We’re nineteen days into this mess and finally there is some kind of news of what we may expect during the next twelve weeks.
Last week, my mum had to go to hospital twice for all kinds of tests; the one more unpleasant than the other. On Monday they did a bronchoscopy to get some fibre from the tumor to double-check if it’s malign or not (which it is, it’s been confirmed yesterday) and to examine what type of tumor she has. She also had to do breathing tests to see how well her lungs function and let her blood examine again for the third time in two/three weeks.
On Friday, she had to return fo a PET-scan to check her body for metastases. Being radioactive all day, my mum had to stay away from children and pregnant women. They could have mentioned small people too because as soon as she arrived home, I spent all day with her, feeling nauseous AND vomited at 4am (I swear I must have reacted on that even if it’s probably impossible). But talking about reactions, so did my mum. She had an allergic reaction by the evening but all turned out okay.
And then we waited. Four long days. We tried not to think about what the results may say on Wednesday because:
- They were checking for malignant or not – thus giving us a tiny bit of hope for it being not as bad as we thought, but scared at the same time it would be as bad as we thought. Or worse? If possible.
- Although the first scan said there weren’t any metastases, the fact that they were searching again by PET meant there could be a possibility again. So what if there were metastases? How bad would they be? What if they told us there was no treatment possible?
And then Wednesday arrived.
The tumor is malign. My mum officially has lung cancer. Swallow.
There are no metastases. YES.
But there are traces of the tumor in her lung and in her windpipe. Another swallow. What does it mean?
It means there won’t be an operation. Lump in throat.
The tumor is small-cellular. Is this a good or a bad thing?
This is not good. Oh, man…how much can we take?
This means there could be a metastasis in the brains. Oh, God, please no. Just. NO.
Because of this, she has to take another PET-scan to check for a brain tumor. Great. So now we can worry about that too for the next couple of weeks. Imagine if we didn’t have anything else to worry about…
Because of the nature of the tumor, we will start with one of the toughest treatments for cancer. Swallow the lump away. This doesn’t sound good, right?
The therapy consists of four units, each lasting three weeks. Quick count: until the end of October.
The first unit will start on Monday and my mum has to be hospitalized for three days. She’ll be given chemo. I can’t imagine living in house without my mum. It has never happened before. I know it’s a silly thought, but it scares me so much.
Then she can go home, but she has to be back on Monday, 4th of August and again the following day. I can’t remember why. We’ve been given a lot of information in just 30 minutes. It’s all so confusing. But I know she has to go back a few times to talk to our doctor (she’s so kind!) until unit two starts and she has to stay into hospital again for three days. Then it will be chemo+radiation. Which will be tough. It consists of going back to hospital twice, every day for the next three weeks.
My mum will loose her hair. She will be tired. She will be sick. And there’s a risk she’ll get difficulties with swallowing because the radiation might touch her oesophagus.
And then unit three starts with another hospitalization of three days. Just the chemo this time, and three weeks of I don’t know what. She should be “cured” after this. Hopefully. IF the tumor reacts. Another worry to add. And then her brains will get radiated too. Preventive if she doesn’t have a brain tumor. And all should be well by the time I turn 24 in November. Good. Somehow, I don’t really believe them. Our luck has run out many years ago.
At the moment, I’m going through this as if it’s not really happening. As if I’m in some kind of movie, or watching it. But I’m scared of seeing my mum bald. I know it’s ridiculous but then, well, it’s real then, isn’t it? And it’s not because we’re women and we love our hair (okay, that too…) but that’s going to be hard. That would be the ultimate slap in the face to wake me up from this state of…what? Oblivion? Ignorance?
I don’t know what is going on with me. Because, right now, my mum is doing well. She’s healthy (er, as healthy as one can be with lung cancer…) and alive, even though the tears sometimes drop from her eyes, but I don’t blame her. I cry too. She looks so normal that it’s hard for me to accept her being ill.
However, I’ll be spending Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in hospital by her side and I’m pretty sure, watching her lie in the hospital bed will be a reminder that this is not a film. That it is real.
I can only hope the chemo will kick this cancer’s ass…and that they don’t find a tumor in her brains.