Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cancer Watch Day 17

I know it has been a long time since my last post and a lot has happened. Try to remember that this is coming from a second person view so I might be a little off in some of my information but here goes.

My mom was released from the hospital almost a week ago and has not smoked a cigarette in 16 days! WOOOHOOO. She hasn't used the patch in 6 days! I am so proud of her and her fight against addiction. Here is what she has told me about the experience so far. "I crave cigarettes all the time but I just tell myself you don't need it. I want to smoke but I never want to smoke again." What a though addiction and she is handling it like a champ. Smoking for 33 years mind you. Her main motivation is in two parts. 1 She remembers how painful it was with all her lung issues and getting the chest tubes in. 2. Her mastectomy is not healing well and she knows part of that is the smoking.

Which brings me to the cancer part of her trial. Her wound is not healing as well as the doctors would like and so she still has a drain tube in which is more of an inconvenience than anything else. She spoke to her oncologist yesterday and the really good news is that her cancer is only a stage 2 even though she waited almost a year to get it checked out. Really lucky! The original tumor in her breast was totally removed with clean lines and they also removed 11 lymph nodes 3 of which were cancerous. There is no telling how many lymph nodes are actually infected because it is totally random and there really isn't a percentage. All they know is it is present and they will try to kill it with chemotherapy which will begin in about 3 weeks (or whenever her mastectomy has completely healed).

She is still in a lot of pain. Her chest is a dull, throbbing pain while her arm has a sharp pain when she lifts it over her head. She also has very limited usage of her arm. After talking with her tonight I get the feeling that she is encouraged by the not smoking but is most worried about her arm and if she is going to be permanently impaired. She has been doing the exercises the doctor recommended but she lost some recovery time by being stuck in the hospital bed for her lung issues. I told her not to worry, it takes time and she is only 2 weeks post surgery. Does anyone know the recovery time for dissected lymph nodes? I need to do some research.

Overall she is feeling much better and will be a lot better once she has the last tube removed. I think it is just hard being attached to all these devices especially when you already feel like you are not yourself because part of your body is missing.

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