2/27/12

The most foul word in the English language...

Cancer. It's worse than the worst curse word, worse then stringing every curse word together. I never imagined it would touch my life so deeply. My Grandfather had prostate cancer. Although I wasn't very close to him, it made me take more notice of fundraising and research. Then on February 13, words were spoken that I never thought I would hear...

I mentioned in a previous post (that has somehow decided to delete itself) that my Mom has not been well for some time. After endless tests with inconclusive results, the doctors decided it was severe colitis and that surgery would be necessary to remove a section of her colon. Surgery day came and when I checked in with Dad I could tell before he even really spoke any words, something wasn't right. She was out of surgery and in recovery, but they had found something unexpected. One tumor attached to and partially in her colon and another attached to the wall of her pelvis... they were malignant. She had a clear colonoscopy just over a year ago...  I had just left work (like barely out of the parking lot) and had to pull over. My whole body went numb as I realized that my Dad just told me my Mom has cancer. I somehow managed to make the 25 minute drive home to get the girls. I really don't remember much of anything other than crying. I called my Dad back to try and get some better details and then started to figure out how I was getting back to Florida. I got packed and ready to hop in my car, thinking that another set of airline tickets wasn't in the budget. Luckily we have some pretty fantastic work "family" and I was able to get reasonable tickets leaving early the next morning. Not knowing the full prognosis (pathology was still trying to determine what kind of cancer it was), we decided I would stay for about a week and a half. I spent a flight from San Antonio to Dallas, then Dallas to Tampa trying to wrap my head around what I was going to be facing.

Mom is the second youngest.  That's her resting her head on her sister's shoulder


Dad and my brother picked me up from the airport.  When we got to the hospital, Mom seemed strangely calm.  My aunt was there.  I hugged and kissed Mom, then hugged and kissed her a few more times.  We all kinda danced around the "C" word and came up with a game plan for the next few days.  We decided that I would stay in the hospital with her until she was released.  We were bugged by the nurses constantly, saw the doctor and the surgeon once a day and even had a bit of a consult with an oncologist.  Everybody anxiously waiting for the pathology report.  The surgeon decided late Thursday that she could be released, then Friday late morning he came in with the pathology report.  The cells were endometrium and/or ovarian in origin.  Wait... what they found in her colon was female reproductive cells?  How was that possible?  She had a hysterectomy in 2004...when they did pathology then there was no cancer.  The surgeon explained that the may not have tested everything that was removed in the hysterectomy and missed it.


I spent the next few days "purging" all of the clutter in my parent's house.  It was oddly calming.  I also made a vat of marinara sauce and some chicken broth in the crock pot.  I even baked a sour cream pound cake the morning of my flight home.  It was VERY hard to walk out the front door when it was time to go to the airport, but I was there for the initial shock of diagnosis and assisted in the first step of treatment - recover from surgery.  The first in office consult with the oncologist is coming up, but we know they won't start any treatment until she's recovered.  One day at a time, that's how we're going to get through this.  My Mom is the strongest woman I know, she will beat this.

Mom & Me