Saturday, July 18, 2015

What are the odds?

The odds of a specific person having a specific rare or uncommon disease is pretty low. But I decided that there are so many rare diseases that odds are, someone you know will someday be diagnosed with something rare or at least uncommon.

Bile duct cancer is pretty uncommon. I see conflicting reports, but maybe 4,000-5,000 people a year in the US are diagnosed with it. And my mother is one of those people.

My mother was hospitalized for jaundice last week. After a number of tests and a procedure, they found a tumor in her bile duct. I was hoping there was some other explanation. And people were telling me I was being melodramatic and that she would be fine. But by the time she had the procedure I didn't know what else it could be.

The good news is that it does not seem to have spread. And she is a surgical candidate. She will be having the Whipple procedure next month. Hopefully there is no cancer anywhere else. This could be a cure. And yet, it usually isn't. When I look at 5-year survival rates, it is not encouraging.

I am so glad I was there. I was there for the other surgery, for her leg, that didn't happen. But they are going to fix her leg before the Whipple so that she will be stronger. It is a very taxing surgery.

Fortunately I think she has a really excellent surgeon. I was really impressed with the hospital.

It is hard living so far away. I am back here. And yet, I don't want to move there. I just don't. I used to think that she would move here some day- I hate to say this- but I used to think that after grandma died then we might have some good years here. And now my Grandmother might outlive my mother.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am so sorry to hear this news. I know you were suspecting it was bad but that is a very rare diagnosis. In fact I never treated anyone with that diagnosis that I can remember and I would because it would have been rare.

It's hard to live far away. And I'm sure it's hard to not feel like you need to move there but if you don't really feel that is a good idea it's not one. You need to stay where you are happy; I'm sure she'd want that.

I'm glad she's a surgical candidate. My mom's companion who had kidney cancer last year is looking at a possible second adenocarcinoma, in the lung this time. Not a metasisis and treatment is just surgical removal but scary still. He'll know more in a couple weeks. We don't know for sure yet but the presence of the lesion, history of cancer, and a few other things make it pretty likely it is going to be another tumor. Which is another major procedure.

It's hard watching people who were our age a blink ago age.