Another Surgery

My mom just got home from surgery today. I know, another surgery. This will be the third surgery within three years. I shouldn’t complain because there are people out there that go through way more surgeries than this, and props to them, but I still see first hand the effects that it does on my mom, and its challenging.

She is brave though, I’ll tell you that. She walks in hospitals like its just another walk in the park. Like its just another thing she added to her to do list on that day. I really hope that this will be the last one. She needs a break from them. The human body wasn’t made to be opened up every once in a while, or at all actually.

She’s doing well. Still coming out of the anesthesia. The surgery she had today wasn’t too big. It was two hours or a little longer I think. They had to fix some scar tissue and damaged tissue from her last surgery.

Her last surgery about a year ago was a major ten hour surgery which involved tissue replacement and removal from a part of her stomach to her breasts, since the previous year she had her breast removed to do breast cancer. Last years surgery also involved moving some blood vessels, which is not an easy task for any doctor, seeing as they are complex things caring the very thing your body needs to function, blood

The only down side to all this (which yes, I will sound selfish for a bit but hear me out), is that people form her church will want to come visit her and “give their support”, aka tell her how blessed she is to be alive. Don’t get me wrong, yes I’m happy she is alive and well, its the meaning behind their words that I question, or their reasoning as to why they believe what they believe. 

Since they will be coming to visit I will have to be in contact with them. I haven’t seen any one from church for more than three months now, almost going on to four. I can’t just go hide in my room and pretend that I’m not home. I am civil still.

The thing is, will they ask what I have been up to? Will they even want to know what I have been doing with my life? Will they tell me that I should go back? That they “miss me”? What will I tell them? I want to be honest but I still want to be disrespectful. I believe that you can still keep your integrity without hurting other people, even though sometimes people will take your words and turn them into something that you really never even said, but that is on them at that point.

I hate how this was about my mother and I just went on to turn it around and make it all about me. Isn’t that funny?

Anyways, my mom is doing well for now and that is all that matters.

She Will

Its happening again.

 

Well, not technically yet but it is. Two weeks ago when my mom was getting her regular check up from her oncologist she found something that was not supposed to be normal. So these past few weeks ever since then we’ve been going back and forth to the hospital to get her checked out.

 

First was and ultrasound to see if there was actually something in there. And there was, or is. The doctor says that it mat just be scar tissue from the mastectomy and the reconstruction but she doesn’t want to just be guessing. She wants to be sure, and plus, it’s better to catch it sooner than later. Also, it will help us sleep at night knowing that everything is ok.

 

Then, just a couple of days ago she went through a biopsy to extract part of that tissue. They took two samples and my mom said it didn’t hurt like the first time they did it a couple of years ago. I can tell that my mom isn’t that worried but still this isn’t how a human should be living. Always getting check ups, always at the doctor. But still, through this all my mother is strong and she is brave and she is getting through this. And she will.

For Anyone Who Has A Family Member Out There Going Through The Stages Of Breast Cancer

It’s pumpkin spice season everywhere again from lattes to ice cream. Along with that, stores once again bring out Christmas trees in mid October to force you to believe that if you don’t have a Christmas tree, is it really Christmas?

Nonetheless, October marks the start of a really special time for me. It has always been special to me. From the weather changing to hot to cool and the sun setting sooner. From the cold air in the mornings to the chilling wind at night. Everything feels different.

Even Halloween, which used to be my favorite holiday, how could it not? Free unlimited candy, getting to dress up as something you’re not, and scary movies at midnight. But now, there’s something even more special about October, and it’s that it’s Brest Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast cancer awareness has been going on for many many years, but it never actually meant anything to me until about two years ago. I knew about it. I knew women were very prone to breast cancer, but I did not understand the actual damage breast cancer can do to a person and to the persons family. Yes, I knew it was bad, horrible even, I mean it’s a cancer, but I hadn’t seen it from the inside as I had when my mother was diagnosed with it.

I can’t speak for how she felt when she found out that she had breast cancer. I can only speak for myself. And this is actually really for anyone who has a family member out there going through the stages of this horrible disease.

I know how you feel, I was there. I cried so much. And it’s ok to cry, you’re human and you need to let it out. Trust me it’s so hard to try to keep it all together. That’s what I thought. I thought that by always showing a strong stern face at every moment, I would be stronger. But all that energy I used to do so I needed it be there for my mother.

Another thing that I discovered is that it’s okay to tell people. Don’t keep it to yourself. Sure, some people will pity you and some people will praise you for being so brave. Stick to those people and let the other people go. You need all the help you can get, all the support, and love that friends will bring you. Because your time soon will be given to your loved one, and that’s all you’ll want to do.

And now, with all the hospital visits, the surgeries, and the recovery that I have seen my mother go through it has made me apréciate her so much more and realize what a strong woman she is. A powerful, courage, strong woman.

So if you have some one out there going through this, be there for them, cry with them, and don’t take them for granted, don’t let them give up the fight. If you’re the one going through this, let me tell you I’m sorry, but you are strong, and you will fight this. You will be victorious.

