I realise that I didn't finish my last entry. I meant to, but life got hideous.
My sister has an inoperable tumour in her chest. We don't know too much about it at the moment, and she's doing okay within herself, but she's living with the diagnosis hanging over her like a dark cloud.
I can't even remember when it happened - maybe three weeks ago? Maybe not that long? She was rushed into hospital with a suspected myocardial infarction (heart attack). When they investigated, she had something like 3 litres of fluid accumulated in the pericardium (sack that surrounds the heart). They put a drain in, and drained it off. They said that if it stopped draining within 3 days, then it had come as a result of an infection, possibly MRSA.
It did stop draining within the 3 days, and things were looking up. But the consultant was concerned that she wasn't getting better as fast as she should be. At 43, she should be bouncing back fast, and she didn't.
So they investigated other possibilities, and sent her for a body scan. Naturally, none of us were expecting the news - least of all her.
She has a tumour that so far they are classing as "lung cancer", but it's located on the exterior of her lung. It is pressing against her heart and wrapped somehow around her oesophagus. So yeah, not good.
The only silver lining at the moment is that the worst case scenario was that the fluid around her heart was malignant due to the cancer spreading, and thankfully that has come back as benign.
The consultant is from Sudan, and I don't really know whether they do things differently in his culture, but he hasn't been the most tactful. He told her about the cancer when she was on her own in hospital, he didn't wait until someone got there to be with her - he just came out with it. But, he did this before any diagnostics have come back - so even though it's unlikely that it's anything other than cancer, he didn't wait to see.
When she asked about treatments, he said that the hospital board would need to meet to discuss whether treatment was appropriate. Yet, another Doctor said that when the diagnotic tests prove positive that it is cancer, then they would do both chemo and radiotherapy. He was honest about the prognosis - if it is cancer (and I keep using the word "if" because I'm all about hope), then the treatment would be to prolong life and not to get rid of the tumour.
The Sudanese Dr keeps saying things like "If you get out of hospital...", "if we send you home...". If? IF??
There's nothing like encouragement and hope from the medical profession, is there?
My biggest fear, and this is something that I'm writing here but would never dream to say in real life, is that if this does turn out to be cancer - then my sister is generally a negative person. The glass is always half empty, if you get what I mean. I'm concerned that she won't fight it.
We've had an argument about this, and whilst she probably thinks that I'm a heartless bitch, SOMEONE had to say something. I told her that she HAD to look for hope. Of course, she took this as me belittling her possible diagnosis, and she has been rather offish since. This I can tolerate, as long as I know that she's not going to wallow and prophesise her own death.
I've been a bitch to my Mom too, but she took it on the chin and took my point. I was there when Mom was told, and her reaction was "I can't go through this again". I told her not to ever think that way in front of me, because we're not at a point where we've lost H. We're not losing ourselves in our own self pity - I will not allow it.
There are six children who need stability and support through this, and the worst thing that could happen is that they see the adults in the family lose focus. We all have to step up, it's our responsibility.