Sunday, January 6, 2013

Inoperable Tumors

Tuesday November 3, 1992

I awake at 6:28, turn off the alarm which has not gone off for 6:30 and get up, shower and get ready for Dr. Semrad. I'm ready for the inconvenience of the pump. I have shaved and washed my hair.

The traffic is terrible; we arrive at 9:10. The nurse takes me into the room about 9:25. Dr. Semrad asks how I feel. I say better but still have some throat and chest discomfort. He is concerned; looks in my throat and finds redness, swollen tonsils and puss pockets. I have no fever. He says it may be a virus. He cannot put the catheter in as it would probably get infected too. I must take an antibiotic and come back next Tuesday for my implant. I am very disappointed. I feel I'm running out of time. I feel my cancer is really growing. It is affecting my bowels now. Dr. Semrad delivers a terrible blow when he says they will have to do a colostomy if it gets too bad. I say no, you can operate! He says no, they cannot operate to remove my tumors because there are so many, not just large ones. I am stunned. I always assumed they could always go in and remove the large tumors when they became a problem. I felt like he gave me a death sentence. I wanted to cry.

If I don't get on the pump soon it will be too late. It will take some time for it to begin to work on my cancer and shrink my tumors. Every day I feel more pressure and pains . Lately, I have so little energy. I can't do much at all.

After the doctor we return to Simi. We vote, have lunch at IHOP and rent 2 movies for tonight. We go out to dinner and go to Newbury Park to meet new tenants. They don't show. Frank calls them and a police officer answers to say they are conducting a narcotics investigation. X those tenants.

This post makes me want to cry too. Mom has not had chemotherapy for almost 6 months at this point, so it's no wonder the cancer is spreading. At first she was enjoying her life like nothing was wrong, but now the spreading cancer is depleting her energy, robbing her of the activities she enjoys, including eating, and causing her abdominal pain and digestive problems. Having a colonoscopy bag would be out-of-the question for Mom who was very vain about her appearance.

I am finding it harder and harder to check in on Mom's journal, which I used to do on an almost daily basis. When her journal entries are news of pain, sadness and discouragement, it makes me feel sad too.

Update March 12, 2013 In today's New York Times the following article appeared, which specifically addresses the issue of removing all the small abdominal tumors:

"Flaws in Ovarian Cancer Care"

Study finds nonspecialists treat most women.

Most women with ovarian cancer receive inadequate care and miss out on treatments that could add a year or more to their lives, a new study has found. The results highlight what many experts say is a neglected problem: widespread, persistent flaws in the care of women with this disease, which kills 15,000 a year in the United States. About 22,000 new cases are diagnosed annually, most of them discovered at an advanced stage and needing aggressive treatment. Worldwide, there are about 200,000 new cases a year.

Cancer specialists around the country say the main reason for the poor care is that most women are treated by doctors and hospitals that see few cases of the disease and lack expertise in the complex surgery and chemotherapy that can prolong life.....What works best is meticulous, extensive surgery and aggressive chemotherapy. Ovarian cancer spreads inside the abdomen, and studies have shown that survival improved if women have surgery called debulking to remove all visible traces of the disease.

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