Jul. 12th, 2011

flyboy_fox: (Just thinking... :\)
Jei's just left in the taxi to the train station where she'll then get the train to Heathrow Airport and fly home. She stayed an extra week in England with me, but we couldn't justify her staying any longer when it costs $160 to change the flight and she hasn't seen her family in a year. So, she's gone now and I'll probably see her in about a month, assuming things pan out.

My mum's major hospital results appointment got knocked back to THIS Monday rather than last because of incomplete biopsy results, so I finally went with her yesterday to find out what's what.

The 'good' news first. There's not enough evidence to definite support there being a cancer in her right breast also, so they're going to leave it alone and just monitor it after they treat the left. The cancer in her left breast is 'early stage' and so is unlikely to have migrated too far.

The 'meh' news. It's a 'grade two' cancer on a three-grade scale, meaning it's not the most aggressive nor the least aggressive type. It's also the most common form, accounting for around 70% of breast cancers.

The bad news. She has two cancers in the left breast, with a strong possibility of more. They'll have to remove the whole breast. The cancer has already shown signs of having infected the lymph nodes, so they'll have to go too, which could lead to further complications such as life-long fluid swelling anywhere on the body. She'll definitely have to have chemotherapy, around 18 weeks of it, and the doctor said she will definitely lose her hair. How the drugs will affect her in other ways in unknown, but the usual will probably apply, with reduced immunity to other illness. Then after the chemo, she'll need about 5 weeks of radiotherapy to ensure that any cancer that might have spread to the chest walls is eradicated. From initial surgery to end of radio, it'll take about half a year.

She's not yet decided where she wants to have the surgery. The surgeon at our local hospital has 20+ years of experience, is a breast surgery specialist, and has performed hundreds of mastectomies in his career. He's also a grade 7 clinical excellence, which is good. However, the hospital in London is a cancer specialist hospital and has surgeons who rank within the top 10 nationwide and have world renown. Also, the London one might be able to offer a less radical surgery where they only remove SOME of the lymph nodes rather than all of them. But, of course, it's in London, and referring could take some time. Either way, she can have the chemo back here in Weston, and she'll have to go to Bristol for the radio.

I tried my hardest to keep it together at the hospital while we were getting the news. I could see my mum shaking and tearing up as the surgeon explained what they'll have to do, and the more I heard, the more my heart started pounded and my own hands shaking and my stomach tying in knots as I tried to write down everything and smile at my mum and squeeze her hand. When the nurse had to speak to my mum alone, I fled all the way out of the hospital and into the parking lot and had the worst panic attack I've had in years. I couldn't breathe, I thought for sure I'd pass out, my heart was beating so hard, I was either going to faint or throw up or... I don't know. But I did some deep breathing, sipped some water, and by the time my mum came out I was okay and put my 'brave face' back on. Whatever I'm feeling is ten times worse for her. I have to stay strong.

I know we'll manage. Fuck my anxiety and depression; my mum has cancer and needs me. But right now I feel so lost and scared and alone. While I'm here for my mum, who is here for me? Jei's gone back to America and I don't have a single local friend who can be here for me to collapse on when I'm tired. God, that's selfish shit but... ugh. Like I said, I'll cope. My mum needs me to. These next few months are going to be very hard for her, and seeing her standing in the kitchen crying just hurts my heart so badly. I'll take care of her and I'll cope, but watching that taxi pull away from the driveway with my partner and lifeline in it, taking her away and across the ocean, was the most painful thing I've done in a while.

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flyboy_fox

December 2011

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