Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

To all the moms out there, whether your children are young or grown - or even furry - Happy Mother's Day!

I'll be celebrating this afternoon with my mother, a woman who has seen her share of medical problems in her lifetime, but is still going strong and will be 92 next month. When I was young, she had cancer - twice - and survived both bouts that could still kill someone easily today. It took years for one of the best endocrinologists in the U.S. to balance her thyroid hormones after the first surgery. There was also a ruptured appendix that left her recovering for a long time from the infection that occurred because it was initially misdiagnosed. And she had vicious migraines.

As I started to grow up, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, benign, but one that was determined to be inoperable because it was growing around and protecting an aneurysm. So, over the years, it was monitored with six-month MRIs as it slowly closed off the optic nerve behind one eye, leaving her blind in that eye. Then there were the two knee replacements and the usual high blood pressure, cholesterol issues, and so on.

She has had two skin cancers, one on each leg, that were treated with radiation because they sat right on top of the bone, leaving nowhere to "dig" via Mohs surgery. Unfortunately, one of the radiation wounds didn't heal properly, so a year later, we started to see a wound specialist who has been treating her leg with everything except hyperbaric oxygen therapy (which was "threatened" from Mom's perspective). It seems to be healing - finally!

A couple of years ago, she told me one evening that she was dizzy, so I started trying to call her the next morning. She didn't answer. After a short time, I realized that she couldn't possibly be in the shower, so I hopped in my car and sped the five minutes it took to get to her house. When I let myself in, I found her unconscious on the floor. It was clear she had fallen. After a short ride to the hospital in the ambulance, I learned that she had a bleed (hematoma) under her skull that was pressing on her brain and would kill her without emergency brain surgery. We were lucky. The renowned chief of neurosurgery was in the hospital when we got there, and she was in good hands. After a month in the hospital, Mom came home and has had a helper living with her 24/7. We don't need another fall like that one (even though she has taken a small topple or two since)!

You know what happened two weeks ago. Suddenly she had a small bowel obstruction - life threatening - but with a fast diagnosis and great doctors she is home today and getting stronger. To think that the strictures in her bowel could have been caused by the appendix surgery of hysterectomy years ago is mind-boggling.

You might think that kind of medical history would have incapacitated someone. Not my mother! Throughout it all in earlier days, Mom drove us to school, kept house, did the accounting at my father's business, made their investment decisions, went grocery shopping, cooked three meals a day for us, and so much more. She even found time to volunteer her time at church and a nursing home. She played bridge and had lunches with her girlfriends. She led a very active life until the brain surgery, which had no effect on her brain or behavior, but left her feeling more comfortable close to home.

I can't express how much I love my mother. When I think about the example she set, pressing on to be a great mother, despite all the bad things that have happened to her, I try to remember that life's challenges can all be overcome. I've had a good role model!

Happy Mother's Day - to my mom and all the moms! This is your special day! I hope all your days are special, but especially this one. Today we take the time to honor your love and sacrifices. We love you all.

Photos courtesy of jis.gov.jm and fightforrhinos.com

11 comments:

Eileen said...

May God keep and protect you both and may your love and devotion to each other envelop you in peace and shower you with blessings. Happy Mother's Day to you and your beloved mom.

Grlnxdor said...

Happy Mother's Day to you too CG! I know for a fact that Charlie and all of the wild animals you feed and look after consider you to be "Mom".

Kiss & Make-up said...

Happy mother's day. It's so sweet of you to dedicate this post to your mom. After that health scare I am very happy to hear that she's doing much better now!

Grlnxdor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nemo said...

And the happiest of Mother's Days to you, Cg, and your wonderful mother! I know how much she means to you but you should also know that you are who you are because of her. I am a furry mother as I think you are, too. I am also a cancer survivor as is your mom. Let's drink to all that today even if it's just bottled water!

Anonymous said...

Inspirational....Wishing your mum a speedy recovery and all mothers a Happy Mother's Day.

Clarisse said...

Happy mother's Day to your wonderful Mom and to her wonderful daughter who took after her and is a great Mom to all her furry, feathery children (so Charlie told me:-)Hope you celebrate together!

Jo said...

Your mom is amazing CharlestonGirl, you are so lucky. I hope you both have a peaceful Mother's Day celebration. Happy Mother's day to all your readers as well.

Meredith said...

Wow, your mom sounds really tough! She just deals with it and continues to march onward. What a wonderful role model for you, and others, as a strong and mentally healthy way to get through life. We should all aspire to be more like her. I too am a cancer survivor so, if I may, I will join you in drinking water to her health! A votre sante!

donna macdonald said...

Your mother IS amazing. What she's been through could fell a much younger person. I love my mother too so I know the feelings very well. It's so hard to see them older! My mother is quite young (only 77) and I have literally watched her from her very young adulthood until old age. My first memory of her I was 2 and she was 22. You are a great daughter! And by the way, now I know why you love makeup so much: you have the PERFECT face for it: pretty with gorgeous blue eyes and silky hair to frame it all. Loved the tribute to your mother.

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful to read. I am not a mother, but am going through some issues right now. I love reading these stories because they remind me that I too can be resilient and enjoy life no matter the circumstance!