Well, as always we have good and bad news. Surprising what constitutes good these days…
Kathy continues doing well after radiation. Yes, we are challenged by the expected and unexpected side affects of removing her body’s ability to make estrogen. Welcome to the “foggy brained” club sweetie.
I’m doing very well. Yup, random aches and pains continue, but I think they are age-related.
Now the bad:
My mother, based on CT scans, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that’s metastasized into the liver (making it stage 4). She has a biopsy scheduled for Thursday 19Apr to confirm the image reading. She’s in good spirits and her pain so far has been manageable with only a couple of oxycodone’s a day.
As with our experience with Kathy, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance team was thorough, professional and very human. It was, however, a bit depressing since Dr Coveler, the oncologist, put a 6-12 month maybe 18-month time frame on my mother. Only 1-in-5 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are still alive a year later. Because it does not have unique symptoms, it is usually not diagnosed before stage 4, when it makes its presence known because of pain.
Now we get to decide about chemo.
For those of you unaware (like me), in annual cancer caused deaths, pancreatic ranks fourth among men and women. But it’s still rare, with about 55K new cases expected in 2018, but 44K deaths.
Steve Jobs died of a rare form of pancreatic cancer (it’s slow), but the football player Gene Upshaw died from the garden variety kind (which is probably what mother has). Yes, men are affected more often than women. She has never smoked, rarely drinks alcohol, and our family has no history of it.
I thought I had already cried enough to get through the day without tears, but that wasn’t to be the case. I don’t remember the (cancer-related) triggers, either, but once was with the oncologist (and the resident, bless her heart, went out for Kleenex) and once with the palliative care specialist.
But we picked up a short fill of her pancreatic enzymes (horse pills, for sure) and headed to Rusty Pelican in Edmonds for a late brunch. Then everyone collapsed at home in a food coma.
PS > of course Kathy provided some links.