Friday, September 6, 2013

Hoping For the Best...

I regret to inform you that today's post isn't going to be the usual and it's not exactly pet related either. It's going to be about my personal life, so if you're not interested then just keep on moving along.

I know this may not be the perfect place to talk about this, but I love how supportive my fellow blogging friends and readers are and I just feel the need to talk about it with people who might care. So here goes... today, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I'm not sure if those words have quite sunk into me yet.

My mom and Violet. 

Prior to this diagnosis, she's been having a rough time. Since February, my mom has been living at my house off and on. She quit working at the nursery because her arm started hurting and she was just kind of fed up with being underpaid and some other things. Her arm is better now but she has still not been able to find a job since then despite looking for one. I help her search the internet for jobs sometimes.


Since she has no job or money, she has no power, water, food, etc at her house. I don't really have much money to give her, but I don't mind her staying where I live and eating some of my food. My father has been also helping her out some by buying her a little food and giving her a little money sometimes. They are divorced, so they typically don't live together. They have an "it's complicated" relationship I guess.

I don't really know much other than her diagnosis is breast cancer. Her regular doctor sucks, to be quite frank. Instead of politely telling her that they weren't going to discuss her breast biopsy results over the phone, they decided to repeatedly promise to call back for 2 days but never did. When she was able to talk to a doctor on the phone, the doctor lied and said she didn't understand what the biopsy results meant. So she just waited for her Friday appointment to come and I went with her because I had a bad feeling about it.

Other than her having breast cancer, I am concerned about her stress. Since her diagnosis, she has already been talking about how she really has to find a job and move back to her house. And how she'll have to drive herself to chemotherapy. I don't have much experience with humans and cancer, but this just doesn't seem practical to me. Am I wrong? I envision her continuing to stay at my house and needing help getting to and from chemotherapy. She is very stubborn and irrational at times. But maybe I'm wrong and chemotherapy isn't that disabling.

Anyways, that's all I really have to say for now. I think I just needed to talk about it a little bit. Maybe someone out there has some good advice for me. And I promise that I'll be back to my regular schedule next Saturday... I hope! Thank you for listening, friends. Please forgive me if I am around less this weekend.

73 comments:

  1. I am so very sorry to hear this. It is all very overwhelming. Hopefully the hospital/physician she sees can put her in touch with a breast health navigator. This individual is typically an RN, and has more time to spend with patients, explaining various forms of treatment, and available options. Hugs to you and your mom.

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    1. Thank you Rebekah. She is being referred to a breast health clinic so they can discuss the next step.

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  2. TW here. I'm so sorry to hear this. When my Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, the doctor told her even though we told him to wait until we were there. Doctors are funny. Your Mom probably doesn't realize the scope of what's going on. I'd go with her if I were you. I'm sorry to hear of all her troubles. I've been looking for a job for a couple of years now and get depressed at times. Best of luck to your Mom that its Stage 1 and she'll be better soon. As CK would say "healing purrz."

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    1. Thanks TW. I would like to say I know how you feel with the job thing, but my situation isn't exactly the same. But I do know it's easy to get sad when you stay at home and not work. I think her not being able to find a job is pretty stressful for her.

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  3. Words from an anonymous blog visitor may not be very helpful to you, but here it goes. I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time right now. It's always heart-wrenching to see the ones you love have serious health issues and the uncertainty of the situation can be very stressful. Even though you have more questions than answers right now, I think it's probably very comforting for your mom to know that you will try to help her any way you can and that you are there to support her. And don't forget to take care of yourself too. Paws crossed for your mom and for you.

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    1. Thank you very much furries! New visitor's thoughts are welcomed too :) I really appreciate it.

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  4. *hugs* the news probably won't sink in for a while. the best you can do is give her love and support. just take things a day at a time and remember to tell her you love her.

