Terrible start of 2019

Remember my little post about the Terrible November? It was really a messed up month but thing got better towards the end of the year. However luck is apparently not on our side as new troubles arrived just few weeks into 2019. The only good thing was that these thing did not occur so bunched up as it was in November were one week was just one bad day after another.

In mid January my mother got an injury on her nose checked which did not heal for the past year. They took a sample and cut a layer of skin away in order to let everything heal properly. Shortly after that check up and little surgery she got a call to come back to the doctor. Turns out she got skin cancer and they needed to take another sample and cut yet again another layer of skin away. This was not the first skin cancer rodeo for my mother as she had malignant melanoma when I was 8-9 years old. She spent a several weeks in hospital and got everything removed successfully. Ever since then she had regular check ups but somehow that one spot on her nose was never discovered until now. Thankfully everything turned out well as the one on her nose turned out to be non-melanoma skin cancer in a very early stage. Because of that they were able to remove everything already during the second small surgery.

Mom and dad last year at Nathalie’s baptism

Now we come to February and all seemed well for a long time. In fact everything went way too smooth as first of all my mother was fine again, then my father’s blood values were improving drastically and we even had a week of something like holidays during the Chinese New Year. But towards the end of the month all went downhill again. My wife got a call from her mother that Granny in China got salivary gland tumor and that they could do nothing about it as she is too weak for a surgery. She is same age as my father (turning 78 this year) but she looks about 15 years older and has never done anything for her health. This means that she is already exhausted walking 50m from a bus station to a restaurant while my father bicycles each summer several thousand kilometres. As this tumor was just discovered we are not sure yet how everything will develope from her on. MIL already said that she won’t come this summer to help us with the kids and household unlike the past years. Now my wife and I can not handle the business and the kids at the same time so FIL already agreed to come instead of his wife.

But there is still a slight chance that things might turn out a bit better for granny. The check ups she had a first were done with a CT-Scan and the doctor said immediately that it looks very dire. However few days later MIL took her mother to another doctor for a MRI-Scan and there the doctor said that they can see nothing indicating a tumor, just that one lymph node is enlarged. Next week they will perform a biopsy to make sure what exactly is going on so we really really hope for the best.

Just Nathan feeding a bunny as I don’t know what picture to put here

I must say it would be not the first time doctors in China are exaggerating a bit. Few years back I had a MRI-Scan so the “bone breaker” could pinpoint the problems I had with my neck and lower back (they did wonders during those few sessions as I never had the troubles reappear again). However at the hospital were the MRI-Scan took place they told me that I have some kidney issues. Later at the “bone breaker” they told us that we do not need to worry as that hospital is specialized on treating kidney troubles and most likely only want to earn some extra money for performing more tests on me. In Germany I got later a small check up and everything was fine. Now Granny had last year blood in her urine and the doctor at the hospital said that she has definitely bladder cancer. We got all worked up about it and later another doctor told her that she just had a bladder infection. So through these two example you might understand why we still have some hope when it comes to granny and that it is nothing too serious right now. We have a new month now so perhaps luck is on our side again?

Did you have any experience that a doctor gave you the wrong diagnosis?

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30 thoughts on “Terrible start of 2019”

  1. Glad to hear they caught your mother’s cancer reasonably early and the prognosis is good.

    Yes, it’s impossible to work with kids in the house when there’s no school. Are there any summer camps for Nathan and Natalie?

  2. I‘m always feeling bad „liking“ a blog post such as this, but I know you understand the meaning.

    I’m so glad your mother is (hopefully) going to be okay and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an exaggeration on the hospitals part in China.

    1. We all hope for the best. My mother had pretty much luck and by now everything has healed up perfectly again.
      Granny in China is another thing entirely though, as she is being send from one hospital to the next as each one has different specialized areas. Here in my hometown it would be much easier as there is a big hospital with a “cancer ward”

  3. So sorry to hear of all the troubles, but good to hear your mum and dad are on the mend. Pity some medical places in China will exaggerate and try to extort money from you. At least you have the option of walking away. To my knowledge I don’t think I’ve experienced wrong diagnosis in Australia. But here it is really up to you to speak up and go to the doctor and get yourself checked out and do tests – getting a test can take some time to happen here.