ICU, Paint, And Recovery

Success. My mother’s surgery went great. Ten long hours went by like a wink of an eye and it was soon over.

I’ve had an overwhelming amount of support from friends and people from church. I never imagined people would care. I know that most of them do it because it’s a nice thing to do. But I appreciate the ones that do it form the heart.

I haven’t slept much. While my mother has been in the hospital I wanted to surprise her when she comes back. I’m painting the kitchen and the bathroom. The bathroom will be blue and the kitchen will be white. I can’t wait for her to see it.

She’s been at the hospital since Friday. She was in ICU since this morning and then they moved her to a regular room. Which is great news. They want to discharge her by tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully she gets well soon. She’s walking on her own although she does need help getting up but that’s a great start.

Once she’s back home I’ll need to rest in between me taking care of her and also driving my brother to and from work. I don’t go back until October the ninth. I think I will be well rested for that.

Right now I’m trying really hard not to spend money since I’m not getting paid for this time off. But I know somehow we will get through this rut.

Surgery

We have another life decision to make. Well, my mom does.

It’s time for her reconstruction surgery. We saw the doctor and he gave us two options of what she can chose to do.

The first one is the most common. Breast implants. It’s the usual surgery of implanting silicone bags where the breast used to be. There are not too many complications. The only down side is she would be needing to change the bags every 10 years or so, as it is recommended.

The other option, the one that frightens me, is having part of her own fat transferred from the stomach or another part of the body, to her breast.

This one has more complications. It involves the doctors removing fat and arteries from a part of her body and putting it the place where her old breast used to be. This surgery is 8-10 hour surgery and she would need to be under intensive care since it involves arteries.

The second one scares me the most since the surgery lasts so long and the fact that something can go wrong with the veins and such is what scares me the most. But it seems that this is the one she is leaning towards the most.

She explained that even though its so long and there are risks, once its all over it will be over, and it will be part of  her body. The implants she will have to replace every two years and her body might not take them well.

What made her even more confident is that the doctor told her that she was a great candidate for the fat transfer. Hearing this also made me feel better about that surgery but over all its her decisions and she will do what she thinks is  best for her.

 

If You Have Breasts, Get Them Checked

Let’s talk about my mother.

I feel like I haven’t talked about her for a while and she’s the most important thing in my life. Yes, at times she is annoying and frustrates me to death, but I still love her.

Last week we saw the Breast Cancer Coordinator. She was really nice and helpful trying to get us to see the plastic surgeon as fast as we couldn’t for my moms reconstruction therapy. She told us she needed all of my moms medical records.

So yesterday we went around town driving to clinics and labs picking up the records my mom requested last week. Question: why do you have to pay for medical records that are yours? I find that really annoying. That’s like your life on paper and you have to pay to obtain it. It’s really rude.

But atlas, we got them all. At one clinic they couldn’t find her in their records. My heart sort of sank. I didn’t need this at the moment. Like we need her records and the records couldn’t be found. But with the miracle form the lord or actual hard work from the medical records intern they were able to find them.

After all that my mom decided that we needed to make copies just in case they asked for them again we wouldn’t have to go through all that. So I bought some ink for my printer but apparently it’s broken now. So that was a waste of money.

I came to the local library instead to copy them. Was almost the same price as buying the ink. But what are you going to do? Things break, money comes and goes, what’s important is that my mom gets back her feel good attitude that every woman deserves . And I know that this surgery will help her.

She wants this all to be done as I do too. I really hate breast cancer. So if you have breasts, get them checked.

Ten Years

Yesterday we went to the oncologist and finally got the results on my mom's breast cancer tissue and what type of cancer it was. I think it was something like invasive carcinoma. She wrote it down on our paper because it was a tricky word. But she said if there was cancer that if you had to have a cancer this one was the one to have. Doctors and their doctors sense of humor.

Basically it's three hormones to feed the cancer cell. So estrogen, progesterone, and HER 2 negative. That's what this type of cancer feeds off. And my mom had the combination of the three. Well don't quote me on this, she has estrogen and progesterone, but she was negative on HER 2 which is a protein or something that controls how healthy breast cells grow, so obviously with out it it's perfect for cancer to grow.

Now that we knew what happened we could find a solution. The doctor said she didn't need to have chemo, which was great news. We didn't want to go through all that pain since it was already hard enough. So she said instead she would just have to take a pill… for ten years.

At first I laughed because I thought she had miss placed her words or she was joking like doctors do, but no, she was serious. It's called Tamoxifen. It's an anti-estrogen hormone. So she said that that will stop them from coming together and forming any other cancer cells on the other breast.

I was looking into the drug and it seems pretty good. The doctor said there's almost a 100% survival rate after five years which is really really great news. The thing is it's a good $100 to get per month. We haven't gone to get it at the pharmacy yet, we will today, I'm hoping that our insurance covers it.


