I've been on one helluva rollercoaster ride the past few weeks. I've felt the greatest of joys and the lowest of lows. After spending Mother's Day weekend in the Hualapai Mountains my mom had difficulty breathing upon her arrival back home. I drove out to her and took her to urgent care. Her symptoms sounded like an asthama attack. She's never been an asthamatic, but she's had COPD for years. Yet, this was a first. They gave her a double dose of breathing treaments and she was released. Breathing continued to be a chore as the days passed. The following week, we met with her Rheumatologist; it took forever to get this appointment, it had been suspected she had developed lupus or mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD). He agreed preliminary lab results indicated something was indeed going on, but ordered additional bloodwork to confirm exactly what it was. Meanwhile, mom was still having difficultly breathing. So much so, she returned to urgent care. They immediately transferred her to the emergency room, they were concerned about her heart.
This occured as I was on my way to McCarran to board a flight to San Francisco. My brother-in-law was getting married over Memorial Day Weekend, Frank and I were attending the festivities. My mom has never had heart trouble, there's no family history of heart attacks or heart disease so I was puzzled over their concerns. I was trying my best to determine the severity of the situation while debating whether or not to get on that flight. Ultimately, they didn't know what was going on and they were running tests, but without urgency so I decided to go. Her boyfriend was with her, and my brother was on his way; I felt confident to board.
When I arrived in San Francisco, they had done a CT Scan and found a mass on her lung. She was in need of PET Scan but she'd have to schedule at a later time. They ruled out a heart attack and discharged her. A nebulizer was also prescribed for home to make breathing treatments more convenient. That Friday, she was diagnosed with lupus and MCTD which came as a blow, but we still had the mass to worry about too. Due to the holiday, no progress would be made and she was left in limbo. I kept my plans to stay for the wedding, and then fly to Chicago to attend my sister's baby shower. It was wonderful to have such happy occasions to celebrate during a time of uncertainty.
Mom's been a lab rat since. Last Thursday, we finally met with a Pulmonologist to go over test results. We feared cancer, and it likely is. My mom was diagnosed with Melanoma in 2005; she had surgery to remove the malignant cells and that was that. Until now, it is possible that it has returned and metastasized, causing the mass in her lung. The PET Scan revealed other abnormal functions, but the lung mass is cause for the greatest concern. This could also be lung cancer or an entirely different cancer altogether. We won't know until a biospy is taken. Due to the location, a needle biopsy cannot be done. Instead, they will perform a bronchoscopic biopsy. However, if the mass is not immediately visable the test will be terminated because it would be too risky to take a sample. Here's hoping it's not camera shy. The alternative is an open biopsy and I certainly hope it doesn't come to that. It is very invasive and will require a hospital stay. Her health is already poor, another obstacle to overcome is the last thing she needs. We'll take one thing at a time. The priority, now, is to receive clearance from her Cardiologist to undergo the procedure(s) and get the bronchoscope scheduled. If all goes according to plan, we should have results June 19. Meanwhile, I'm hopeful for a miracle. I'd like to hang on to the slim chance that whatever ails my mom only mimics cancer.