MY MOTHER – TINA: 2007, AGE 71   

The end-of-life journey for my mother. Mom was healthy all her life (no colds, ate healthy, dressed appropriately in various seasons not to get sick, etc.) On Jan 17th, the HPV Test nightmare began when I took Mom to the ER because of breathing problems. After her admission to the ER and several exams, I was told that “tests show it might be CA125 Ovarian and or Breast Cancer”. It was also revealed that she has HPV, and apparently, for many years.

WOW, I could not believe what I was told. Mom also showed the ER docs a mass (a light green colour that had grown outside her belly button/on her stomach – exposed). This was the mass – Mom did not share this with me, but the daughter knows she is very sick and dying. The ER docs asked me if I had seen this (and I had not). Mom even told the HPV Oncologists that “the secret” was out. Moving forward, Mom was admitted to Vanderbilt University-Nashville Hospital and stayed there for 10 days before being discharged home.

On the 7th day at home, one morning, Mom had been up all night and told me later that she had pain in her left leg. Her leg was turning/twisting in knots, and she immediately had me take her to the ER room. Again, the hospital admitted her for several days. Tests showed that the CA125 cancer had spread a lot. And we met with the oncologist’s team and her PCP, and the oncologists wanted to start chemo. Before beginning the first round of chemo, Mom started vomiting blood, and blood appeared in her urine and stool (requiring admission to intensive care).

I will never forget it was my birthday.

Feb 14th, when I arrived to visit her, she acknowledged my birthday and wished me a happy birthday. During the entire CA125 Viral Cancer Level process, Mom was alert. But she did not eat one bit of food from day one until she died. Mom’s memory also started to go; when I got all the medical bills and HPV Medical reports in the end, I found out they had run some serious tests on my mother. They only told me the basics: CA125 type cancer, prognosis, and that was all. Mom would not eat. All Mom wanted was water and ice during the 2-month process. Mom was in and out of nursing homes because it was only me and my Mom at home.

See, Mom moved in with me because, before cancer, she had a stroke 1 -1/2 years ago. When Mom had the stroke, the same hospital, Vanderbilt, ran all types of tests, and I now wonder why this cancer wasn’t detected then. After her stroke, the docs told her she had recovered very well and was doing good. My mother, a fighter, had asked for help to get back on her feet after Dad’s death 10 years ago from skin cancer. So it was just my Mom and I. Anyway, to get to the final part of this story, the oncologists and her PCP recommended a nursing home so someone could be with Mom 24/7.

The prognosis in the end was with chemo for 1 to 1/2 years and without chemo for 6 months or less.

We did get one round of chemo in, but that was all. The PCP doctor told me, “Every time we fix something on your Mom, something else breaks.” The HPV doctor kept me well informed of Mom’s condition every day until the end. The hospital removed lots of fluid from Mom’s body twice (the fluid removed filled 2 large bottles; she told me it hurt). But Mom was doing anything to live. My mother and I know she wanted to live because she told me one day no one wants to die. Mom’s feet swelled very badly. But her breathing and spirits were good until she went into the last 2 nursing homes.

I had the final Friday talk with Mom and her PCP. And we were told there was nothing else they could do and recommended hospices. In my mind, I knew it was a matter of time to spend with Mom. When she arrived at her final nursing home, a lady told me to spend as much time with my Mom as I could. Mom had a strange request the day before she died. She asked me to bring her a bell, a back scratcher, and a yellow sheet/tablecloth (so she would not get anything dirty). Also, on the day before she died, I went to see her. And she kept staring at a mirror to her left and then down the hall to the right. I asked her if she was ok, and she said, “Yes, I am ok”.

The next day

Mom passed away in her sleep at 71. She died at 7:25 am. The death journey lasted approximately 2 months. Looking back, I remember one thing that could have “possibly” prevented all of this. Back in 1976, when Mom went to her PCP, they told her she had a small tumour. Nothing was ever said or done after she was told she. She didn’t get a CA125 Blood Test. She didn’t visit any doctor at all; nothing was done.

Mom also told me that she thought that because she had a large stomach and always wore big clothes, she just thought she had a big gut. Mom told me she had always thought she was healthy and didn’t need any CA125 Antigen Home tests. I had to deal with losing my mother all by myself. I had her cremated because I wanted to kill the cancer once and for all. After all, the cancer took my mother quickly and swiftly. To end my story, I want to say that for anyone diagnosed with ovarian / breast cancer, this is a death sentence. It is a quick death sentence.

She tried to be strong, but the C did not allow her to be strong.

Mom was bedridden during the entire CA125 and Cancer learning process and had to have a decatheter to use the bathroom. All Mom kept telling me was, “I am very tired I didnt know about HPV Lab Tests when I was younger.” Mom fought bravely for several months before she was diagnosed. She continued attending the NFL Titan football games, expressing her fatigue but never complaining about her health. Mom told me she did not want me to worry. That was Mom.

Ovarian cancer is a silent killer. I miss my mother so much; I love her, but I know I will see her again one day.