I received some news this week… I knew it was coming… I’ve been steeling myself in advance of it… I REALLY thought I was ready for it… And then it came…
I got a text from my sister on Thursday evening (although I didn’t actually see it until 4:15 am on Friday morning)… “Hey. Call me when you have a few minutes to chat. New details to share regarding Mom.”
Our Mom is sick. She’s been very sick since last summer with some mystery respiratory thing. She has a very hard time breathing unless she is sitting still or laying in bed. When she exerts herself in any way – even walking to the kitchen or bathroom – her blood oxygen level bottoms out and she is left breathless and on the verge of passing out. She’s been hospitalized twice for this condition – most recently over Christmas, when I went to Virginia and had my epic fail of a run. The doctors know NOTHING. And even if they did know what was causing it, they admit that there is probably nothing they could do about it. They have diagnosed her with end stage interstitial lung disease – I suppose this is the clinical way of saying “The lady can’t breathe and we have no fucking idea why,” but I digress…
So, my sister, Anna, took Mom up to the University of Virginia (UVA) Medical Center for a followup visit after her extended stay with them in December. The lead doctor on her pulmonary care team laid it out as gently as he could…
Mom is not going to get better… (we knew this)
A more invasive lung biopsy may give more clues as to what is wrong with her – although she would likely not survive the procedure, and knowing more doesn’t necessarily translate into being able to treat her any more effectively.
A lung transplant MIGHT be a viable option to extend her life… but she’s not a candidate for a transplant.
She is currently maxed out on oxygen that can be delivered in-home.
And so it goes…
At the end of the day, it was the first time a doctor has been willing to time-stamp my mom’s life expectancy… 6 months… that’s what they say…
I also know that in my business, diagnoses are mere suggestions and we can accept or reject them. I have told my mom that she has lived her 70+ years on this earth on HER terms and SHE gets to decide when and IF she goes out this time around. She doesn’t have to buy in to a 6 month life projection.
But still… I am sad.
My Mom is the greatest!
She never, EVER told me that I “couldn’t” do something. She encouraged me to spread my wings and fly.
She is my biggest fan and my most loyal supporter.
And she is a terrific Grandmother to Josh, Will, Maggie, and Sabrina… REALLY TERRIFIC!
My goal over the coming months is to do whatever I can to make sure that mom still has the ability to live life on HER terms. She deserves that.
Really, we all deserve that.
I would really consider it a personal favor if you would send love, light, positive intentions, and prayers to my mother… Her name is Alice… and she’s one in a million.