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Sunday 10/12/14: Update on Mom

A very tough day.    bottom line is that mom has ALOT going on.  But the main issue is that they have found a 2″ x 3″ brain tumor.   The tumor is terminal.   it is very aggressive and best case is probably a 6 month time frame.   However, the brain tumor is not her only issue.

She has a blood clot in her lungs.   The blood clot cannot be treated because blood thinners would cause the tumor to be worse.  She has an aneurism in her aorta.   She has another tumor also somewhere in her abdomen.   Also, within the last three days she has had a stroke.   AND they have found evidence of a past heart attack which has weakened her heart.


Mom is a very sick lady.    At this point, we are waiting on Social Services to come in to discuss Hospice and Comfort Care.   Our goal is to get her home soon and keep her pain free.    We are hoping she can get cognizant enough to actually talk with us.   If not, we can deal with that too.

If the brain tumor continues, she may have a few months.   If the clot or aneurism decide to misbehave, then she could leave us at anytime.

She is still at the Houston Medical Center.   Social Services will arrive tomorrow to discuss Hospice and Comfort care.

This is hard, but God is in control.   We would like her to regain enough cognitive ability to tell her bye, but our main prayer is that God be glorified in whatever happens.


10/11/14: Update on Mom….

mom smilingMan, I would love to see her smile like that again.

On 10/10/14, Church Home Nursing Home called to let us know they had called an ambulance.  The ambulance took mom to Houston Medical Center.  Church Home indicated that mom was very non-responsive plus was aspirating on her oral medications.

Mom had been very unresponsive for several days.   She would “maybe” open her eyes when we spoke to her and “maybe” utter a response to our questions.  But that was about it.

We have watched her digression occur linearly for a few weeks now.

At Houston Medical, they did a few tests and put her in ICU.  There we met a Neurologist that has jumped all over mom’s case.   He has ordered multiple MRIs, CT scans, Sonagrams, etc.    He has basically come back and told us this…

Mom’s left hemisphere of her brain is swollen.   That swollenness has “pushed” into the right side, causing all the stroke like symptoms and damage.  The stroke-like damage is probably permanent.    The swelling, in his opinion thus far, could be caused by one of three things…

1.  Some condition (the word he used probably had 145 letters, so I really did not catch it), that is causing the swelling.  He put her on some steroids to reduce the swelling.

2.  A Single Brain Tumor.   (This is requiring many more tests to determine size, and to see if it would be treatable with either radiation or chemotherapy.)

3.  Multiple Lesions in the brain.   (Since mom had been a smoker for most of her adulthood, this is a very strong possibility.    He is doing lung MRIs to determine if possibly she has had a cancer that moved from the lungs to the brain.  This is the probably the worse case scenario, but also the most likely due to her smoking.  But only the tests will tell).

So, while none of this can be remotely considered good news, we are happy that at least we are getting answers.   Due to the steroids (I am guessing), she has already been MUCH more responsive than we have seen in weeks.  She is “somewhat” talking with us somewhat coherently.

She is now getting more CT’s and MRI’s and we await finding out further information.     I will keep our family’s friends posted via this forum……

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.


10/3/14 Update on my Mom…….

Jackie Berryhill

Mom trying to smile for the camera

Mom has many friends. I get lots of calls asking how she is doing. I appreciate that. However, I suppose I need to do a better job of keeping her (and my) friends updated on mom’s condition.

First a recap: A few weeks ago, mom suffered a major stroke. Her left side and her vision were impacted. We spent two weeks at the Coliseum Stroke Rehab Center, but then the Coliseum contacted us and said they felt that their rehab was doing more harm than good. They asked us for the names of three sub-acute rehab centers. We gave them three based on our knowledge and the recommendations of some friends. Pinewood Manor (Hawkinsville), Summer Hill (Perry), and Church Home Care (Perry). After calling all the centers, Church Home Care and Rehab in Perry had the only opening.

Mom was transferred there on September 11. While our hopes and prayers remain that mom will get at least partially mobile again, to the point that we can bring her home to care for her, we are also trying to be very realistic. Church Home Care is both a sub-acute rehab and a long-term nursing home.

10/03/14 Update: I go and visit mom every day. I leave Hawkinsville as soon as I get off work and go straight to Perry. There I am able to feed her supper each day. Then I visit for an hour or so and make my way back home. Mom is on Pureed food due to swallowing issues related to the stroke. Mom has little to no use of her left side. Her speech is now often slurred as well. Her vision is really bad. If you sit on her right side, she can usually see you. If you get on her left, she has no idea you are even in the room.

Mentally, mom comes and goes. Her short term memory is really bad right now. People can visit, and by the time I get there each day, she has forgotten they came to visit. However, ask her about something from a year ago, and she can tell you more details than I can.

I ask mom daily if she feels good, “Yes, I’ve had a good day.” is her usual answer. Are they treating you good here? “Yes, they are so nice”. Are you happy? “Yes, I’ve had a good day”. How did Therapy go today? “I worked hard today”. Are you getting better, “I think I’m getting a little better each day”. So at least she seems pretty content.

She asks every day about her dog, Fetch. In fact, she asks about Fetch before she asks about me or Vonnie. But that’s okay. I’ve taken Fetch once to see her, I’ve got to do that again soon.

Bottom line is that she is doing okay. She is not yet getting better, but she seems as content as one can expect. Just keep her in your prayers.

Me: I’ve also had many of you ask how I am doing. Well, it’s been tough. I am an only child, so the decisions and bulk of the issues fall to me. But’s that’s okay. I am surrounded by an incredible support group. Vonnie has been by my side (and mom’s side) this entire journey. She has been incredible. My children visit mom and encourage me. My cousin Donna has been incredible. She visits mom often and is always available on a day that I am out of town and can’t visit. She has been such a blessing. My cousin Sherry and my cousins Rebecca and Jake have also been great!

The support from the community and churches (mine and mom’s) has also been overwelming. From email, to cards, to flowers, to visits, to facebook posts, I know you care and I appreciate every one of you.

My philosophy through all of this is this: I am praying for mom’s healing. I am praying as David did when his son was sick. In 2 Samuel 16-22, David prays and asks God to heal. But the boy dies. Then look what happened. (Verses paraphrased and shortened).

20 David got up off the floor. He went into the Lord’s tent and worshiped.

21 His officials said, “What are you doing? You went without eating and cried for your son while he was alive! But now that he’s dead, you’re up and eating.”

22 David answered: While he was still alive, I went without food and cried because there was still hope. I said to myself, “Who knows? Maybe the Lord will have pity on me and let the child live.” 23 But now that he’s dead, why should I go without eating? I can’t bring him back! Someday I will join him in death, but he can’t return to me.

I want God to heal mom, but God knows better than me. He also promised that ALL things work together for good for those that love God and are the called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). So if God does heal mom, then may He get the glory. If God does not heal mom, I will still worship him and give all Glory to God. Whatever happens, it is my prayer that God be glorified. That is our purpose on earth.

So, yeah, it’s tough. It’s the hardest thing I have ever been through. Dad’s death was tough, but it was brief. This is lingering and is tiring. I have new respect for the care-givers of this world. But God is good and I am just going through things that many of you either have or will go through. How people do it without knowing God is in control, I don’t know.

But I am good. Taking one day at a time. Please continue to pray for mom.


If you would like to send mom a card…..

Jackie Berryhill
Room 107
Church Home Rehabilitation and Healthcare
2470 Highway 41 North
Fort Valley, Ga. 31030
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