I’ve been of mixed minds when it comes to writing this post. Whether it’s information that should be shared, or whether it’s the end to Mum’s battle that people would want to hear. I know Mum though, and I know that she loved this blog and always wanted me to share every bit of information on it, in to order to a) keep friends and family updated, and b) hopefully help someone reading this who is going through something similar. So in the spirit of doing what I know Mum would have wanted me to do, here is what happened.
When you say or think to yourself “but she was doing so well, she seemed to be ok”, you’re not wrong. After a few hiccups along the way, Mum finally started reacting well to her treatments, and was given the big thumbs up on her final blood test a few days before her passing. Her liver function was back to normal, and Mum in herself was feeling ok. Future therapies and scans were all scheduled in and ready to go, with September 7th being the next big milestone where we could finally see how effective the radiation treatments were on her brain tumours. It was something Mum was working towards.
During Mum’s last week, I knew she was having a few bad headaches, but after having 18 radiation treatments in a row, this was all par for the course; a totally normal side effect that was to be expected. During that week, Mum’s steroid dose (remember steroids are used as an anti-inflammatory) was decreased, which Mum seemed happy about as her puffiness was starting to subside. She also had a brain MRI scheduled in for the Friday before she passed, however unfortunately when Mum and Kerri turned up for the scan they had double booked her and sent her away, with another scan rescheduled for a later date.
Throughout the course of Friday evening and Saturday, both myself and my aunts sent Mum multiple messages with no reply, and tried to call numerous times. As this was Mum’s first weekend after radiation treatment and she’d been quite tired throughout the week, no-one thought anything of it and just assumed Mum was resting. Come Sunday morning, my aunts started to become concerned, so Kerri and my uncle Richard decided to head over to Mum’s apartment to check on her and make sure she was OK.
Without going into too much detail, sadly upon arrival my aunt and uncle discovered Mum lying peacefully in bed, having passed away.
The medical report sited Mum’s passing occurred in the early hours of Saturday the 10th of June, as a result of multiple massive brain haemorrhages. Due to the surprising and unexpected nature of Mum’s passing, all of her treating specialists requested an autopsy be carried out, and knowing Mum would have wanted one so that it could hopefully prevent what happened to her happening to someone else, we granted permission for one to go ahead. We are currently still waiting on the results.
It is without a doubt that Mum passed a lot earlier than she should have. She wasn’t given the opportunity to fight, or attempt to kick her cancer’s ass. Sadly, Melanoma is not responsible for Mum’s passing, her treatment is, and we can only hope that going forward more thought is put into how many consecutive radiation doses are given, and whether more regular scans are required to monitor potential brain swelling and bleeding. It is a cruel and unfair ending that unfortunately will take my family a while to come to terms with.
On a positive note, Mum’s funeral was everything we wanted it to be, and I truly do think she would have been very happy with it. It continues to blow my mind how many lives Mum touched, and the turnout for the day, as well as the endless stream of condolences and messages received, only further prove this.
Thank you to everyone for your support and well wishes during this time – my family and I couldn’t be more grateful. I hope in some small way, this has given a few of you some closure, as I know many of you were just as confused as we were that she left us so soon.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog throughout the course of Mum’s short journey with stage 4 Melanoma – doing something that I know Mum loved has been a pleasure.