My Mom’s surgery last week went very well. She made it through OK, and went home that day to rest. The tumor they removed was three inches across. I was totally shocked. It was right behind her nipple, and she didn’t even feel this during her breast exams and her doctors couldn’t find it either! The only reason why it was caught was due to a mammogram. Let that be a lesson to us all to go for our mammograms when it is time. Wow.
Unfortunately, because the tumor was so close to her nipple, they couldn’t get it all. They also took out two cancerous lymph nodes. She’s going to have to have a mastectomy. After that, she may still need radiation. We are, of course, crossing our fingers that this next surgery gets all the cancer. We are also waiting to hear back on whether or not the cancer has spread.
Honestly, I’m just so relieved that she made it through her first surgery OK, but I was just so hoping that would be it. It’s so hard to be so many miles away from her while she’s going through all this.
I was also a bit upset because she gave my brother a list of people to call when she got done with surgery. He apologized for taking so long to get to me, because he said I was the last number on the list. I confirmed this with Mom. She said that yes, I was the last number on the list, and she just wrote the list up while she was in the hospital. It feels so crummy to get passed over like that. I’m 5,000 miles away, and she’s having my brother call all her local friends, and not her immediate family first. How shit is that?
The day my Mom was scheduled for surgery, she told me she was going to get there at eleven, for surgery at eleven thirty in the morning. As it turned out, there were several emergencies that day and my Mom’s surgery got pushed back to four thirty in the afternoon. Around four I started waiting for a call from my brother to tell me my Mom was coming out of surgery and she was OK. Nope, no call. I waited a couple more hours since Mom had said that her surgery would be three to four to five hours, and I didn’t want to panick. Nothing.
I decided to call my brother. He didn’t answer his cell. I decided to call the hospital. They redirected me around to a few other numbers and when I finally got through to the right department, I got a machine.
What sucks the most about being so far away during something like this is that it is nearly impossible to keep in touch. I didn’t get a call until after seven thirty their time, and yeah, I was a little panicky at that point. I was under the impression that Mom had been in surgery for almost eight hours, which was almost double the time estimated. I know that problems crop up, but that was ridiculous. It didn’t help that my brother is a complete asshole and acted like a dickhead when he got through to me.
I know this is not about me, it’s about Mom and her illness, but for goodness sakes, I’m still her daughter and I deserve to be kept up on what’s going on so that I don’t panic and think the worst. I tried to be calm most of the day, but around the point where I thought she’d been in surgery for six hours I did start freaking out. I think anyone would have.
She’s due to have more surgery in about a month. I just hope that it goes smoothly, and that I don’t have as much trouble finding out how Mom is. I shouldn’t have to be last on the list or put through a panic like that.
I’m crossing my fingers that after all this, she’s OK.
* * * *
I’m adding some more to this now because I just got off the phone with my Mom, and I honestly have no idea where to begin. She went to the Oncologist yesterday, and the news is looking worse and worse. She has a Grade 3 tumor, that her doctor says is highly aggressive. She’s going to need both radiation and chemotherapy, and even so, the doctor says she probably will only live another ten years. This is so intense. I cannot believe that she gets her mammograms every year, and somehow this happened! I cannot believe that neither my Mom, nor the doctors at her appointments noticed this huge tumor!
I am beside myself, and have no idea what to do. There’s not much that I can do, really. The other day, my Mom was telling me that Percy had been driving her to her doctor appointments and taking care of her. She said:
“I wish you were here to take care of me, though.”
I had a hard time not crying until I got off the phone. I wish I was there too. Percy isn’t known for his.. Ability to care about others. My Dad is in no position to take care of Mom either. She’s doing okay, but really, her days are absolutely full of appointments with various doctors and it’s so frustrating that I can do nothing to help.
Mom says she understands, and that I’m with her in spirit. I just can’t believe that this had to happen after we moved. It’s crushing. All I can do right now, is keep supporting her any way that I can from here, and keep crossing my fingers and toes.
She did talk to me, and admitted she’s upset that Percy called me last. She says that she just wrote out the list of names off the top of her head, but expected Percy to be smart enough to call me right away, being as I’m immediate family. She said she promised me that Percy would call me before anyone else after her next surgery. I’m relieved.