Topic: Learning new things
Hello to all. My name is Jeff and here's my story. I’m the latest person to have to deal with this terrible disease.
Shortly before Thanksgiving 2011, my mother mentioned that she “just can’t seem to eat as much as she used to” and had a strange pain in her upper stomach. She dismissed it as a stomach ulcer reoccurrence. Finally, after setting up an appointment to see her doctor, tests were done. We found out she was anemic, prompting other tests and scans which revealed CC. It’s a diagnosis that will change your family forever and I started to learn things that no one should have to.
I learned that when a close family member gets cancer, EVERYBODY gets cancer. It’s on everyone’s mind 24/7 and it never goes away. I learned about this rare disease and all the different variations. I learned where the best hospitals were for treatment and their different treatment methods. I learned all about surgery, chemo and radiation. I learned how to read lab reports. I learned what Stage IV means. I learned what hospital takes what insurance. I learned what Gem/Cis is and what it does to the human body and all the changes that happen. I learned about blood transfusions, ports, and the cost of each chemo med. I got to learn fancy words like extra hepatic, biliary, CA19-9, bilirubin, unresectable, paracentesis, edema and finally hospice. I learned what is exactly involved in fighting this for 6 months and having the best at MD Anderson and the University of Michigan tell you there’s nothing more they can do for your mother. I learned how powerful hope is. I learned what it’s like to have a loved one taken from you, slowly, day by day.
Now, mom sits on the couch, watching TV and trying to be as comfortable as possible. She’s learning to accept her fate and I’m learning to accept mine. This is the hardest thing to learn.
Good luck to everyone having to deal with this. Stay positive and determined. You just never know what will be your fate.