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  5. Thank you for such an honest post Ann. You and your family have my thoughts and prayers for your mother's health. I know many people who have battled cancer and everything comes down to their determination and spirit. I've had friends who led extraordinary lives while undergoing chemo. On my dragon boat team we've had two team members who kept racing and practicing 3x/week throughout their chemo. Dragon boat racing is one of the most intense sports out there so it's incredible that they could continue. I've also had friends who decided it was going to be a time of rest and health. They didn't give up but they chose to pull back from strenuous activities. One of my best friends was just hired as head of HR for Cancer Centers for America and my dad is a radiation oncologist and brachytherapist with his own practice. If there's any way I can support, feel free to contact me.

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    1. Oh wow thanks Mahogany! That's amazing about your team members. I'm not sure how chemo will affect her so it's hard to say if she would work or not if she were able to find a job. I kind of tend to think not, but I just don't know really.

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  6. Oh Ann,I'm so sorry to hear this,I expect everything is a shock at the moment.But finding a job and getting her home back to normal will give your mum some goals of normality just don't let her close her self off to much,Chemo affects people in differents ways some it knocks them hard others have a relitively easy time with it,I hope that it has been picked up early and gets treated quickly for a full recovery,we shall keep you and your mum in our paryers and thoughts and if you need a sounding off board you know where I am,just email and I'll get back to you as soon as I can also I have Skype and Google hangouts too,xxRachel

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  7. Ann we are so sorry to read your news. We have plenty of experience of looking after our mother before she passed away but none with cancer. All we can say is do what you feel is right. You know in your heart what is best. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Please feel free to write about how you feel whenever you want. We are all here for you.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Thank you Molly. Sorry to hear about your mom. I'm sure it isn't easy to care for someone who is sick like that.

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  8. Very sorry to hear this and my heart goes out to you and your mother. She definitely needs a new doctor! And she needs more information about treatment and treatment options. My husband is just finishing up yet another round of chemo and, trust me, there is no way he could go for the treatments alone AND he could not live alone while getting treatment! Though chemo affects different people different ways, it is debilitating to say the least. Hang in there... and know you're in my prayers.

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    1. Thanks Sue. She's needed a new doctor for a long time, but I think her doctor options are limited. She didn't want me in the room when the doctor told her the results, but called me in later. I suspect the doctor came in for no longer than 10 minutes to talk to her. She's being referred to people who specialize in breast cancer right now, thankfully... anyways, thanks for sharing you and your husband's experience with me. It does give me some good insight as to what I might expect. My mom says she has a friend who had breast cancer a year ago, so I think that lady may be able to give her some good support too.

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  9. I am so sorry to hear about your mom Ann. This is a challenging time. She needs a new doctor and probably some time to let it all sink in. I would assume she is a little in shock over it all. I don't have any advice to give you as I have never been faced with a similar problem really (my mother has had some serious health problems over the years but my father and she have had the resources to help). I do know getting a stubborn woman to listen to doctors etc can be hard (my mom is a lot like that). I hope you can find some support to help you navigate the system. sending you hugs today!

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    1. Thanks Lady! She is not stubborn about listening to her doctors thankfully. Her current doctor isn't so good at listening to her though it seems. She's just stubborn about other things and isn't always the most logical thinker...

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  10. Ann I am so sorry to hear this news and you have so much going on. One important thing, did the doctor say what stage the breast cancer is? Did they catch it early? Both of my sister-in-laws had breast cancer and it was diagnosed SUPER SUPER early and both are doing well. Dealing with the breast cancer is hard enough, but your Mom's other issues (being unemployed, etc) makes it that much worse. My heart goes out to you. Some people do well on chemo but it does make people quite tired. I agree with those who said if you do not like her doctor get a new one!!!! Actually a second opinion would be great too! I am also here if you need me. My words aren't much help but please know that I deeply care and am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. xoxoxo

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    1. Your words are plenty of help Caren! Thanks. I don't know what constitutes "early" but my thoughts are no. She claims that she noticed the lump in January. She'll be going to a breast clinic soon. She already seems tired without chemo. I think that she has been a nervous wreck lately, so she's just been sleeping all day.

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  11. Ann,I have breast cancer and have been all right for about six years now. She definitely needs someone to drive her to chemo. But you really need to find a different doctor for her. That all sounds crazy. She needs to get a good oncologist. The oncologist takes over and will tell her she cannot drive to chemo on her own. You can drop her off and pick her up later.
    Listen, my email is margaretmsan@gmail.com so if you want some more advice, just write to me.

