Thursday, December 09, 2004

An Apple.............

The colonoscopy was scheduled for 8:30 am today. I offered to take S so Dad could go to the hospital. He said for me to go ahead and he and S would just come to the hospital after she was back in her room.

I know this was just a routine procedure, but I wanted to be there for mom. I also wanted to hear what the Dr. had to say afterward.

When I got to her room around 8:15 the gynecologist was outside her room on the phone and mom was lying in her bed trying to look brave. She said they found a mass while doing the internal ultrasound and the gyn wanted to transfer her to a hospital in another state where they have a specialist.

My 'be strong mode' kicked in. I put the top rail of mom's bed down and pulled a chair close so I could hug her. I told her everything would be alright.

When the Dr. didn't come back in for a few minites, I went into the hall to talk to her. I told her I was J's daughter. I was waiting for HIPPA bullshit. Patient Privacy. Blah Blah Blah.

There was no bullshit. She told me they found a mass the size of an apple on one of her ovaries. Because she has been having symptoms for awhile and there is a large amount of fluid in her abdomen, she suspects it is cancer, and wants her to see a gynecology oncologist. She would try to arrange the transfer today.

I asked about the colonoscopy and she said they were still going to do it because they wanted to be sure the colon wasn't involved.

By now it was after 8:30. Where was my sister? She was going to be there this morning.

They finally took her down for the scope around 8:45. I walked with her. I should say I ran. The nurses who wheeled her down the hall and into the elevators and around all of those corners are FAST! I guess after traveling the same path, day after day, you can navigate the maze quickly. When I caught up to them at the elevator, I asked mom if she heard me running behind her. She laughed with the nurses. She laughed. Thank you God.

They stopped outside the waiting room and I gave her a kiss and said everything will be alright.

I went into the waiting room, put down my coat and purse, started to sit down and burst into sobs. I tried to pick up my things and leave the room. I needed to get OUTSIDE. I needed air. I needed away from this place, away from these people. The lady who sits behind the desk in the waiting room called after me.

She stopped me, put her arms around me, and said, "Let me help you".
She held me while I cried for what seemed like forever and I told her what had happened. There is a special place in Heaven for this woman. She had never seen me before in her life, but I would have been lost without her there.

I sat down in one of the chairs next to a Christmas tree. It was decorated with shiny red apples. I kept hearing, "a mass the size of an apple........."


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(written September of 2005) I have learned much in the last nine months. I have read that ovarian cancer whispers. I say it screams. It just needs someone to listen. The American Cancer Society statistics for ovarian cancer estimate that there will be 22,220 new cases and 16,210 deaths in 2005. This is a death rate FOUR TIMES that of breast cancer.Almost 70 percent of women with the common epithelial ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced in stage. The 5-year survival rate for these women is only 15 to 20 percent. This is unacceptable. Women need to be made more aware of the symptoms, and doctors need to listen to their patients. Especially when the patient tells them that they fear they have ovca, as my mother did for almost a year before she was finally diagnosed. It’s so sad and senseless when a woman knows the symptoms but can’t get anyone to listen to what she is saying.