Cancer · Caregiving · Caretaker · Ileostomy

Being Care Less

Being careless. That’s what I wish for. To not have a care in the world. At least not that kind of cares I have now. Maybe, go back to before October 13, 2013. They day that made my world about care.

Care taking.

Caregiving.

I long for the days. I dream about them. I rethink every decision that has been made, by me and for me, nightly.

On October 13, 2013 my mom had emergency coloctomy  surgery. Let’s go back a little bit.

My mom lives in South Florida. I grew up there, but had since moved to Maryland, where I lived with my sister and her husband. I was working full time making decent money for a person having no degree and going to school part time to finish my degree.

My mother had been not well for a while due to other health issues but they were being managed. She always had some gastrointestinal issues due to a gall bladder surgery gone awry when I was a kid back in the eighties. She had been complaining about stomach aches and pains above and beyond the usual low tolerance for rich fatty foods.

I was worried about her. I talked to her daily every morning, noon and most nights. She is/was my best friend. Things have since changed since she became ill, but I still think of her as my best friend. The person who I can tell anything. No matter what. (I’m crying sitting here thinking about it.)

Friday morning October 11, 2013, our morning conversation was not good. She sounded weak and tired. Kept complaining about a cold that had knocked her our a bit. By our lunchtime afternoon call she hinted that she might need medical attention. I called my sister and let her know what was going on. My mom and sister talk, but not the everyday. Yes, I am the youngest child, my mom’s Kitten. Forever and always.

So we decided we needed to fly down there immediately and figure out what the heck was going on. Long story short, we got there and her belly was fully extended. Being the stubborn, willful, independent woman she is. She refused to go to the hospital without showering. She was so sick and immobile she couldn’t navigate the shower on her own. I helped her, crafting a makeshift shower sit on the fly out of a lawn chair I scrubbed down.

She passed out in the shower and my sister ran to call 911. They paramedics arrived quickly and rushed her to the nearest hospital.

After evaluation it was determined she had a burst colon and needed emergency surgery. They started pumping her with fluids and antibiotics and called in the surgery team for consult. It was determined they needed to get her stable and then would proceed with surgery the next day. They also had a infectious disease team on hand because her bowels were leaking waste into her body, a very dangerous situation.

The surgery team was successful, they had to remove her whole colon but left her anus. The surgeon promised her she could be hooked back up latter but in the interim he introduced to a word I had never heard before, ileostomy.  A word that would become basis of my caregiving.  The biopsy of the masses in her colon came back positive for cancer.

Sunday October 13, 2013 was also my 34th birthday. I am still grateful for the best gift, my mom making it through that surgery. I had no idea then the battle ahead with chemo and the ileostomy. It was the start of me never being careless again.

On these pages of beingcareless, I will detail my struggle in being a caregiver for the woman who gave me life.

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