I knew this time would come. I’m still not ready for it. I can’t fathom the thought of losing my Mom. But, this hell she is enduring can’t end soon enough.
For seven years, my Mom, Leslie Lehrman, has battled lung cancer. She is losing her battle as I type this. Nope, she never smoked. This is why Mom and I made a pact to tell her story through a social media campaign from beginning to end…and beyond.
To create awareness and CHANGE.
You don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer. It’s an equal opp disease. ANYONE can get lung cancer. Many don’t realize this, even though this horrific disease is the number one cancer killer of both men and women.
This might make you stop and think: 80% of new lung cancer cases are diagnosed in people who have never smoked or former smokers. No one deserves this disease. My Mom is ANYONE. As difficult as it is to chronicle her final moments, we both believe it is imperative.
Attention to this disease is long overdue. Lung cancer can no longer be ignored.
The outdated stigma can no longer prevent it from receiving the least research dollars of any cancer. The 5-year survival rate can no longer remain virtually unchanged for 40+ years. Not only does it defy logic on all fronts, it’s wrong.
Below is a compilation of my recent Facebook posts that chronicle the devastation of this disease in (close to) real-time, my Mom’s rapid decline, the heart-ache and denial of losing her and literally staring cancer in the face.
November 6, 2012
We made it to Phoenix!!! My Aunt Kim (Mom’s sister) and I (oh and SMAC! monkeys Phoenix & NoMo) got here about 4:30 pm. Mom is happy we are here and we are chatting and watching election results.
She looks great. She is having a CT scan on Friday to see if the cancer has metastasized to her brain, causing her mental confusion and speech issues. Will post more pics soon. Thank you all for your love and support. It followed us all the way here and remains!
November 7, 2012
Mom asked, ” Is the reason you are all here because death is soon?” Aunt Kim and I hadn’t had the opportunity to have some time alone yet with Mom until the morning. I told her that yes, the dying process has begun. That she no longer has to fight.
She isn’t scared. We had a quiet, emotional and amazingly meaningful moment. I will forever cherish this time with my Mom.
November 7, 2012
Completely understandable. Why share this? Because it’s real.
November 8, 2012
Cancer. About to rupture. Makes me absolutely sick. When you can see it on the surface like this, you don’t even want to imagine what it’s doing on this inside of Mom’s body.
November 9, 2012
Mom got a mani-pedi from Aunt Kim and I yesterday. Her nails look unbelievable!!! At this point, we are not really able to understand much of anything Mom says. So hard to see this decline happen so rapidly and in real time.
But, such an honor and blessing to be here. Some absolutely precious moments. Today, many are in town for Bob’s birthday. I feel so badly for Bob on so many levels I can’t even describe. The good thing, all good family and friends on Bob’s side of the family are here and can spend some good time with him…and short visits with Mom.
One thing Mom makes abundantly clear…she wants us right there with her. I need to tell her I will be right back if I need to grab something from a different room.
November 9, 2012
Doesn’t get any sweeter than this, does it? Yesterday was an incredible day. At times, more than heart-breaking, others peaceful and uplifting. Mom had a lot of visitors, as today is Bob’s birthday and many family members were in town. Her speech was actually better.
I’m guessing she was working extra hard to try to communicate in front of others. After the company left, she slept and we had an amazing conversation when she woke up. I will forever cherish that moment.
On a funny note, Mom said a few times that her tummy was hurting. We asked if she wanted TUMS or something for it. I got the TUMS and said, “Mom do you want some TUMS?”
She said, “Oh, do you have a problem?” Aunt Kim and I both said to her (in a funny, joking manner), “No YOU do.” She just rolled her eyes and started to laugh, fully aware that she forgot. We all laughed so hard. Not sure what today will bring, but we take it day by day, hour by hour. I continue to tell her all the love you send her way. THANK YOU so much.
November 11, 2012
Yesterday, Mom wanted to check out “FB.” She also wanted to post a happy birthday message to hubby, Bob. So, she did. While it broke my heart to see the message was scrambled, I also found it quite lovely – straight from the heart – and in her words as she can say them at this time.
Before signing off with this post, I have to share with you Mom’s dream. My Mom is the inspiration behind the creation of SMAC! Sock Monkeys Against Cancer - a gang of philanthropic monkeys that provides tangible support to those battling all types of cancer – reminding them that no one fights it alone.
I have been working for the last year 1/2 to create the prototypes, figure out manufacturing and all kinds of crazy things to finally launch a crowdfunding campaign to bring the SMAC! monkeys to life for ALL of those with/impacted by cancer.
As my launch date neared, I got news of my Mom’s rapidly declining health. I debated whether to continue the campaign. It didn’t take me long to come a conclusion: Launch the campaign and make it a reality while she is still with us. She wants others with cancer to find comfort in these little monkeys like she has. She wants “her boys” to be part of her funeral services. They will be.
When I tell Mom the latest fundraising numbers, she smiles. We are nearing our goal.While Mom sleeps, I hop on the computer and work on the campaign. It is the highest of highs to see such a good thing happening – my Mom’s legacy becoming a reality. However, as I type and look to my right, where my Mom is literally dying, it is the lowest of possible lows.
So, I try to focus on making a difference. Cancer is evil. Sock monkeys aren’t. Feel the same? Pledge here.
Dying With Mom Part II to come soon.