    1. I experienced same in Germany. Thus far I did not really get a real wrong diagnosis but it takes soo long time to get results or even appointments. I think my MRI-Scan back in 2015 took 4 months to get the appointment and another 2 weeks for the results whileas in China it is pretty much immediately

      1. Now you remind me, it’s usually doctor appointment first that will give you referral for the test, do the test elsewhere, get another appointment with the doctor for the result, and repeat. Here in Australia each doctor appointment costs around $40 with healthcare cover, almost $100 without. You said it, sooo long.

      2. Thankfully appointments cost nothing here in Germany with insurance. Only some treatments cost money depending what health insurance you got such for example “teeth cleaning ” for which we pay about 60 euros

      1. I understand , the waiting time feels terrible when its matter of such high concern, hope the granny gets positive result 🙂 healthy recovery to your mom and dad 🙂

      2. My dad has another chemotherapy session today and tomorrow but he is doing incredible well, towards the end of the week he will most likely do some sports already. My mother is also well by now again and the wound from the surgeries has healed perfectly

      3. Oh thats a nice news 🙂 I am glad they are doing great 🙂 take care 🙂 hope this week works fine for you 🙂

  4. There are many horror stories among expats in Thailand and Cambodia about the heath care in country. However, Thailand is known as being a ‘medical holiday’ destination as well because it’s affordable. And presumably good, too.

    My experience is limited, but it’s not a stretch to imagine what China is like.

    I hope your family gets a clean bill of health super soon. Thinking of you all! xxoo

    1. In China is also the problem that each hospital has its own specialized area whilas here in Germany big hospitals cover many different areas. That is why my dad gets all treatment here in my hometown as we got a pretty big hospital and he does not need to drive to another city.

  5. One would think that people who live in the north like your mom wouldn’t have skin cancer. I live in one of the most northerly states in the United States, Washington, and I hear that we have high rates of skin cancer. I don’t know why. I hope the rest of March will be good for your family.

    1. Skin cancer is way too common here. I know also many people in Finland who had it and you definitely dont get much sun at all there!
      Sure too much exposure to sun is a big reason but I do wonder what else can trigger it

  6. Sorry to hear about those terrible health problems, hopefully it will get better from here on… Wish you all the best!

  7. Oh, no! Hope your mum and dad continue improving and that granny turns out to have something not that serious.

    I actually had a misdiagnosis here in China BUT it was a Singaporean doctor in an expensive expat clinic. It was during pregnancy and he said it was just a rash that appears during pregnancy, it turned out to be a liver problem and I ended up in hospital for a week.

    1. Oh you had a very bad misdiagnosis!
      We will have to see how it will go on with Granny as she is even too weak for biopsy so we won’t know any specifics for a while for now 😦

  8. Sometimes I work from home when Little O is here. His dad is taking care of him but he is always wanting to come into my office to see what he is hoping.

    Let’s hope Granny gets a better diagnosis!

  9. If your father in law comes over to look after kids, it’s a great time for him and kids. Hopefully he won’t get too tired.

    1. We have no worries about him getting tired. He is always full of energy. Once he played a full table tennis match while holding Nathan/ letting the little guy play (Nathan was 3 back then, so not that light any longer).

      1. Wow, playing table tennis like that. I’m sure you’ll all enjoy having FIL around with his wife bugging him.

      2. FIL is a real good player/ was in his younger years as he won multiple time the city and regional governmental competitions. He still practices up to five times a day.
        Only thing is that he hates changes / new things thus he is not yet overly enthusiastic to come to Germany. Well we will try our best that he can enjoy his time here and I checked out few table tennis clubs for him already

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