Today my mother has a doctor appointment. Two actually. With the same doctor. Chemo-brain at it’s finest. She has chosen to attend the earlier one.
Barely three months into my treatment for Inflammatory Breast Cancer, my mother found her own breast lump. At the time, she was caring for her boyfriend who had been under Hospice care for a few months. He died on Valentine’s Day 2007. She neglected to mention this lump to anyone (namely me) not out of sensitivity to anyone’s feelings but because she’s crazy smart. She knew what it was. So before she saw a doctor & had a diagnosis, she signed up for increased life insurance, RX insurance and supplemental medical. That did help to diffuse my anger a bit when she finally did manage to spill the beans.
At any rate, turns out she just had a small lump that would normally have required a lumpectomy and radiation – no chemo. Of course, it also turns out that we are both BRCA 2 positive. This little tidbit of information changed her entire course of treatment. She got the whole shebang: chemo, double mastectomy and is currently on Aromasin.
This brings me to one of my main Cancer Peeves. Why is it that a young breast cancer victim is tested for genetic mutations but not an older one? If my mom had been diagnosed before me, she would have had the lumpectomy/radiation combo. And would have had a much greater risk of recurrence later. But because I was diagnosed just 6 months prior and tested positive, she was also tested. How many women would be saved from recurrence if they gave all breast cancer patients the genetic testing? How many of their children would be more vigilant?
So, today my mom is off to her doctor to see about another lump she found on her vacation this summer. She lost about 17 lbs on her motorhome trip with my son & nephew. That weight loss revealed a lump on her rib she had not seen before.
Does the waiting ever get any easier? I think it’s harder when it’s someone you love instead of yourself.