Cancer and Booze

My mother was diagnosed with Stage III multiple myeloma last week, it is a form of leukemia.

She had started to feel crummy when I left two weeks ago, but we both thought it was just a bug.  She went to urgent care a week ago Monday, and the rushed her to the hospital in an ambulance as she was beginning to have kidney failure.

As I was geographically closest to her, being in NY, I immediately offered to get in the car and drive to Virginia.  She said no, that she would be home in no time.  What I wasn’t aware of was that she had hypercalcemia and that caused her to be slighlty demented and she had no idea what she was saying.  I stayed in NY awaiting a diagnosis.

She was in the hospital for a week.  She had renal distress, anemia, elevated calcium, lesions on her bones, and blood cell counts.  While in there, they discovered that she has bullous emphysema from smoking for 60 years.  (That means she has large “holes” in her lungs.)  On Wednesday they had the diagnosis, at that time, I was told she needed to be kept a few more days.  I began to make my plans.

I was in constant contact with her doctors, nurses and anyone and everyone involved in her care while she was hospitalized.  I spent hours on the phone setting up follow up appointments and making the arrangements to begin her chemotherapy.  Additional time was spent dispelling the nonsense she was telling me, which I thought was the truth.  I am sure the nurses on 4 South were never so happy to see a patient and their annoying health care proxy leave.

I left NY very early Monday morning to arrive by the 4:30 pm discharge time.  (So close, I got there at 5 pm.)  9 hours in the car for a 6 and 1/2 hour drive while she wore my phone out tracking me down route 95.

I got her home, unpacked her belongings, did her laundry and got her situated.  On Tuesday the prearranged home health nurse came for the initial visit, I  took her prescriptions to be filled, and went back to the hospital to pick up things that were left behind.

Today, we had a two hour meeting with the staff at the oncology office and set up her plan for treatment, which will begin on Friday. I have held her while she cries, talked her out of her ridiculous decision to just throw in the towel and talked her into just giving a round or two of treatment a try.

Needless to say all or this has been highly stressful.  I am not sleeping because of my own personal crazy; the room isn’t blackout dark, and my brain knows it even though I am wearing a sleep mask.

There have been land mines in my path every hour of every day since I arrived on Monday. All of the mines have a beautifully chilled bottle of sauvignon blanc attached to them.  I have dodged and weaved them all while holding tightly to my sobriety.  As always mother’s fingers are firmly planted on every single button as they always have been.

Since she got home on Monday, my mother has not had an alcoholic beverage.  I have been amazed, and slightly impressed.  That was one week in the hospital alcohol free, and two nights at home.

I asked her about it today, and she told me that the alcohol just isn’t tasting good to her right now.   I was jumping up and down in my head, I was so happy to hear that. I was thinking that this situation may not be so bad after all. I can probably handle the anger, passive aggressive comments, and nastiness if she isn’t getting shitfaced every night on top of it.

I jumped too soon.  Tonight around 6 o’clock she announced she wanted a glass of wine and asked what I thought.  I told her to do what she wants, it is her body.

She then said,  “Well they are going to start poisoning me on Friday, so I am going to get smashed tonight.”

Spoken like a true alcoholic with a truly sick alcoholic brain.

I ate dinner with her, and immediately retired to my 6 by 12 room, and my blow up bed.  (Yes, the bed almost touches that sliding glass door.)

2014-08-13 21.26.52

I may have to be here to hold her hand, calm her head, and take care of her if the chemo makes her ill,   but I do not have to watch her get shitfaced.



PS.  I bought blackout curtains today.  If I don’t sleep someone may get hurt.sleep






16 thoughts on “Cancer and Booze

  1. You, yes you, are simply amazing. Stepping up to make all of those calls and plans, advocate for your mother, make that crazy drive, make decisions for your mom when warranted and letting her make her own decisions when necessary. Make time to be good to yourself cuz that sauvignon blanc will never treat you as well as you deserve to be treated.

  2. well done on taking care of your mother. please please make sure you are also taking very good care of YOU! particularly when as you say, your mother, knows which buttons to press in your down elevator….hope you get a good night’s sleep soon and recharge those batteries. xxx

  3. So thinking if you and praying for your mom. Primrose was right, make sure you are taking care of you!!! Happy you bought the. Ur rains and I hope good sleep came your way last night! Keep us posted when you can! XoXo

  4. I’m so sorry. Thinking of you. I hope you have some people there to share the burden. I agree with everyone who says take care of YOU. xoxo

  5. Hang in there. You are under tremendous pressure and stress. I commend you for taking the high road. Please continue to do the next right thing! I love that you recognize that you have choices; watching her get shitfaced is not on your “to do” list/ Be proud of where you are in your sobriety. IT’s remarkable.
    Huge hugs to you,

  6. It is exhausting to care for a sick loved one, mentally and physically. You will be in my thoughts, stay strong thru this. I am very sorry to hear this. I see it everyday in the hospital I work at. Every patient wrings on my heart. Cancer sucks…from the unexplainable young ones who get it to the older patients with environmental causes for cancer….it is never easy to just say well you did it to yourself. We never know what causes others addictions, so I never judge people like that. All mothers are button pushers, mine included. I worry my children will feel irritated at me one day. I pray not, I need a self help book on how not to push your kids away as the grow up! Give her some grace, I’m sure she beats herself up silently over all this. We are the hardest on ourselves, she may have just never shared this self-loathing. You are doing a wonderful job, and underneath all the muck love is there. Hold tight to that glimmer of love. I know as a mother, no matter what my love for my children runs thru my bones. I am sure her does also for you.

    • You may be right, but my mother is EXTREMELY difficult. She swears like a drunken sailor, when I asked her about why she has such a foul mouth, she said because it feels good to swear. I would have to say she loves me in her own way. What way that is, I have yet to figure out. She has spent so many years being bitter, it has eaten away at her. The nice, and love is buried under all of the bitterness that is piled on top.
      I too love my children to the ends or the earth, but they feel it in the way I treat them. Not here. That said, it is what I am used to,so nothing new. It was one of the things I drank at. Now I just have to feel it.
      Is is sad, really sad. That said, it is why I quit drinking. I recognized ME in that.

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