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D Lewis's picture

Feeling sad. My mom, who lives in Kingman, AZ, was rushed to the emergency room last Wednesday with extreme breathing difficulties. She is 80, and a lifelong smoker. The doctors discovered by X-Ray and CT scan that she has a mass in one lung that has spread and is wrapped around her trachea, and that her lung is collapsed. She also has suspicious spots on her liver. She was on blood thinners, and had to wait four days till yesterday for biopsies. The doctor had hoped that he could install a stent into her trachea to reopen her airway, but found that the mass is down so low that it can't be stented. My mom had bleeding during the procedure, so the doctor wasn't able to grab an adequate biopsy sample, and now he doesn't have enough tissue to make a diagnosis.

My mom won't be referred to an oncologist until the biopsy results have come back. The anasthesia and the biopsy process was very hard on my mom, she's still on a BiPAP, and she almost had to be sedated and intubated to get her blood oxygen levels back up. The doctor is talking about attempting another biopsy on Thursday, the nurses are pissed because he put my mom back on blood thinners, and I am left convinced that we are quickly running out of time. Absent the stent to reopen her airway, she may not last till they get to the palliative Chemo part.

My siblings and I have been alternating traveling to Arizona and staying with her. I am at home in California right now, or heads would be rolling. I asked the nurses to have the doctor call me, so we could talk about what is going on, but apparently this is a very busy little pulmonologist, and he keeps getting called away from my mother's bedside to respond to some emergency elsewhere. I left a very sharply worded message this evening, demanding that busy boy leapfrog ahead a bit, and order a PET CT in advance of the biopsy results. At least that way, we'd have a better idea of where she stands. I've had two California oncologists tell me that if I were elderly and on Medicare, they would not need insurance preauthorization for the PET CT. Hoping it is the same in AZ. I don't want my mommy to die of lung cancer. I don't want her to suffocate in her hospital bed while some yay-hoo pulmonologist wastes time and gets distracted.

Surviving cancer and cancer treatment was sucky enough. Now I see that it's going to be even harder watching my mom go through the process. Hardest of all is going to be walking with her all the way to the edge, and then letting her go. We've done that with so many of our fellow warriors here.

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