The day after attending Robert Tracy’s (Marguerite’s brother) funeral in Rochester Minnesota I noticed a lump in Marguerite’s right breast.
Almost immediately we visited her doctor, Elizabeth Strabel, and she ordered a mammogram. The results were interpreted to suggest cancer and after consultation we decided on a biopsy.
Taking a biopsy of a breast is not something that should be undertaken lightly. The procedure is gross and I suspect painful. Marguerite was stoic and uncomplaining through the procedure which sampled the lymph gland in the right arm pit as well as the breast.
Fortunately the punctures healed without complications.
Both samples were analyzed and determined to be cancerous. This suggested that the cancer had already spread beyond the breast.
Again we consulted Dr. Strabel and concluded that any treatment would be very hard on Marguerite. Since she was incurring no pain, we opted to forgo treatment. But Dr. Strabel did suggest that we enroll in Hospice care so that professional’s could advice on her care as the cancer progressed.
I found the Hospice care nurse to be very helpful. She suggested some alternative dressing materials that worked very well.
Almost immediately there were some eruptions on the infected breast. These would appear first as angry red bumps that would then break and start oozing. Nothing severe, but they did require dressing to avoid rubbing on her clothing.
Things began to change in July. I first noticed that one of the smaller eruptions had stopped oozing and seemed to be drying up.
In August I was able to discontinue the dressings on all (three) eruptions. By mid October the smaller eruption had totally healed. Only a faint reddishness was visible where the eruption had been located.
Now in late October the other eruptions continue to heal. I even have the impression that the lump in her breast is becoming smaller and softer.
Is she actually beating the cancer? I don’t know but it is certainly encouraging as she continues pain free and in good spirits.
I was never able to identify the lump in the right arm pit and it certainly hasn’t enlarged. I still can’t find it.
We’re scheduled to meet with Dr. Strabel on Nov 9, 2015. We’ll see what she has to say about the cancer and whether we should continue with Hospice care.
At this point I am re-assured that our decision to forgo treatment was the right decision.