Saturday, January 2, 2010

How it happened...

My mom discovered a swollen lymph node on the left side of her neck. She had it removed and tested. The biopsy revealed that it was cancer. The surgeon who removed the lymph node recommended we see a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy (where they put a camera in your stomach). On November 25, 2009, the gastroenterologist diagnosed my mom with stomach cancer. The next week, we met with a surgeon and in utter shock, we were told that the cancer was inoperable. Our only recourse would be chemotherapy. Since then, my mom has finished her first round of chemotherapy with hardly any side effects (cisplatin/ irinotecan).

Early stage stomach has hardly any symptoms. They are often misdiagnosed as other ailments because the symptoms sound similar...bloating, etc. The only real risk factor that pertained to my mom was that Asians have a much higher chance of getting gastric cancer. I urge everyone to find out about their own medical history and never ever ever take your health for granted. Find out if your own ethnicity increases your risk or chances of having certain cancers or diseases. Get to know your body. It can be as simple as looking at an image of the human body and knowing where the organs are. My grandmother and great-grandmother both lived into their 90s, and my grandmother's sister who was born in 1910 is still alive. My mother's diagnoses came as a shock because she did not experience difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, and she is in fairly good health. She was not on any medication at the time of diagnosis.