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    1. Oh thank you Marg! I'm glad you've been alright. I hope her oncologist is good. She should be going to get all of this taken care of soon. I've wanted her to change her regular doctor for a very long time now. I will definitely email you sometime if I need any advice - thanks.

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  12. Ann, I am so sorry to hear this. I wish I had some good advice for you but I have not been through this myself. I think some others are giving good advice though, and I'm sure you'll find someone that has been through it and can help you. Your mother is very lucky to have you. Maybe she just needs a bit more time for it to sink in also, and then she'll realize that letting you help her is the best thing. Please know you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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    1. Thanks Jan. She just seems to get depressed easily and can be a very negative thinker. Fortunately, I am a very positive thinker and always try to see the good side of things.

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  13. I'm am sorry about your mom's diagnosis. While most doctor's prefer to give the biopsy results in their office, the way her doctor did it was wrong.

    Hopefully you find a surgeon and oncologists that you are both comfortable with. Treatment options vary and your mom's treatment will depend on histology, what stage she is and her tumor markers. Final treatment is often not decided until after surgery and then she will know whether chemo or radiation therapy is definite. Some people are able to work through treatment and some are not. You may want to contact the American Cancer Society chapter in your area and ask about local support groups. That can be a help as you both go through it.

    In my day job I work as a cancer registrar, I collect data on patients diagnosed/treated with cancer in a hospital. If I can help in any way, just let me know. Will keep you both in my thoughts.

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    1. Oh thank you Dawn! I am very thankful that she has a friend who just got done with some breast cancer stuff. I want to say her "sucky" doctor told her she will need chemo, but I guess that's really for the specialists to decide on. I will definitely be in touch if I need some advice or another opinion.

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  14. We are so sorry Ann, it is great that you have shared it with us all, as sometimes we all need support and you certainly do. Today as you know, if caught early, the get better rate has increased for Cancer. Your Mom is going to need you as Chemo is not a nice thing, she won't be driving herself back and fourth from the hospital. We get that she doesn't want to rely on you but times like this she's gonna have too. Once it all sinks in, it's a big shock for all of you. Can your Mom not get some assistance with living costs? We are always here for you Ann, you have our email. Thinking of you all and sending all our love and hugs xxxxxxxxxxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

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    1. Thank you Mollie. I think she can get some assistance with living costs. I mean, I know she can. She mentioned she's going to work on that harder now. I guess she had some trouble with food assistance a couple of months ago and gave up on it. I just think it's weird that she has stayed here in the past but now that she knows she has cancer, she feels like she has to leave... sometimes her thinking just doesn't make sense to me.

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    2. It's all a shock and she probably is in a bit of denial too. She'll come around, people's thinking goes out the window when they get news like this. She must persist in getting the help she needs with living costs.That will be one less worry for both of you. xxxxxxxx

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  15. All my best wishes for your mom and I hope she will win the fight against the big C. It's so hard when you or someone you love get this diagnosis. It always sounds like the end of all and it's tough to be alone with all the things what will come. I remember as mom's BBF informed us about her cancer-diagnosis and how shocked we were. To get support from family or friends is very important for all who have to fight against the big C. If I can do something, please let me know.

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    1. Thanks Easy and Mom. I guess I was not super shocked yesterday... while the doctors were avoiding her calls all week, I realized that the results must not be good. That's why no one wanted to talk to her, because they didn't want to tell her over the phone. But still.

