my mother’s oncologist was known as a the doctor to go to for pancreatic cancer. HE had the patients who lived the longest. HE was the mad scientist. HE had the ability to keep her alive long enough that maybe another medication would emerge that could cure her- ok that was MY wishful thinking but he did tell me he thought she’d be able to live three years. i can’t believe i just wrote three years. like that would’ve been long enough?
and i hate my mother’s oncologist … i hate him because he sold his services like a snake oil salesman (my brother brian came up with that analogy in the hospital and i was furious with him! what? mommy’s doctor? oh brian you were so right.) (and no, he didn’t TECHNICALLY give wrong treatment.)
and i hate my mother’s oncologist because while my mother was still under his care, he would NOT acknowledge how sick she had become- almost as if it was her fault and not the disease taking over. at one point he said to me (about 10 weeks before my mother died, maybe even closer to the end than that) ” the cancer is not what’s going to kill her, she’s killing herself by not eating.” dude! it was the freaking cancer that caused her to be unable to eat. it was the distended belly caused by the cancer spewing off fluid filled with malignant toxic cells. it was the cancer overtaking my mother’s body. and she told you. i was there. my mother told you the pain she was in. “hmmmmmm i don’t know why you are in such pain bunny.” you said.
i hate him because he lacked the decency to admit defeat.
after the visit to him where he told my mother if she ate some more she’d be fine (he prescribed a powder called juven to stimulate her appetite) my mother’s pain increased, dramatically, and food became a non event. and ultimately we had to bring my mother to the hospital near our house so she could be taken out of pain. (where this doctor did NOT work- he didn’t want us bringing her to his hospital.)
upon admitting my mother to our local hospital, my mother’s new doctor, dr. death (yeah, i called her that) told us that my mom had one to three weeks left to live. no, that news didn’t sit well with me, but at least i was prepared for my mom’s dying, or as prepared as i could be, which was of course completely unprepared.
dr. death, who i tortured and tortured hoping she’d change her medical opinion to suit my needs. dr. death who my mother cursed out….literally told her to go eff herself…because my mother’s pain was so excruciating.
dr. death who escorted each of my mother’s grandchildren to my mother’s bedside to say goodbye.
SHE was the one who showed courage enough to tell the truth and let us know that the cancer was winning, for that I respected her and held back from calling the negligence and malpractice law firm in Chicago but I really wanted to.
my mother hadn’t stopped eating because she was being difficult! my mother’s body was breaking down. and there was nothing we could do but love her and be by her side. oh and medicate her so she didn’t feel the wreckage taking place inside of her.
BUT my mother’s oncologist, whom she adored because he promised he’d help her, and who said he LOVED my mother because she reminded him of his own mother- HE NEVER visited, HE NEVER called her, HE NEVER sent her a note, NOTHING at the end. and this was after my mother had written a five page letter to this ahole about what a wonderful a doctor he was and how proud his family should be. (my mother wrote this when she had her first scan three months into treatment and her tumor had shrunk by almost half).
in the end, this hot shot dr. was a coward. afraid to face us and talk of my mother’s dying and maybe even afraid to deal with her death.
regardless, three months later it still feels so wrong to me. the whole thing. the doctor we put all of our trust in said my mom wasn’t dying yet, but she was. and she did. and he didn’t even say he was sorry. and i don’t mean sorry that he couldn’t save her, but sorry that he was wrong in thinking he could. sorry that he didn’t say how sick she was. sorry that he didn’t provide the comfort he should have as her doctor.
and i don’t know how to deal with that.
facebook: jennifer koppelman hutt