Dee Schlegel

First post: Oct 7, 2016 Latest post: Nov 24, 2016
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.  M y mother, Dee, is 80 years old.  Now, generally, when you make that statement most people think of a cute little old lady shuffling around her house and sitting in her chair handing candy out to her grandchildren. That is NOT my mother. Up until 6 weeks ago my mother went to her gym to work out everyday from 5:30 to 7:30 in the morning. She generally walked 3-5 miles a day.  We would go shopping and it was usually me saying "Ok, I have to be done now."  In July she started complaining to me that her stomach hurt, but she said it hurt like when she used to have ulcers, so I thought that was probably the problem. She went to her doctor, the doctor took an xray and said her bowel was full of stool, so she (the doctor) thought that because of my mom's age she was having problems with constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.  She was put on medicine to help with that. 3 weeks later there is no improvement. Mom goes back to the doctor and blood work is done. The blood work shows she has a bacterial infection in the lining of her stomach which is usually the precursor to ulcers. Mom is put on antibiotics for 3 weeks. After 10 days there is no improvement and I say      "We should have at least seen some improvement if an infection is the problem". So back to the doctor Mom goes. Her doctor sets her up with an ultrasound on her gall bladder.  In the mean time Mom has an appointment with her oncologist. Mom has chronic lymphoma, which is so slow growing that her oncologist said she would probably die of old age before the lymphoma became a problem. But they keep an eye on it on a yearly basis. Her oncologist does her usual blood work and tells her she is doing so well that he doesn't need to see until next year.  She tells him that her stomach is hurting and now it's hurting so badly that she can't lift her arms very high. He sends her for an immediate CAT scan. When the results come back he thinks that maybe she has a chronic appendicitis that is leaking  into her abd, but her regular doctor thinks it's something more and sends us to a surgeon to set her up for an exploratory lap. For non-medical people that means making 4 to 6 small incisions into her abdomen and putting a camera in there to take a look around.  I'm thinking the oncologist is right and once we get her on the right antibiotics and get the appendix out of there Mom will be back to her old self.  The day before her lap we go shopping, out to lunch and get a pedicure.  I am the only one going to surgery with her, because I am so sure it is just going to be no big deal.  They do the surgery and the surgeon comes in to talk with me and he has pictures with him. He said her entire abdomen is full of cancer. There is a specialized layer of fat cells that covers the abdomen and sits in between the organs to cushion them called the omentum. Mom's entire omentum is cancerous and also part of her peritaneum, which is the back lining of the abdomen. This is usually secondary to ovarian cancer, but all of Mom's abdomenal organs look good, so the surgeon thinks the cancer must have started in the omentum. He sent pathology reports, though, that would tell us where it started. He said Mom was in recovery and I could see her in about an hour. I asked him if he was coming back to tell my mother all this. He said "No, either you can tell her or I'll talk with her in the morning." So, I got to be the one to tell my mother is has a very bad cancer.

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