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  16. Oh Ann, I'm so, so, so sorry to hear this. I read your comment on my post about breast troubles and saw that your mom was getting ready to find out about her own biopsy results. I wanted to contact you, but figured I'd wait until you said something here, and now you have. The blogging community is so supportive... don't be afraid to lean on us for support. I know it's awkward to post about our personal lives on our pet blogs, but sometimes we have to. We can't just go on blogging our usual stuff and pretend that nothing is wrong. Sometimes I even wish that I didn't have a pet blog, that it was more of a life blog, and then I wouldn't have to apologize for writing about a non-pet-related topic. But it is what it is. Bloggers aren't robots... we are people... with families... and complicated situations. And sometimes we need support. Don't be afraid to talk about what's going on. Now that we all know, be prepared to hear/read "How is your mom doing?/How are you doing?" from now on. We do care and will want to know, but hopefully everyone can respect your space and let you share things at your own pace.
    Like the others have said, she will need you to drive her to chemo, even better if you can sit with her, but not necessary. Each treatment takes a while, and some people like to have company while others do not. There are different types of chemo and everyone has a different experience with it. Some people feel too unwell to do very much at all and others remain quite active.
    A whole lot will depend on the things Dawn said (histology, markers, staging, etc.) If they didn't discuss those details with you and your mom, then the oncologist will next time (or should). If they aren't telling you/your mom every single detail of her diagnosis and what it all means, demand that they do. Rebekah mentioned breast health navigators. If the hospital she'll be receiving treatment at has those, hopefully your mom will be set up with one right away.
    Again, I'm so sorry that you and your mom are going through this right now. Just know that we are all here for you as you are there for her.

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    1. Thanks Pam. I was gonna message you somewhere to let you know if you hadn't read this. I figure this is my blog, so why not? I am friends with a few bloggers on Facebook who have probably already read this. I hope she'll let me go with her to some appointments because I don't think she understands a lot of things that doctors tell her. She'll understand the main things and everything though.

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  17. I am so sorry to hear that news Ann. Please know we are all here for you and we send you both our best love and hugs.

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  18. I am sorry about what you and your family are going through.
    I know nothing about cancer or medecine and feel useless here.:(
    I can only give you one advice : don't forget to take care of yourself. The last thing your mother needs is you getting sick.
    And how do your kids feel about it ? Do they know? Ann, I send you all my positive thoughts. Cheer up and keep in mind your heart knows the best way to act.
    Hugs for you across the miles. XXXXXXXXXX
    Thibaud.

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    1. Thank you very much Thibaud! At first, my mom did not want me to tell my kids but I have no intention of not telling my oldest daughter. But no, I haven't told her yet.

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    2. I do believe you are correct because if you mother lives with you, then your kids will inevitably notice the "change". Dealing with a cancer is hard enough, no need to add more difficulties by whispering when you have to talk about it.

      Ann, please let us know how it goes.
      We are here for you.
      Once again, I send you hugs, love and positive thoughts.

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  19. Oh Ann, we're so sorry to hear this. I know far more about this than I care to, since treating cancer is my husband's job.
    I echo what others have said about getting a good doctor and a second opinion. Far too often people forget that THEY are the customer and the doctor is *not* G-d.

    My husband had that drilled into his head irrevocably many years ago when an airline pilot flew into our city to interview his team for cancer treatment. The pilot ended up choosing them and the day prior to the surgery, my husband received a letter.
    It said,
    "Each and every day, hundreds of people place their lives into my hands when they board my aircraft. I take this responsibility very seriously and give them my very best, for they deserve no less.

    "Today, I'm placing MY life into YOUR hands. And I expect no less than the very best from you."

    That made a HUGE impact on the surgical team. If you think as a patient you have no power - well...you DO.

    Hugs to you and your mom.

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    1. Thank you very much! Seems as though there are a lot of people who have more experience with this than they would like to. It's nice to know I have people I can ask questions to.

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  20. Oh no, I am so sorry for this horrible news. What a terrible situation. Your mom is lucky to have you, as little or much as you can help, and I'm sure what she needs the most right now is the support to help her get through this. I am thinking of you. Stay positive and stay strong for your mom. All the best. xoxo

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    1. Thank you Katie. I am a positive person, so I should be able to balance her.

