Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Purple iris

8"x8" oil/ceramic tile

My mother is continuing to battle cancer and battle the drugs that battle cancer. She recently developed a persistent cough and chest pain. It got so bad she had to go to the emergency room. She had repeatedly told her doctors about this and they said it was nothing. Well, she has fluid around the heart - they drained a quart and continue to drain- she still is in pain and it turns out the fluid is a side effect of chemo and radiation. The doctors are claiming the pain is probably cancer in the bones. That's a pretty bold statement when they don't know. I'm now on a soapbox and would like to hear others experiences. I've never seen her look so ill. This is difficult to see. Especially when every other commercial is about cancer awareness. Is anyone not aware of this epidemic? How about studying the cause instead of the treatment?

She always wanted me to paint her a purple iris. I always put it off claiming I needed to want to paint a purple iris. Well now I want to paint a purple iris.


loriann said...

I am sure the purple iris you painted will help her. It's beautiful.
Total frustration is what I hear in your voice Brian and I know exactly where you are coming from as my Mom battled the same thing. The only one bit of help I can give is be her strongest advocate (I think you already are.) Go with her to her appointments, question the heck out of her onocologist, and listen to her. Don't accept anything, nor trust that they know what is right. They may not and I think that sometimes its just too routine...but it's not they are caring for YOUR MOM! You are correct in saying that the docs made an uninformed, rash statement when they casually offered that she might have cancer in her bones. They shouldn't say things like that till they know. What kind of cancer is she battling? And how long has she been battling it? Chemo and radiation are awful, but they do sometimes cure. Hang in there. My thoughts are with you.
PS My husband is one of those scientists looking for cures for cancer and they are getting closer.

Janelle Goodwin said...

What a beautiful purple iris you painted for your mom, Brian. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time.

brian eppley said...

Thank you Loriann. She was diagnosed with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer december 2007. She had a single mastectomy. Chemo and radiation and everything looked good. Then another lump developed around the incision site. This is when the logic went out the window. They claimed this new lump was skin cancer. Then a spot shows up in the lung. Back on chemo and multiple ones at that. Now this new dilema. It's almost too much to keep track of. My father has been the one taking her to the doctors so I am only going by what they tell me. I am as supportive as possible outside the doctors office. I have a tendency to say what I think and don't need to embarrass my mom. We assume the docs know best, but it seems they are overwhelmed.They probably don't want or need to hear it from me.
Mom is back home. Still sore and awaiting what I'm assuming will be bone scans and a new chemo regimin. I'm just happy to see her up and about.albeit moving very slowly.

Thank you Janelle. Thing are at least a bit brighter today. It's a long battle.

loriann said...

I feel your pain and I am so sorry. So much of cancer depends on the exact type and the DNA make-up. What type is it? Still I think, do not trust, question and fight. The squeaky wheel gets grease and there are so many cancer wheels and most people are just plain overwhelmed and trying to remain positive that it's hard for them to be aggressive with their doctors. Yes, the docs do know but cancer is their job but you want them to act like its the playoffs not a regular season game. Be aggressive And bring her iris paintings.
Warm thoughts, Loriann

loriann said...

Hi Brian...two additional resources from my husband at NIH:


The phone help is good as well 1-800-4-CANCER

Good luck,

Jala Pfaff said...

Brian, this is so touching: "Now I want to paint a purple iris." I wish the very very best for your mother, and strength to both of you to deal with the doctors and the drugs. Take care.