Forest For The Trees

This summer has been a wild ride in many respects.

In particular, my mother has been ill – very ill. In and out of the hospital since May, with one major surgery under her belt, possibly more on the horizon. While they were fixing her heart (two leaky valves) they found one (accidental) instance of lung cancer.

Basically, two major systems at war with each other.

To date, there has been nothing done for the lung cancer, because every time we take one step forward, there are two steps back.

Along with those steps is a lot of note-taking and doctor-speak coming from my sister. Who luckily understands all the jargon, and who has worked her ass off all summer to make sure things stay on the right path, but in truth, is only one person, who has a 5 year old son and issues of her own to deal with.

Yes, we also have two aunts and one uncle (plus me for afar) on the scene, calling and following up too. But really? Are the 5 of us enough? (And how sad is it if we aren’t?)

Apparently we’re not.

Because after much screaming – yes SCREAMING – phone calling, tweeting – yes TWEETING – and everything else you you imagine – my mother was released from the hospital this weekend, with no further cancer tests or treatment.

Even though every time she is released she somehow gains massive fluid back in the wink of an eye, which destabilizes her heart, and then the hospitals spend weeks whittling her water off so she can breathe again.

And then send her home.

Anyone else notice lunacy in this pattern?

I have gone round and round in my head about it, and I know there are a million things at play. Insurance, doctors, egos, money, my mom herself… it’s all a complicated forest where the trees may getting lost.

The part that frightens me to the core is this: that tree is my mother.

This article has 22 comments

  1. sandwiched

    Oh boy. THIS sounds familiar. My mom has been hospitalized 4 times since May. She has heart disease, kidney failure, and lung cancer, too.

    At the moment, the lung cancer seems to be on the bottom rung, treatment-wise. She did go through 4 Cyberknife treatments this summer, but now they’re working on her heart. She had a pacemaker put in on Friday.

    If they release your mom again, and you’re not sure that she’s stable, you can ask her doc for a home healthcare nurse to come in and evaluate her. Sometimes they can even have the patient send in her vitals (bp, weight, etc.) via phone/internet and they can keep tabs on her that way.

    Hang in there…

  2. JennyMoose

    My heart aches for you all in the midst of all this stress and confusion. If love would heal your mom she would be running a marathon tomorrow. Meanwhile, I will be praying. And I’m here if you need me, ok?

  3. Crunchy Green Mom - Suzanne B.

    Aimee, I can’t imagine what you are going through.

    I am sorry that this is happening to your mom, if you need anything, please write/call/yell/scream… or send over a quick “help”… we will all do what we can.

    Take care of yourself in this, please.

  4. Melissa Taylor


    Heartbreaking, I’m sorry you’re going through this.


  5. zipper

    So sorry to hear about this, Aimee.

  6. Sizzle

    The more I hear about how hospitals are run or how doctors “care” for patients, the more afraid I am. How on EARTH could they send her home with no cancer tests?!

    I am so sorry you are going through this- your entire family- and hope somehow your Mom receives the care she needs.

  7. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Sandwiched – she, luckily, does have a home care nurse. Of course, you get about 24 hrs warning before coming home from hospital, and it takes at least several days or more to get back into their rotation – so there is that. ūüėČ

    And Sizzle – that is really why we are scratching our heads. Several of the tests require her to lay down in a tube, which she cannot do when she has all this water weight on, so my sister pushed to have the tests late last week since she was in better shape right now, but basically the two divisions were simply not communicating or something. No clue. In the end, they decided to have her go home, try to keep the weight off and do the cancer tests hopefully next week as outpatient. Cross fingers.

  8. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    and thanks so much all.

  9. Heather

    Oh my! My heart goes out to you guys. I hope that the fluid stays away this time and hopefully you all can make some sense of this situation.


  10. monstergirlee

    Oh Aimee, my heart just aches for you, and for everyone dealing with this awful situation. Its one thing to be worried about your Mom’s health, then have to second guess and wrangle hospitals and doctors is just too much. AGH!
    I wish you all peace and cool heads and smart brains to take care of you all. I’m sending love and prayers for everyone.

  11. sue at nobaddays

    (((Aimee))) – hope this unfolds and is resolved sooner rather than longer for you.

  12. Anonymous

    Lovely post, Aimee. Praying for your mom. – m

  13. Hannah


  14. chloebear

    We are here for you…wish we could do more. hugs.

  15. Kevin Boulas

    I’m so sorry, Aimee. I hope you all are hanging in there.

    I read the book “It’s Not About the Bike,” about Lance Armstrong and his cancer battle; I read it 3 months too late. I don’t know if you read it, but what’s always stuck with me from that book is that when he was diagnosed with cancer, he went to the best cancer center in Texas, and they told him there was a chance of his recovering, but he would never ride again. So Armstrong went to another doctor, who told him that he thought there was a chance to treat the cancer and still get him back on the bike.

    I guess the point is that doctors have opinions – well educated opinions, but opinions nonetheless. I don’t know the circumstances, but one thing to consider is whether you buy into these opinions? If not, or if they aren’t addressing your concerns, is going to someone else an option?

    Just my two cents. You guys hand in there – we’ll be sending good thoughts to you and your family.

    Hang in there.


  16. Melissa

    Oh, Aimee – I am so very sorry. I can’t even imagine. Sending lots of positive vibes and love your way.

  17. zenrain

    Wish I could do something… hugs to you all, love, mar

  18. mayberry

    So SO frustrating! I’m so sorry you and your family are dealing with this. xoxox

  19. Kelly

    Sorry to hear Aimee. I can’t even imagine how frustrating it must be. Thoughts and prayers headed your way!

  20. Sarah

    {{{HUGS}}} I can only wish you the best. I hope that sometime soon they finally pull their heads out of their…um…egos…long enough to actually help your mom.

  21. Kim Hosey

    I understand, at least in part, especially on the one step forward, two steps back part. It’s so frustrating and heartbreaking. I’m so sorry for you and your family. I’m glad for your mother that she has someone like your sister on the ground there putting their feet to the fire, and it sounds like she has a great support system in ALL of you. You take care, girl.

  22. Laura

    I’m really sorry, Aimee – it must make it all so much worse being all the way across the country! I hope she (and her care) take a turn for the MUCH better.

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