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To All of my Friends........

Jun 10, 2010 - 17 comments

Well, some of you know now, that I've got some really tough things going on in my life -- my dear aunt, who I journaled about at the beginning of the year, is back to # 1 position in my life right now - not that she ever left it, because for the past 6 months, I've spent a good share of my "free" time (what's that?) dealing with her issues.

Well, just to bring you all up to date -- I took her to see her pcp on Sat and while there, she nonchalantly informed us that she "has a 'lump' for the doctor to look at.........let me tell you, this is no "lump".  After the doctor discovered it and made me aware of it, the ball began rolling and all I could do was jump on and bounce with it.

Monday, I tried all day to get an appt for mammo and u/s, with no luck.  I went to work on Tues, only to have to leave and make a flying trip to Auntie's (hour and 1/2 from me) in order to get her to the imaging place to fulfill "stat" orders (still haven't figured out what happened to these orders on Monday, since they were faxed on Sat)...........spent all day Wed trying to get results; finally got them last night about 7:00, but before that, I'd been informed that I had to have Auntie back to the imaging place today for biopsy --I do have a job that I'm supposed to be at 5 days/week for 8 hrs/day......well, so much for that, because I'm getting pretty "hit and miss" for work these days!!

Anyway, it's been confirmed that my darling has breast cancer; I took her for biopsy today, which according to the doctor will tell us what type of cancer we are dealing with.  

I'm absolutely terrified with all of this.  My dad (Auntie's brother) died from prostate cancer; another of her brothers died from lung cancer; this doesn't look well to me, but this is one time, I'd love to be proven wrong.........

Over the coming days/weeks, we will be sent to other doctors, etc and I'm assuming that eventually a treatment plan will be devised.  

My point here now, is to express my heartfelt appreciation for my friends here on MH...........what would I do without you all??

This shows me how we can all come together for the good of another person, whether we agree with them in all aspects or not................none of you will ever know how much I appreciate the fact that you "circled the wagons" in my behalf - someone you've never met, but still care for.............

My older sister taught me years ago that when someone does/gives something really nice for/to you, that you don't expect, you should "say thank you and accept it gracefully".  

Thank you.

(hugs) to all

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1285110 tn?1420147378
by Whatawoman72, Jun 11, 2010
Ohhh Barb  - how awful. scary, and emotionally draining for you - kow that you have many many people who care about you and are here for you to vent away when you need to -  good luck with this traumatic jounrey -  take one day at a time, one hour at a time if you need to -  hopes and prayers for your Aunt x

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by elaine1961, Jun 11, 2010
Hi Barb, we are all here for you and we are praying, remember to squeeze some time in for you, you wont be any use to your Aunt if you get burnt out, I know you like Yoga so try to do a bit of the relaxation stage whenever you can manage,Take care and you can pm me whenever you need to,

649848 tn?1534633700
by Barb135, Jun 11, 2010
Thanks a bunch.  You don't know how much I appreciate the support.  

It seems that my time is going to be filled with "hurry up and wait" -- I have to hurry up to get her to this place or that place, then we have to wait for them to get around to us.  It's frustrating to say the least.  

It's comforting to know that I have so many wonderful friends.  

Thank you all.

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by TrudieC, Jun 11, 2010
You and your aunt are in my thoughts and prayers.  Take all the time you need and I hope there is a wee bit of time leftover for you to take care of you.

Hugs, Trudie

377493 tn?1356502149
by adgal, Jun 11, 2010
Barb I am so very sorry and I too will keep you and your aunt in my thoughts and prayers.  I am glad you are finding some support here.  Your right, at the end of the day, that is what it is all about.  (((hugs)))

Avatar universal
by msniki412, Jun 11, 2010
Oh Barb...I am so sorry for this horrible news about your Aunt. I just don't know what to say. It seems more and more people are learning they have cancer every single day then any other diesease. I just...really wish they can find a cure for ALL cancer's.

You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. And you know, we here on medhelp are always "here" for one another..through good times and bad times, we are a community and we stick together.

(((HUGS))) to you sweetie.

973741 tn?1342342773
by specialmom, Jun 11, 2010
Barb, I am so sorry to hear this news.  You clearly love your aunt and she is very special to you.  It is terrifying when you are told of cancer in a loved one.  Especially at this stage in which you don't have information yet.  Breast cancer is highly researched and they have many great regimens and treatments for it now.  I will pray that they come up with the right course of action for your aunt and that it will be tolerated well by her and successful.  But I know that it is scary.  

The ladies on the breast cancer forum are excellent.  They know there stuff and offer great support.  I've benefited from their expertise myself.  Keep them in mind.

I will say a prayer for peace and strength for you and your dear Aunt.  May it all turn out just fine.  (and work will still be there when you get back.)

649848 tn?1534633700
by Barb135, Jun 12, 2010
Update:  We went for biopsy on the breast on Thurs; no results yet.  Biopsy will tell us what type of cancer we are dealing with (aggressive or not, etc).  We saw my aunt's pcp today and she says that Auntie must have the mass and affected lymph node removed asap.  On Monday, I should receive the results of the biopsy, as well as appointments with surgeon and oncologist for next week.  Give me thyroid, diabetes, etc and I'm pretty good to go.........  I don't know enough about cancer; this is all foreign to me and I pray that I will help Auntie make the right decisions.

As if I don't have enough to worry about, I talked to Auntie's doctor the other night about whether or not I should be considering "extended leave" from work.  She said "yes, get an FMLA form and I will fill it out for you"...........found out on Friday, that FMLA won't cover me for an aunt - apparently, that's extended family, not immediate; never mind that she has no one else to get her to appointments, treatments, etc..............somebody sure went wrong when that law came into being....

Some sort of medical leave (not paid, just job security) should be available for anyone who can show, by doctor verification, legal designation, etc that their presence/assistance is necessary, whether or not it's "immediate family".  I also tried to get "uncompensated leave" in order not to have to use up all my sick/vacation time, but I'm told I can't do that either. As long as I have sick/vacation leave built up, I have to use that before I can get uncompensated.  

My thinking was that, right now, my husband and I both work so can afford for me to take uncompensated leave; in 6 months, my husband plans to retire and our income will be reduced; we might not be able to afford uncompensated leave then.  I guess my thinking is too simple for those in higher positions to comprehend.

This is not to mention that I have some medical appts of my own coming up this summer, for which I am perfectly willing to use my designated sick leave, but if I have to use it all for Auntie, I won't have any left.  I don't know now, how it will all turn out.  I have a great supervisor and he is trying to help me over this hump......

Based on his advice, I had the doctor fill out the FMLA form anyway, so will be able to present it as proof that my aunt needs me. I will do what needs to be done.........

At any rate, Auntie's pcp is hoping for surgery either later this week or next week.  

I don't want to think beyond that right now...........but yet, I know I have to because arrangements will have to be made for a recovery period, mind goes 1000 mph at times, then doesn't seem to want to "compute" for a while.

Tomorrow, I will sit down and make a list of all the questions I need to ask the surgeon and oncologist .........

Now, I'm tired and ready to go to bed.........
Love to all

973741 tn?1342342773
by specialmom, Jun 12, 2010
Oh Barb, it is a lot to wrap your mind around.  And that it has the element of fear that cancer always brings to it------ it is just very overwhelming, I'm sure.  

You'll want to write down exactly what they say when they give the results of the biopsy.  All the numbers and letters mean something in the breast cancer world . . . then you can post it here on the forum and those kind ladies can help you understand what it means.  But it sounds like surgery is first and treatment second.  I know this is just so scary.   My mother in law had ovarian cancer and that was my first time being close to someone with cancer.  Remember, they do remarkable things for ladies with breast cancer these days.  Your Aunt will be in good hands, I'm sure.

Working out the logistics is difficult.  Is she very far away from you?  I know of some people that have their chemo on Friday so that they can be at home resting on Sat and Sun when their side effects were the worst.  

I'm sorry about the medical leave act not carrying over to beloved Aunties.  It should!!  Who is to dictate who important family is?  I know you have to make plans for everything--------  but try not to worry.  These things have a way of usually working out.

Well, most of all I just want to write that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your Auntie.  Let us know what you hear on Monday.  

649848 tn?1534633700
by Barb135, Jun 12, 2010
I did not know that it would be so important to have numbers/letters from the reports.  Maybe I should be asking for copies of them, like I do all my thyroid blood work?  

You are right -- the hardest part is getting my brain wrapped around the whole thing.  I haven't gone to the breast cancer forum yet, but I probably will sometime tomorrow.  I hope they will advise me on what questions to ask, what info to get, etc.  

I sort of doubt that Auntie will be given chemo because of her age (91 yrs) -- too much for her.  

She's about an hour and 1/2 from me -- that's 3 hrs round trip, plus the time for whatever we have to do. Once we get to the "treatment" phase, I will most likely have to move the whole process closer to my home in order to be able to keep up.  Her doctor has agreed that this makes sense and also told me that we have wonderful cancer treatment here too.

Thanks, specialmom -- you really are special.  

649848 tn?1534633700
by Barb135, Jun 16, 2010
Another Update:   I'm getting messages from a lot of my friends asking about  my aunt.  I'm sorry to say that it seems like things may be going downhill faster than I would want, but maybe I'm just not familiar enough with with cancer issues.

