I was going to take notes today, and post all the information. All the statistics, and random facts, survival rates, remission rates, etc. But I changed my mind. Right now I don't have the energy to care about all of that.
The thought that keeps running through my mind most prevalently is simply that my mom has CANCER. It's hard to grasp. Everything seems surreal. There's a certain numbness that comes, that enables you to take just the steps and do what you have to do. Every once in awhile the feeling sets in, and I'm not sure any of us can do this. But we don't have the option of throwing in the towel just yet, so here we are. Getting ready to take it on.
The only thing I wanted to hear today was that she would survive. I had to pry it out of one of the doctors but eventually she said yes, she will most likely live. But that she has a long road of treatment ahead of her.
I'll start from the beginning. My mom noticed a lump a few weeks ago. We encouraged her to get it checked, and two weeks ago on Saturday she went to her doctor. He sent her to get a mammogram the next Monday. While she was there they decided to do an ultrasound. They sent her back to the doctor who told her that the Radiologist was almost positive it was cancer. She met with a surgeon that Wednesday to see about having the tumor removed. He sent her to have an MRI on Friday. In the MRI they found that there was a tumor that was about 2 centimeters, and another suspicious growth behind it. They also noticed that her lymph nodes looked abnormal. They scheduled her to have a biopsy this Monday. We received the results of that today. We were well aware that the odds were that it was cancer, but were still praying and crossing our fingers that we could have a miracle.
They tested three different spots and each tested positive for cancer. They called it invasive ductal cancer. Since the lymph nodes they tested were positive, they are not sure how far it has spread. She is scheduled for a double masectomy next Wednesday, during which they will pull out more lymph nodes, which will tell us how far the cancer has spread. That will also help to decide the course of the chemo and radiation.
We met today with the Surgeon, the Oncologist, and the Radiation Oncologist. They spoke to us a little about what the plan for the next year is. Essentially surgery, then chemo, then radiation. We don't know many details other than that. We also met with a Genetic Counselor who discussed the possibilities of genetic testing to discover if my mom is a carrier of a certain gene that is known to increase the risk of cancer. My great grandma, my great aunt and my mom's two cousins all had either ovarian or breast cancer. They are suspicious that my mom is a carrier of this gene. This will also help them when developing her treatment course.
She is struggling emotionally. She is concerned obviously about the effect on her physical appearance. She's also concerned about how far the cancer has spread. I think today it all became real. She will be okay, but as for right now she is hurting.
My mom has dedicated her life to helping others. She has given when she didn't have anything to give. She is having a hard time with the thought of being on the receiving end. But she's going to come to terms with that, because if anyone deserves the help and the support, it's her.
She's has a long road ahead of her. But she's strong and she has a strong support system. And we're going to do everything we can to keep her fighting. Because we love her and need her. And the world needs her.
There are lots of details in my head tonight. Way too much to sort through. But the one thing I do know is that this is something a woman like my mother should not have to suffer through. But isn't that the point? The strongest are tested, because they are strong? And who's to say who should have cancer and who shouldn't? This is a new trial for our family. We're going to learn lots of new things, and right now we're just cautiously feeling our way through the first few steps.
So, the next step is surgery. Scheduled for next Wednesday, the 22nd, to remove both breasts. She will be home Thursday, and hopefully will be able to enjoy some type of Christmas. But if there's ever a year that I'm reminded that Christmas is not about gifts, but about love and our Savior, this is it.
I will try to update daily on how she is doing, and will also encourage her to post her feelings when she feels up to it.