Friday, August 7, 2015

False hope

In the hospital my mother was diagnosed with bile duct cancer. They said that they caught it early and that they could take it out. Awful surgery, and no guarantee that there wouldn't be a recurrence eventually, but generally hopeful.

Now that has changed. My mother went to see the surgical oncologist and had another MRI. And she has a new diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer. And supposedly this is primary, and it spread to the bile duct. Somehow it never showed up on any of her previous MRI's, except as a shadow on the last one. But now there is a tumor. And the surgeon doesn't think he can get it all out, so there is no surgery.

He does want her to try chemotherapy and radiation, in the hopes that this will shrink the tumor enough to make it resectable. Then would do the surgery. But I don't know what the odds are that it will, or even that it will prolong her life.

I wish that I had been there. They didn't have the presence of mind to ask the right questions. It is so hard not living there.

Pancreatic cancer does not have a good prognosis. It is worse than bile duct cancer.

Yesterday I was a wreck. I left work in tears. Today I am mad. Mad that they didn't find this sooner, with all the doctors she has been to and emergency room visits for pancreatitis and pain. Mad that in the hospital they told us that this was something else- and something that they could operate on. And what I don't know is, if the MRI at the hospital was just unclear, or if her tumor has grown since then, and if she would have been a surgical candidate if they had done the surgery right away.

And I'm mad at all of the doctors who didn't want to give her pain medication over the past few months because they didn't see anything "structural" causing her pain on imaging when she really had pancreatic cancer.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Oh Jean, I am so sorry to read this. pancreatic cancer sucks. I don't know what to say beyond that. I am so sad for you and your mom; what a difficult diagnosis.

Is she considering the chemo/radiation?