At times life likes to slap you in the face and remind you of the things that are most important. Typical human nature often causes us to take things for granted.
My slap in the face came on March 20th in the form of my mother. My mom is my best friend, the one who encourages me in all my various insanities, the one who is here at the drop of a hat no matter the crisis. My favorite childhood memories are of momma letting us play in mud puddles, then joining in. Climbing trees, building club houses, taking us exploring and doing her best to help us follow whatever dream we had at that point in time. She encouraged my “turtle farm” when I was 8 years old (which was actually just a huge enclosure that had 5 turtles in it), let me raise hundreds of tadpoles in my bedroom & she always let us lick the beaters when she made cake.
She did her best to always encourage us to enjoy life and pushed me to be a child and not so much the lil grown up I tended to be. Mom has a zest for life, and even though she’s never been dealt the best cards, she has always done her best and found a way to enjoy life regardless. She does the same with my children and my munchkins always eagerly look forward to a stay with Grandmama.
On March 20th, mom & I took a trip to visit Young’s Prairie Dairy in Elgin, Texas, to pick up some new goats and visit for a bit. Had a great day, got lost thanks to the Garmin and brought home the goats we intended to, plus one unplanned addition (I’ll post about them later). That evening when we got home though, my mom, who is a go-go-go always active person was very worn and tired.
For the past 3 weeks she’d been a lil slower and she thought it was because she was getting over a bug. Then she showed me the bruises. Huge, nasty, unexplained bruises. More troubling was the swelling on the left side of her abdomen. She made an appointment with a new doctor, but couldn’t get in until the end of April. Typical of my mother’s nature, she thought she’d just wait it out until April. I thought that was insane and took her to the ER.
Never in my life did I expect the doctor to come back with a Leukemia diagnosis (the swelling was her spleen). It is amazing how one little word can strike such soul deep terror. Sure, other people could have leukemia, but not MY mom! She’s so healthy, in great shape and always active . It felt like someone hit me in the gut and I just couldn’t catch my breath. I stood there, stupidly staring at the doctor waiting for her to say she was mistaken. They transferred mom to a bigger hospital and from there we spent the week having dozens and dozens of blood samples drawn.
Then came the bone marrow biopsy. I didn’t know they couldn’t give her sedation or pain meds before. I stood there, holding her hand as they did the procedure and prayed it would be over quickly. They didn’t get enough marrow for the test they wanted, so they took a sample of bone instead. Over the week they managed to get her white blood cell count down from 93,000 to 62,000. Put her on a medication to clear out the uric acid that was trying to build up and then a low dose thyroid medication.
Mom was bewildered when she first heard the diagnosis, but now is back trying to be the rock for everyone else. She is determined & optimistic.
She came home with me this weekend (only had to bring home the thyroid meds) and was thankful to be away from the hospital. We go back to see her oncologist on Monday so we can find out what type of leukemia (right now they are leaning towards chronic myelogenous leukemia) we are dealing with and then she will decide her treatment plan from there.
I’ve never not appreciated my mom, but now I make it a point to appreciate her even more…Even the small, mundane moments are things to be treasured. No one is immortal despite a child’s perception of their parent’s invincibility. Mom is the one person who has been there my entire life to dust me off & help me up when life didn’t play fair. The idea of her not being here is by far the scariest thing I have encountered. I can be a “doom & gloom” type of person…. Plan for the worst & hope for the best. But in this instance, I’m going to do my best to share my mom’s optimism. So I laugh, joke, and be silly just like she expects me to be. My brother, her brother, my husband and I have taken over many of the task she usually does and are trying to encouage her to take it easy...
Please keep her in your thoughts & prayers….. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more stubborn, determined person in all my life, so if anyone can beat this, MY momma can.