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  21. Ann I'm so sorry to hear the diagnosis but am hopeful they are catching it in it's early stages. I'm so glad you decided to blog about your mother's breast cancer because I truly believe in "prayers in numbers" help. If anything, you'll gain the support that you need to help keep you strong so you can help your mother. I can understand her wanting to be on her own but maybe it's because she doesn't want to feel like a "burden" to you, especially if she's been independent up until this point. I have no words of wisdom to share, as you know, I've had my own recent scares with breast issues. It's truly scary and your mother really needs strength and support from her love ones. Hopefully at the next doctor appointment they can tell her more and what stage she is in, as well as treatment options. Just know, we are all here for you and sending prayers to your mother. God bless

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    1. Thank you Bren. I think that she feels like a burden as you mention. She says that I have my kids to take care of etc... but she hasn't been independent since February really.

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  22. Hi Ann,

    I am so sorry about your mother’s diagnosis and the problems she is having. I hope she finds a better doctor and good medical care. I wish your mother, you and your family all the best.

    Bruny Hudson

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  23. I'm so sorry your Mom has to go through this. I hope everything works out, and that she gets better quickly.

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  24. What rotten news. I'm so sorry that your Mom is facing this on top of her other circumstances. I hope she changes her mind and stays with you for the love and support you can give to her. The road ahead will no doubt be tough on both of you, but if you're together you can help each other through the tough times. You and she will be in my thoughts.

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    1. Thanks Amy. I'm trying to convince her that now might not be the best time to leave. She just doesn't like staying at my house, and I don't blame her. But she's stayed here for almost a year now so I just don't understand why she's so adamant about leaving.

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  25. Oh man, we're so sorry to hear about your Mom's diagnosis! :-/ It just sucks and there's no other way to put it! Thankfully your Mom will be working with an oncologist and not her primary for the most part from now on, which is great since he sounds like he's horrible! :-( We've experienced quite a bit of cancer diagnoses and the one thing that you have to do is take down the stress level!! So she should stop worrying about the small things and definitely let other people assist her (as much as possible), of course that's easier said than done! Don't forget to take care of yourself as well!

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    1. Very true Goose and Domeek. I just got word that it could take up to a week for her primary to even refer her somewhere... ugh. She's cool with letting others assist her and finding options to help her. I just wish she'd let me help her.

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  26. Oh, Ann, we are so sorry to hear all of this. Just know that we are praying and purring, and sending all our very best thoughts to you and your mom. And that we care. Big hugs.

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  27. Ann,
    I'm swiping The Indulged Furries' words, because I couldn't say anything better!
    "Words from an anonymous blog visitor may not be very helpful to you, but here it goes. I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time right now. It's always heart-wrenching to see the ones you love have serious health issues and the uncertainty of the situation can be very stressful. Even though you have more questions than answers right now, I think it's probably very comforting for your mom to know that you will try to help her any way you can and that you are there to support her. And don't forget to take care of yourself too. Paws crossed for your mom and for you."

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  28. I'm sorry to hear this, Ann. My mother had bladder cancer and not such a good docter too, but she never changed to another and that ultimately proved to be fatal :( I hope your mom will change her docter and I hope she will find something to keep her busy and that distracts her a little from all of this. If she can't find a job, maybe she can volunteer untill then? It was also proved that therapy helps. I wish your mom all the strenghts she needs to overcome this terrible disease and for you Ann, all the strenghts to support her. Big Hugs!

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    1. I just don't think her doctor is capable of much anyways. They just keep making more and more angry *sigh*. Thank you very much for the kind words.

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  29. Ann I am very sorry to hear of your mom's diagnosis! I think you have had some good and helpful advice here. The situation is different in the UK for diagnosis and treatment though the wretched disease is the same. She and you will need support while she is being treated. Yes, let's hope and pray the cancer has been caught early. There are treatment options, so please make sure your mom gets the best and most full advice. I know, sometimes, here the doctors decide without really consulting the patient, though that shouldn't happen. You/she should be fully informed. Sending hugs, Caro xx

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    1. Thanks :) Unfortunately, I don't think it was caught early. Of course her doctor never even told her what stage it was. My mom is the type of person to just say fix it and get it over with. She probably wouldn't understand much of it, but just be willing to let the doctors fix it however they want to.

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  30. Ann...I am so sorry to hear this. Looks like you got some good information in the comments. My thoughts and best hopes are with you and your mom as you navigate through this tough time.

