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This fundraiser ended on 11/14/12

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My mom had open heart surgery in December of 2010, after two heart attacks.  She quit smoking while she was in the hospital recovering from that surgery.  The doctors were very adamant that her smoking was what caused the blockages in her heart.  It was a slow recovery for mom but she was gaining momentum every day and was getting back to her normal life. 

In September of 2011 mom started complaining of a constant sore throat.  It would come and go, so mom didn’t seek any treatment for it, other than your standard over the counter meds.    As the months went on, mom’s sore throat was getting slightly worse.  Sometime in April of 2012 her primary care doctor checked her throat out and told her she needed to be seen by an Ear Nose and Throat specialist.  Since mom doesn’t have insurance she put off scheduling an appointment.  Meanwhile, the family and mom’s friends started noticing that mom’s voice was getting weaker.  And she was complaining more and more of the pain in her throat.  When asked why she wouldn’t go to the ENT doctor, she said she didn’t have the money to pay for the visit.  In June of 2012 I finally put my foot down.  I explained to mom that her heath was more important than what it was going to cost to have her throat checked.  I told her that I was extremely worried about her and that I would pay for her visit if she went to see the ENT doctor.  She finally made and an appointment and was seen in mid-July.  She was then referred to OHSU because of their extraordinary care and the fact that they could assist mom financially. 

Mom’s first visit to OHSU at the end of July was when we learned that she had a mass in her throat that was affecting her voice cords.  The doctors were quite positive, because of mom’s 30+ years of smoking, that she had cancer of the larynx.   The doctors would still need to do a biopsy of the large tumor to confirm.  After that first visit, it seems everything moved so fast.  By mid-August she was having surgery to remove her Larynx.   Her life would be changed forever. 

Mom’s recovery since her surgery has gone well.  She now has a stoma (a hole in her neck connecting to her trachea, so she can breathe) and had a voice prosthetic placed so she can learn how to talk again.  Weekly appointments at OHSU with the ENT and Speech therapist has taken its toll on her and us as a family, but from my perspective the trips are worth having my mom still with us. 

We learned less than a month ago that mom will also need chemo and radiation treatment to insure that the cancer is gone from her body.  This has scared the crap out of her.  And many times she has voiced that she is not sure that she will be able to continue.  That is her choice, nobody else’s.  Though we all have continued to support her in her journey, making sure that she knows she is loved and has lots to live for.  She has continued her journey so far, dealing with all of this day to day. 

Mom had her first of three doses of chemo and also her first radiation treatment.  The chemo treatment took all day, between the taking of blood and seeing the doctor and then the large amount of fluids she had to be given before they started the chemo.  She was admitted to the hospital (as she will each time) for continued fluid intake.  They need to make sure that the chemo doesn't destroy her kidneys.  We haven't seen any effects of the chemo yet.  

The radiation is what scares her the most.  They have to place a mask over her to hold her in place while they treat her.  She is very claustrophobic.  She is able to take some anti anxiety meds before the treatment, which does seem to help.   

I have always known my mom is a strong woman.  She is my MOM and moms have superhuman powers to their children.  If I could take this burden from her, I would in a heartbeat.  I have watched her journey continue down this path and I see how weak she has become.  The fear in her eyes.  The unknown hanging above her head.  It is extremely hard as a daughter to watch your mom being worn down by some wicked disease.  It sucks.  Cancer SUCKS!

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