This is my own story of life with advanced ovarian cancer. I do not offer medical advice, and my treatment decisions are my own. Please talk to your physician or healer and gain as much information as you can about this dreadful disease called cancer. Remember, knowledge is Power!

Monday, April 25

In The Sky

Hello Blogosphere,

This is Melissa, Patty's daughter. My Mom passed peacefully yesterday afternoon around 3:45pm. She has been incredibly dedicated to being open with details about her life and her dealings with cancer. I am not an expert, nor am I as intimately acquainted with everything as she was. I do not know the majority of you guys, but will do my best here. 

Her last post on April 7th was made from a hospice facility. I can't remember how long she was there, but she did go home from there and my Grandma continued her care, as she had been doing. No one could ask for a better or more dedicated caretaker or Mom than my Grandma. The last few weeks were weeks of general decline in her physical health. Weight loss was dramatic. I don't know how many of you know my Mom in real life, but she is a true Amazon warrior woman. 5'11, broad shoulders, with a happy weight of about 180. She was down to about 100 pounds. For those of you who were also friends with Jayne over at Shopping Kharma, there was a picture that she had posted where her pain pump was incredibly large underneath her skin. My Mom was similarly small in the last few days. The pain was at a point that eating had become an impossibility. The last two weeks my Mom had been completely sustaining herself with Coke and Smart Water, as they were the only two things she could stomach. 

As far as medical going-ons, she had the colostomy bag placed sometime in January, if memory serves. I know she wrote about it, naming it Stella :) In addition to that, another bag was connected to the PEG tube to collect stomach contents. My Mom would sit there sipping on water and would laugh as it went down her throat and then, a few seconds later, out the tube. She said in her last post that the tumors secrete their own fluids, and I believe (though again, I am not a medical professional) that this bag was also there to collect this fluid, as it was a primary cause of the overwhelming nausea. A few days ago she also had a Foley catheter placed, as getting out of bed became too difficult. 

Last Tuesday, the 19th, her bed was replaced with a nursing home style bed. Getting into a position that was comfortable was becoming more difficult, and the bed allowed her to more easily get into a comfortable position. So, we're getting caught up now. If you're still reading, you're a saint! One thing I did not learn from my Mom was brevity. Mentally, we could see her becoming a little less connected to the world. She began to sleep long hours, though sleep is a word I use loosely, as it was more of a heavily-medicated rest. I don't know anything about exact dosage, but I do know that both the methadone and the dilaudid were increased by the members of her hospice team to try to keep her pain under control. Saturday night was a long one. Her anxiety up to that point had been increasingly extreme. My Mom was upset, nervous, worried. My Mom was uncomfortable, tired, in pain, and was incredibly agitated.  The night was spent around her bed, with us holding her hands, stroking her hair and telling her we loved her. 

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, was more peaceful. Hospice came in sometime early, in the wee hours, and she was given Haldol, a strong anti-anxiety medication, to try to help her relax and to rest. The Haldol worked, and gave her a little more peace, giving her the chance to actually rest. At that point, it was just waiting. My Grandma, her Mom, was at the head of the bed holding her hand, and myself, one of my Uncles and my Aunt were around the bed as well. We were all holding her, making sure she was comfortable. While she was sleeping we all watched her breathe and around 3:45 she took her last breath. Everything was as she wanted. It was very peaceful. 

This blog has been something so important. My Mom was dedicated to sharing her life and her experiences, both as a means of release and as a documentation of her trials with cancer. The support, love and friendship that she gained from this blog were of tremendous importance to her. All of your thoughts, words, prayers and vibes have been received by her and by our family. Thank you for loving her and supporting her, for being there for her and for us all. We are all truly blessed to have known Patty in whichever way we knew her and now, she is out of pain and, I have no doubt, is already up in the sky having a party with those that passed before her. 

I have been asked about donations by a few people. If anyone would like to make donations in her name, please make them to Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, AZ. 

Thank you again for all of your love and support. 


Thursday, April 7

Down the rabbit hole

I've been in the hospice facility for the last 7 days trying to get my nausea and vomiting under control. Evidently, we've done all we can so I'm going home. We can do at home what we've done here, and I'm just sick of being here. It's taken me 3 days to get this post up, being as loopy as I am. We had to increase my pain meds again, because my pain from the nausea and vomiting is gonna do me in. The doc tells me that for as much as we are doing, it's not really going to help. Tumors themselves excrete their own fluids and hormones that cause nausea, and I have a lot of tumor activity going on in my abdomen. I haven't really eaten in weeks and I've lost so much weight.

