As I type, my mom is in surgery–having stents put in her ureters to improve her kidney function. Later on this morning, she will be having an endoscopy to check the placement and function of the stent that was previously placed in her duodenum. They may also put in a gastronomy tube (g tube) to relieve some of the reflux that she is having. All of this is an effort to mitigate the effects this tumor and cancer are having on her. If all goes well, the plan is to begin chemo later on today or tomorrow and get to shrinking that tumor!
Lots has happened since I last posted. Last Tuesday, my mom was discharged from AGH. We finally got her home after 23 long days in the hospital. They took her off the PCA pain pump and started her on some pretty serious oral pain meds and coordinated for a home care nurse to come by the house a few days a week to help out with the administration of the other medications, tube feedings and other care that was happening in the hospital that we would be taking over. We had her home for one week, and had a couple of good days, and a couple of not so good days. We just weren’t able to manage all of the pain she was having with oral pain meds so we made an appointment with palliative care (pain management) and when they saw her and all of the pain she was in they said it would be best to have her admitted again to get her pain under control.
That was two days ago. In hindsight, it’s better that she’s back in the hospital. She’s so much better when her pain is under control and now the doctors are taking necessary steps to prepare her mind and body for the battle that is ahead of us. The first step in that battle is chemo. Although we still don’t know the origin of her cancer, we are going to proceed with treatment based on the pathology results that have come back. They are going to be treating her for ovarian cancer and also with a drug called herceptin because some of the biopsies came back her 2 positive. The docs say that only about 5% of cancer diagnoses are classified as having an unknown primary source. This isn’t ideal, because the best, most effective way to treat cancer is to use drugs that are tried, tested and true for your specific type of cancer. Luckily, even with out knowing the primary, medicine is evolved enough to develop a chemo regimen to treat even unknown primary sources. Yet again, the Piazzas are a medical mystery.
All of that being said, I have to end with the most important message. The real story that I’m trying to share with you all…
The strength and resiliency that my mother (and the rest of my family) has shown through this entire process is nothing short of amazing. She has been through so much in just a few short weeks and the journey ahead will certainly be a long and hard road. Despite all of the bad days and set-backs that we’ve encountered thus far, she’s ready to take on this awful disease head on. We’ve always known that she was a tough lady. We’ve always respected and admired her inner strength and drive. But seeing the way she is taking on this disease and the determination she has to beat this, is truly astonishing. THANK YOU, all, for the love and support, friendship, good vibes, prayers, positive thoughts…phone calls, texts, emails…cards, food, laughs that you have sent our way. It is so very much appreciated!