My mother’s options have run out, and she is considered untreatable, which is devastating to accept. Luckily, there’s an experimental chemo-treatment that she has been offered that has had mixed results among the 20 people that have partaken so far (in Europe). Yesterday we went to talk to the doctor in charge of that research at the VU hospital in Amsterdam. We came prepared with a bunch of questions, which she patiently answered. She also gathered information about my mother, and said that she could start the treatment in a week or two if she was found to be physically capable. (There was no reason to suspect otherwise.) So she has one last shot at getting rid of the cancer in her liver.
We had a second appointment with her radiology doctor, who had treated her lung with stereotactical radiology. He was a really nice and polite doctor, and it was obvious that my mother was very fond of him. Regardless, he had some bad news regarding the latest scans. While some strange things were found on her lung, where the original tumor had been, he suspected it was scar tissue from the radiology and nothing to worry about. He was far more concerned with her head. Last week, my mother was scheduled to have a check-up on her head, to see how her brain was faring after they had removed a fist-sized tumor from there last year. Sadly, she had six different, small tumors scattered all throughout her head, and it had been decided in the short time between the first appointment and the second appointment we had that day, that this would have to be treated first before she’d be eligible for the experimental treatment.
It was decided that she’d get two sessions of radiology on her head. They can’t do the stereotactical radiology, because the limit to that option is three separate tumors, so they’re going for the full blast option. This means that even though my mother has retained her hair throughout all the treatments she’s had over the last year-and-a-half (which is pretty miraculous), it’s almost certain she’s going to lose it anyway. Whatever, right?
It was a pretty big blow to all of us, though my mother seems to be least of all affected by it. She claims she had kind of felt like things weren’t entirely in order, and had prepared for it. I spent the rest of the day with my mother, brother and sister, and random people who came to visit. At a certain point my mother said she was so happy that all three of her children were together with her. I’m going to have to spend more time with her, it seems like there’s no that much time left. The day was also spent on the phone, as my sister always sends a status update to all people interested, which meant that a good twenty phone-calls and an equal number of text-msgs came in. It surprised me how many people got so incredibly emotional, and how well my mother was able to handle them, calm them down and cheer them up. My mother is amazing. She’s the one dying, and still she’s Mother Theresa to the world. I swear, if she doesn’t get a nice spot in the afterlife, I don’t know who will.
Depending on how she feels after the radiology on her head and on how she’s doing physically, she’s going to do the experimental therapy. If she can’t, or no longer wants to (we did make all the euthanasia-paperwork in order last night), we’ll buy her a plane ticket to Italy so that she can spend some time in the sun there. She’s always loved Italy and we have friends there that she loves dearly, and one of them she hasn’t seen since all of this began. If she has to die, she’ll die with a cool tan.