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Old 12-24-2008, 01:20 PM   #1
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My MIL found out right before Thanksgiving that she has uterine cancer. Over the course of the last five weeks we have had numerous doctor's appointments and scheduled surgery for a full hysterectomy including lymph nodes on 1/8. She went to her doctor yesterday to do her pre-surgical clearance and her doctor informed her that she has a lesion on her right lung that they saw on the CAT scan they took, and that until she saw a pulmonologist that she would not be cleared for surgery. The pulmonologist (if that is even the right title??) fit her in today to look at the scan and told her it needs to be biopsied before she would release her for surgery, that she would get it in this week if at all possible. Well, Christmas Eve. No one working at the hospital to schedule the biopsy. Earliest it can possibly be scheduled is Monday. Two weeks for biopsy results to come back. That is 1/9. After that, if it an the infection like everyone thought it was three weeks ago when it was noticed on the CAT scan then another couple of weeks of meds to clear it up. No surgery on 1/8. No idea when they can schedule it.

So here is what I'm frustrated about, in no particular order.
- She has seen three doctor's in the last five weeks, all of whom saw the lesion on the CAT scan and didn't do anything about it when there was time to test it.
- Pulmonologist appointment on Christmas Eve, what was the point? It is a given that the mass would have to be biopsied before pulmonologist & PC would release her for surgery , her PC had to know that, why send her to the appointment all rushed in today only to make her wait until next week for the biopsy anyway? Now she has to worry that her cancer has spread to her lung, when will her surgery be scheduled, when can they do the biopsy, etc, all through Christmas.
- The gynecologist she is seeing (who she has never seen before her PC discovered a spot in her uterus that needed a biopsy) has given her all of the bad news, from the cancer diagnosis to the lung lesion to the surgery postponed, over the phone. This is the first time she has ever seen her and she calls her up at work and says "Hi, you have cancer. We'll get you an oncologist appointment next week. Call me if you have questions. Have a good day."
-My MIL is scared to death of anesthesia, something she has told every doctor she has seen this month repeatedly. They tell her today "If we don't clear this up you might never wake up from the anesthesia." Okay, true, yes, but bedside manner? Could there have been a better way to tell her that piece of info? Or, just leave it in the paperwork she was given to read instead of singling it out? She was already scared of the anesthesia, now she is petrified.

DH is stressed out, and the holidays are stressful enough already between our families and trying to balance his ex-wife's schedule for our stepson. MIL is beside herself - I thought she was calm when I got off the phone with her, but she has called two other family members pretty unhinged thinking her cancer has spread. This fallout could have waited until Friday (the pulminologist is open Friday from 8-12 and could have seen her then) or Monday.

Venting. Sorry it got so long. I could use any good thoughts anyone would like to send my way today.
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:13 PM   #2
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Oh, Shannon, I'm so sorry you and your family are going through this. Medical appointments are pain in the rear most of the time but when you are trying to coordinate different specialties over the holidays. It's hard. Last year around the holidays we were dealing with a diagnosis of prostate cancer for my fil and a diagnosis of uterine cancer for my mil (that she kept underwraps and ignored initially due to her concern about my fil!!!)

I don't have any good advice other than stay strong for her and vent here as much as you want/need for your mental health.
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:47 PM   #3
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I can't really add anything more to that. Prayers for your MIL and your family. Feel free to rant all you need--don't let your stress build up. Take care.
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Old 12-24-2008, 03:06 PM   #4
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Shannon,

I'm so sorry. I so wish I could just give you a hug today.

When my friend was diagnosed with pancreas cancer, they did the same thing. Off hand phone calls from oncolgists on Friday afternoon saying 'yeah, there's a mass on your pancreas" and then no follow up until Monday. Biopsies scheduled in which half-assed messages were left. Then when he was scheduled for surgery to remove his pancreas (and other parts) he paid to fly to Baltimore and when he got there they told him that they still hadn't seen the full CAT scan and they *might* not be able to operate, depending on where the tumor was.

I get that these surgeons and doctors deal with this every day. I get that they have to maintain some separation and not get emotionally involved with their patients. I get all of that.

But you'd think that they could take some sensitivity training or something and remember that "patients" are real people who *don't* deal with this every day and who are terrified and lost when they get this diagnoses.

Grr. One of my newest pet peeves after dealing with this with my friend.

I'll be thinking of you and your family and your MIL this weekend. And you know I'm just down the road if you need anything. Seriously. Let me know. Even if you just want to get out and talk.

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Old 12-24-2008, 03:56 PM   #5
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Sending and healing for your MIL. So sorry she (and her family) has to deal with this.
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:27 PM   #6
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Prayers continuing for you and your family Shannon.
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Old 12-24-2008, 09:17 PM   #7
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Shannon I am so sorry. When my dad had prostate cancer a few years ago, almost the same thing happened to us. It was two days before Christmas, and they dropped it on him and then said, well, no one will be around for the next week so you'll have to wait to get the diagnosis confirmed, and then it took another week or more to get the results, and it was just a terrible way to spend the holidays.

Try to appreciate your family and hug your guy as much as you can for the next few days.
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Old 12-24-2008, 09:20 PM   #8
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sending prayers for you and your family
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Old 12-25-2008, 10:12 AM   #9
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Your family is in my prayers Shannon.
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Old 12-25-2008, 05:07 PM   #10
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Shannon I can't imagine the fear and anguish Your MIL is experiencing. prayers for you and her
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Old 12-25-2008, 05:10 PM   #11
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Shannon, your MIL and you and your family are in my prayers. It's unbelievable how some doctors treat patients, almost like we're all just bodies on an assembly line. When one of my best friends was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she was told she was stage 4 when they figured out what it was (she had been told by another doctor that it was all in her head or maybe allergies). They then made her wait 4 weeks for surgery until they could get the insurance approval to do it! Unbelievable....

I'll keep praying for you all and feel free to vent all you want.
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Old 12-25-2008, 05:14 PM   #12
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I realize Doctors and hospitals need money to live just like everyone else but honestly! What ever happened to the Hyppocratic Oath?

I hate insurance companies and doctors who bow down to them
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:29 AM   #13
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Thanks everybody! I popped in over the last two days and read some of your responses, but didn't have time to respond with the holiday chaos.

My MIL is in a little better place emotionally than she was on Wednesday, but I could see it pulling at her the last two days. I hate that she had to worry so much, well she would have worried anyway about the uterine cancer, so I guess I hate that she had to worry about possible lung cancer as well. She tried hard not to let anyone see how stressed out she was.

Thanks again everybody!
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:40 AM   #14
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Shannon, our family will keep you and your MIL in our prayers.....
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