As many of you know, in 2017, my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 renal cell carcinoma. She had a very large tumor in her right kidney and had an operation to remove the tumor and her right kidney at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Since then she has had regular scans and appointments with her oncologists in Houston, TX. She continued to work; however, this last year she retired from her passion after 30 years of teaching.
This last May mom and I came down to Houston for her routine tests. We sat in the room ready to hear the good news so we could fly home the next day. We had planned to be in Houston for only 2 days this trip, as everything had been going so well.
The minute the doctor walked in; I saw the look--the look I have seen so many times while sitting next to my patients as they hear the most devastating news. They discovered her cancer had spread to her lymph system and both lungs. Neither of us had time to cry or comprehend what we had just heard, not to mention the fear of the unknown or the inevitable. We then went through a whirlwind of more tests, CT’s, bone scans, brain scans, more lab work, a biopsy, phone calls, and a series of other appointments for the next 2 weeks. In the end it was confirmed her cancer was now stage 4 renal cell carcinoma with metastasis to the lymphatic system and bilateral lungs.
Since May they have done repeat scans only to discover it is worsening. She has multiple nodes that are growing on and near her vena cava (a main vein that goes directly to your heart) and multiple nodules in her lungs that are growing as well.
She is having surgery to remove the metastatic lymph nodes this month. The surgery will be very invasive and take a number of hours to complete. They are planning for her to be in the hospital nearly a week and in Houston for a number of weeks until it is safe to travel home. She will then be working with her team to decide the next steps. As her doctor told us, “let’s do one step at a time”.
So now, my father, my five siblings and our friends are preparing to fight by her side as we battle surgery, appointments, scans, tests, traveling, etc. and the silent killer- cancer.
We thank you for your prayers, support and love through this difficult time.
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