My mother was diagnosed with Stage 3A lung cancer on August 29th of this year. I am a Canadian, and while I don’t live in the same city as my parents, I have become their primary support person, their main spokesperson with doctors, and their researcher of the latest and best practices in treating lung cancer. I’m removed ever so slightly from the immediate fallout zone. The shock of the diagnosis was terrible, but once it sunk in, I became the person within our family who asks the questions. And, I continue to ask a lot of them.
I’ve met Mentor Linda personally, and with her amazing energy and persistence, I was able to bring my Mom (and Dad) to Mayo Rochester this month to seek a second opinion on both surgical opportunity and the planned chemo-radiation treatment proposed by local doctors. From the moment my parents and I walked into the atrium of the Gonda building, I felt that we were in an incredible place of healing and understanding. The doctors that we consulted with at Mayo have become team members with my Mom’s local doctors. They willingly and directly reach out to us when we have questions, and they remain available to us even though my mother’s wish is to undertake at least the preliminary stage of her cancer treatment at home.
There are many things that are beyond the control of anyone diagnosed with a serious illness. And, family members can feel particularly helpless. However, the peace of mind that is gained in seeking out a second opinion on the diagnosis can last a lifetime. I know, and my family know… we’ll always know, that we are doing everything that we can to provide my mother with the best possible outcome.
I feel blessed to be touched directly by Mayo. And, I know that there are many others, as witnessed by this forum, who seek answers to their questions and reassurance that their treatment approach is the best one possible for them. Sharing information and participating in dialogue around cancer offers a sense of control to all of us. At the end of each day, it’s really about knowing that everything that can be done, is being done.