Mom has cancer, sort of

Posted in Random thoughts, Too Much Information at 9:56 pm by ducky

My mother has cancer. Sort of. On one of the three different oncologists that she visited, the one I escorted her to, was adamant that it was not cancer, it was neoplasty. Whatever.You’ve never heard of it. It’s called Pseudomyxoma Peritonei, commonly known as “Jelly Belly” or PMP. (Read about Pseudomyxoma Peritonei at wikipedia — they do a better job than I would at explaining it.) It is very, very rare — only 300 to 1000 cases in the US per year — so frequently mis-diagnosed. It’s so rare that there are only about six doctors who specialize in PMP in the US.

For Mom, it might have been an accident that they found it. She had stabby pains on her left side that her local doctors diagnosed as diverticulitis. As part of that diagnosis, she got a CT scan which showed the mucous. Maybe the stabby pain was a node of mucous bursting, maybe it was diverticulitis, but it is certain that she was fortunate that her local doctors recognized it.

Mom looks fine. Mom feels fine. Being a cancer patient has not become a dominant part of her self-identity, and I actually rather doubt that it ever will, except for perhaps the period while she’s recuperating at home after her surgery later this summer.

I am in denial about it — not in denial that it exists, not in denial that it needs to get treated, not in denial that the surgery recovery is going to be massively uncomfortable, unpleasant, and inconvenient, but in denial that there could be any possible long-term prognosis besides “just fine”.

Denial is a very comfortable place to be, and I plan on staying here as long as possible.


  1. nanette said,

    January 25, 2007 at 10:18 am

    I found out three years ago that my dear sister-in-law has the same cancer. As far as denial I think it’s easy to be there considering, she has continued her job, as a teacher, even after two operations to due heat chemo. She over all feels good most of the time. Your right denial is a very comfortable place to be!

  2. ducky said,

    January 17, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    I apparently never gave an update… Mom absolutely sailed through the Mother of All Surgeries and is, as far as anybody can tell, completely PMP-free now.

  3. Best Webfoot Forward » the brain is really strange said,

    January 19, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    […] a fear of heights, I was unfazed by a good friend’s 7 cm breast cancer tumour, and I took my mother’s PMP in […]

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