Thursday, July 31, 2008

Update on Mom...A Day Before I Leave

I am in Italy still. I leave tomorrow by train for Zürich, Switzerland and Saturday I leave from Zürich airport to go home. Mom isn't going to make it. While they are not absolutely sure yet, they are doing final tests to confirm that she has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It's a disease that affects one person in a million, but she has every symptom. "Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD ) is a very rare and incurable degenerative neurological disorder (brain disease) that is ultimately fatal."

So now it appears a matter of weeks or months at the most. She has not recognized me or my sister since I've been here, three weeks now. She has reached the point where she's in a waking coma, hardly seeing us anymore. The doctor at the hospital is very dedicated. We spent three hours today answering all her questions. She made family trees, she took lots of notes, and she called other experts. She told another doctor while we were there that this was the most serious case they have had in that hospital department in a long time. She also said that they were going to rule out any other curable diseases she might possibly have, but that at this point all signs pointed to CJD and that she would be surprised if that wasn't the illness that has invaded my mother.

So I thought I would share with your some photos I took tonight of mom's room. My sister and I went in there to surround ourselves with "mom." I was surprised to see an English book on her night table. My sister told me that mom was still reading in English before the disease hit her so hard. I didn't know that she had retained the language at that level. So you can see some of the books she had read or was reading in the first picture.

The other photos describe themselves.

Thank you again for all of your support. While there is still a little hope, there's not much left. I plan to return as soon as possible, though it may be for her funeral if the doctor's predictions are right.


Anonymous said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers..I'm so sorry..

davide said...


hot tamale said...

HI Joe,
I've been following your story about your Mom, coming in here thru Laura's web site. Im sorry to hear the news of your Mom. I wanted to say Bless you Joe, you're a good son, both you and your sister are wonderful children to your Mom for being by her side. May God bless you on your journey back to the States.

Sadie Says said...

Joe, I am so sorry to hear this. What a shocking revelation. At this stage of a person's life you expect some health problems, but certainly not CJD!

I'm sure it must have been hard to leave. My thoughts are with you.

Katya said...

Oh, Joe. I'm SO sorry. What a tough month this has been for you!

Gail said...

I just wanted to send you a truly heartfelt hug and a prayer.

I know what you are feeling and I truly hope you find the love and support you need in this time of emotional struggle surrounding your Mother's illness.
So all I can do is send a cyber hug to you and your family.


Sally la peste said...

Mom loves to surround herself with things we have given her throughout these years even since we were kids, and of course with pictures of those she loves.You can notice that in these photos.
Love Sally

Anonymous said...

Joe, as you know, you are always in my thoughts and prayers. I'm so sorry that life sometimes takes you down ugly paths. But do know that you don't have to go down this path alone. You have friends and family that love you and will be there to support you.

Take care, my friend.