It all started this weekend. The fair weekend. Our local fair parade is really a BIG event for our community and anyone who is anyone participates, and you can bet our little travel ball team was participating. My mom hasn’t made it to the fair parade in a few years, well, basically since she was struck with cancer 4.5 years ago, but this year she met me to watch our Xtreme team float by.
While watching the parade, I had noticed my mother struggling to breathe, but somehow throughout the afternoon she made it to the very end, as she always does. For over a year now, she has had a cough. A continuous cough that has never went away, and with time, it’s only gotten worse. So watching her tiptoe to the edge of the sidewalk was hard for me. I could see it in her eyes, yet she never really complained. A tear may fall here and there, but she has always been a tough little women.
The float went by and my Cameron was beyond excited to see his Nanny in the crowd. She walked up to the float and hollered I love you and he blew her a kiss, then seconds later hit me right in the face with a cup he was throwing. That is something I’ll always remember about the two of them – no matter where they are OR who they are around, the love they have for one another has always been shown… and he will only show that type of public affection with his Nanny.
After the parade was over, we had told each other goodbye and she went coughing down the street homeward bound. In the back of my mind, I always think, they have to do something! Something needs to be figured out about that cough. She has been suffering too long with that damn cough.
A couple of days went by and I thought it would be cute to shoot a blog with Newnan, my doodle, at the fair. He is really well-behaved in public and I thought it wouldn’t be a problem to run in and do a quick shoot with him around the fair grounds. Taking pictures for my blog and Instagram is such a nice way to switch it up for me, in my chaotic world. Well, turns out even as human as Newnan appears, you can’t get a break if you don’t have the proper clothing appeal. Newnan wasn’t able to get into the fairgrounds without a service vest and sneaking him in my purse was not an option. SO, we settled for the fence and had a few nice shots with the fair in the background. It was great! It was a great afternoon to be in good company and have a little fun. That was the beginning of our October “fest”!
That Saturday my mother calls me. I could tell she was out of breath. She asked if I could run the mail route with her to help unload the many packages she still had left to deliver. Without a second thought, I absolutely agreed and met her along the way. As I hopped in her mail truck, she had one hand on the steering wheel and was slummed down in the middle trying to get air through the vents. She was crying. I asked her if she wanted me to just take completely over and drive while she got rest, but we proceeded on.
I remember her stopping at a cluster of mailboxes and bent down and started sobbing. It took all the breath out of her just trying to cry and that made it worse. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what to say. I just put my hand on her back and said, mom we are leaving for Georgia in the morning, hang in there.
The morning to Georgia was just like any other morning trip to Newnan, Ga. We left in the wee morning hours, and my mom and I both woke up from our morning nap when we hit Baton Rouge. For 4.5 years we always stopped at Crackle Barrel, but this time since my dad and I are both on our Arbonne journey,we didn’t eat. We made a pit stop to the restroom and stretched our legs. From Baton Rouge to Newnan, Ga my mom wasn’t her chatty self. She laid in the back seat the entire eleven-hour drive. She didn’t want to move too much because the minute she would move, her coughing would stir up. I could tell she wasn’t feeling well, her face was flush, and the coughing wouldn’t let up. My dad and I would chat as we normally do, but this time it was different. We were all worried about the anticipation of seeing a new doctor during this visit. We each figured radiation,or worse, the devil of the chemo that makes you lose your hair. We knew they had to do something, we just never thought this would be our last trip to the Cancer Treatment Center.
Once we arrived at our hotel, I pushed my mom in by wheelchair. She wanted to take a bath, thinking soaking in a hot tub would be soothing to her. But, her coughing was just unbearable at this point; my dad and I both looked at each other and shook our heads. Really that’s all we did the entire trip. I decided it would be a good idea if we unloaded our luggage and brought her straight to the urgent care at the center.
We arrived there just 20 minutes before they closed. They placed her in a room where the nurses would then take over, as my dad and I watched from the corner. A scan of her lungs wasdone, a CT scan was taken, and lots of blood was drawn from her tiny little body through her port. They doped her with cough medicine and Morphine. A few hours later the doctor comes in and says, we would like to admit you for the night, so we can monitor you. My dad and I stayed for as long as we could and then headed back to our hotel room. It was so weird being there without my mom – surrounded by all of her stuff. My dad and I just sat and looked at each other once again. I remember my dad saying, “I just don’t know Kacie, I just don’t know”.
The next morning we found my mother asleep on her side. It was about 4:00 in the morning (thanks dad for waking me up that early) and I could tell my dad was nervous. I think that’s why he woke me up so early, so he could get to his wife, my mom. Throughout the day, so many lovely nurses and staff from the center greeted us as they scurried in and out. They took such great care of my mother, always asking if she or my dad or I needed anything. I always asked for a warm blanket because it was always freezing.
Then the moment we were waiting for, you know, the plan of action from her doctor. What were we looking at? Radiation? Or back to square one with the worse chemo? The new doctor, whowe were supposed to meet during our regular appointments,came in the hospital room. He stood over my momma and said, Mrs. Hennigan, we’ve looked over your scans and there is nothing more we can do for you. He said, I’m sorry, but you are too weak to receive any kind of treatment and the thought of surgery is unspeakable due to your condition. You would either die on the operating table or if you did make it through surgery, you would have a huge risk of going straight on life support. We will make sure and have hospice waiting for you when you return home. They will take care of your every need. Please trust me, if we could do something, we would do it.
What? Did I just hear this correctly? *takes a moment to sink in
Everything was quite for a moment, and then my mother burst out screaming. MY BABY GIRL, OH MY BABY GIRL. My dad leans over her and they hold each other. My mom says to my dad, “I’ve loved you since high school”. Then we all huddle and cry, we haven’t stopped crying. If dad isn’t crying, I’m crying. If’ I’m not crying, my dad is crying. On the way back home, I lean over to my dad and say, it’s just going to be me and you. I never thought this would be our last trip to Newnan, Ga. I mean we all knew one day it would be, but my mother literary went from working Saturday, Urgent Care Sunday, admitted into the hospital, to hospice. Just. Like. That.