Thursday, September 03, 2009

Diagnosis, Dementia, and Dee

Today's post is brought to you by the letter D

As in Diagnosis: Mine, post-biopsy

As in Dementia: Mom's dementia.

As in Dee: My cousin, who is a Nurse-person.


Dementia is a cruel disease; one of the things it steals from its victims is the capacity to understand and process routine life events. Things that are outside that norm - and that require "learning" (like taking in new information, storing it, and being able to recall it) are now essentially gone to my Mom. To try and explain everything that is going on with my health to her... would be an exercise in futility. It would only scare her, and leave her feeling vulnerable and worried.

So, at a time when I need my Mom so much - her support, and love - I can't even discuss my current medical predicament with my Mom. Once upon a time, she would have loved me right on through this crisis. The dementia has taken her from me, and I will never truly get her back again.

Dee is older than me by about 8 years or so. I have always adored Dee; when I was little, she was just old enough that she got to do all of the cool stuff us little cousins didn't get to do. Like shoot off bottle rockets in the alley on July 4th. Rig booby-traps in the hallway to snare unsuspecting Aunts and Uncles on the way to the bathroom at Granny's house. Sit on the porch after dark with the grown-ups and laugh at Uncle Roger's never-ending supply of jokes, while sipping a cold Coke-Cola in frosty green glass bottle.

Luckily, Dee loved me back as much as I loved her. I didn't know it at the time, but things were not good at her house. Dee's Mom was one of my Dad's younger sisters. Things finally got so bad that one summer, Dee's mom and dad farmed out all of the kids to different family members. We got Dee.

It was an incredible summer. I finally had the big sister I had always dreamed of. Dee had a bedroom of her own for a whole summer, and my Mom and Dad enjoyed doting on her. She was the best babysitter ever, and she and I (and even my pesky little brother) spent many, many happy afternoons that summer, playing, walking to town to get cherry limeades, and swimming. When the sun would sink past the western hills, and the sweet, cooler darkness would creep in from the east, Dee would grab some jelly jars, and we would chase fireflies around the yard. Sometimes we would sit on the swings and watch the moon rise, and talk about the astronauts who had just been there. Dee always made me feel special, just by the way she treated me. I loved her so much that when Mom and Dad gave her that extra attention that summer, I didn't even care. I was just so happy that she was there, with us.

Over the years, Dee and I have remained very close. When TW and I got married, almost 23 years ago, she stood up with me as my Matron of Honor. When my Dad died, she held me, and cried with me as if she were his daughter, too. When Twinks was born with so many problems, she called me, and told me that everything was going to be OK. And when Mom came home to live with us, Dee came by to tell me that she was never further away than "a blink and a wiggle".

Dee has been so wonderful through everything with Mom. Her medical background is helpful, to be sure, but I think that more than anything, it is the shared history. She has known Mom her whole life, and has always been close to her; Mom still recognizes, and trusts Dee. I have known her my whole life, and I trust her completely; she is so much a part of the fabric of my life that I cannot imagine my world without her. Just when I needed someone to help fill the gap that my Mom no longer can, there was Dee.

Diagnosis... The diagnosis not good. All of the biopsy sites have come back "positive" for pre-cancerous changes. There are three "levels"; I have some of all three. The "worst" or "highest" level is justthisside of cancer. While it is NOT cancer, it's too close for comfort for me. I'm not waiting around for it to decide it wants to be cancer, after all.

Friday afternoon, I will have a cone biopsy - a further, more invasive procedure, designed to (hopefully) eliminate the pre-cancerous areas, and hopefully eliminate the threat of cancer. As always, TW will be there with me, so I won't be alone. Those results will take another week or so to come back; until then I have these final "d" words for you:

Desire: For a good outcome.

Desperate: For a good night's sleep.

Disease-free: What I hope to be.


Chuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck said...

The diagnosis, while not good, sounds like it could have been much worse. Having been through something of a similar scare last year (although in my case it was skin cancer) I hope your procedure goes equally well and that the new post-procedure results are awesome with a great prognosis. I will be thinking about you on Friday and sending lots of mojo your way.

Michelle H. said...

The last three D's are what I hope for, and I am glad you have a Dee in your life who is so supportive, along with everyone else who stops by here to give our fond wishes for a good prognosis.

Suldog said...

D is for Distance, which is what keeps me from giving you a big hug. However, it does not stop me from offering a prayer to our Deity for your healing, which I am doing as soon as this posts. God Bless.

Kat said...

How about D for Determination--that you will come out of this stronger than ever before. My prayers are with you.

Suzanne said...

I just wanted to share with you I was given the same news as you have been given 15 years ago. I was 36. I was at the highest levels. I had the same procedure done as you will be having although uncomfortable, not to bad to go through. I started out having PAP's done every 3 months, then every 6 month for the first few years. Then it went to every year. Every one has come back fine. I hope all goes well with you.

alpharat said...

It's good to have Dee you can rely on when things seem bad. I'm sending good thoughts your way, and hoping for positive results.

Anonymous said...

Hoping for a good outcome- Deep Breath- hang in there!

Ericka said...

one of my best friends went through the same thing - taking the cone, paps every 3 months, the works. they ended up having to take another cone and when she finally managed to get pregnant, they had to sew her shut 'cause she didn't have enough left to keep the kid inside. many fun-filled months of bedrest later, she had a bouncing baby girl. (actually, that's who the purple and teal baby blanket went to.) so, take care of yourself, and know that you can beat this.

the dementia? just sucks. i'm so sorry. *hugs*

and thank the gods for the dees of this world. i don't think we could make it without them.

so, aside from all that, how's it going for you? :-P

ciara said...

i hope everything goes well with your procedure. i got this feeling that you're a real strong woman and will not let this get you. know that you all are still in my thoughts. i'm also glad to see that you have your cousin dee along w twinks & your husband to support you as well :)

Suldog said...

Any updates, Darlin'? Prayers, as always.