The Starfish Project

The combined effort of our whole family.

Update on Mom 12/7/08

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updateHere’s the latest on Mom.  She had a CT scan a few weeks ago and it came back with good results.  Her tumor is “centrally necrotic” meaning that it’s dying in the center.  So, that was fantastic news.  Also, that 9 cm protrusion that was there in her initial MRI is now gone.  She was coughing up some stuff about six weeks ago and it looked very strange – like tissue and blood clots.  The coughing fits only lasted a week or so and then stopped.  Fortunately, she had a coughing fit at her doctor’s office and they were able to send a chunk of what she coughed up to the lab for analysis.  The lab results showed it was part of her tumor.  So, we’re very excited about how well Mom is doing in terms of dealing with the tumor in her lung.

However, Mom is having the most problems right now with some severe neuropathy in her left arm and left leg.  It started out a month ago with just a little numbness in her pinky.  She told her naturopath, but she didn’t seem very concerned about it.  At one point (about three weeks ago) the neuropathy had traveled up her arm to the elbow and she had some involuntary muscle spasms.  It was very scary for Mom.  She told her naturopath the next day at her appointment and they placed two acupuncture needles – but that was it.  The neuropathy continued to extend up her arm and eventually went all the way up to her shoulder.  At this point, we felt she needed to have a doctor who was going to address this very debilitating issue – so Mom has switched naturopaths.  There were other issues too – but, the main thing was we really wanted Mom to have a doctor who cared about her, listened, and acted quickly.  We just felt she had become a number to her doctor and that’s not what a cancer patient needs.

She has started seeing a new doctor who’s much closer to home.  On her initial consultation with her new doctor, he was very concerned about the neuropathy and did some various tests to determine the type and severity of the weakness she was experiencing.  He was so concerned about it, he had Dad call her primary care physician from his office to get her set up for an MRI as soon as possible.  He said he could treat the neuropathy, but he needed to rule out a metastic tumor on her spine before he could do anything.  We really don’t think it’s that, but we certainly want to err on the side of caution and have it checked out.  That appointment was last Wednesday.

By Friday, the neuropathy had traveled to her left leg and she was unable to walk.  I was able to borrow a wheelchair for her and it was delivered to her on Saturday morning.  We’re just all having to deal with the frustration that this wasn’t addressed earlier by her former naturopath.  Perhaps it could have been resolved before it got this bad.  I feel Mom was ignored and brushed aside.  We’re all dealing with a lot of anger about this.  Mom did not receive the type of care we believe she was paying to receive.

We’re trying to stay positive in spite of all this.  Mom’s attitude is excellent and Dad has been doing an incredible job of taking care of her and doing all the things she’s unable to do right now.  We’re believing that we’ll get some answers next week about the cause of the neuropathy and her new doctor can start treating this so she can start recovering the use of her arm and leg.  The doctor was very encouraging that he could treat the neuropathy and help her fully recover.

Mom has begun taking high dose Vitamin C treatments again.  Her doctor has upped her dosage of Vitamin C to 75 grams (whereas she was taking 50 grams previously).  He is also adding the same things to her IV bag that her previous doctor did.  It’s been a good transition for Mom because her new doctor is only 4 miles from home (so her travel time is much less) and the cost of the IVs is less expensive than they were with her previous doctor – and she’s getting 50% more Vitamin C.  So, we’re really happy about that.  Plus, her new doctor is very, very funny and his calm and humorous demeanor has been like a soothing tonic to Mom.  He comes across as warm and caring and he seems very thorough in the way he is approaching Mom’s treatment.

Mom wants to thank all of her blog readers for all their encouragement during her journey.  We knew there would be days that would be more difficult than others.  This stretch of road is one of the more difficult ones she’s experienced so far.  We want to thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts.  Mom wanted me to give a special “shout out” to Mr. Ed.

As always, if anyone wants to contact either Mom or me, you can send us an email to:

I’ll update everyone once Mom gets any news about the neuropathy.  Thank you all so much for everything.


Written by Tracey

December 8, 2008 at 12:36 am

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