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  31. Ann, I'm really sorry your mom is going through this right now. Just know the whole forum is behind you, and you can vent at any of us any time you need to--we're not there just for our pets. We're there for each other's lives as well.

    Just to explain the reason behind the way your mom is wanting to go off away from you . . . Often when some people are faced with health challenges, they hate the idea that they might have to give up any or all independence they have. It's scary.

    She'll realize soon that she needs you as much as you need her. Her job situation already had her feeling low enough, but now she feels like the rest of her life just spun out of complete control. She is determined to not let it happen. "I'm not going to let this take my life away from me," is all she's telling you. Just give her a few days to get through the acceptance part, and then you can talk to her more about what you want and how you expect things to go for your own peace of mind.

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    1. Yea I guess that makes sense kind of. She's just not a very logical person. I try to talk about things and she just brings up things from the past that make her angry and are irrelevant to the situation. She's not easy to deal with. I have been meaning to go on the forum this weekend, but I got sick yesterday and wasn't online much.

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  32. You are so right to get suport from the blogging community - I would tell them everything before some of my other friends. First, I am very happy your mother got a referral to the new clinic. Existing docs will never tell you they don't know what to do! I have never dealt with cancer, but my own health suddenly took a dive and my two great supporters ended up giving me nightmares because they were so worried. Added to that, getting a job has become pretty critical for me, and not having a diagnosis at the time really added to a ton of worry and pressure. Is it possible to sit your mom down and tell her to forget about a job right now? She has to be under a lot of stress. She is so lucky to have you. It looks like things are going in the right direction now. Jobs are just very hard to get these days. (FYI - I am going to be OK, and moving forward in any way I can come up with and trying my best to not get stressed.)Big hugs coming your way!

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    1. She goes back and forth with the job thing. Now she mostly wants a place to live or stay. I understand why she hates this house, but that hasn't stopped her from staying here in the past. And actually, her primary just notified her that it could be up to a week before they call her back with the referral. That upsets me a lot... Thanks a lot for your words Jobi :)

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  33. Hi Ann.

    I'm coming from Bren's post and I would just like to wish you and your mom all the best. You are doing all you can to support your mom and that makes you an awesome daughter and lady. My prayers are with you and your mom.

    In respect to her income situation, I invite you to check out my website Work from Home Concepts. Maybe there is something she can do from home. Right off the bat I would like to recommend Virtual Bee. It's a data entry site and pays weekly. Depending on her typing speed and accuracy she can make up to a PT income...at least to bring something in.


    Hope this helps and please keep us posted. You are in my prayers :). Nice to meet you by the way :). Keep the faith, sister!

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    1. Thank you very much Corina. I've had some others reach out regarding the job thing, but unfortunately she does not know how to use a computer at all. She's also not too interested in learning how to use one... but I appreciate it nonetheless!

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  34. :( Oh dear I'm just reading this now, and I want to let you know my heart goes out to you, and your mother. You will have to take the reins as of now, and make shure that your mother gets all the rest that she needs. <3 If you ever need support please let us know! Blogville is here for you!

    Sending you my sincere thoughts, and strong vibes. Hugs, Francesca

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  35. Ann:

    I am reading this post late, and wanted to let you know that your family is in my heart and prayers. I think it's great that you reached out to the blogging community, and after reading all the heartfelt responses know this was a GOOD thing to do. Just take care of yourself so that you can better help to care for your Mom. Take it one day at a time and know that so many are there to support you in the weeks to come. Austin is a big city now with so many resources, that I am certain your Mom can find the good health care she will need. You might also want to reach out to your local church community - they offer many kinds of assistance for those in need.

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    1. Thanks Christy. We finally found out where they are referring her to. It's going to be the Shivers Center at Seton Brackenridge downtown. Seems like a great place. Now, we are still waiting for the actual referral...

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  36. I'm so sorry to hear this Ann! I hope your mom's new Dr. is a good one and that it was caught soon. I hope everything works out for the best. I'll be praying for your family!

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  37. Prayers for your mom and for you Ann...I've been here and understand how hard this is for you both

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