Saturday, April 3, 2010

One Sunny April Day Part 1

The end came one peaceful April Morning, it was the 27th day in 1999..I remeber the phone call waking me up at about 5am.

It's Ok, we were expecting the call, I often thank that there was such a lead up, time to say our goodbyes, say everything we might have to say...well I have to say there has much happened in my life since then that i would have given everything to get my mums advice or her ear.

Truth is i miss her Dearly and pretty much not a day passes that i don't think about her.

Mum was born Marilyn Joy Coffin in Coburg, a suburb north of melbourne, daughter to Milton and June and younger sister to Margaret. When she left school she became a trainee nurse at Box Hill hospital. It was a chance encounter that she met my dad, John Mapstone who was visiting my uncle (adopted) Bill Snoek who had had a severe motorbike accident.

My understanding is things moved quickly and before you know it they were married and moved in to a reasonably new outer eastern suburb call ed Bayswater (nowhere near the bay or water, only the Dandenong creek). They had three children with me the middle child so i have the complex.

Many years ensued, mum worked night shift, dad worked days but we coped and got to see both parents. As we got older and better able to look after ourselves mum studied and later became a midwife, one thing she was very proud of. For what i understand she was a good at her job and loved it with a passion.

She was 41 when she found a lump in her right breast, she had a mammogram but nothing came conclusive. Mum persevered and they found a malignant lump through biopsy. Mum did'nt want it known so she went to a different hospital to have her breast removed and then she had treatment(she had accrued 6 months of sick leave). I really don't remember much of her symptoms then apart from the obvious hair loss, i ws in the grips of my VCE.

We almost made it to 5 years, mum was not well, just a bit unwell when she was turning a bed down at work when she collpased. This time it was serious, the cancer had spread to her bone marrow especially inher lower spine....innoperable and terminal. I remeber the day mum sat us down and told us. I have never felt so numb, I mean life is finite, but when the doctors say you have 12 months and that's it.

The drugs used to treat mums cancer meant one major thing, to stop the bone marrow working her body stopped making blood so twice a week we went into the hospital for blood transfusions. Most weeks it was 7 units to keep her alive. She frequently got ill because her immune system was vulnerable. And whenever she ended up in hospital she would catch something else to keep her there longer.

New and improved drugs meant mum's live was extended, she overtook her 12 month deadline and she even managed to get 12 months of success. Her symptoms even diminished and it almost seems like she was back in remission.

I was with her that day though when her oncologist broke the news that the fanstastic drug that had extended her life was no longer working. It was another hard day on the cancer emotional rollercoaster.

Another hard day was when i came in to her in the morning and she was in the foetal position, in excruiating pain, the tumor was pressing on her spine, sending pain throughout her body. I have never felt so completely helpless (only except for whne seeing my wife going through labour I suppose). I managed to get her to the hospital where i got her straight into the oncology ward (as a patient you do have some privelages) but then waiting for the registrar to come up and prescribe what the nuses knew what she needed..morphine. You see until this point mum had only goine as strong as panadeine forte. She would only ever take panadol for most things.

Anyway from that incident she started taking a small dose of morphine in a solution but it wasn't very powerful, but it worked.

Over the full term of mums treatment she undertook 7 treatments, some proper treatments, some were trials. She saw the benefit to the medical community of taking part in trials. Her last one was however one of the worst. She had to taked a number of horse pills and one side effect was they made her hands and feet rd raw. When this happened she made the decision to end the trial.

To Be Continued

No comments:

Post a Comment