I want to preface this story, the second entry of “Loretta’s Journal,” by explaining that this is not a typical story that I post on SuperMommyNot.com. My mother, Loretta, is undergoing stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease. I appreciate all of you who read this and I hope this helps anyone living with a difficult disease or going through a challenging time in their life.
My mom was one of those moms who seemed to always be in the kitchen. She tirelessly cooked for us (I have four siblings), making so many amazing Italian dishes. She loved a clean and orderly home – very “house proud” – under my mom’s watchful eye, we would all gather and connect in the kitchen. But since my mom’s decline, she hasn’t really cooked at all. She has simply been unable.
About three weeks after my mom’s first round of stem cell treatments, I had my parents over for dinner. We get together for dinner once a week. I can’t remember what I cooked, but at the end of dinner I got up to clean. My dad and husband went off to talk sports, my kids headed for the playroom and my mom sat at the dining-room table. I carried a chair into the kitchen so my mom could be near me as I cleaned. I moved towards her to help her walk over to the chair and sit down, but instead of sitting she made a beeline to the sink.
Wow, this is exciting, I thought to myself. I stood behind her to keep her safe so she wouldn’t fall. She began to grab one dish at a time. She rinsed a dish, bent down to put it into the dishwasher, and then moved on to the next. In the middle of it all, I yelled out to my dad: “Look what mom is doing!” He rushed over. He was proud. She smiled. She continued to clean, one dish at a time until she was finished. It might not seem like much, but this was Big. I can’t recall the last time this happened. And this hasn’t happened because it couldn’t happen. These are my mom’s baby steps.
It has now been five weeks since my mother received her first treatment. These weeks have been filled with ups and downs. This stem cell treatment/therapy is not a cure. We hope it will improve my mom’s quality of life. It requires time (three separate treatments in the span of about a year and a half) and patience.
We were told by her doctor to not expect any results for about three to four months. As a family, going into this, we were all well aware of what our expectations should be. But when it comes to what our expectations really are, our hearts are on hold. We watch everything my mom does and every movement she makes. We listen to hear her voice, waiting to hear what she will say. And we wait for the day she will have some relief. We believe in our hearts, that day is coming.
As my mother and family continue on this life altering journey, I will be writing when I feel compelled. I have been journaling to my two boys since they were in my tummy. Writing is my way to gather my thoughts and understand what is happening in my life. I feel it’s time to begin a new journal – Loretta’s journal – a chronicle of this amazing experience my mom is going through. She has approved of me sharing her story. I have learned so much from both of my parents and in reading this journal, I hope you will too. These thoughts and perspectives are solely my own.