Sunday, March 09, 2008

Dumbfounded

My mom called last night and mentioned she might be in town in the next two weeks. I seized the opportunity to tell her about my diagnosis realizing that my surgery was going to fall in the time frame she was talking about. I explained everything to her and when I came up for air we had the following conversation:

Mom: "So, are you worried?"

Me:"Not yet...we don't really know enough yet to know if we should be worried."

Mom: "Well..you know....I have a mass in my left breast."

Me: "What!?"

Mom:" Yeah...a couple of years ago my right breast was hurting and the doctor sent me in for a mammogram. They think the right breast was just a clogged milk duct, but they also found a mass in my left breast. I get a mammogram every six months."

Me:".........have they biopsied it?"

Mom:"No. They said it was probably nothing."

Me: "You're kidding me."

Mom: "No."

Me: "Mom, my doctor has repeatedly asked me if we have breast cancer in my family, and I have said 'No' every time. I need you to get home, talk to your doctor, and get that lump biopsied right away! If they haven't biopsied it, there is no way they can tell you for sure that it's not cancer."

Mom:"Well, they didn't seem worried...."

Me: "It doesn't matter! They can't know without a biopsy. Does your right breast still hurt?"

Mom:"...well...off and on."

Me: "Mom...I don't think a clogged milk duct would last for two years. You have to get this taken care of right away. Cancer doesn't always just grow from one lump outward. Tiny cancer cells can be carried through the blood stream to other areas of your breasts or body. You have to go to your doctor, explain about your 34-year-old daughter's diagnosis, and make them take this seriously."

Mom: "Oh....OK."

I could just bang my head against the wall out of frustration; first, because of idiot doctors who are taking a wait and see approach with my mother, who has higher risk factors than I do because of her age, life-long smoking habit, and former hormone use, and secondly, because of my mother's trust in idiot doctors. She suffered through a horrible surgery at one point, one that she could have rightly sued for malpractice. She didn't ask questions, get a second opinion, or go to someone else when she encountered numerous problems because of it. Later a doctor would tell her that she had been butchered and would need two more surgeries to fix the problems left behind by her previous doctor, who had left the state and his medical practice by that point.


rant over

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