Mom Called

I got a phone call from my Mom today….

It seems like since my Grandmother (her Mom) Dohner passed away from brain cancer when I was 11 years old (22 years ago) my Mom’s health has steadily been declining. My Grandma was my Mom’s best friend, and with her passing it hit my Mom VERY hard. So much so, that she couldn’t get out of bed for over 3 months because her back went out.

She got better and was able to go back to work. But I remember vividly that time when my Grandma passed away. The woman I knew and called Mom disappeared and became someone else. Even though she physically was able to mend, emotionally she’s never fully recovered.

Since my oldest son Walker was born 9.5 years ago she’s since retired from Motorola because of her back issues and receives disability checks. In the past 5 years she’s been diagnosed with Fibromialgia, Diverticulitis, Degenerative Disc Disease, and Osteoarthritis. And last year she was diagnosed with Diabetes.

Today…she received a phone call from the Dr. with her latest results on some blood tests she’s had. They have diagnosed her with Lupus…. There is no cure for Lupus. It’s an autoimmune disease. It attacks your body’s own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by Lupus can affect many different body systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart and lungs. It can be managed with certain drugs (typically steroids)…but left untreated can lead down a very painful road.

About 2 weeks ago she went in and they told her her platelets were low and started her on antibiotics. That Sunday I came to see is our Sunday Tradition…and when I hugged her she felt really warm. It felt like she might have a low grade fever. I mentioned it to her and she said she hadn’t been feeling well and she seemed pretty tired.

With the diagnosis of Lupus on top of her already long list of illnesses I’m really worried. My Mom has had a very hard life. And with that has come some rather negative ‘coping’ habits. She smokes and she over eats. She’s in pain constantly and so exercising doesn’t really appeal to her and smoking calms her nerves. However, if she doesn’t make some changes in her life-style it will increase her symptoms and bring on more complications. If she doesn’t take care of herself and stay on top of this it can lead to her death. The 2 most common causes of death for people with Lupus are overwhelming infection and kidney failure.

It’s hard watching her suffer and seeing her in pain everyday. She’s not just tired..she’s exhausted! Keeping up with all the Dr. appointments, medications, therapies, lists of do’s and dont’s, special diets, more doctor visits….on and on…she just wants to be well again. I want it for her too……I love her. She is my Mom and my best friend.

There has been a series of events the past month that have made me really step back and assess what the future holds for my Mom. I won’t go into too many details but they are concerning. It has opened my eyes to things I need to start thinking about as my parents age. I feel like I’m too young to be having to think about this stuff…I’m only 33. However, my Mom was only 37 when my Grandma passed away. My Grandma was 57 years old when she died. My Mom will be 60 on March 9th of this year. Thinking about these numbers makes me really think hard about the future…it is slowly coming upon me.

My mind at times starts to race with questions and concerns…Who will take care of them? What if Dad isn’t able to work anymore..where will they live? Do I need to become more involved in their day to day dealings so that if need be, I can step in and take over those responsibilities? I don’t know….

Right now all I can do is pray. Pray for her to be strong and stay strong mentally and physically. Pray that she won’t allow this newest diagnosis to spiral her into depression. Pray that she will ‘want’ to fight and get treatment. Just pray!!


  • Katie

    I'm so sorry you're all having to deal with this. What a challenge. We will definitely remember you guys and your mom in our prayers tonight. You are strong though and you will find a way to make this all work. I know it!

  • Sue

    I'm so sorry to hear about the diagnosis for you Mother! We will be praying for her and for you and Jared. I know it is hard for you to see her not well. It becomes so overwhelming to think of the future and what may happen. Take it one day at a time and know that we are keeping you in prayer.

  • Jill Ison

    I'm sorry Vanessa, I had no idea all that was going on and now this! Your mother is such a sweet woman. How is this fair? I saw how hard health situations can be watching my mom with her parents in their last 10 or so years. It's very frustrating and hard. Made me think, oh no will this be me taking care of them coming up sooner than I'd like? I am SO SO sorry. Tell your mom I love her and give her a hug for me.

  • Rachel

    Sorry you have to bear all this (and her too). One thing that may appeal to her would be swimming. I used to teach an arthritis water aerobics class that had many people in it with lupus, fibromyalgia, and MS. The buoyancy of the water eased the pain of weight bearing and made exercise doable. The YMCA's here offer those classes. Will keep you in our prayers.

  • Anonymous

    She and her Dr.'s have talked about that for years. She doesn't like to go out in public a whole lot and she can't afford a pool of her own. But I know it would REALLY help her a lot!

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