Talked with Dad last night and learned that my mother needs another round on what I call “Diet Chemo”, which is only once every three weeks. She will start on it after Resurrection Day. I can’t honestly remember if this is her 4th or 5th round of chemotherapy. Yes, it has been that much!
The nature of her cancer (bronchoalveolor carcinoma or BAC) is rather unique. It is more common in women, though rare over all, but becoming less so as Drs. perk up to the diagnostic criteria. Many women (including my mother) are not diagnosed until the later stages (like 3 or 4) when surgery is no longer an option. She was misdiagnosed as having chronic bronchitis and pneumonia twice before seeing a pulmonologist.
The tumor has not spread outside of her chest cavity, nor are there any more lymph nodes involved. It is just there, growing slowly or shrinking slowly. That is all the Drs. can do for her…manage the cancer. She had a great year last year, after bounding back and “graduating” from hospice care. So life continues, in a sort of limited limbo.
Please, if you are a woman, over the age of 35 and you have been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis more than once in a year, demand to see a specialist. Get a simple blood test, short name CA markers, to see if you have cancer. Don’t let it slip, especially if you have been on any hormone therapy or the Pill, which raise the risk factors for this type of cancer.