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Dec 26, 2015 05:24PM
Dealing with a parent's illness long distance is indeed frustrating. Before I lay on the positive assurances, let me address a few things:
- converting to a mastectomy, when it was thought that a lumpectomy would suffice, is a decision that is sometimes made on the operating table. Prior to surgery, imaging and biopsy results help develop a plan, but once someone is on the operating table, those plans can change depending on what is found.
- There are no set number of axillary lymph node. Each person is a bit different and the nodes themselves are encased in fatty bundles, which are counted when the bundle is dissected. 29 out of 30 means that there were a lot of effected nodes, but the number itself is not an unusual quantity.
- It is unusual that the doctor won't stage your mom, at least in the US. Could this be particular to your country? Based on the info you supplied, I would say she is not stage IV. That is generally defined as spread to distant organs such as bone, lung, brain or liver. I am not a doctor, however, so don't quote me on this 🙂.
- Would your family be willing to send you the post-surgical pathology report? That would give you the details you are looking for. Sometimes, they are hard to read, but not impossible, especially if you can find a doctor to go over it with you.
Your mother is your mother, regardless of your age. Mother's natural instincts are to protect their children, especially when that child is geographically distant. You are an adult, of course and I understand that you don't want to be protected. My adult daughters live close to me so I couldn't shield them from my bc , nor did I want to. However, my elderly father lives far away and has had a rough few months. When I speak with him, he glosses over a lot and I have to call my brother for the unvarnished version.
Just let your family know how much you care and clearly explain that despite the distance, you want to be as much a part of this as possible. Tell themthat the dramatic 14 year old is long gone! With, email, Skype etc., keeping you in the loop should be fairly easy.
As far as going home to help, why don't you wait to find out what the proposed treatment plan is? Make sure that your family asks, very explicitly, how the treatment will effect your mom and how much help she will need. Your mom is lucky to have such a devoted daughter and it is clear that she cherishes you as well. So, get the path report and I think that will answer many of your questions. Take care.
Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur
7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole)
6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole)