Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Honoring Mom

Kid Sis/ Elisabeth Fies speaking here. Mom's dearest wish was that her story would inspire other smokers to quit. To honor her, please post your commitment and progress in your brave battle against nicotine. I want to continue tallying how many people have quit because of Mom's Cancer.

And to those of you who have lung cancer and did not smoke, my family's thoughts and prayers are with you. We willl do our best to continue getting the word into the media that
NO ONE WHO HAS LUNG CANCER DESERVES IT.

Mom wrote beautifully about her daily struggles recovering from chemo and radiation. If you are not familiar with blogs, begin reading entries from the bottom up. You can even start at the beginning of her archives in January 2005.

I'm sure you'll come to love her feisty, positive spirit as much as we do. And Mom will be tickled pink wherever she is to know that she is being heard and helping others in living a purposeful life.

Love and Light,
Lis

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Post Script

Just wanted to leave a note to say I don't expect there'll be any further entries to "Mom's Recovery." This was Mom's blog and now it's finished. However, I think we'll leave it here for a while; there's a lot of Mom's personality, humor and spirit captured here, especially in the earlier entries before I took over writing for her. If you want to know more about Mom, read her archives from last June and earlier.

Meanwhile, I have a blog focusing on the upcoming publication of the book "Mom's Cancer," while my Kid Sis writes about her life and interests in her blog, "Kid Sis in Hollywood." You're welcome to visit.

Thanks so much to everyone who read Mom's blog: the few new friends she made, the many who left encouraging comments or e-mails, and the many more who just transmitted good wishes Mom's way that she was certain she could feel. Our gratitude to you all.

Brian Fies

Monday, October 03, 2005

The End of Mom's Recovery

Brian here. I’m sorry to have to write that Mom passed away the afternoon of Saturday, October 1. She died peacefully and painlessly with family and friends, including my sisters and me. She was 66.

It seems odd to say that Mom’s death came as a surprise but, until even hours before the end, we and her physicians always saw a reasonable path to recovery. In fact, I’d flown to southern California just three days earlier to help move furniture in preparation for her return home from the hospital. But her body had simply had enough.

As far as we know, Mom died free of cancer. She beat it. However, she took steroids to control brain inflammation caused by the brain tumor and its radiation treatment. Administered in high doses over a long time, they were as damaging to her body as cancer would have been. The steroids had to be reduced, renewed inflammation put pressure on unexpected parts of her brain, and the end came quickly.

Mom never regretted moving to Hollywood. Despite her struggle in recent months, I don’t think I ever saw her happier living anywhere else. She loved her new neighborhood: the brilliant bougainvillea spilling over her back fence, the giant avocado tree next door that dropped guacamole hailstones into her yard, the towering palm at the curb, the yellow curry dish from the Thai restaurant around the corner. This was where she needed to be.

The publication of “Mom’s Cancer” will go ahead. Mom always sought purpose in her life and, in recent months, her suffering. She shared in the production of “Mom’s Cancer”: the drafts, proofs, correspondence with my publisher and the public. She wrote the book’s Afterword. Nothing made Mom more proud or happy than hearing from readers who said her story had helped them or that they’d quit smoking because of her. She told me she thought she’d found her purpose after all. I didn’t disagree.

She lived and died well. I will miss making new memories with her.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Catch-Up Thursday

Brian here. Mom is real tired of being in the hospital. Sick and tired, stir-crazy, and maybe a little buggy. She's scheduled to be discharged to go home in about a week, which is good news and bad. Good because Mom really needs to get home for her peace of mind. Except for the few hours we busted her out for her birthday, she hasn't been in her house in three months.

On the other hand, even at home she'll continue to need some professional care--managing medication, physical therapy, sheer muscle power--that hospitals and rehabilitation facilities provide and Nurse Sis and Kid Sis can't, at least not around the clock. So we've got to figure out how that's going to happen and, 450 miles away, I'm fairly useless. Fortunately money's not a problem, for now, although that kind of care can get pretty expensive pretty quickly.

People do this all the time and we'll work it out. The bottom line is that Mom's physical health continues to steadily improve and she's in the hands of a physician who's very aggressive about getting her off as many medications as possible. That's probably a good thing but it's also tough, after your body's gotten accustomed to a particular chemical mix, to try to change it fast.

Meanwhile, Mom's trying to keep a positive focus. She's very ready to be home and is counting down the days like a kid waiting for Christmas.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I Had a Dream

Brian here...just got off the phone with Mom, who dictated the following (as well as the title above):

In my dream, I had on an old pair of jeans, having lost 55 steroid pounds. I had small one-inch heels that were red. Nurse Sis and Kid Sis were one store ahead of me looking at, of course, shoes. I quickened my pace to catch up.

I woke up. The radio was playing "If I can see it, I can do it" and "I Believe I Can Fly." And in that dream, I was flying. I believed I can really do this. And tears of gratitude and happiness filled my eyes.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Thursday: Thanks from Mom

Brian here. Mom wanted me to thank everyone who's thinking of her. She also said:

"I figure I might as well keep thinking positive thoughts because they cost just the same as the negative ones."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tuesday Afternoon

Sigh. Mom is back in the hospital again, never really getting a chance to just rest and recover her strength. Understand that it's hard for me to keep everyone who cares about Mom updated while still respecting her privacy, being appropriately optimistic but honest, etc. Her condition now seems better than it was the last time she was admitted, back when some of her underlying problems weren't even recognized. Most acute is a flare-up of the lung infection we thought she'd beaten before. And, of course, Mom still throws the docs a curveball now and then just to make sure they're paying attention. She's once again receiving a high level of care and all her doctors seem to be on top of things. And she's got Nurse Sis making sure everything gets done right.

It's hard to know what else to say about it. This is just one more tough situation in a long line of tough situations. We'll see how it goes.

--Brian