Update, it did. At least for about five months. It has some side effects though. Not that all bad but we just have to keep an eye on her. I'm glad we're getting though this. It has been the toughest year yet for us but some how we managed to get through it. Really makes me smile and feel good to see how strong my family is.

We Will Survive

Sometimes I feel like I'm cursed. Or have bad juju. Or have the worst luck in the world. Or if I get even more creative, which I have, maybe the guy who is in charge of writing my life in the book of life is just screwing with me and likes watching me suffer. Who knows? It's just a series of unfortunate events and they seem to get worse.

Today we went to the oncologist to see what treatment my mother would need. We thought we were finally going to move forward with this. Once we arrived we waiting more than usual and then once in the room we knew why.

They lost the fucking results. Ok let me explain. We have to see three doctors. The surgen, the oncologist, and the lab people. Apparently, when faxing over all the info or how ever they communicate with each other they lost the results. Well, technically not lost. They said that they are some where but they just don't know where. Hello! Definition of lost here.

The oncologist said they are trying to solve this as soon as possible. I saw the look of frustrating on my moms face and tried to calm her. She's already going through enough for this to happen and I hate seeing her down. It's like life is against us. What are we supposed to do? Roll over and die? Seems like that's what life wants.

No. We will survive. We will get though this. My mom is going to call the surgen and see what she can do. If that paper can not be found then the tissue will have to be tested again to see what type of came it is, hormonal, estrogen related, or something else the Dr. said I didn't really catch. And that testing can last for another couple of weeks.

Of course this happens to us. It's so annoying and I can't be surprised it has. After all that we have gone though what's not to be expected? But my fingers are crossed and if I have to start buying candles, a wand, a cauldron, and chant my way to a better life so help me God I will.

Moving This Mountain 

          Yesterday I took my mom to the doctor. It was time for her staples to come out. It was a little of a wait but when we finally got in they took the staples out. My mom said it didn’t hurt like she thought it was going to. When they were off she said she felt better. But then she looked down. I feel like my heart had just shattered into a million pieces then was set on fire. Looking at her face, seeing how hurt she was. Looking down and seeing what she saw. The scar that was now forming. 

          I put my hand on her shoulder and told her she was strong. Not because she’s my mom, but she is one of the strongest women I know. She felt a little better. I try my best to comfort her as best as I can. I know I can’t make that hurt that she feels go away but I can help her though it. She seems at peace with what happened but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t emotionally hurt still. It changes everything. 

          Like yesterday before we went she wanted to wear a scarf. I asked her why? She told me that she just felt like it. But I knew she just didn’t feel comfortable going out like that. That gave me such a pain in my chest. Knowing she feels that way. That people will look. Jerks. They don’t even know what we have gone through, but it’s the sad truth, they judge. So I let her wear it, and I told her she looked beautiful. 

          We are still trying to move this mountain. It’s hard but here we are. One day at a time. It gives me much joy seeing how she’s returning to herself. Getting up and waking around. Even yelling at my brother and me to make our beds and clean up. I missed her. I missed that part of her. The part that made her my mom. No matter what happened, she’s still my mom. She will always be, and I will always love her, And it makes me happy that with each day that passes by she gets better. Physically and emotional. 

And it will be moved

Emotional Recovery 

            Today we had our first check up since my moms surgery. According to the doctor everything is turning out “beautifully”. Makes me happy to hear that. Although while we were there and they were taking the gauze off I had to help undress my mom. 

            Now, never did I think I would be doing such thing. But, her health is my priority. Once the gauze was off I got to see the wound. It wasn’t a pretty site. It was actually a little unsettling. If I was shaken up about it, I can only imagen how she felt. Like, a part of her, a part that made her her, is now gone. 

            Once the doctor was examining her, I sat there thinking, how would I feel if a part of me was no more? How would you feel? It’s something that you have to kind of train your brain to think about, and also later accept. Then I thought of all the women who get mastectomies and they have to remove both breasts. That must be wicked hard. And I have mad respect for them. If your one of them, you are strong and I am proud of you. 

            If your a guy reading this and you don’t understand because your a cold hearted and closed minded asshole, just picture someone taking one of your balls off, maybe even both. How would you feel? They are part of you. Part of what make you male. So for a women to get a breast or breasts removed is hard. Extremely hard. Because sure they can take your balls off no one would notice. But breasts are pretty visible. 

            Anyway, the doctor said there might not even be any need for chemo, but that would be up to the oncologist. We have to make an appointment to see him soon. 

            I could tell that my mom was shaken up about seeing her wound. She said she didn’t want to see it but she did anyway. I hugged her and encouraged her the most that I could. Got her to see the bright side of all this. This is all for the better and her health is the most important thing. She cheered up a bit once I started making my little jokes, I like to see her smile. 

            Now, hopefully we are on the path of recovery. I have to find some exercises for her arm so it won’t stiffen up. Also maybe a bra that will get her self estime up a little. I know this isn’t easy for her and I want to make it as easy and as painless as I can. Even though it’s a lot of physical recovery I feel that there will also be a lot of emotional recovery, and I will be there every step of the way to make it better.