Mom was able to come home this afternoon! She is doing really well and seems to be getting around. She is very restricted with the use of her arms, but is learning ways to get around or move without use of her arms. She will meet with her doctor Monday. She anticipates starting radiation therapy in about four weeks, depending on how she is healing.
Things have been busy and I am just getting a chance to update. Surgery went well. They pathologist said that he was having difficulties finding anything as he was looking through tissues that were taken. The first day was very difficult. Mom looked very pale, had difficulties sleeping, and was in quite a bit of pain. Today she got sick about three times in the morning. The doctor said she had very low hemoglobin levels any may need a blood transfusion by the end of the day. Mom is not able to use her arms to lift herself, pull, or really anything. This means that for even tasks like getting out of bed, she needs someone to help her up. She will have drains for the next 10-14 days which also complicate being able to get around.
By this afternoon, she was doing much better. She was able to eat for the first time. She did not end up needing a transfusion, and she has been able to sit up in a chair. She has been able to get more rest today and was even able to get up and walk around a bit. She looks much better as well. She would like me to tell everyone thanks for their support, prayers, and good thoughts. This will be a long recovery, but she is excited to have the next stage in treatment done. We plan for her to be able to go home tomorrow afternoon. So, I will try to get another update on here by the end of the week.
Tomorrow mom will go in for surgery around 7:00am. We do not know when her actual surgery starts or how long she will be in the hospital. This last week has been pretty hard for mom. She has still be on restricted activity due to her foot and developed an abscess on part of her neck which has been very painful. I think she is ready to get this next step done. We are happy that she is going in to surgery without the cancer mass. This next step is so important because although she does not have cancer right now, once the chemotherapy starts to wear off, it will come back if she is not proactive in the treatment. I will update tomorrow evening once we have more information after the surgery.
I have to collect myself to type more. My mom went in today to meet with the surgeon to discuss her mastectomy. She had her MRI completed last week (or was two weeks ago- they all run together). The test was done so that they could see the location and size of cancer to guide surgery. To our surprise, shock, amazement, her doctor told her that the scans show no cancer. Not that it is smaller, not that it has improved, but that it is GONE! Okay, just one more time folks...the cancer is gone!
Now that being said, my mom still has a lot of work to do to prevent cancer from returning. She will have surgery (double mastectomy) in less then two weeks. The recovery from that will take several weeks. During this surgery they will also remove lymph nodes that were PREVIOUSLY infected with cancer. This will affect the usage of her arms for a period of time. She will then do radiation every day for several weeks. She will also have to take medications daily for the next five years to prevent this from coming back. That is for later. For today, the cancer is gone.
It seems there has been an endless list of appointments in the last few days and there are more in the next week to come. Last week, mom had her second MRI. This will determine where the cancer is currently as they prepare for surgery in about two weeks. From mom's perspective, the process of having the test done was much more lengthy and difficult than the last one. Yesterday she went to the foot doctor and (sigh) was told she would not be able to go back to work. This means she will be staying home until her surgery and then will start the time off for recovery from this procedure as well. I know that she was really wanting to get back to work, get back to the kids, to be around her very supportive (and wonderful and fantastic and loving - I could go on and on) coworkers, and get back to having a "normal" routine. She has accepted that this additional time is necessary for her health and has tried to not get too stressed about not being able to return.
On Friday, she will meet with the surgeon to go over the MRI and answer questions regarding the surgery. Next week she has another appointment with the foot doctor, an appointment to be fitted for orthopedic shoes (will help with the foot issue), an appointment with the cancer doctor, and a preop appointment. This will be the most activity my mom has had in several weeks as she is not to be putting any pressure on her foot. She seems excited/anxious to get to the surgery. On the checklist for treating her type of cancer she was given four things: chemotherapy, double mastectomy, radiation, and hormone treatment through medications. She feels that once the surgery is finished, she will have worked through the most difficult parts of the checklist. I think it will feel like a large step towards recovery. And, I must admit, the mental image of the doctors actually removing this horrible cancer from her body during surgery is just glorious.
So as it turns out, we were not able to visit mom this weekend. We had the car packed up and as we were loading, Addison kept complaining that her throat hurt. Since mom has a weakened immune system we stopped by the walk in clinic on our way just to make sure. Turns out she has a double ear infection and tonsillitis...no trip for us. May have worked out better this way. Mom said that this treatment has been very difficult for her. This makes since because each treatment is not its own, it is more cumulative. So this treatment also included what remains of the previous seven as well. She said she was much more tired even the day after treatment. She said she took two naps (pretty good since she has not been getting much sleep). She says she has been in pain and that the anxiety has been back as well. When I talked to her last night, she seemed to be doing better. Additionally, she said that her foot has made significant improvements and she is hopeful this means that her surgery will go forward as scheduled.
On the fighting cancer "To Do list" finishing chemotherapy was a huge step. As I type, mom is walking (very slowly) out of the cancer treatment center, her veins full of the chemicals necessary to attack the cancer cells and rid her of them for good. This was the last scheduled treatment. She is now done with chemotherapy. Of course, as the chemicals will attack the cancer, they must also battle with everything else in her body - uncluding her blood cells that would be fighting infection. Her doctor is putting her on antibiotics to help fight infection from her foot once her white blood cells are weakened. The hope is this, along with the precations she is taking with her foot, will eliminate infection so that she can go forward with her surgery as scheduled. Surgery is the next big check to put on her list. We are hoping to be able to visit this weekend. With all the foot problems, we have not been able to see her in a month. I believe this is the longest she has gone without seeing Addison - ever.
It looks like mom will be home for another two weeks. As you can imagine from the information from the previous post, she has been upset about this. This time may be a little easier as she will be allowed to do very very light walking. This will mean she can walk to the kitchen or that if someone picks her up, she may be able to walk to her car and go have bed rest at their home for a few hours. This may sound funny, but I am sure once you have been in your room and nowhere else (except chemo - but that really does not count does it?) that being able to do bed rest somewhere else could really elevate your mood. I am sure her siblings will be picking her up soon. Mom's big adventure for tomorrow will to go to her chemotherapy treatment. This is the last one!