Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 26, 2010

If you knew that tomorrow was going to be a horrible day, what would your response be like today?

Mom woke up this morning and the effects of radiation are now getting worse. she is having difficulty talking today and swallowing. Nutrition is now being done almost 100% through the PEG tube. She is able to sip on a shake I made her but that's not going down well.

So what exactly is happening to her at this point? Radiation kills fast multiplying cells like tumor cells. But there are some normal tissues of the body, like the mucosa of the mouth and throat, which also have fast multiplying cells. These cells are also prone to more damage with radiation. The damaged cells cannot be replaced soon enough by the body and rawness develops in the mouth and throat leading to problems in swallowing. This is only multiplied when you are receiving chemo treatments at the same time. The skin begins to get brown at first, almost like a rich tan. But it itches and of course you aren't suppose to scratch it. Eventually the skin on the neck and throat gets more red and it is apparent that a burn is taking place.

So back to my original question. Have you thought about what your reaction would be if you knew tomorrow was going to be horrible? A lot of people I am sure would say that you need to change the outcome of tomorrow but what if you can not. No matter what you do today, tomorrow is going to be a bad day.

We learn in some therapy treatments that you first develop an immediate thought, followed by feelings and then followed by a behavior. So the initial thought for many would be, "Oh sh**". The feelings would no doubt include dread, some sadness, frustration, and an overall feeling of helplessness. But what's important here is the behavior that comes out of these thoughts and feelings. The thought always comes first followed by those feelings, but it's the impending behavior that is the important thing to focus on. What will our behavior be like today with the knowledge that tomorrow will, well, bite? What will be our behavior tomorrow while the day comes crashing in around us?

I am proud of mom for her behaviors through this. Yes, there are some really rough times and a deluge of thoughts and emotions during this journey. But ultimately she is still in charge of her own attitude and our attitude is what drives our behavior at the moment. Mom knows this will get worse. She knew that the involuntary act of swallowing and making saliva was suddenly going to come to screaming stop. But she's trying.

Today she said she felt like crying but was trying really hard not to. I told her it's ok to cry, it doesn't make you weak and sometimes it can give you strength. She knows it's not a sign of weakness but sometimes the behavior that comes out includes a really good cry.

The composer Carol Hall, as featured on the 1970's very first Free To Be You and Me album wrote a song called, "It's Alright To Cry". Rosey Grier actually sang the song on the album.
Check out the video on youtube.

It's all right to cry
Crying gets the sad out of you
It's all right to cry
It might make you feel better
Raindrops from your eyes
Washing all the mad out of you
Raindrops from your eyes
It's gonna make you feel better

So Mom I know you are reading this cause you like to make sure I don't talk about things you don't want advertise! hee hee hee Just know that its ok to feel whatever you are feeling. YOU are the one walking this journey - just know that you do not walk it alone. We love you.


Anonymous said...

I love u mom u will get through this we are all here with u and for u. Keep the faith, and cry if u want to it's ok. I do it often, lol... I LOVE YOU

terri said...

Life Changes

Life changes
goes up and down
you never know
until it comes around.
We try to smile thru good and bad
depend on friends
to keep away the sad
The journey is long
the road is rough
faith and hope
will be enough
Don't waste a day in anger
or regret keep
joy in your heart
your need will be met

Patricia walter-