We have an appt with an oncology surgeon on Friday; so I had to make a flying trip after work to the imaging center to pick up all the films from mammo, u/s, post biopsy.  Of course, I couldn't help looking at a couple of them, and while I'm far from being an expert at mammo, u/s, I could certainly pick out the "offending spots" in the couple that I looked at.  AND I can read - they also sent the written reports.  Biopsy confirmed malignant, but doesn't say what kind/type of cancer we are dealing with, so I don't know how aggressive it is.  

I've also been fighting "policy" at work, because I find that an aunt does not qualify me for FMLA, but because she is not immediate family, in spite of the fact that I have a doctor's "order" that my presence/assistance is necessary to my aunt's treatment/well being.   I also find that my employer has a policy that I must exhaust all accrued leave time before I can take uncompensated time.  I had asked to take my time uncompensated for now, because both my husband and I are working, with good jobs; while we are not rich by any means, right now, we could afford for me to take time w/o pay, whereas, my husband plans to retire in a few months and our income will drop, so we may not be able to afford me taking uncompensated time.........the "kicker" here is that they implemented this policy because people were taking uncompensated leave, when vacations are mandatory (Christmas vacation) and saving their accrued, paid leave for when they "wanted" days off.  

My supervisor has been trying very hard to help me the past couple of days - between the 2 of us, we've been all the way to the top; we "lost" our case - meaning, they will NOT make exceptions to the policy, but at the same time, I think we won because now there are people aware that there might be some injustice with the policy.

Today, I related to my supervisor, one my "middle of the night ruminations" -- what often happens is that policies are put into place to stop abuse, but are implemented by people (board members, administrators, managers, supervisors, etc) who do not have to abide by the policy, so they make it "across the board, with no exceptions"; but the people who seek to abuse are going to get around the rules one way or another.  In the end, it's the ones like myself and my supervisor who are trying to be upfront and do things right, that get hurt.  

In hindsight, I find that if I'd said this was my mother, I'd have had not problem...........but I was honest enough to say it was my aunt........when it's all said and done, I have to be able to sleep in peace at night........

I told my supervisor, yesterday, that I don't have enough energy to fight that issue any more -- I need to save my energy for the important things; which is keeping myself in good enough shape to do what I need to do for my aunt.  

I just went for new thyroid blood work and my levels are dropping again, but I haven't had time to contact my endo to see about an increase in med.  I will make that a priority next week because on Friday, I will have an idea where things are going with my aunt.

Thanks to everyone.

973741 tn?1342342773
by specialmom, Jun 16, 2010
Barb, I will certainly say prayers for your aunt and you as well.  This is very difficult for you, I am sure.  Cancer is very scary and with her age--------  all kinds of things dance into your mind.  But there are breast cancers that are not as aggressive as others.  We will hope for that.  And perhaps it is encapsulated and not spread.  We will hope for that as well.  Breast surgeons are pretty amazing doctors and save lives every day.

Sorry about the additional stress at work.  Why they make it so difficult on people already going through such a hard time, I don't know.  But in the end, we do what we have to do for those we love.  

You are such a great niece------------  we all should be as lucky to have someone like you in our lives that cares for us the way you do your aunt.  She is very special to you, I can tell.  You seem like a lady that is the pillar of strength in your family but this will test you.  We're all here to support you.  Again, your family will be in my prayers.

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by margypops, Jun 16, 2010
Sorry to hear about this latest trial for you ,I know how fond of her you are , all good wishes to her and you ...Marg

483733 tn?1326798446
by TrudieC, Jun 16, 2010
Wish I could take some of the stress from your life, dear friend.  Please come here and vent as often as you need it.  I'm really hoping the powers to be at your company may see the light and make it easier on you.  Let us know how the appointment goes.

Love and hus, Trudie

1301089 tn?1290666571
by Sarajmt, Jun 17, 2010
This is so hard for you.  I am terribly sorry.  Perhaps in the future, because of your efforts the FMLA can be changed to accommodate those who do not have immediate family to help them.  Because of our mobile society, many people have no immediate family living near them and rely on relatives or friends.  But I am so sorry this is happening and for all the obstacles you're having to overcome.

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by evadee, Aug 05, 2010
Hello Barb...I am new to to Med Help...just to let you know I feel bad for the hardship you and yours are going sound like a brave lady...I hope your auntie is as well....miracles do happen from time to time...I say this from experience....thoughful regards Barb.

Avatar universal
by mikesimon, Jun 17, 2011

I feel so badly for you Barb.
I am also always impressed with you - with your strength, your wisdom, your loyalty and your love.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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