Alice Faye Sumrell

I know I’ve vanished into the Blogosphere these last few months, and I’m sorry for that, but real life interrupted in a very big way.  My mother lost her fight with cancer in January.  You see, back in late June/early July, her back started hurting her really bad.  A visit to her doctor determined it was, probably, a pulled tendon or ligament.  He prescribed a muscle relaxer and some stronger pain medication.  But the pain did not go away and, for some unknown reason, she was growing weaker.

At first, a gastrointestinal bleed was the suspect, but, just when she was about to undergo an endoscopy, she admitted that the bleeding was vaginal.  This had been going on for a while and she told no one for no other reason than that she didn’t like getting Pap tests.  I cannot describe how angry I was with her about that.  In fact, I’m still angry.

I took this photo on Christmas in 2010.  One of my presents that year was a digital camera.

Myriad doctors and tests later, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.  Initially, it was staged as a 2b or 3a, but the PET Scan (this is a CAT Scan where the patient is, first, injected with radioactive glucose that serves to highlight the cancer cells) results brought it to a 4.  It wasn’t just the cervix/vagina/uterus involved, but her liver, a handful of spots in the lungs and at least one of the pelvic lymph nodes.  The cervical tumor was also pressing against the urethra draining her left kidney, making a nephrostomy (a tube inserted into the back that drains the kidney into a bag) necessary.  With all of this, along with her age and overall health, a cure was no longer the goal of treatment, just the alleviation of pain and stoppage of the bleeding.

This takes us into late October, early November.  The rest of November and most of December was taken up with treatment and home care which was given by myself and my older sister.  There were also a couple of hospital stays due to blood loss and a persistent urinary tract infection.

Finally, in mid-December, Mom decided she could not endure any more treatments.  After that, the decline was rapid.  And, on January 10, she died at home. My sister and I were with her.  In many ways, it was a relief.  She wasn’t hurting anymore.

In the aftermath, my sister and I were left devastated and drained.  Add to all of that Hurricane Matthew and the floods that followed in October and November, and the fact that the car died at a Walmart gas station, leaving us without reliable transportation, and an explosion of family drama over the funeral arrangements and….  All of that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Whoever said “when it rains, it pours” knew what they were talking about.

So no car, no job (remember, full time care?) and, now, we are having to deal with the companies with which Mom did business.  Most of them have been extremely kind and understanding.  Others have not.  For example, there’s one that actually sent a bill for premature termination of contract.  Excuse me?  She DIED for crying out loud.  I think we got that one straightened out.  But, if they send one more bill, I’m sending it back with the address to the cemetery and the plot number!

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t posted for so long, and my posts are liable to be sporadic for a while longer.


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