There is a lot more on the issue of "going home". My time is getting shorter, I feel. I'm not being dramatic, I'm being real. My pain has increased, my vital signs fluctuate a lot, I have some new arrhythmia on my heart, my blood pressure is all over the place. And the fact that we had to increase my pain meds to the point that I'm so loopy I can barely get out my morning Facebook "hey, I'm alive" post- decreasing awareness of my surroundings and who is there. It's weird. I can feel it; time slipping away, me slipping away. Part of it may be from sitting in this little room at hospice. I'm lonely and bored, and we spend all damn day either medicating me, cleaning up vomit, or messing with my PEG tube. I'm tired.

My son has had all he can take. How do you say good bye? He knows my death is imminent; it's just not happened yet and the strain shows on him. He's doing terrible in school, and no wonder. Sometimes I wish it would just happen and be done with it so everyone could deal with it and get on with their lives. I hate dragging things out. I've had a lot of bad days, can you tell? They happen much more frequently than the good days. I've almost forgot what good days are like. I really miss food. Man, what I wouldn't give for a big sloppy cheeseburger. I'll quit whining now. Don't know how many more posts I have in me but when I'm lucid enough I'll post.
Love to all,

Friday, March 25

Happy Birthday To Me

Well, I made it to the big 5-0. Woot! This is also my 2 year Cancer-versary. yay me.

Things have been going ok, I guess. My hospice team is absolutely wonderful, and take care of my every need. I have good days and bad days. I've cut down on my pain meds so I can think clearly, but not enough to let the pain in too deeply. That's always there. 

I've been very sad about Jane's passing. It's been on my mind a lot. We never know how much time we have, or what will try to trip us up along the way. I'm just fighting to stay well. You've heard the term "she took to her bed and never left it again". On my bad days, that's what I feel like. Bad days consist of puking and sleeping all day. I've lost almost 50 lbs. in the last 3 months. My butt is completely gone, my breasts are . . . well, just not my breasts any more. Sigh...  Now, I really look sick. It's hard for me to eat more than 4 bites of anything. I've started the tube feeding, but that isn't agreeing with me. I had a total puke fest yesterday after half a can of "supplement". 

The good thing is that today we're all taking a road trip to San Diego! I'm so excited! My whole family and my best friend are going. Everyone is running around madly packing things and trying to make room for all my medical equipment and my drugs. It's a big load. I've been waiting for this trip for so long. I'm returning to the place of my childhood (Coronado) and sticking my feet in the surf at sunset.

So.. wish me luck on my trip, I'll try to update next week. I hope everyone is happy and having good days. Love to all-

Tuesday, March 8

Remembering Jayne

Jayne was a beautiful, wonderful, inspirational woman who wrote a blog called Shopping Kharma.  She'd been battling this fucking ovarian cancer for 10 years and it's so hard to believe she is gone. I've cried buckets of tears for her and her husband Jimmy. Jayne was so helpful to so many people. She spoke her mind, and shared a lot of her life with us. She loved her husband deeply and would write about him a lot. Her words really moved me, and she will be missed terribly. If you're the praying kind, please send some up for Jimmy and those who loved her. Goodbye, Jayne. You were so loved. Thank you for all you did for me. You are a true angel.
I loved you.

Friday, March 4

Hi friends of Pateeta, it's Melissa, her daughter. My Mom is sitting next to me so I will type her words.

She had surgery on the right lung to drain fluid. It was the same that was performed on the left, the Talc pleurodesis. While the doc was in there, he did remove a tumor that had metastasized from the diaphragm. So, there WAS metastases to the lung.
She's in a lot of pain, and is having trouble breathing on the right side. She is hitting her pain button a lot, and is all tangled up in tubes and pissed off about it. She just wanted to update. She says if she gets out of here, the party is this weekend. She (and me too!) Says thank you all for your love and support.

I will update as I am asked to. Ginny, if you want to come she is on the ICU at Good Sam.

Love to all,

Thursday, March 3

Back At The Ranch

Also known as the hospital. The hospice Xray dude came yesterday to check out my right lung and it showed moderate pleural effusion on the right lung and small effusion on the left (which had already been fixed). Waiting for admission to get a bed for me.I'll keep you postedp

Monday, February 28

Loaded For Bear

Methadone 10 mg- (liquid for oral or PEG tube)  0.7mg 3 times per day
Dilaudid 10 mg- (liquid for oral or PEG tube)  0.8mg, up to every 3 hours as needed
Mediclophan (nausea gel) apply topically 4 times a day
Lidocaine patch- 12 hours on, 12 hours off
Colace 2 tabs twice a day
Ditropan 1 tab twice a day
Warfarin 1 tab once a day
Celexa 1 tab once a day
Albuterol treatment by nebulizer- as needed 2-4 times per day
Xanax 10mg as needed for anxiety
Ambien 10mg as needed for sleep
My schedule is still a little wobbly, but it's all getting in there. If I didn't keep track of it, no one could.