This is going to be a very hard post to write. As I reported in my last post, my Mom had surgery last Thursday on her sinuses. She has been having trouble with infection and nose polyps for 2 months. Thank you for the good wishes. I truly appreciate them.
She came through the surgery fine. The ENT did a biopsy on the polyps and cleared the infection and other gunk out and she woke up happy. She could breathe again and didn't have any thing blocking her nose. However, when the doctor came out to talk to me, he told me he found cancer in her sinus cavity. I was not expecting anything like that. I knew she was blocked and her face was swollen, but I thought once he had cleared all the infection that things would be fine. I hadn't even realized that he would be doing a biopsy. This totally wrecked me for a few moments. My sister had to leave before the end of surgery to go back to Knoxville for a meeting and the only one there with me was my Mom's best friend. I had been trying to get her to go home because she's not in great health herself but she wouldn't leave me. I am so very, very glad she was there. I don't think I could have gotten it together before seeing Mom if she hadn't been there to hug me.
I didn't know how much Mom knew about what had been found but decided I would follow her lead. She was drinking Sprite and eating a popsicle which I saw her in recovery and was ready to come home. She had some bleeding from her nose when she got dressed but we were told that was normal and would happen a few times, especially when she leaned forward. She knew about the biopsy but nothing else.
I kept this to myself all weekend. I had told my sister and my husband and of course, Mom's best friend knew but I didn't tell anyone else. Mom didn't give me any indication that she might have any ideas about anything so I waited.
Today, I took her for her post-op appointment. The doctor told her that he found the cancer and that, more than likely, it was malignant. The tests have not come back conclusively yet, but the only thing that hasn't been determined is the stage. He told her she would need an MRI, PET and would need to go to Vanderbilt Cancer Center in Nashville, TN, to see an ENT oncologist. She said she stopped listening after Vanderbilt. She has been extremely weak and using a walker to get around so after he finished talking to her and doing a rinse out of her nose, I took her to the waiting room and went back to make her appointments. There was a delay in getting through to Vanderbilt so the girl trying to make the appointments told me she would call me with the information later.
After I got Mom home and settled, I told her I had known since Thursday and apologized that I hadn't said anything but she told me she was glad I had kept it to myself. She didn't have to think about it over the weekend.
My Mom has always been healthy and has seldom even had to visit the doctor. Of course, as she has aged, she has had more visits but at 82, she is still very healthy. There are no indications as to where this cancer comes from but is usually seen in workers who have worked around certain chemicals and woodworkers. However, there is no known cause. It is a rare cancer with only about 2,000 cases diagnosed in the US each year. The average age is 64. As you can tell, I've been doing a lot of Googling and trying to find out as much as I can.
So now, we start the process of testing and planning a treatment program. Please remember Mom. She is a strong woman and has always been able to comfort me no matter what has happened to me but now the tables are turned and we (my sister and I) are the ones who need to do the comforting and the care. She has always been my role model for being a mother. There are going to be some rough times ahead. I hope I can be strong for her and help her face this.