So far 2012 has been a rough start for my mom and it is not going to be getting better any time soon.
My mom has been struggling for some time now with back pain. In January she decided to make another appointment with the doctor to see if there was something else they could try. A couple days before her appointment she found a lump in her breast. The doctors appointment resulted in her getting a mamogram and ultrasound done on her breast and he ordered a CT scan for her back.
Before her scheduled mamogram she was admitted to the hospital. She was in a lot of pain and could not keep anything down. Of course the mamogram clinic is not in the hospital, so she had to be released on a pass, all hopped up on morophine, to go get her mamo and ultrasound. On the plus side she said she did not feel a thing.
After she got back to the hospital they found out she had gallstones. Which sucks for her as the pain seems quite intense, but we could deal with that. She was released and subscribed some meds but they have to wait for all the inflamation to go down before they can remove her gallbladder. The gallstones could definitely be a huge contributor to back pain. Ok, things were starting to make sense.
The results came back from her mamogram and it was not cancer. What a huge relieve. Things were starting to look up.
But then she had her CT scan. The next day my mom's doctor called her in to tell her they found a large lump in her lung. F*ck. Really! On the bright side, the scan was from her neck to her butt and no other lumps were found. Her doctor had sent the CT scan to a specialist in Saskatoon, in which she met with him last week.
I was on pins and needles waiting for her or my brother to call me. When she did, the first thing she said was "Alynne, it is so big, bigger then my doctor said". I knew right then this was not going to be a good conversation. I guess the doctor showed my mom and brother the CT scan of the tumor, it is about the size of my fist. Without even doing a biopsy the doctor said it is cancer. Lumps are common in the lung that are not cancer, but when they grow that big it is cancer.
A clinic in Edmonton called my mom yesterday to set up an appointment for a PET scan. This type of scan is not available in Saskatchewan so the closest spot available is Edmonton. The scan is geared towards certain types of cancer - lung being one of them. She will have this nuclear radiation stuff injected into her. This injection allows the scan to tell the stage of the lung cancer and if it has spread. It is also a bone scan. Lung cancer typically spreads to the brain, bones and liver. I think her liver is ok as a result of the CT scan, but now need to check out the other two areas. Her appointment is March 1st. My brother is going to take her which is great as pregnant women are not suppose to be around people who have received this scan. It sucks bc I want to be there but it would stress me out thinking I could be putting my baby at risk.
A lot of people have asked me how my mom is doing. She is trying to stay positive, but you can tell she is scared. She is having trouble sleeping. Plus, it does not help that she is in pain from the gallstones. I hope they will take care of that soon. She mentioned that her main concern is that it has spread, especially to her bones. Even though it was 15 years ago, she still has a vivid image of my Auntie Helen suffering from secondary bone cancer and all the pain she was in.
A lot of people have also asked how I am doing. My worst day so far was when she called me to tell me what the specialist had said. I cried pretty much all day, even though I was at work. I was pretty much convinced it was the end of the road for her. We went for supper that night at Mark's sisters house and her husband is a paramedic. I found comfort in talking to him and about what they can do for lung cancer patients. I had found my light. I am still pretty stressed about this and am crying multiple times a day, but it is more of a teared up cry, not the ugly crying. I am just trying to put it aside till we know exactly what we are dealing with. I am also distracting myself with thinking about the baby and keeping busy with my sweet 3 year old.
We are also trying to get my mom moved down to Saskatoon from PA. This has been keeping me busy. I am trying to think ahead and have things in place for when the time comes. I have advised my mom to update her will, she is packing up her stuff so if she starts chemo and we find her a place we can just go in and move her stuff to Saskatoon.
We also had to have the sad talk about funeral arrangements. That sucked. Looking into your mom's eyes as she tells you what she wants when she passes away - brutal!! Of course my mom tries to keep it light, I think her exact words were "put me in a margarine container and drive down the highway and let er rip". Of course there will be no margarine containers involved and me driving down the highway as her ashes fly free. As emotional as that talk was, I am glad we had it. I want to honor my mom's wishes.
Well, I feel better posting this and getting it off my chest. I am sure there will be more posts to come as we go through this journey.