Tuesday, June 2, 2009

These past couple weeks have been so incredibly busy. Not only have I been doing a lot of research on radiation pros and cons, but also lots and lots of research on reconstruction. I did finally pin my doctor down and asked all kinds of questions about radiation and he did reassure me that radiation was not a "slam dunk". I realize that I might need it, and I don't mind doing it if it is deemed necessary. I just don't want to do "routine". When I signed on for the clinical study, I was told that I would be doing "cutting edge" techniques and trying new things, new drugs, etc. Yet, on any given day, they will give me the road map that shows "normal routine". So, I shared my emotional baggage and my concerns and he tried his best to make me understand all the options and what would be required vs. what would be put on the back burner and only used if he felt it was absolutely necessary. We again went over all the risks associated with radiation and lymph node removal, and yes, discussed peace of mind and how that played into all this as well. I felt much better when I left. I am praying, hard, that what they find in my surgery will give the indications they need to not order radiation or lymph node removal. Radiation is a bigger player down the road than I want to think about. So, needless to say, my mind has been working over-time on all these decisions that need to be made before surgery. They tell me I need to know what I want, then tell me, "we won't know for sure what needs to be done, until we actually get in there and open you up and biopsy the tissue so we can see if all that we have done has worked". Seriously, how can I make decisions on that kind of platform?? I have spent lots of time in prayer and meditation, trying to let the Lord speak to me and give me some clear direction.

On another note, there's mom. She has been doing lots better, as far as her mood. It's been a long time since she has shown the signs of depression openly. I don't know if it is the weather, the sunshine, the ability to get outside and sit in her swing or what. I really don't know what it is, but I am grateful for it. Don't get me wrong, she does still have memory issues. She has been going to the doctor these last few weeks for several check-ups the doctor has ordered. We spread them out so that I could get mom to go to them. We were afraid to load them up, afraid that mom would balk and refuse to go. She has had a mammogram, pap smear, a bone density scan, blood tests, urine tests, and the MME (Mini-mental Exam). That's a lot of doctor visits for my mom! Mom thinks that doctors will find something wrong with healthy people! and yes, she has constantly questioned why we are going here and why we are going there. She keeps telling me that she is fine, and when she was growing up you didn't go to the doctor unless you were sick and she is not sick, so she doesn't need to go to the doctor. I just keep trying to convince her that times have changed, and these are all things that even healthy people do, to try and catch anything that might crop up, so that they can treat it and deal with it before it turns into something big. They have all been routine exams, and with every one, I tried to turn it into a day out, go to lunch together, something positive! We would laugh and cut up together, so that her memory of the day was positive and fun. Yesterday, I decided to try and see if mom would go to the doctor by herself. It was her pap smear, it was at the local doctor's office, a place where she is used to going, knows where it is, etc. I called her Sunday night to remind her. She talked positive about it. I called her Monday morning, again, positive. I was thinking, this is great, she is going to do it all by herself. I called her 15 minutes before her appointment to see if she was walking out the door. She wasn't, but I talked her into it. I called her 30 minutes later, and yes, got daddy's voice on the answering machine. That meant she had gone!! Yippee!!! Yea, well, my glee was short lived. As I got busy on my day at home, time passed, and before I knew it, my phone was ringing, and it was mom's doctor's office. They wanted to share their "concerns" about mom and her "responsiveness to the what the doctor had to say". Hmmm. The doctor wanted to urge me to come with mom on all her doctor visits from now on, because she was not nearly as responsive this time as she had been in the past, when I was there. Ya think?? Inside I was laughing, trying to picture my mom giving the doctor a hard time. What exactly does "not as responsive" mean? Mom does not like doctors, plain and simple. She is 72 years old, and she does not take any medications, other than Aricept, and that is a fight. She will tell you, she doesn't take pills, and is not going to take any pills everyday for the rest of her life. Well, the doctor went on to share that they had gone back in mom's charts and found my number, and was going to put my number down as the contact number from now on. I asked them why, and they shared that they had called mom several times regarding the results of her mammogram and blood and urine tests. Mom had acted like she was going to come back in for further tests, but had not returned to the office. Apparently, her cholesterol is elevated and they had discussed a diet and exercise plan with mom to try and correct those numbers and they were met with some, er, resistance. LOL! And, not only that, her mammogram showed some abnormalities, so they would like to follow that up with an ultra-sound. They had called mom and discussed all this with her over the past couple of weeks, and mom had sounded like she would, but again, she was a no show on every follow-up appointment they had made for her. So, they had gone back into her records and located another phone number, mine, and was now trying to recruit my help in getting mom to these follow up appointments. I assured them I would give it my best shot, but I could not guarantee anything. Mom is, well, mom. She is very much a "force to be reckoned with", but I would try. I did ask them more about the "abnormalities" they found in the mammogram, and shared with them that I had breast cancer. They tried to reassure me that they did not feel it was cancer, but that it did need to be checked out further with a different machine. It might just be calcification's in the breast tissue, but they wanted to be sure. I agree with that, so that is the first thing on the agenda. They made her an appointment for this Friday, back up at Excel Imaging. The last time we went up there, we went to Olive Garden after the appointment, and we laughed and had a good time, and mom kept saying over and over, "this was a good idea!". And, I took advantage of that and said, "Mom, if they ever try and make any other appointments for you, you tell them, as long as they make them close to lunch, so we can go to Olive Garden, we are so on it!" We both laughed and she said "I will!". That will be my "creative re-direction" for this next appointment. I will try and remind her that she agreed to this appointment, and we made it for 10 o'clock so that we could go to Olive Garden when we were done! Pray for me, as I try and get this accomplished. And pray that whatever abnormality they found will be nothing serious. Life is good.........but incredibly complicated.

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