Ok so I have been neglecting my blog and haven't posted anything original in quite a while. It's not that I haven't had anything to post but that I have a plethora of things to post but which refused to come out because I haven't been feeling very communicative over the past few months. A a result I have changed and I don't like it.
Ok, so in November '05 my mom tells me that she is supposed to be going to a Gastroenterologist to have colonoscopy done. I ask why and she says that she has been seeing blood in her stool occassionally for a few months now. (How come I don't know about this? I've been out of the house and out of touch with what's happening at home and she is not a revealer of personal details.)
So I answer all her questions which were few because she didn't know much and didn't say anything else because I didn't want to frighten her ...... nor myself. She wanted to go to the procedure and then return to work. I tried to explain to her that she won't be able to drive because they will give her a sedative to make the procedure less traumatic. So she needed to go home after it was done and sleep off the effects.
I had a presentation that morning (Thursday) so I couldn't stay with her during the procedure. I had another in the afternoon so I had to take lunch time to sort her out. I skipped in and out of class to make sure she was registered properly. A nurse pissed me off but that's not for this post. I go back and she is still sleeping/drugged. I ask about her recovery and she pisses me off again. The procedure done I don't have to behave. (First hint of the raging emotions inside.) Choices as they came to mind were:
1. Grab her by the throat
2. Tell her some choicest fabric cuts
3. Walk past her and find out for myself
4. All of the above
I walk past and ignore her for the rest of the time. Mom is sleeping and I stay with her (Screw the second presentation). She wakes and the doctor comes in to explain what is next. He has the picture they took of the lesion they found. It's a big ass (no pun intended) growth with polyps nearby in the sigmoid colon. I look at the pic and its an ugly, angry, red lesion 3cm and circumferencial. There was another polyp at the Caecum but he took that. Then the punk ass doctor (whom I disliked from before) starts trying to do the matter-of-fact reporting as if this is routine. Until now he hasn't said that he is sorry. Then he asks for his fee $20,000 in cash because he isn't registered with Blue Cross. I leave immediately to get his cash before I kick his teeth in.
I come back and give my mom the money and arrange for her to go home in a taxi....... her stubborn self walks home instead. She is to see a surgeon now as quickly as possible. I go make the appointment for the Tuesday. I go back just in time to make my presentation.
Ultra Sound has to be done to see if any other organs are affected. UWI Radiology department gives us a date for 3 weeks post op. Clearly not acceptable. I mention it to Kelly and she speaks with her father. He calls me and gets the details and writes up a referral for an U/S at oxford medical and pulls favour and gets her in for Monday morn. I skull classes that morn to take her to do the scan. It shows no other organ involvement.
Tuesday comes she goes in and I go back to class. I call her later and she says he wants to do surgery right away. She has to choose between that Saturday or two Fridays away because he has to travel to foreign. She has to do some tests and so we settle on the Friday date, that will give the Pathology team time to get the biopsy report ready.
I take her through the process of blood samples and ECGs and all the preps for surgery. I wait for her to tell our family and then I deal with the calls explaining and reassuring. The lab report comes back.... CANCER. More calls, some bawling that I have to listen to and then reassure again. I'm accused of hiding details and down-playing it. I deny it through clenched lying teeth.
One of my aunts flies in couple days before the surgery. We laugh and joke but no one is happy, but boy did we put on a good show. Friday arrives and we take her across to Tony Thwaites @5am. I complete the necessary forms and at 7am the doctor arrives and then the anaesthetist. Soon she is wheeled away. I go to the ward to work because she has asked me not to attend her surgery.
Noon she is in recovery room. 2pm she is back in her room. My aunt has been in the room waiting the whole time. Since she is in good hands I go back to work. I am on-duty. I stop by that night and stayed till 11pm (u can get away with many things when you have on your 'whites' and walk around like you own the place).
Bowel function returned Monday evening. She is allowed to come home Tuesday. Christmas (her b'day) is the following Sunday. She won't be able to enjoy the repasse. For the next 4 weeks there is lots of sleeping and pain and slow healing. I am hounding the pathology dept again for the report on the resection margins. Her surgery had to be altered because when he went in it looked worse than the pic had shown. He took more lymph nodes fearing a greater involvement. He also took more bowel than he intended and had to use a staple gun to close instead of suturing because of how close he had to cut.
Path report comes back that margins are clear but by Duke's classification she is stage 2b. Which is the grey area where they not sure if chemo is of benefit but recommend it anyway. I get the report and explain it to my mom and then send her back to the surgeon armed with a tonne of questions so that she understands completely what is happening (I wrote them down for her). He dodges and calls his friend the Oncologist and makes an appointment for my mom. She is not pleased that he refused to speak on the issue.
I take the report and go talk to a few Pathologists and then to an Oncologist who attends my church. She refuses to go into details with me because of patient confidentiality and she knows my mom and has had no release to discuss it with me but tells me that I know the answers already and I agree ; it is my mom's decision though they would recommend chemo. I make the appointment for my mom to speak with her. They talk and my mom comes back feeling pressured to do chemo. I print the studies on the issue and we go through them and she calms down and decides that she won't do any chemo.
Two months of this drama and I shed no tear and was the tower of strength. I endured the many comments; comments I've made to others coming back to haunt me.
1. be strong for your mother
2. all will be well
3. don't worry, this too shall pass
4. but you looking alright man so it couldn't be as bad as all that
5. is true she work so hard she need to rest now, is God way of slowing her down
6. why she not doin the chemo? it could come back and kill her you know
I was good and accepted each in turn as graciously as possible and thanked them for their well wishes. The hard part was listening to it from the same ppl who forced her to work so hard, derailed her plans and just all round annoyed the sh*t out of her and our family. But I had to ignore my aunts' orders and let them in and accept their gift baskets and take their cards and allow them to speak with my mom on the phone. Then they sent her a letter that she was to return to work. Letter arrived the day she was to go back. I was calm, she went the following day and God smiled down and let a special convening of a committee grant her 4 mths leave. She worked for 1 day.
They cut her allowances ( never did that to anyone else including ppl she acted for for 6mths as they were away with their daughter who was sick). We drew the strings tight to try and clear the bills and debts and the threat from the anaesthetist who wanted his cash up front instead of going through the insurance company, who told us not to pay him up-front then went and lost his claim form and didn't pay him. This month we paid off the final debt. The surgeon in his follow up wants her to do 6mthly testing for the return of the polyps since it is the polyps that lead to cancer.
I am still angry about everything. I am just dealing with it. I have become colder and I don't like it. I don't want to get involved, I don't want to know, I don't want to care....... just leave me alone!!!! But I can't express that because I have to continue to live in the real world where this happens to lots of ppl and life continues. I choke on this regurgitating, but I figure its necessary.