of us. I can remember waiting on my mom hand and foot bringing her whatever she needed while I look over and seen my dad on his breathing machine. At one point I just had to walk out and cry where my parents wouldn’t see. I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I have dropped to my knees praying.
So here we are Tuesday at MD Anderson lots and lots of test during this week, meeting with doctors and did I say lots of test? Two weeks into this and finally MD Anderson had a plan.
So we thought! We were ready for surgery and ready to take out everything that was needed to be done. After going over with her pre-op before hand, we received a call from the main doctor stated, we needed to get back to his office right away. Something inside of me said “after hours, this isn’t going to be good”.
Then the bomb hit us. “So Ms Hennigan we got your results from the CAT scan back and I just don’t feel comfortable doing the surgery on you.” As I’m looking over to my mom and seeing her turn white as a Q-Tip as she asked “how bad is it”? The doctor began to stand up and say it’s a spot here and a spot there and up in your neck. My mom says: “so basically what you’re telling me is that I’m ate up with it”. That moment my heart couldn’t take any more bad news – it went from bad, to worse to extremely bad within minutes. I got up and ran straight to the bathroom. I was roaming around the empty lobby holding my mouth crying for mercy. I had reached my maximum stress level. When my parents were walking out of the room all 3 of us was in the football huddle again. Sobbing. Crying. I remember my mom holding me with her little hand on my head saying: “we will do everything we can together”.
So there we were again, 2 days here, 3 days there, a week as gone by waiting for an appointment, getting the appointment, waiting and more waiting. For what? For MD Anderson to turn us away. This was suppose to be the best of the best, and now the doctor was telling us that he didn’t feel comfortable operating on my mom while the evil cancer was growing inside of her.
Words can’t describe how devastating our drive back from Houston was that night. (Have any of you ever heard of Yo Gabba Gabba and the green monster with the really long arms off the show?) Well, let me just say that is the only way to describe how my arms felt dangling over the back seat while my head was sobbing in the middle of the console. I would just lash out in these random questions like “I’ll never be the same” “it’s suppose to always be us 3 together” I would stare outside and see the sky and then the thoughts of a funeral would enter my mind and how there was no way I would be able to survive this hurt and pain.
That night, once we got to my parents I couldn’t go home, I was to distribute emotionally and I didn’t want to be without my mom for a minute. My dad and I stayed up all night crying and talking, talking and crying. That next morning I had to get home to see my son but the focus on everyday life was gone. I had no desire to do anything but cry. Through-out the weekend I would watch my mom cry and sob about all the life she was going to be missing out on. How she wouldn’t be able to see her grandson graduate or see him grow up. She would turn to my dad and tell him to be sure to always take his blood pressure medication. I watched my mom place her most valuable pieces of jewelry on my figures. I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t ready to inherit anything. We were both still so young.
I would try and keep it together as much as I possibly could around my parents because I didn’t want to upset my mom any worse than what she already was. So being alone was the hardest parts for me. Still are. However, words still can’t describe the grieving and pain I was going through once I was alone. My mind was like a computer chip. It was constantly going and thinking about a funeral, how I would have to go and talk to my mom kneeling down at a grave and how I wouldn’t be able to pick up the phone and call her anytime I wanted to. All of these emotions and thoughts but “where there is life, there is hope” and that is where CTCA came in at the right time… to be continued