Choosing Between the Hospital and Hospice

February 27th, 2022 – Post #36

Thank you for your prayers. My mom is hardly having any pain now, and is on almost no pain medication. This seems miraculous to me, after how badly she was suffering last week.

There have been some questions about the source of her pain – whether it was from her sciatica or spinal stenosis, the cancer, or a reaction to the radiation. We really don’t know for sure, which felt pretty scary for a while.

She was extremely weak and sick after the treatment last Tuesday. I don’t think I have ever heard her moan or cry out in pain like that.

Wednesday morning, after she decided not to continue radiation, she clapped her hands and said, “Hooray – I can eat Cheerios again, and I don’t have to go in that awful machine anymore.”

Wednesday night/Thursday morning, things got much worse. I was up with her until about 4 in the morning, because she kept saying her pain level was “easily a nine”.

Knowing what her answer would be, I asked, “As a nurse, what would you tell someone to do, if they were at a nine like this?”

She said, ”I’d tell them to go to the ER, but I don’t want to go to the hospital.”

I offered repeatedly to take her, or call an ambulance, but she didn’t want to go (we happened to be in the midst of an ice storm). She kept saying the pain was in her spine, which worried me, because the long list of possible side effects for her radiation stated, “Spinal cord/nerve injury may result in loss of motor and/or sensory function in the lower extremities”. Along with that were the possibilities of liver failure, fluid accumulation and bleeding problems, severe kidney damage, bowel obstruction, etc… I didn’t know what was going on, and wanted to find out the source.

She thought if she could just get something to ease the pain, she’d be able to get through it.

I was concerned either there was internal damage from the radiation, or since she was so weak from the treatment, maybe she’d cracked a bone (she didn’t always want help getting seated, and a couple of times she’d let herself down pretty hard).

Anyway, per her wishes, we did not go to the hospital. I’m thankful for how helpful hospice has been to us. They have given us the tools to make my mom much more comfortable, and we’ve been greatly enjoying this time with her.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support. Love, Jody 🌻

Click here if you’d like to read the rather raw, and possibly a little controversial, version of what was going on in my heart during all this.

*To read more on my mom’s cancer journey from the beginning, or share it, please click below:


I'm not sure what to say here: I once got second place in a dog-look-alike-contest? I know how to fold a fitted sheet? I'm pretty much a poster child for social backwardness - at least as far as social media is concerned; but I have some stories I think I'm supposed to share and am attempting to do that here, in this space.

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