Topic: sick Mom still undiagnosed
I've been observing and reading this forum the past couple of weeks and see such tremendous value in all that this forum does and that which other people provide.
Mom- 64yo- had a lot of stomach pain and constipation starting a few months ago (june 08). she went in for scans which didnt really show any obstructions. she continued working and even taking a cruise with my dad to alaska- though she was uncomfortable throughout she did not want to miss it. upon her return she went in for further tests and while her blood work was fine they found a few spots on her liver and very small spot on the lung. they did a biopsy and were unable to differentiate and define the source; they proceeded to believe it was metastatic breast cancer as she had non-metastatic BC 2x in the past. However, prior to beginning treatment she began to exhibit other symptoms- jaundice, itching, etc.. that typically presents itself with CC or bile duct cancer. Still not having a full diagnosis- they tried an ERCP to input a stent to alleviate a blockage in her bile ducts and duodenum but were unsuccessful so they resorted to a PCT the next day (on wed 8/27) and she now has an external bag to drain the bile. She is still yellow but the color is diminishing and she is not as itchy. On fri she went in for a follow up and blood work and found that in addition to her diabetes (existing condition prior to cancer which has now become exacerbated) she is also anemic. The anemia is taking a big toll as she is very very weak and barely able to get out of bed and also loses her appetite. Today she is starting chemo (gemcitabine and taxotere i believe) at Columbia (where she's been treated b/4 and where her doctors are) and she will also be getting an iron boost weekly. Throughout all this she experiences intermittent shooting back pain and nauseau (threw up last night). Since this all started she's lost 25lbs (she was slightly overweight before).
We are interested in getting a second opinion, likely from Sloan kettering, but it's more important to stop delaying this whole process- it's been a few months now since she started feeling all this and is only starting treatment today! they ruled out surgery and figure chemo is the way to go.
My dad, recently retired, has been a godsend- catering to her every beck and call. I live roughly 20 minutes from my parents so i've been able to go home on weekends to help out where i can. i try to speak to her at least 2x a day.
I've been really affected by all this- it's very tough to cope. i see the stats and prognoses and i know it's not good. i constantly have dire thoughts that make me tear up even at work. I try to stay positive but i find it really difficult- especially when i can sense that my mom doesn't feel good- sometimes her mood on the phone is chipper and then i find i'm feeling a little better; but sometimes, like today, she could barely talk and handed the phone to my dad- from whom i've found out that she was not feeling well last night. i really don't know how to deal with all this- i'm constantly sad about the future. i've told my girlfriend and am considering mentioning it to a few more very close friends, but even so i'm not sure what i can do.
Any advise, support and words of encouragement will be very helpful.