Nov 22, 2012 - 11:25 pm
I'm sorry this is so long.
My mom recently had a biopsy on a rapidly growing lump she discovered on her back (2-3 months ago it was the size of a pimple and now it’s about 5 cm). Earlier this week, she returned to hear the results but was not given much in the way of answers. Instead, the doctor made an appointment for her at a hospital in two weeks, where another test which looks at the cell markers (T-cell and B-cell) will be administered. She was told she’d be more given details then and that there will be a group of specialists there to examine her case and provide recommendations on further treatment. The doctor did give my mom a print out of the biopsy findings though, which we both looked over. Of course, most of the medical terms mentioned meant almost nothing to us but some of the terms were quite disconcerting.
According to my mom, the doctor said she did not know yet whether the findings were bad or not, and I don’t even think she expressly said it was ‘definitely cancer’. After researching basically everything the test sheet had on it, I’m left with such a sick feeling and I don’t even understand how the doctor could say there’s a possibility this isn’t bad. Under DDx it says lymphoma B cell (amongst other things) which, to my knowledge, seems to fit quite clearly with the rapidly growing lump (plaque) on her back. It also says ‘appears consistent with cutaneous lymphoma’ and that a differential diagnosis will look at anaplastic large T-cell lymphoma and diffuse B-cell lymphoma. After everything I’ve read over the past few days, I just feel so horrified and scared, and I can’t believe we have to wait another two weeks to find out any more information.
I haven’t told my mom about anything I’ve read because I don’t want to scare her or have her in a state of worry for the next two weeks. It’s difficult for me to believe she doesn’t have lymphoma, but a small part of me still clings onto the hope that maybe I’m the one who’s overreacting. I’m not a doctor or anything so maybe I’m reading this all wrong. The only symptom she has is this growing lump on her back (there’s also a small one on her thigh, near groin, which just frightens me even more since it makes me think it’s spreading); she hasn’t had any fevers, loss of appetite, night sweats or any fatigue, nor are the lymph nodes in her throat, armpit, groin or stomach swollen. Recently she had a routine checkup and her blood work was fine, as were the results of her mammogram. She’s not in any pain and I honestly can’t even remember her ever being bedridden at any point in my life (20 years and not even the flu). I do know that some people do not experience any symptoms at all so the lack of symptoms doesn’t mean it’s nothing.
Part of me wants to share with her the information I read, because I can’t even imagine how devastating it’d be to hear all this in a single doctor’s visit. It’s all very confusing right now and I’m unsure if it’s better to keep this to myself or inform her of the possibilities. I don’t want to depress her or give her negative thoughts, but I also don’t want it to be some completely unexpected shock two weeks from now. I’m torn on whether I should tell her or not… I want to protect her but I also want to prepare her.
I read that being informed is important, but is this only for those who have an actual diagnosis?