Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 4th 2008, the results are in...

So almost 2 years ago to the day now, and we returned to the hospital for the results of the biopsy and other tests. As you can see from the attached link, a lot was said.but let me try to put this all into context, with my now distant and experienced view of that day.


The results were inevitable really. Having alread been examined and diagnosed by Mr Hamed, it was not a matter of IF mum had cancer in both breasts, but more, what could be done about either or both of them. The diagnosis was explained in detail, and the list of options were to be explained. At this point I was in the waiting room, allowing mum some dignity and privacy while she was prodded and poked in the examination room. Like last time I was eventually called in and sat down.
The nurse and consultant explained the details of what they had found from the results, told me what it all meant, and got down to the conversation of treatments.

You can imagine my shock when Mr Hamed opened by saying mum had agreed to give chemo a go! Wow. From one week ago where she had just wanted to roll over and die, now she was expressing an interest into probably the roughest treatment open to her. Radiotherapy and surger had been suggested, however with the limited facts mum decided she would go with the "least intrusive" treatment. This however as some will know is not exactly the most accurate description of chemotherapy. Putting mum to one side for a moment we spoke frankly about the other options, and what the predicted outcome of those would be, just in case mum wanted to discuss them at home. She had refused to take any info on any other treatments, so I made sure I got what I could and left the appointment as well informed as I could be. This again was a decision that would prove invaluable, and also soon become a habit of mine.

On ending the appointment a basic prognosis was given. That was in short, the treatment on offer was more to do with comfort and maintaining the best possible condition, whilst also accepting it would NOT be a cure, and that from this point in the condition should be deemed terminal. As you can imagine, that's quite a difficult thing to hear and comprehend. She however claims she was always sure this would be the case,so was no surprise to her. Somehow I have my reservations on that. Believing something, and consigning yourself t death are two very different things. I think both of us left the appointment that day understanding, but not yet accepting what had been said.

As we went home I left the conversation for a while. Wanting mum to be the one wanting to discuss the matter, and just trying to focus on other this for the time being.sure enough it was not long before she started talking about it. Letting her lead, wanting to hear her purest thoughts on the matter without influencing her words with mine, I just left her to speak. As the conversation moved onto her accepting the treatment she explained why she had suddenly changed her mind.
It was apparent from this that while a quiet and humble man, Mr Hamed is also a very clever man at making his point, and pulling no punches. He had basically explained to her that there was NO easy option, slipping away was not as easy as it sounded, and that there were two choices. Chemo to get the lump under control and reduce it in size, or a slow painful undignified death. I know at this point it might seem extreme, but he was instrumental in being the detached influence on mum, and the one who got the train of thought moving. 100% support and commend him for this decision.

I should explain a little, the main tumour that mum has found, the more threatening one and the one that required immediate treatment was pushing through the skin of the breast. Actually sticking out of a wound in the side of her breast, which was weepy and predicted t just get worse and worse. In fact the only reason she had told me about it in the first place was because it was beginning to weep. The first choice of treatment was to whip it straight out and clean the area up, but she didn't want this. So the chemo was planned to reduce the size of it, hopefully make it shrink down to a manageable comfortable size, and stop the weeping. The other option was, the wound would get bigger, wetter and more infected. Causing extreme pain, require lots of cleaning and dressing, and probably become infected and very smelly.

Now I'm sorry if at this point I paint a scary picture. But there is a harsh reality in here somewhere. Not every doctor or consultant will have the morals or ethics to make such a detailed and scary diagnosis, but it's for the best. Cancer is not something that happens inside the body where no one can see. It is a horrible horrible disease which can do all sorts of things to the human body, and cause problems that you would not even imagine. I am saying all of this for the same reason he did.... For peoples own good. It is only fair to know the truth from all angles.

Ok, so there we are, another appointment out of the way, another step towards dealing with the cancer. And most importantly the start of a fightback from mum. The woman who less than 2 weeks ago said she just wanted to "give up".
I think I should make another thing clear at this stage, my intentions at this stage are the same they have always been. From Day 1 my attitude has been it is her life she is of sound mind, and for the main part I would just respect her wishes, and once a decision is properly made (not irrationally) I will respect it, and go along with it. I'm sure you will see a battle with myself unfold as the story does, but for now, I was very happy with her choice to at least acknowledge the situation and accept some help.

From this point on, life is about to get very busy for us both, so let the flood of appointments begin.

Thanks for reading.

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