|Mom and her first grandchild, my son, Jeffrey|
|Me, Mom, Daddy and Mickey|
My parents and me, 1979
After that things seemed to go okay with her health. My father's health seemed to be worse than her health during the years I grew up. Then around 1976, she started having a problem that she called "phasing out" when she was at work. She was a receptionist for a large factory, all of a sudden she would feel like everything was far away from her. I used to faint and it reminded me of that feeling I got when I was just about to faint, before I hit the floor. It took a bit of time going to doctor's appointments and having tests until she finally was diagnosed with Cushing's Syndrome in 1978.
If you are not familiar with this disease, it is not surprising. It was considered very rare when Mom had it. I do not know if it is still so. I know animals get it, especially dogs and horses. I always suspected my own dog, Nikita, may have had it. My mother was scheduled for an exploratory operation to see what was wrong. The surgeon, who by the way, had an excellent reputation in our area, turned out not to so good after all. Mom's doctor had instructed him to take out her adrenal glands if he saw anything that shouldn't be there. Like a tumor. Instead this doctor took out her gallbladder! Why? He said it was full of gravel. Yes, but that is not what was the problem at this time. Later when her doctor sent her to Roswell Park in Buffalo, her doctor there, brought in his students and said, "this is a lady who had unnecessary surgery." His exact words. My mother being who she is, she would not submit the surgeon's bill for the gallbladder surgery to Medicare, nor her insurance. She wrote him a letter and told him what they said about unnecessary surgery and that he could have saved her from months of suffering and healing from that operation. She never got another bill or heard from him again and his bill was more than $5000.00.
Even though Roswell Park is considered a cancer hospital, her doctor sent her there because they are good at finding the cause of hard to diagnose cases. She didn't have cancer though and many of our family members and friends figured she did if she was there. No, not at all and she was there a long time. They did operate and took her adrenal glands out. They were producing too much cortisol due to a tumor. For the rest of her life she had to take cortisone and if she was in a stressful situation, she had to take it by an injection. She also relied on a pain medication, Darvocet. I believe she was addicted to it but what did it matter? I see it has since been banned. She ended up having two hip replacements and a knee replacement, but they didn't really help her be more mobile. One of the things that happened to her while waiting to find out exactly what was wrong with her was that her bones disintegrated. First she had to use a cane, then crutches until the last few years of her life, she was in a wheelchair and mostly bedridden.
|Me and Mom before she got sick|
Copyright © Kathleen G. Lupole 2018
All Photographs © Kathleen G. Lupole 2018