Thoughts on Thursday: Cancer
I’ve waited to post about this because I wanted good news to post. It has been a long 5 weeks, but finally, we have some good news and some closure.
At the end of February, my mom found out she had endometrial cancer. After having a biopsy and waiting 2 long weeks for the results, they told her she had a grade one tumor. There are three grades, grade one being the least bad of all. This was the hope we were hanging on to. One symptom sent her to the doctor for a check-up. Had she ignored that one symptom, she would have never known she had a tumor almost 4 inches in size. A normal annual check-up would not have found this type of cancer. To me, this is TERRIFYING.
A week after her diagnosis, she met with an oncologist who scheduled surgery for her just two weeks later. This was all moving very fast. My Aunt Darlene in California (one of many fabulous relatives!!) offered to come out to be here the week of her surgery and we could not have been more happy for the extra support. Throughout all of this, we had so many people supporting my mom from all over, it was very heart-warming, and if more family had been able to come, we know they would have.
Two weeks ago yesterday, my mom went in for surgery. Her first surgery ever in her 61 years. They were able to do it laparoscopically, with 5 small incisions. The plan was to remove lymph nodes only if they felt it necessary at that time. She did extremely well during the surgery. The surgeon explained that they also removed some lymph nodes to have them tested and it would be two weeks to find out if it had spread or not.
She has spent the last two weeks recovering amazingly well. She did not overdo anything, she napped when she needed to, took her pain pills sparingly and only if absolutely needed, and she endured the once-a-day shots from both my aunt and I in her belly to prevent blood clots.
By the end of the last week, just over a week post-surgery, she was back to walking in the afternoons, 1 to 2 miles. Everyone has been so impressed with how fast she has recovered.
Finally, yesterday was her post-op appointment with the surgeon, to find out if the cancer had spread or not. Of all days to wait for this news, it was also my dad’s birthday. We visited the cemetery at Bay Pines VA in the morning, worked for a few hours, and then finally it was time for her appointment. I, of course, was right by her side because there is no other place in the world I could have been at that moment.
The doctor, a very direct man, walked in the room with a smile on his face and said “I have some good news for you. Your lymph nodes came back clear and you do NOT need any further treatment.” Both my mom and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Her cancer was stage 1, with a tumor approximately 4 inches in size. The doctor, like everyone else, was extremely impressed by her recovery. She will go back in 4 weeks for another follow-up.
Cancer affects everyone. My dad had bladder cancer, my grandmother had breast cancer, my aunt had breast cancer, and now my mom has had endometrial cancer. It’s very easy to sit here and tell everyone to be proactive and do not ignore any little symptom that you feel isn’t right. Some cancers are genetic and some are not. Regardless, it can happen to everyone. I spent many months last year with my sister-in-law over the course of her training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day and I heard first hand stories of how cancer had affected so many lives. None of us are immune to it. We have to be proactive.
I am so relieved and thankful that my mom is well. After losing my dad 16 months ago, the thought of something happening to my mom was terrifying. I kept strong throughout the last 5 weeks, both for my mom and my family, but I am not afraid to admit now that I was scared. Hearing the good news yesterday was the best thing and it made my day. I now know more than ever that my dad is indeed watching over us and I am positive he had a little something with yesterday’s good news.
I love you, Mommy and I am so glad you did not ignore what you knew was not right, and you did what you had to do to be well. You are stronger than you know and you are cancer-free!!