Sunday, February 26, 2006

How My Mom's Doing

I realized that I haven't posted much about my mother and thought I would give you an update on how she is doing post breast cancer.

As you might recall she was diagnosed finally with breast cancer in May of last year, a couple days after I found out I was pregnant. She had a lumpectomy at the beginning of June, where they also removed a lymph node in her breast/armpit area. The cancer hadn't spread at all and it was small so her prognosis was and continues to be very good. As with my abdominal surgery, small nerves were cut in the skin, though for her it made her armpit numb.

Over the summer she underwent daily radiation treatment in White Plains. They had given her two little freckle sized tattoos that the radiation technicians (is that the right term?) used to line up the equipment to focus the treatment on the area. She had some skin changes as a result, mostly a kind of sunburn. She found the treatment made her very tired. Radiation treatment stopped in September/October or so.

She was put on an aromatase inhibitor, Relafin (I think) which has the nice side effect of cognitive impairment. This she was not warned about and had to learn about it online after the symptoms were preventing her from doing almost anything. She asked her doctor about it and he said "oh yeah, that can happen." She talked about it with a family friend who is a cancer specialist (but not a breast cancer specialist) who felt that an aromatase inhibitor was not the correct way to treat a totally focalized instance of cancer and that the side effects would outweigh the benefits.

After much deliberation my mother determined that if she couldn't think then she didn't want to live, as thinking is what makes her tick. It's true, she's a very analytical person who is constantly using her critical thinking skills -- not having access to them would just be wrong, it wouldn't be her. So currently she's not taking anything, just watching her diet, increasing her consumption of fiber and eating more organic food.

I think she's still physically dealing with the stress and I know that she's wanting to lose some weight. Her endocrinologist has cut back her thyroid medication level, thinking that as humans mature they can't handle such a large dose of TSH all at once. Having been on thyroid medication since the late 1960's though, this means that her body is running a lot more slowly than it was used to -- and her early doses of medication were much higher than they would start someone on today. It's just another drag for her though, and too bad as well. She mentioned to me during my visit last weekend that she hopes that someday someone would come up with a better delivery system for thyroid medication that would better mirror the body's typical pulsing doses.

So, she's doing well and taking care of herself and she's got a good outlook. I guess, if that was the bargain (her health for my second baby) then I can live with it, even if it pains me. She's my mom after all, as imperfect as she is.

1 comment:

Momma Bee said...

Oh my God, you've been through so much. I'm so sorry, but hopeful that your mom can have her health and you can hold your baby. There's no reason in my mind that both things can't happen. Thinking of you...