Devastating News

I haven’t written in a while… I’ve been super busy, a really bad cold and had some unexpected situations arise.

I took the Tuesday after last Thanksgiving off because Mom fell at 3 am the night before. After running some errands for her, I spent the day with her and helped around the house. I installed a raised seat for her toilet and a hand held shower spray in an effort to make her apartment safer. I also purchased a special shower chair. She wasn’t sure how or why she fell that night and couldn’t get up on her own. Her falling really worried me; she’s becoming more frail and she’s never fallen before.

While sitting with my Mom at the kitchen table, I received a call from my oncologists’ office. His assistant called to say that I had to come in to see the doctor that Friday. Naively, I kept insisting that I already had an appointment to see him the following week. I wouldn’t concede until I knew why the appointment was being changed. Deep down I could tell something was wrong. She hesitantly said there was possibly a change in his schedule. It hadn’t dawned on me that the results from my recent PET scan were in.

For the first time in two years, I had gone for my quarterly scan without any fear. In fact, I was so confident that I told the technician I wouldn’t be back for six months. After two years, the scans can be spread six months apart if there are no new tumors. I even sent my doctor a thank you note on the two year anniversary of my surgery (November 16th).

When I went to the appointment on Friday, I was devastated to learn that the cancer had spread to my left lung. I was facing what I felt was another death sentence only this seemed scarier because it was affecting a major organ.

How was I going to break this news to my Mom? I only told her that I had a small nodule in my lung: I didn’t want to worry her. I couldn’t bring myself to utter the words tumor or cancer to her again. My biggest fear was that I would pass away before my Mom and not be here to take care of her. Although she is independent at the age of 91 she does have an aide visit twice a week for two hours. I knew that because of the surgery, I wouldn’t be able to help her as much as I usually do so I arranged for daily home health aide visits. She reluctantly agreed which gave me some peace of mind where she was concerned.

The surgery was performed on December 10th, 2018; my son, Dave’s birthday. I was terrified not knowing how I was going to feel or if I was going to make it. Having surgery on your lung feels a lot like having a truck on your chest and waking up the day after surgery coughing up blood is certainly not pleasant. The good news was that I wasn’t going to be getting radiation this time and the recovery would be easier than it was for my leg. Although the recovery was easier, this was really getting serious.

In January we met with another oncologist who reiterated what I learned when I went to Sloan for a second opinion two years ago. My type of cancer is very aggressive and it usually metastasizes to the lungs. It does not respond well to chemo and there is a less than 10% chance of it working. Despite those odds, the doctor appeared annoyed when I said I didn’t think I wanted to do it. Did I really want to spend four days each month for six months in the hospital getting chemo? I didn’t want to use the time that I have left being sick in the hospital if there was only a 10% chance that it would work.

At some point, you begin to feel like you are losing pieces of yourself, I was I was a twin, I was a runner, I was a sales manager…..now I’m disabled and fighting like hell for my life.

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