On July 16th my mom died after a 4 year battle with lung cancer. It spread to her brain, bones, skin, and internal organs. Mom literally had cancer from head to foot, with bone cancer destroying the bones of her left foot leaving nothing but tumor. Doctors said she was a miracle. By the time her cancer was discovered, she was already stage 4.
On the day Mom died, I had heart attack symptoms while sitting beside her while she slept. I ended up in the ER. A blood test led the doctor to suspect I had a blood clot on a lung, so I had a CT of my lungs. The EKG made them want to keep me for further testing, but another doctor released me before any more tests were done. Meanwhile, Mom died and I wasn't there. I can't get over feeling guilty. I had not left her for more than a bathroom break in 5 days before she passed. That of course probably contributed to the ER visit. A couple hours after I went to the ER, Mom passed. I wasn't there at the end.
More than 2 months later I saw the test result of the CT I was given. I was looking for something else on my insurance company's website when I stumbled upon it. My medical doctor had told me it was "perfect." Instead the report stated that I have a "solitary nodule of the lung." I called my doctor to ask why she did not tell me about it. It took her 2 days to call me back, but her assistant said it was because she did not want to worry me. Later the doctor called to tell me that non-smokers don't get cancer, so they don't follow up. I was outraged. My mother never smoked in her life. No one in my family has ever smoked. We didn't allow cigarettes in the house. I called a pulmonary specialist and got into see him right away this morning. He will follow up on the nodule with a CT in 6 months. I might be feeling paranoid, but if doctors had taken my mom seriously years ago, she might still be with us. I have a little boy who is only 8 and needs me a while longer. I hope he and my husband still need me when I'm old and gray.
Are there other family members who are taking test results a little more seriously? There was a problem with a mammogram, too, so after months of my doctor doing nothing, I made an appointment with a specialist for that, too. Now I have to have a biopsy. I hope the spots are benign, but the doctor told me to get life insurance now. Is that standard advice before a biopsy? I realize life insurance is something everyone is supposed to have, but it felt ominous. My mother's former radiologist told me that sometimes family members get "sympathy tumors." She just sounded crazy to me. Has anyone else been told this?
Does anyone else have this crazy combination of guilt for failing to save a loved one combined with fear of what might happen to others you love or to you? I would like to have a conversation with my doctor about how messed up I'm feeling, but I don't think she's the best person for that discussion. When I first told her my mother had cancer, she seemed angry or at least annoyed that Mom would even try to fight it. She went on about insurance prices skyrocketing. Maybe part of my current problem revolves around the fact that I haven't found a new doctor, especially considering her reluctance to follow up on anything suspicious. Or maybe I'm just paranoid like I said before.