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6/28/2017 Latest post:
Where to start? Dad brought Mom to the ER at the end of March, thinking she was having a heart attack. Come to find out, she was passing a kidney stone. Due to her dehydration, she stayed in the hospital for a few days (I apologize, some details are now foggy as so much has happened since). She was home for about a week, and then Dad brought her back to ER with what appeared to be passing another stone. Nope, a kidney infection, from passing the first stone. Test results showed she still had a large stone that can't pass on its own, and 2 to 3 more smaller ones. First we saw a urologist at Portage. He ordered a 24 hr urine collection. Moms calcium was high-normal but her parathyroid levels were very high. She had a few more tests repeated, the levels coming down but still elevated. She was referred to 2 specialists, a nephrologist for the kidney stone removal and an endocrinologist for the parathyroid. In the mean time, her digestion issues continued to worsen and so did her abdominal pain and fatigue. She saw a GI doctor in Mqt for that, who told her she was fine and had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and sent her home. Mom knew he was absolutely not right. Given my own distrust and unsatisfactory treatment of my mother by Portage and Marquette physicians, I encouraged Mom to see real specialists, at a real hospital, whatever it took, no matter how far we had to go. The kidney stones could be dealt with close to home, but after looking briefly into hyperparathyroidism, I knew it was nothing to be taken lightly. Mom picked Mayo Clinic. Her family doctor referred her, and Mayo's called with an appointment right away.
The "rest" of the story: Mom's first appointment was Wed, June 21st. She saw the endocrinologist. He ordered another 24 hr urine collection, ordered several tests: ultrasounds, CT scans and parathyroid scan. He also referred her to see a GI doctor for her stomach pain. Mom's final test was Friday morning, for an abdominal and pelvic CT scan. It took quite a while. A radiologist is there to view images on the spot. We did some shopping and were getting ready to take the Trolley Tour to kill time while we waited for her final appointment at 330pm. The GI doctor had also ordered a few other tests, but they called and said they were cancelled as they found the issue and would explain at our Endo appt later that day. At about noon, the Endocrinologist called, and said he could see us now to get a head start home. Mom got a refund for the trolley tickets, and we dashed to Mayo.
The Dr explained her parathyroid and calcium levels. "Watch, wait and see" for that. Then, all hell broke loose.
"I'm sorry, there's no easy or better way to tell you ladies this. We found multiple tumors from your abdominal CT, and it looks like metastatic ovarian cancer." Shocked, horrified, then terrified. They couldn't schedule surgery that day, but had already organized a team of surgeons and oncologists, and keeping our hero's, the endocrinologists, in the loop. They recommended we go home to see our family and come back for an appointment Monday morning (June 26th) with the GYN oncologist surgeon. We were told to plan on being back for a week or more.
We arrived at Mom & Dads at 1am Friday night/ Saturday morning. The weekend went by too fast, and we hit the road back to Rochester at 2pm on Sunday.
Mondays appointment with Dr. Wilson, the GYN oncologist surgeon, was very informative and explained the surgery process to us well. The surgery will start as laparoscopy and they will biopsy a few tumors. It takes 20 to 30 min to get pathology back and confirm whether or not they're malignant, and if so, what type of cancer (they do this while they're "in" to avoid a 2nd surgery). They could only see the larger tumors on the scan, and won't know how many there actually are until he's in there. Then, our battle plan goes from there depending on what is found.