Saturday, July 24, 2010

The world of what if?

I am not the most regular blogger...

In December my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 gastric cancer. She is an amazingly active and vibrant 70 year old-- working at a day care center, gardening, always busy, and seemingly very healthy. Or not as it turns out. After several test and procedures to determine the primary tumor, her oncologists (at Hopkins and Easton Memorial Hospital) decided on a course of chemotherapy. She began chemo in February. The results were good... her cancer indicators fell and her tumors shrank. She was able to maintain a healthy weight and a positive outlook.

Then the cancer became resistant to the poison designed to kill it. Now she is on new chemo, more toxic than the last-- causing neuropathy in her hands, legs and feet. One of the tumors/swollen lymph nodes is pushing against her kidney- causing the kidney to swell.

On Friday I went to see the urologist with her. He was great. Explained the two options for dealing with the time that the kidney could become blocked. Discussed the pros and cons of each option and assured mom that now was not the time for either. Time now to see if the new chemo will shrink the tumors and relieve the pressure.

During the discussion, mom explained to the urologist how her cancer was discovered. She explained that in 2007 she had her gall bladder removed. And a couple of year latter, she started vomiting from time to time for no apparent reason. Her primary care provider noticed a knot in her abdomen and diagnosed a hernia -- probably the result of the gall bladder surgery. The the "hernia" has actually a tumor-

And the the "what if" ... The urologist asked if the gall bladder was tested? He said there is a rare form of cancer related to the gall bladder --- he was concerned. And mom and I wonder if the tests were done and if this could have been caught and treated early.

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